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Rivers Casino, Chicago | ECD GROUP | July 25, 2013


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I had a couple hours to kill yesterday on way back to O'Hare from a trip to Kohler, so I stopped in to visit the Rivers Casino just outside the airport. Rivers is a pretty new, and looks really good from the outside. Unfortunately, it feels small and crowded inside and is not at all attractive compared to Las Vegas, or even compared to some of the California Indian casinos.

They operate 4 mini-bac tables and 3 vary large tables. The mini-bac tables have positions on the table for 9 players. Each position includes 2 spots for P/B bets, as this casino highly encourages "over the shoulder" players. Yes, there can be up to 18 players betting on one mini-bac table! The four mini tables were packed on a Wednesday afternoon -- all seats taken and about 5-6 standing players on each table. Many of the standing players actually play 2-3 tables simeltaneously, creating all kinds of extra activity around the tables. This makes for a chaotic and slow experience that is not very enjoyable. Further, on winning bank bets, the commission is taken out of each payoff. This game moves much slower than a full touch game in Vegas. Two fo the three large tables were open while I was there, but i really didn't spend any time watching those games.

Despite the crazy atmosphere, there was a mini game which started as an excellent OTBL , so I started playing at hand 16 (while standing, of course). At hand 42 I hit +10 for the 3rd time and exited. Won 65% of bets made with 31% PA average. My head was ready to explode from being in this casino, so left for the airport early. I can put up with alot to win a couple thousand, but really had no desire to stay in this crowded loud and smokey room. So, did I just stuble accross an excellent OTBL shoe, or could this be a really good place for NOR+? Honestly, I didn't play enought to reach an opinion, but perhaps some local Chicago players can share their experiences. I did look at the other tote boards (unfortunately they use the "old fashioned" LED boards which only show the last 16 plays), and the other games were kinda all over the place. One looked pretty good for F/SS, and one did have alot of single 1's (S40), but I didn't get to see much of the game.

For those interested, the casino offers a dragon bonus bet. Different from the dragon bets we see in california, this one seems to payout different amounts based on the spread between the P and B results. You may not be surprised to hear that I did not make any of those bets 🙂

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The other casinos in that area also let people play over your shoulder. It is very annoying. I wouldn't let people play on mine. I didn't like it because they would pick up your money and put theirs under you and then if they were playing the same denomination as you there would be fights over who had what bet. I just refused to let them bet on my spot.

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Sheree, I agree with you 100%.

way2fast, yours is the best story I've heard out of the Chicago area casinos - the first time I heard anything the least bit good.

I tell the locals there they are better off to travel almost anywhere else - Vegas, AC, Tunica, Gulf Coast, CT, Cal.

It's Chicago for crying out loud! There is a gambling history there run by the mafia in the old days. The players had no chance. I don't think things have changed much.

BTW, the 7 player tables we call mini Bac

The 10 player tables we call midi Bac (are you sure you counted right?)

The 14 player tables we call big Bac

Back when I started, there was only big Bac. Ha, so we simply called it Bac.

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I know the ones at Horseshoe are mini tables. But like they said, they let everyone play over your shoulder so there will be double or triple the 7 people playing. Some stand in between tables and both at the same time. It is so annoying it just isn't worth playing unless you go from 3 am until about 10 am when they are not busy.

They had one big bacc table.

And because they let them play over the shoulder, they take the commission out every hand which slows it down even worse. They had two no commission tables. If I played there those were the only games I played because it didn't slow the game down so much taking out the commission every hand.

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So Ann and I found ourselves on the 3rd day of a 3 day trip staying and playing at the high stakes room of the L.V. Hilton with a high roller friend (student) from Portugal. Ann and I got to the morning table a little late after a late night and a late breakfast. Our friend was already well into the game. He was playing $500 units and the pit Mgr had increased his max to $40,000. We had been playing the customary $100 unit so our max was the customary $10,000. The 14 player table was nearly full and incredibly quiet. As we stood and watched the Bank run went to 11 putting our friend at his table max next play. He was betting an up as you win Fibonaci on Repeats. The run went to 14! Our friend lost the 15th play and immediately colored up - just over a quarter million dollars. As he walked by us chips in hand he whispered to us: "I'm going home." I replied; "Good idea", and he was gone.

