What makes a blackjack game good and what makes a blackjack game bad? There’s really no right answer. Casino visitors have different preferences on what they prefer. Serious gamblers will always defer to the game with the lowest house edge. These players only look for the games with the best rules. Ultimately, this is what gives the player the best chance to win money regardless of location and the rest of the gambling experience.
Some blackjack players are just looking for a great experience that may not be impacted by the rules of the game. These players may be more affected by the location of the game or the minimum bet. The house edge takes a back seat for these players. There’s a reason you’ll see many of the blackjack games with the worst rules in the best locations.
Then there are low rollers who simply don’t have the funds to play blackjack just at just any casino. Financial limitations mean that this player will look for the games with a low minimum bet – regardless of the rules. There’s nothing wrong with someone looking for gambling fun times no matter the bankroll. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with any of these players. Different strokes for different folks. Depending on the day, I could fall into any of these categories.
Low Limit Blackjack Games
This year I’ve written about some of the best and worst blackjack games in Las Vegas and about a cheap blackjack game that can be the best or worst depending on the player. Players concerned about bankroll love the $1 blackjack game at Hooters. Players concerned with the rules and house edge will never play blackjack this kind of blackjack game.
The feedback has been fast and furious on both sides of the $1 Hooters blackjack game. The positive and negative feedback makes me want to look at some of the math involved. All casino games with a house edge have an expected loss for players that aren’t counting cards in blackjack. Let’s see how the game at Hooters measures up against some other low roller options in Las Vegas.
I’m using 75 hands for an hour of play since that reflects a decent approximation of a table with a few players. The Hooters $1 blackjack game is often full but I don’t want to assume it’s always full. You can plug your own number of hands into the equation if you’d like. For reference, a fast dealer might be able to sling 300 hands in a one on one black game.
Hooters $1 minimum bet blackjack
(75 hands x $1 per hand x 1 hour) = $75 played
$75 played x house edge (3.0) (rules: 1:1, 8 decks, Hits soft 17) gives the player
Expected loss = $2.25
The house edge in this game is obscene at 3% but the expected loss is minimal for a casino near the most touristy part of Las Vegas. Low rollers looking to stay close to the Vegas Strip might enjoy this game since it’s easy on the wallet. The edge might be awful but the experience might be preferred.
The lowest minimum bet for blackjack you’ll find on the Vegas Strip is $5. You can find at least one cheap 6:5 blackjack game at New York-New York every day. Other casinos may offer low limits games too but this one is always open. This game has approximately a 2% house edge with an expected loss around $7.50. The house edge is better than Hooters but not the best you’ll find. The Vegas Strip $5 games have an expected loss almost 3 times as much as the game at Hooters.
You don’t always have to give up odds when playing low limit blackjack in Las Vegas. The $5 minimum blackjack game at El Cortez has a small house edge of 0.30 and a small expected loss of $1.12 with the same amount of hands. This is about half of the loss you’ll get at Hooters and much better than the Vegas Strip games. Of course, you’ll have to leave the Vegas Strip and the comfort of the Fremont Street Experience to find this game in downtown Las Vegas.
Las Vegas is the example here you can find similar situations around the country. Playing blackjack isn’t as simple as it used to be. Whatever your bankroll is you might have to visit different casinos for the game that you like best no matter where you play.