Questions about Mid-Shoe entry at Connecticut casinos
  • I've been playing video blackjack at Mohegan for about 2 years now, and have had okay luck with it. I was reluctant to play the table Blackjack games at Mohegan and Foxwoods because my Basic Strategy still wasn't fast enough and I didn't want to make incorrect moves at the table if I felt I was being pressured by time.

    I've been over at Borders bookstore, and I read the book " Bringing Down the House ", which detailed how the MIT blackjack team operated. I also saw the 1-hour documentary on them which airs on CourtTV every so often, and that was interesting. I also am going to read Thorp's book " Beat the Dealer ". For the most part, I can see how the Hi-Lo system works, but I still need to read more about it. From what I can see, the MIT's strongest feature is that they were able to enter a game of blackjack at Mid-shoe when they had already determined by counting that the remaining cards were in the favor of the player.

    I have heard and read on the internet that many casinos have now posted signs " No Mid-shoe entry ", and I was wondering if Mohegan and Foxwoods also use the no mid-shoe entry rule. And, if Mohegan and Foxwoods do use the no mid-shoe entry rule, is there ever a time during the day or during slower hours where they remove the sign and the rule, or is the "No Mid-Shoe Entry" rule a full-time policy at Connecticut casinos ??

    I went to both casino websites, and they've posted the rules of their blackjack games, but neither of the websites mentioned anything about mid-shoe entry.
  • Tables are marked by affixing the sign to the back left of the table (near 3rd base). Those signs are permanent as they are affixed directly to the table. You will find them in the HIGH-LIMIT areas of either casino. Consider this sign to be always in effect.

    SOME tables incorporate the rule on the "TABLE LIMIT" signs that ARE NOT permanent. Thus, the "no mid-shoe entry" rule is only enforced when displayed.

    The rule is usually displayed on $50 minimum or higher 21 tables. It is not usual to see this sign on $25 or less minimums. I have never seen one on a $10 or $15 game, and rarely at $25.

  • Nickels_n_Bullets, thanks for answering my question, I didn't feel like driving down to Mohegan in these temperatures just to poke around all the tables looking for those no mid-shoe entry signs.

    Your answer doesn't surprise me, I thought there would definitely be "no mid-shoe entry" signs on the high-limit tables, and the smaller tables such as $10 or $15 wouldn't care that much. Although, what's to stop a player from turning a $10 or $15 dollar blackjack table into a high-limit table. If two friends enter the section where the $10 and $15 blackjack tables are, what's to stop a counter from sitting down at the table and playing the minimum hand, and then he can signal over to his friend to come over to the table when the table has turned 'hot'. What's to stop the friend (who just walked over to the table) from betting $ 1,000 a hand ?

    I know it would look very bizarre and suspicious for a guy to come over to a blackjack table and just start betting $ 1,000 on a $10-minimum table, but it seems very possible.
  • As you surmise rather little. The last time I played at MS casino nearly the exact situation happened. I was betting $25-100 for two shoes when the deck became Ace rich (According to A/5) at +4. I had just bet and won at $50 and plopped 4 green down when a wonger came in and sat next to me on the right. First hand $300, loser. A/5 still at +4, and he goes $600. A tie. Third hand, still $600, a loser. He leaves. Shoe 1/2 gone. A few rounds later back in again. My score (A/5) is +5, and I'm treading water. He gets BJ for $900 bet. $1350 to him, and he's up $450. I get a 99 against dealer 4, split and win both. I'm up $275 after that point. He long gone at the end of this 3rd shoe. I am up $300 and play 1 more shoe... break even, so at +300 I'm cashing out too.

    4 hands or 4 shoes... I dunno. I enjoyed the chit-chat and the $35 comp, and tipped a red chip to the dealer on the other 4 spots being played... he won more $$$.

  • DeLorean, if you're nervous about messing up BS, take a basic strategy card with you.
  • Delorean: Of course, a great way to practice is to play Hit.or.Stand.

    Be careful with Surrender. At the CT casinos, you can Surrender, which is different than the Hit.or.Stand game; you'll have to keep this in mind when you play.

    Most people find splits and soft doubles the hardest. Here's how I remember splits:

    1. Always split Aces and Eights.
    2. 22 and 33 are like starting with nothing - split against dealer losing hands: 2-7. (Yes, 7 is losing hand for a dealer)
    3. 44 is like an 8 - only split against REALLY bad dealer hands: 5 and 6
    4. Split 66 thru 6, 77 thru 7, 99 thru 9* (*except 7, because 18 beats 17)

    Soft doubles. When you see a soft hand, always think "A7" or "A2", rather than 18 or 13.

    1. NEVER stand with A6. Period.
    2. ONLY hit A7 v 9,10,A
    3. 4 is the pivot point:
    Double A2 and A3 vs 5,6
    Double A4 and A5 vs 4,5,6
    Double A6 and A7 vs 3,4,5,6
  • Comments & a question on CT counting ...
    I've only been to Foxwoods only once and a dealer told me everything was 8-deck unless you are willing to play for very high minimums, I believe $100 tables.

