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Best of Frank Scoblete

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Nostalgia

4 July 2017

I remember those old timers when I was a young timer waxing poetic about their youth, their days during the great Depression, in World War II, and how they raised their families, worked hard and believed in the American dream. Most pursued that dream and were by and large successful.

That “greatest generation” is just about gone. Their lives are more history now then reality. The “now” for those still alive is way back when.

I am at that stage in my life where I look to the past to see what has become of me from my youth of yesterday to my now of today. Part of that yesterday concerns casino gambling, an activity I have been pursuing and writing about for well over a quarter of a century. (Something I am still pursuing as a matter of fact.)

To me the casino gambling of a quarter century ago was better than it is today. Maybe this is a sin to say but to me the venues of Vegas and Atlantic City, prior to the springing up of casinos in almost every nook and cranny of our country, were magical.

I will grant that today’s spectacular structures have surely surpassed those of the 1980’s and early 1990’s. No question about that in my mind. The architecture, the themes, the sheer size of some of these buildings is nothing short of amazing. Vegas has grown up as opposed to out. It is a world of skyscrapers now.

But what about the games? Are they better or worse than the games I first played from yesteryear? What about the comps? What about the men and women who deal, who supervise, who control the ins and outs of day-to-day decisions and plans for the future of the property? What about the individuals who control what kind of games and machines the casino will have.

How do these elements stack up against the past?

When I first played blackjack in Atlantic City there were four-deck games, deep cuts, amazing rules such as surrender and multiple splits with double downs allowed. Vegas surpassed Atlantic City with single deck games with amazing rules. I recall the now defunct Maxim’s game that dealt every card but one, while the dealer just grabbed the discards, reshuffling in order to continue play. I learned something called “end-play” from the great Paul Keen to master those games.

So many casinos had so many great single and double-deck games, with great rules, deep cuts and relaxed floor men and women. It was a pleasure to play blackjack.

The comps? Compared to today’s comps, it seemed that if you played you automatically received a comp of some kind. There were plenty of casinos where you didn’t even have to give in a player’s card for the floor person to give you a meal.

Craps was okay but the double-odds games of back then do not stack up to the higher odds games of today. The Strip generally goes 3X – 4X – 5X; Atlantic City is usually 5X with some 10X and across the country are games in the same category. However the characters playing craps back then (those old-timers) had an old school attitude – in fact, many of those old schoolers felt it was the norm to tip shooters who had just finished good hands. You don’t see much of that today.

Comps at craps? Nothing today matches the comps of back then. Just as in blackjack, the floor people gave them out with abandon.

Roulette often saw somewhat older wheels that had distinct deficiencies from being over used. I played a biased wheel at the Rio that sent my wife and me into paroxysms of pleasure (until the pit boss closed the wheel but still gave us a generous comp).

The dealers of today are as good as the dealers of yesterday but the dealers of yesterday seemed to have more leeway in their decision making. They were not always calling over the “bosses” to make decisions in questionable situations. Indeed, most decisions seemed to go in favor of the player. (Talk about creating loyalty in your clientele!)

It seems that as corporations have taken control of the casinos, with non-casino men and women in charge of this, that and almost everything, a colder atmosphere has developed with dealers and pit people more in lockstep to the corporate policies than they are in step with the patrons. Hosts don’t have as much “power of the pen” in giving comps as they used to.

The amazing growth of the slot machines has also dimmed the excitement of the table games. Starting in 1984, slots became the number-one money maker for the casinos and their growth has continued to this day. There are some casinos that now offer slot machine versions of table games such as craps, roulette, blackjack and baccarat. There is one such casino not far from where I live that is making a fortune with such machines – with no dealers needed (thank you very much but I like real dealers).

Finally, although I am not a clothes horse (my general wardrobe being sweat pants and sweat shirts), I do miss the days when men and women dressed up to eat at the finer restaurants at the casinos. Not so today. Some patrons look worse at such restaurants than I do right now as I write this column.

So from this “old timer” to you “new timers” all I can say is “Those were the days!”


Frank Scoblete’s new books are I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps! Confessions of a Wayward Catholic! and I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack! Available from Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores. Visit Frank's web site at www.frankscoblete.com
Recent Articles
Best of Frank Scoblete
Frank Scoblete

Frank Scoblete is the #1 best selling gaming author in America. His newest books are Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines; Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker!; Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge; Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!; Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players; Casino Conquest: Beat the Casinos at Their Own Games! and The Virgin Kiss.

Frank and Casino City Times columnist Jerry "Stickman" teach private lessons in dice control. Frank's books are available at Amazon.com, in bookstores or by mail order. Call 1-800-944-0406 or write to Frank Scoblete Enterprises, PO Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank can also be reached by email at fscobe@optonline.net.

Frank Scoblete Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com

Books by Frank Scoblete:

> More Books By Frank Scoblete

Frank Scoblete
Frank Scoblete is the #1 best selling gaming author in America. His newest books are Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines; Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker!; Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge; Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!; Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players; Casino Conquest: Beat the Casinos at Their Own Games! and The Virgin Kiss.

Frank and Casino City Times columnist Jerry "Stickman" teach private lessons in dice control. Frank's books are available at Amazon.com, in bookstores or by mail order. Call 1-800-944-0406 or write to Frank Scoblete Enterprises, PO Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank can also be reached by email at fscobe@optonline.net.

Frank Scoblete Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com

Books by Frank Scoblete:

> More Books By Frank Scoblete