The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the largest convention of the year in Las Vegas. Hundreds of thousands of people will make the annual trek to Las Vegas to see the latest and greatest in technology. Before, maybe during, and after the show, many visitors will head to the casino to gamble a bit.
The preferred casino game with many visitors during CES is blackjack. As some of you know there are both good and bad blackjack games in Las Vegas. Here are five things to keep in mind when you hit the blackjack tables during CES.
1. Look For 3:2 Payout For A Natural Blackjack
Casino operators have been increasing the house edge in blackjack a lot over the past few years. The best 3:2 blackjack games can have a minuscule house edge of 0.25%. The worst 6:5 and even money blackjack games have house edges above 2% and approaching 3%. That’s a massive difference.
A 3% house edge on a $100 buy-in doesn’t seem like much money. However, the house edge effects the experience of playing blackjack. Over time, a smaller house edge means that your money should last longer. The longer the money lasts, the longer you’ll be able to play and the more fun you should have. Additionally, the longer you play the better the chances of hitting a hot streak and walking away a winner.
Casinos offer blackjack games with different rules. For example, at the Westgate (next to Las Vegas Convention Center) you’ll find blackjack games with at least three sets of rules. Pay attention to the rules at each table because the tables might all look the same with the exception of the 3:2 or 6:5 payout for a natural blackjack.
2. Specific Blackjack Rules To Look For
- Payout For Natural Blackjack: 3:2 is better than 6:5 which is better than even money
- Dealer Hit or Stay on Soft 17: Dealer standing is better than hitting for the player
- Number of Decks: Fewer decks is better for the player
- Double Hands: You want to double on any two cards dealt
- Splitting: The more you can split the better
- Double After Split: This is always a benefit for the player
- Re-Split Aces: Beneficial if you can find it
- Surrender: Helpful but not often available
3. Learn Basic Strategy
Blackjack is a game of skill. Learning basic strategy isn’t complicated and making the right plays will provide the best ROI. The house edge for the casino fluctuates based on the plays made. If you’re making the right plays you should see a better house edge then if you make incorrect plays.
Basic Strategy is beneficial to the player regardless of the rules of the game. The lowest house edge is only reached by making 100% of the correct plays. Meanwhile, the house edge increases for the casino each time an incorrect play is made.
You may reference a card or paper with basic strategy moves at the table. However, you cannot use a basic strategy card on your phone or mobile device.
4. Phones May Not Be Used At Most Blackjack Tables
Chances are good that you’ll need a charge for your mobile device(s) during CES. Some casinos have USB outlets at the blackjack tables to charge your mobile device. Even though you may charge your phone at the table the casinos will ask that you don’t use the phone at the table. Additionally, you may not set the phone on the table either. It’s a weird time for mobile devices in Las Vegas casinos and we’ll discuss that another day.
Regardless of gaming commission rules, your blackjack experience will probably be better if you don’t fight the archaic rules. You can save yourself and your tablemates some grief by stepping away from the table if you have a text message or phone call to deal with. Some of the new casino bars and slot machines have USB chargers. It might be less of a hassle to grab a drink or play a machine if you need a charge.
5. Personal Opinion: Play Blackjack At The Cromwell
Last year The Cromwell added a slew of 3:2 blackjack games with a minimum bet under $25. This is among the best blackjack you’ll find on the Vegas Strip. Many of the luxury casinos save the 3:2 blackjack games for gamblers playing at least $25 per hand. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see more casinos on the Vegas Strip offer better blackjack rules if this is successful.