It is no secret that blackjack in Las Vegas is not what it used to be. The proliferation of 6-5 games combined with the dealer hitting soft 17 at most tables has increased the house edge on the Las Vegas Strip. These bad rules have expanded into downtown.
Blackjack Online visits Las Vegas casinos on a regular basis to survey the games offered. Our latest trip to the Strip showed more casinos have replaced 3-2 blackjack tables with 6-5 ones.
Excalibur was one of the best casinos in Las Vegas for $5 and $10 blackjack going into 2015. There were no 6-5 games in the entire house. That changed since our last visit. Excalibur spreads 6-5 games at the $10 limit, accounting for more than half the open tables on a recent night. Players had to move up to $15 tables to get 3-2 games. The 6-5 disclosure is not on the felt. Excalibur uses portable placards to notify players so there is no way to know the total number or percentage of tables that short pay. It could change from one day to the next.
Bally’s was another casino that started paying 6-5 on blackjack since our last visit. The party pit returned and now all tables within it pay 6-5. That is more than 10 tables. The great $25 high limit shoe game that stands on all 17s and allows surrender and double down after splitting is still offered. There are some 3-2 blackjack tables that hit soft 17 that are spread closer to the rear of the table game pit.
Caesars Palace expanded its number of 6-5 tables. These are the worst imaginable. Not only do players get short paid on blackjack, but double down is only available on 10 or 11 and not after splitting. Players can find 3-2 games near the craps tables with a minimum of $15 during the day and $25 at night. Some are spread past the poker room among the 6-5 tables. Players can get a blackjack game that stands on all 17s in the high limit salon.
SLS Las Vegas rolled out two entire pits of 6-5 games during its recent reconfiguration. Tables by the sportsbook and closest to the front door now all pay 6-5. There are still plenty of 3-2 games for players that continue towards the rear of the casino by the hotel entrance.
Wynn converted the pit closest to the sportsbook into 6-5 tables. These are only open during peak periods. There are still dozens of tables at Wynn with great rules that pay 3-2 on a natural. These are available with limits as low as $10, depending on the time of day.
Downtown Grand is located just north of the Fremont Street Experience. It recently refelted several tables with a 6-5 blackjack disclosure. Some are double deck, while others are shoes. Luckily, most of these tables are idle. Players looking to bet at least $15 will get a 3-2 game.
Every one of these casinos offers 3-2 tables if you are willing to walk past the 6-5 ones. Make sure to always check the felt to see if the table pays 3-2 on a blackjack before sitting down. It never hurts to confirm it with the dealer before finding out the hard way.