This left his seat and the seat next to it vacant. I said to Ann: "this shoe isn't even half over - lets get in because runs breed runs." I had already given Ann her $2000 buy-in money at the breakfast table. I knew to do that - You'll see why in a minute. We waded right in with a $200 unit which is customary for an up as you win Fibonaci. It was back and forth until I got the deal. I dealt ten Banks putting us both at our $10,000 limit next play. It was our first time ever at the table limit. I dealt the 4 cards face down. The dealer gave the Player hand to the high Player bettor. He turned over an 8 and stared at me with a strange smirk. I looked at the cards privately - a 4 and a 5! I stood up and broke the silence with a loud yell. NINE! as I threw the cards on the table so hard that one flew off. The dealer chased it down and confirmed the 9. He said: " Sir, do not throw the cards, toss them in." See, back then it was a quiet gentleman's game esp at the Hilton high stakes parlor. Emotion wasn't allowed. But then as we waited for the payout we both got a tap on the shoulder. The high stakes pit Mgr said, "I need to see you two over here in private right now!" We immediately obliged. He said: "Look, I already know you two are leaving today. Here is your limo driver to take you to the airport but you two are out of here right now." I started in with: "But we have to collect our chips, pack our bags, pay our bill, and return our rental car and our flight isn't until 5 and it is only 1." He said: "Your bags are being brought down, your bill has been paid and give me the keys and we will return your car and pay that bill as well and the limo will take you wherever you want to go except here. We paid your bet and cashed in your chips and here is your money." I said fine but all this because I threw the cards in too hard?" He chuckled and said: "No, Your table max is $10,000 but playing together you are effectively increasing you table max to $20,000 out of a common bank roll. We can't allow that!" I said, "But she bought in with her own money!" He said: "Yeah, I've seen that trick before and I've also seen collusion before and we know you were teaching your friend from Portugal. Collusion is also illegal. Your limo is waiting and your bags are in it!" I knew he was technically right and I handed him the rental car keys. He personally walked us to the limo along with the driver. He had the driver open the trunk to show us our bags were there. I thanked him and said: "It was very nice playing here." He said, "yeah, I bet it was!"

Alone with a very cheerful driver who was half looped I said: "Take us to the Flamingo!" He obliged priding himself with perfect driving in spite of his state. He delivered us quickly and safely to the front door of the Flamingo. We had seen an ad that the Flamingo was opening their first Bac table ever that same day at 12 noon. It was only 2PM and out flight wasn't until 5. So I said to the driver: "Why don't you park and come on in and I'll buy you a drink - we won't be long." He replied: "Great because they aren't expecting me back anyway!" We waited for him at the front door and then found a huge beautiful quiet bar. I motioned to the driver whereupon he ordered a double gin Martini on the rocks - a true Martian we called them back then. I ordered my customary Scotch on the rocks and Ann ordered a Margarita. I asked the bartender: "So where is this new Bac table?" He pointed to a door. So I said: Give our driver whatever he wants - we are going to play Bac. He replied: "In that case the drinks are on the house and I'll take good care of your driver." Hey, shit, might as well play the part handed to us. So I said to the driver: "Feel free to come in and watch if you want but keep your eye on your watch. You know when we need to leave."

The Bac room had no players and the pit crew of 5 was totally thrilled to finally have some players. Only one table of the two was open. We sat down at first and second base as the pit crew launched into their new card prep. I watched the card prep and shuffle professionally. The dealer beginning polite conversation asked: "So, what do You guys do for a living?" Whereupon Ann replied with a perfectly straight face: "We play Baccarat." Margaritas do that to her. That sure set the stage. I whispered to Ann: "These guys have no idea what they are doing - this shoe will be pure streak - let's play the same way." I knew this BTW because the card prep and shuffle had been far too cursory. We started with $200 each at play 2. We totally killed the game which spit out a 7 and a 9 iar before our driver came in to collect us.

His driving to the airport was flawless. It was the walk to the limo that was challenging for him. But we got there with time to spare. BTW, at the airport we got a chance to inspect our bags. They had been packed like professionally. I mean these guys even folded our dirty underwear - far more carefully than we ever would have. We had a great laugh over that.

Didn't mean to bore you. Just wanted to give you a taste of how things were back in my day. It does my heart good to relive those days. NOW I want YOU guys to have such days! So I can live them vicariously through you. God speed!

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What a great story Ellis! You should write a biography:smile:

By a cursory shuffle you mean they hurried the shuffle? It's very interesting that just by looking at a shuffle you know what to come. I would like to know more about that! I've seen a lot of shuffles lately but I think it's hard to find a pattern. Maybe it's because casinos are more well aware nowadays?