    I don't really want to play the 8-deck, so I go to Mohegan Sun and they have some 6-deck games but the penetration is terrible. They're usually cutting off two or more decks from a 6-deck shoe (terrible!!).

    My question is do any of you guys who play at MS have any tips for finding games with better pen? I usually just walk around and look but all tables/dealers seem to pretty much be the same with the lousy pen. Any thoughts?
  • Better to play 8 deck with 75% pen than 6 deck with 67% pen.

    There might be a particular dealer or two that will give better pen, but I think most counters will keep this info to themselves or only share with their closest friends - not something they would post on this forum.

    Personally, I like Foxwoods better because I don't have to deal with those 50 cent peices at MS. Not to mention the color scheme at MS gives me a headache. And MS has lots of tricky tables like two spots per person and CSMs. But MS is less crowded and I have at times walked up to an empty $10 table and asked if I could play for $5 and they said, "yes".
  • An 8-deck game with 75% pen with is basically the same game as 6-deck with 67% pen, which makes sense because they will both have two decks cut off. The 6-deck game is actually a tiny bit better (depending on bet spread), but its so close its not even worth mentioning. For flat betting, they're virtually identical with 8-deck being a tiny, tiny bit better. If you're interested you can find the exact data in the "Beat the X-Deck Game" series by Arnold Snyder.

    Bottom line, as I'm sure you know, is neither game is very good. It can get better if try to "Wong" it. So I go to Mohegan cuz its an easier drive for me.
  • My experience at Foxwoods is that the 8-deck games are usually 1.5 to 2 decks burned in the "old" casino, and 2 to 2.5 decks in the "new" casino above the hotel lobby. Tips help during the week, but not as much on the weekends.

    Mohegan Sun burns 1.5 to 2 decks off their 6-deck game. However, the Spanish 21 8-deck game burns the same 1.5 to 2 decks. This seems to be true throughout the casino, old and new. I am told that the dreaded CSM's deal "four" decks continuously. I haven't seen the morning wash to confirm.

  • I have also asked a few dealers at MS how many decks are in the CSM's and they have all told me four.

    I hate to say this, but if you're not counting and a perfect basic strategy player, then the CSM may technically be your best game. With only 4 decks I believe it has the best expected value... although that doesn't take into consideration the fact that you will be playing more hands per hour than you would at a shoe game.
  • GH21.... when do you play? My general observations over the last few years is that weekdays and a few tips are better than weekends. I know the casino gets busy Fri, Sat, & Sun, and have seen many 2+ burns. Tue, Wed seem to have many $10 games with a more generous burn of 1.5 to 2. HOWEVER, at night (say after 5pm or after shift-change) pen worsens as the place fills. IMHO, its a function of population.

  • I usually play on Sunday morning/afternoon or a Wednesday night. Sundays are more crowded and more $10 games on Wednesday as you mentioned... I'll have to pay closer attention to see is if I can notice a difference in pen at different times. Probably will also try Foxwoods again in the near future for a change of scenery.

    I'm really not so sure why the pen is generally so bad at MS - they've probably been burned a few times by counters in the past but in general most people don't even know correct basic strategy so they might as well avoid dead time for shuffles. Double-downs and soft hands and insurance are misplayed constantly, but then again I suppose you could say that about any casino. I've never played in the high-limit areas so am not sure of the quality of play in there.
  • Nickels_n_bullets, is the "Smoke Free" casino in the "old" casino? The same side with the giant Indian shooting an arrow? I get the two confused.

    p.s. what does you handle mean?
  • Good Question. I can answer to foxwoods...

    Originally, it was behind the main casino in the hi-limit area. Then the sports book and poker area was expanded, and it moved to the Right side. Then a casino was opened downstairs that was completely smoke free. Dice tables and 21 along with the slots. Then the tables folded up to make room for more slots. This was the demise of the $2 and $5 games.
    That downstairs casino is still called the smoke-free... but no table games.
    Casino room #2 which is the original bingo hall is all slots. Casino #3 behind the shops used to have table games, but quite a while ago went slots. Casino #4 is the hotel mezzanine that has an area of table games marked no smoke. Certain tables in the main casino also marked no smoke, as in the high-limit area behind and right of the main. The Newport Lounge in back and left of Casino #4 has no smoke tables also. Downstairs casino #5 still the only completely smoke-free area to my knowledge. I have never been in the hotel section proper to even know if there is a casino within the hotel proper.

    Best I can do under the gun, will probably think of something later.

  • It has several that are important to gambling....

    Cound be Nickel Whiskey and Guns with Bullets that won the Wild West

    Could be Nickel Whiskey and 4 bullets in 5-card stud poker. (Great gambling ref. to the old west gambler)

    Might be Nickel slots and hit-man bullets (50's Vegas ref.)

    Or maybe the 5's and Aces in a deck of cards.


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