The Pros Know
Seasoned Las Vegas blackjack connoisseurs have watched casino after casino shift from classic 3:2 Blackjack to 6:5 over the years.
To gain further insight, we spoke with Station Casinos’ VP of Casino Operations Bill Burt who said, “I have been very surprised by this trend and the lack of a strong reaction from guests. We at Station Casinos, feel that the strip casinos are taking advantage of their guests. The vast majority of our games at Station Casinos are 3:2. We run a small number of 6:5 games on single decks or low limit games.”
Has the entire city heaved a collective sigh
and accepted 6:5 blackjack as the new norm?
Blackjack aficionados hope not, because there’s a big difference, and that difference matters.
What’s The Difference?
The difference between 3:2 blackjack and 6:5 blackjack is simple. If you have a winning blackjack hand, you get paid 3 dollars for every 2 that you bet, or 1.5:1 odds. In 6:5 you get paid $6 for every $5 you bet, which is 1.2:1 odds. It may seem like a small difference but it makes a huge difference in your expected outcome.
There are a lot of factors that determine the final expected return, but in general, the house increases their edge by roughly 400% when dealing the 6:5 variant. In the 3:2 blackjack game, the house edge, for player playing perfect basic strategy, is in the ~0.5% range. That means for every $100 wagered, they take in, on average, $0.50.
With 6:5 blackjack, that edge shoots up to almost 2%! So now you can expect to contribute upwards of $2 per $100 wagered to the house coffers.
Obviously these differences get magnified over the long term, as serious bettors make thousands of wagers over time.
Does the Average Player Even Notice?
Apparently not. The majority of the casinos on the Las Vegas strip have converted to 6:5 blackjack. If people weren’t playing, the operators would switch back in an instant.
@StationCasinos We ❤ Locals
Serious local blackjack players know that the “vast majority of our[Station Casinos] blackjack games are 3:2 blackjack. We’re basically the opposite of the strip. We deal almost exclusively 3:2 blackjack, whereas on the strip you are getting a 6:5 game unless you are betting $100 or more,” said Bill.
You can see for yourself, it’s right there on the felt. It will say “Blackjack pays 3:2.” If you ever have any question, you can always ask your dealer or floor supervisor for all the specifics of any table on the floor.
In addition, all Station Casino 6 deck shoe games offer surrender. Very handy for the times you’re dealt a 16 and the dealer is showing an Ace or face card, you can “surrender” half your bet and essentially fold your hand. There’s a few situations where this is advantageous, so use with discretion.
Vote with Your Wallet
If you want to maximize your odds of having a good turn at the blackjack table, be on the lookout for 3:2 tables. On the strip they are pretty rare, usually hidden in high limit rooms where you need to bet $100 per hand. Or you can escape the insanity of the strip and join us at your favorite Station Casinos location for blackjack the way it was meant to be played. Spread the word to friends and family, educate them on the difference. Let them know they have a voice and a vote with every dollar they wager.