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Ellis, that is a great story from the days when Vegas was really the Wild West.

way2fast, yours is the best story I've heard out of the Chicago area casinos - the first time I heard anything the least bit good.

Sorry to hear that is the BEST story you have heard out of Chicago. I played only 26 hands, which took somewhere between 50-60 minutes, all the time standing and trying to hold my position amongst dozens of people wandering about, and while trying to keep a close eye on my black chips bet on the table. Fortunately, it was perfect OTBL and I walked with $2k, less commissions. So while I don't want to complain too much, I'm not likely to go there next time I'm in town.

BTW, the 7 player tables we call mini Bac

The 10 player tables we call midi Bac (are you sure you counted right?)

The 14 player tables we call big Bac

The mini bac tables at Rivers had 9 player positions, and a total of 18 betting spots -- unbelievable! These were mini games - no player touching. In Vegas, we refer to a midi game as one where players turn over cards, but played on a "mini" table.

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What a great story Ellis! You should write a biography:smile:

By a cursory shuffle you mean they hurried the shuffle? It's very interesting that just by looking at a shuffle you know what to come. I would like to know more about that! I've seen a lot of shuffles lately but I think it's hard to find a pattern. Maybe it's because casinos are more well aware nowadays?

I HAVE started a book. I'm not sure yet if it will be an autobiography or a true story novel in the 3rd person. Pros and cons either way.

Remember Fred that in my day, everthing was hand shuffled, new cards every shoe, 14 player tables. Shuffle machines had not yet been invented. So I got to see a hell of a lot of card preps and shuffles. Everyone else left the table for the half hour new card prep. But I always watched the shuffle. I had learned this in BJ where half of the 8 standard BJ shuffles were beatable and half were not. Now they have hundreds of standard shuffles. But in Bac, a 30 second wash meant streak and a 60 second wash meant chop. Every time! You give a player like me that kind of edge and I'm going to kill your game every time.

The wash at the Flamingo was about 15 seconds in their hurry to get the game underway before their only players left. This followed by a quick, fumbling shuffle that wouldn't change anything. This definitely called for an up as you win Fibonaci on Repeats. From there on it was easy to prove Ann right - the game was nearly solid Repeats. You know, 34865, etc. And we are betting a 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 etc. on repeats. When we lost we simply went down 2 rungs and resumed our prog. You simply can't lose in a super streak shoe. So the pit crew was SURE that we were, in fact, pros. And come to think of it, we were! We had no other source of income back then - nor did we need any, no pun intended.

I had to ask Ann how she remembered the outcome. She said about 200 units inside a half hour. That sounded about right to me - and it was the second time that same day!.

So I had guessed about $16000 at the Hilton, earlier. Ann said NO, it was at least twice that. She can't remember what happened this morning - but she remembers 25 years ago like it was yesterday!

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Ellis, that is a great story from the days when Vegas was really the Wild West.

Sorry to hear that is the BEST story you have heard out of Chicago. I played only 26 hands, which took somewhere between 50-60 minutes, all the time standing and trying to hold my position amongst dozens of people wandering about, and while trying to keep a close eye on my black chips bet on the table. Fortunately, it was perfect OTBL and I walked with $2k, less commissions. So while I don't want to complain too much, I'm not likely to go there next time I'm in town.

The mini bac tables at Rivers had 9 player positions, and a total of 18 betting spots -- unbelievable! These were mini games - no player touching. In Vegas, we refer to a midi game as one where players turn over cards, but played on a "mini" table.

Ha, we just have a slight difference in definitions. No worries. As long as you and your buddies are all using the same definitions in your strategy conversations - that's the important thing.

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I had to go to the Doctor's yesterday right after I wrote that story to get some antibiotics for an abcessed tooth. First thing, they checked my blood pressure. 110/60 at 72 years old - 6Ft, 175 lbs. See, I told you reliving those days was good for my heart!

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I had to go to the Doctor's yesterday right after I wrote that story to get some antibiotics for an abcessed tooth. First thing, they checked my blood pressure. 110/60 at 72 years old - 6Ft, 175 lbs. See, I told you reliving those days was good for my heart!

Excellent! You got another 30-40 years of bac left in you!!

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  • Keith Smith changed the title to Rivers Casino, Chicago | ECD GROUP | July 25, 2013

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