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PLAYING BLACKJACK IN VENEZUELA
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|PLAYING BLACKJACK IN VENEZUELA
By Carlos Zilzer
(From Blackjack Forum XXV #1, Winter 2005/06)
© Carlos Zilzer 2005
Venezuela is located in Northern South America with more than 2,000 kilometers of coastline on the Caribbean Sea. Flight time from Miami International Airport is about two hours and forty-five minutes.
The casino, slot machine, and bingo law was promulgated in July 1993. It provides very difficult requirements for any operator who wants to establish a casino in Venezuela, primarily:
Up to now only a few casinos have been established. The oldest and most important are those located on Margarita Island, northeast of the mainland. It is a tax free area with excellent weather far from the hurricane zone. There are two major casinos there: the Margarita Hilton Resort and Casino operated by the Spanish company Cirsa, and the Laguna Mar Allegro Resort and Casino, operated by their own Venezuelan company.
There are legal limitations with respect to currency exchange, so it is very important to check with casino management if you plan to export more than US$10,000 out of the country. The actual exchange rate is approximately 2,500 Bs (Bolivars) to US$1.
Hilton Casino tables have seven betting spots, with minimum bets of 5,000, 10,000, 25,000 and 50,000 Bolivars, and all with maximums of 20 times the minimum. In US$, this makes the betting limits approximately: $2-$40, $4-$80, $10-$200, and $20-$400. All 5,000 Bs Minimum tables use Shuffle Master CSM machines with four decks. The rest of the tables are six- deck shoes with average penetration of 65% to 70%. Rules are European no hole card (blackjack wins all bets but naturals) S17, DAS, DA2, no surrender, split Aces get only one card. The place is very crowded, especially the slot machine area, with live music and free drinks. They have a VIP room where you need to buy 1,000,000 Bs.($400) in chips in order to play there.
Laguna Mar Allegro resort and Casino is a very small but very nice place. They have tables with NINE BETTING SPOTS with 5,000, 10,000, 25,000 and 50,000 Bolivar minimums, all with maximums of 20 times the minimum, and they also have a VIP room. All blackjack tables offer a side bet called Perfect Pairs.
On the mainland right across from Margarita Island, we have the city of Puerto la Cruz, a very nice tourist town near Mochima National Park, a paradise for scuba divers. There are several casinos but the most important one is located at the Gran Hotel Puerto la Cruz. They have tables starting at 3,000 Bs—all with six-deck shoes, poor penetration (55%-65%) but with better rules: Even though the dealers take no hole card, a dealer blackjack only wins the original bet of the player who doubles or splits. They also offer early surrender but only against dealers upcard of ten.
The other two areas in Venezuela where gambling is permitted are Maracaibo and Ciudad Guayana. Both are industrial cities. In Maracaibo, located in the northwest of the country, you will find the Maruma Hotel and Casino and the InterContinental Hotel del Lago, both with casinos that offer blackjack with rules similar to the rules in Puerto La Cruz. In Ciudad Guayana, located in the south of the country right at the beginning of the Amazon Forest, you can find the InterContinental Hotel Guayana and Fiesta Casino, again with the same rules as the others.
There are many other places where it is possible to play blackjack in Venezuela, but be aware that if the casino is not located in a five star hotel, it is ILLEGAL and I would not recommend playing at any of those places. ♠
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Blackjack and Card Counting in VenezuelaThis Blackjack Forum article discusses p laying blackjack in Venezuela: card counting, blackjack rules, early surrender, and the casino resorts of Margarita Island.