It’s always a good time to look back at things as the year comes to an end. The game of blackjack is changing. It’s probably not a good thing for people that look at gambling as a way to make a living. Deteriorating rules and side bets muddy the waters for players looking for a game where their skills could make it so that there’s little to no house edge for the casino.
Meanwhile, casinos and gaming manufacturers are looking to make blackjack games accessible to more players. The new variations of blackjack and new ways to play blackjack are changing what and how we play the game. Let’s take a look back at some of the trends we’ve seen in blackjack this year.
Stadium Gaming Exploding All Over The Country
Stadium gaming installations for blackjack and other games are taking over casino floors. This trend should continue well into the future. The latest Stadium Gaming installation at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut, Rainmaker Stadium, will be followed up with a third stadium setup in 2018. Once complete guests will be able to play up to six different games at once at each terminal.
The stadium setup is potentially beneficial for casinos as they can pay just a few dealers to deliver games for up to a hundred players. Different, and smaller, non-traditional blackjack game configurations are also being installed casino floors. The electronic blackjack games allow for the casino to save money while also keeping minimum bets lower than most traditional dealer blackjack games.
Unfortunately, this dovetails with the next trend. More and more video, electronic, and Stadium blackjack games are starting to pay 6:5 when a player receives blackjack instead of the 3:2 on this hand.
Deterioration Of Blackjack Rules
Blackjack rules are different all around the country. When MGM National Harbor opened just over a year ago Maryland changed their blackjack rules. Casinos in Maryland are now able to deal 6:5 blackjack games. Some casinos are still paying the traditional 3:2 for blackjack in Maryland. Unfortunately, other casinos have followed MGM National Harbor by offering 6:5 blackjack games.
Las Vegas, the home of 6:5 blackjack, has casinos offering games with some of the worst rules you’ve seen. Caesars Palace has offered a few really bad blackjack games in their party pit. Those games have exploded and are now available throughout the casino. This blackjack game is among the worst you’ll find anywhere in Las Vegas.
House Edge: 2.16309
Minimum Bet: $15
Blackjack Payout: 6:5
Soft 17: Dealer hits
Double: Only on 10 or 11
Double After Split: No
Resplit Aces: No
The game with the largest house edge for a casino in Las Vegas is also the cheapest blackjack game in Las Vegas. Hooters $1 blackjack only pays even money. The 3% house edge is huge but if you’re playing $1 hands for an hour you have a fairly small expected loss. Chances are that you’ll tip more for drinks than the average player loses playing $1 hands of blackjack in an hour.
Hooters has downgraded all other blackjack games in the casino. This was once a solid option for low rollers near the Vegas Strip with 3:2 blackjack games for $5. The best games at Hooters Casino now pay 6:5 when a player has a natural blackjack.
New Variations Of Blackjack
There have been multiple new blackjack games tested in Las Vegas and around the country. Easy Jack, Jack Jack, and Zombie Blackjack are just a few of the new takes on blackjack to hit casinos in 2017. Time will tell if these games have the staying power of Blackjack Switch. This is one of the most popular blackjack variants and is available in casinos around the country.
Side Bets And Progressives Everywhere
Recreational gamblers love the potential to win big jackpots in the casino. It’s becoming difficult to find a blackjack game that doesn’t have at least one side bet. Finding two side bets on a game is becoming more common. Casino operators are adding progressive jackpots to any table game they can find.
These bets usually come with a large house edge but can be fun for the player looking for a big win without having to do anything besides putting a chip in a circle. The Buster Blackjack side bet can be found from casinos on all coasts.
Stop The Presses: The Cromwell Improved Blackjack Rules For Players On The Vegas Strip
Hopefully, this is the beginning of a new trend.
“Most of the blackjack games at The Cromwell have eight decks but there are a few double deck blackjack games. Best of all is that midweek minimum bets are $15 or $10. There aren’t many casinos on the Vegas Strip that offer a 3:2 blackjack for less than $25. The eight-deck games have an approximate house edge of 0.64%. The double deck games have an approximate house edge of 0.52%. House edge is based on playing with perfect basic strategy.
Don’t just dive into a blackjack game expecting to be paid 3:2 when you’re dealt a natural blackjack. Make sure you read the rules of the table before sitting down. There are still blackjack games at The Cromwell that pay 6:5 when a player is dealt a natural blackjack. This more than triples the house edge for each game.”