The worst rule change in the history of blackjack is invading the Las Vegas Strip. MGM Grand became the latest casino to drop the payouts on its lower limit blackjack games. Some casinos are paying 6-5 instead of the traditional 3-2 when a player hits a natural blackjack. This adds 1.39% to the house edge.
The rule change started at single deck tables. It has now proliferated all games all the down to eight-deck shoes. There are several reasons why this is occurring.
The biggest reason for the number of 6-5 blackjack tables on the Las Vegas Strip is because many players are unaware of how it affects the game. These are exactly the types of players casinos want. A card counter or player that understands basic strategy is not going to make the casino any money at a 3-2 blackjack table. The type of player that sits at a 6-5 table has no idea how to play the game. They will simply blow their buy-in standing when they should hit, not doubling down properly, and not splitting at the correct time.
This cuts down on a number of expenses for the casino.
First, the percentage of a casino dedicated to gaming gets smaller every year in Las Vegas. Nightclubs and restaurants are becoming more common. The card counters and expert players may take up 20 percent of the blackjack seats in a casino. Those players and the tables that would accommodate them are now gone. That leaves more room for more slot machines, dining options, and nightclubs.
Pit bosses do not have to monitor the blackjack tables like they used to now that card counters are not at the tables. Counting cards cannot overcome the nearly 2% edge at the game so even if a pit boss suspects a counter there is no reason to back him off. This also leaves surveillance less work to do.
While the house edge is almost two percent at most 6-5 games, the poor play at these tables doubles or triples that number. The expert player would only give up 0.5 percent at a 3-2 table. The house is now taking 10 times the house edge it once did at blackjack.
Players will bust out earlier than they used to, or rebuy sooner. This makes the casino more money per square foot of casino space.
The players at these tables are less likely to ask for comps for multiple reasons. They may not know to ask for free items due to their lack of gambling knowledge displayed by sitting at a 6-5 table to start. The high house edge and poor play will likely not give them the number of hours required to receive free meals and rooms before going bust. This type of player may not last long enough for the cocktail waitress to come around.
This all started because blackjack players failed to stand up against casinos spread 6-5 blackjack tables. The casinos kept pushing the limits and now nearly half of the blackjack tables on the Strip now pay 6-5 on a natural. Players need to stop supporting 6-5 blackjack if there is any hope of making it go away.