Blackjack has always been one of the most popular games in casinos. Slot machines occupy the majority of the casino floor, but there are more blackjack games than any other table game. In Nevada alone, there were roughly 5,346 table games on casino floors in 2015. Blackjack made up nearly than half of those table games in Nevada with 2,672 blackjack tables.
The other 50% of table games in casinos today consist of Craps, Roulette, 3 Card Poker, and a handful of other games which typically only have one or two tables per casino. Blackjack is the most popular game for players in a casino, but the casino operators in Nevada actually make more money from another game that, surprisingly, has a smaller house edge.
Using the same UNLV Gaming data from the table game information above, we see that there were only 331 baccarat tables in casinos during 2015. Almost all of the baccarat tables are located on a small stretch of land in the southern part of the state known as the Vegas Strip.
In 2015, there were nearly 8 times as many blackjack tables as there were baccarat tables in Nevada casinos. However, casino operators won more money from baccarat than they did blackjack. In 2015, casinos won $1,097,836,000 from blackjack and won $1,290,169,000 from baccarat.
The total win for each game in 2015 was similar. However, there’s one big difference in how the money was won. Casinos won only $410,866.77 per blackjack table compared to $3,897,791.54 from each unit of baccarat in Nevada. Even though big baccarat tables have more seats, that’s quite a difference. Baccarat remains a high roller game while blackjack continues to be the casino game that appeals to a broad audience.
The house edges for baccarat are 1.06% for the banker bet and 1.24% for the player bet. Beyond edge sorting or special betting patterns, skill doesn’t come into play with baccarat. The best house edge you’ll find for blackjack is better at 0.28% — if you can find that game. However, the house edge for blackjack is dependant on your skill level. If you don’t know basic blackjack strategy that house edge becomes much greater. Not only must you find a great blackjack game but you must play perfect strategy for that house edge.
Casino operators love the revenue from baccarat, but they know the upside for generating more money is with the mass appeal of blackjack. The number of blackjack tables in casinos and the popularity of the game is why we see the operators changing blackjack rules so often. The largest casino corporations are constantly looking for new revenue streams. Adjusting the pay for blackjack from 3:2 to 6:5 was only the beginning.
If generating another 1%, or more, from every player is possible we should expect to see more tweaks in favor of the casino to blackjack rules in the future. Even with a larger house edge, Blackjack still has a smaller house edge than many other games in casinos. Casinos offer a variety of blackjack games. Always check the rules of the game before sitting at a table.