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Historically, the majority of gamblers in Las Vegas play lower limits games. Think about the split similar to the pareto principle of 80/20. In this case, 80% of gamblers are low rollers and only 20% would be considered high rollers by the casino. When talking about blackjack we often refer to low rollers as those who are playing games under $25 per hand.
The lower limits games are usually the first to be affected with altered odds. The rules in lower limits blackjack have been deteriorating in Las Vegas faster than ever. Worse rules equates to a larger house edge for the casino and worse gambling for the player. The smaller the house edge, the longer your bankroll should last. It seems like every time we find a good blackjack game, it goes away minutes after we write about it.
And now, this trend has crept into the high limits room at New York-New York as well. We just received the following heads up (from @paperposter) that I’ll paraphrase:
Pool Scenes / Blackjack / Gambling / Pools / Swim-Up Blackjack / → All Tags
This weekend, temperatures are expected to hit 100 degrees in Las Vegas for the first time this year. And there’s no turning back. We’ll feel this dry heat (this east coast transplant says that's a real thing) for the next few months. Spending time indoors with air conditioning can be a nice relief from the heat, but so can hanging outside by the pool with a nice frosty beverage.
But if you’re a gambler like this guy, sitting around Las Vegas just drinking frosty drinks can get boring after a while. What better way to get liven up the day by the pool than by gambling a little? Thankfully there are more than a few casinos all over Las Vegas dealing poolside blackjack. Take a look:
Blackjack / Math / Odds / Gambling / → All Tags
You probably know that blackjack is one of the most popular games in a casino. On the surface it’s a simple game--you take cards until you feel as though you’re as close to 21 as you’re going to get. The reality is that it’s not quite that simple when you look at the math behind the game.
Without getting too deep into blackjack strategy there are hands where you should stay where your brain may tell you to hit. Likewise there are times you think should hit but you should really stay.
Once you learn blackjack strategy, knowing when to hit and stay becomes second nature. But until then, you can expect players at the table to huff and puff when you stay on a 16 or hit on an 18. When you learn proper blackjack strategy, you’ll know what to do based on the cards you have and the cards the dealer has. Both are equally important factors in blackjack strategy.
Don't Get Too Excited
Downtown Grand has been off to an inauspicious start since opening in 2013. They’ve opened and closed restaurants, they’ve changed odds and moved tables around the casino and most recently they’ve renamed their pool from Picnic to The Deck.
It's easy to make a hot take and say that they're a failure but truth is Downtown Grand is still a new business still trying to find their niche in Downtown Vegas off Fremont Street where the majority of the action is.
But now, Downtown Grand is focused on fixing their casino. The only problem is that they’re kind of all over the place--a strategy that has hindered the property from the beginning. Case in point is their current blackjack offerings. Some blackjack tables pay 3:2 when you get blackjack, while others only pay 6:5.
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So you or someone you know has just turned 21 and you want to get out there and have some fun gambling in Vegas. Every year, thousands of people come to Vegas for their 21st birthday to drink, party and, of course, gamble
legally for the first time. But, a good question is where do you take a first-time player to ensure they get the most bang for their buck?
I have been a casino dealer for about five years and, when I gamble, I look for the best odds with the best limits. When friends and family hit the big 21, they always ask me to take them out for a night of lucky chance. I love to gamble! Some might think, “wow, this guy has a problem!” Not at all, actually; I play smart and never put myself in financial harm. So, with that in mind, here's my personal guide to how to go all in for the big 2-1:
Vegas For Beginners / Gambling / Gaming / Vegas Observations / Blackjack / Craps / Roulette / Video Poker / Tips / Survival Strategies / → All Tags
Most casino visitors know the odds are stacked against them. Still, it’s fun to try and take on the house. Some players go for broke and play games like Megabucks, where the chances of winning are minute but the potential payout colossal. Others pick games like blackjack, where big wins are rare but the chances of leaving ahead aren’t so bad. Whatever you choose, it’s important to understand game selection alone doesn’t determine your odds.
Gamblers thinking they’ll play things safe by sticking to conservative games like video poker and craps often overlook the fact that those games are only safer if played under the correct circumstances. Played incorrectly, either by using imperfect strategy or by making the wrong types of bets, these games can have a house edge as bad as the worst of slot machines. Additionally, even if playing optimally, casinos can change the rules such that the odds aren’t as you would expect. Here’s a look at just how widely the house edge can swing on some of the most popular games:
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6:5 blackjack. Oh, 6:5 blackjack.
Why we hate 6:5 blackjack
Let’s keep it simple. When a casino pays 6:5 on blackjack instead of the traditional 3:2, you get paid less money when you get a natural blackjack. The difference is getting paid $12 for a $10 wager on a 6:5 game vs. getting paid $15 for a $10 wager on a 3:2 game.
Depending on other rules of the game, this can push the house edge from about 0.43% to 1.88%. That’s a huge shift in odds. You can play with this blackjack calculator to see the house edge in any blackjack game.
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Unless you gamble frequently, you may not realize it isn’t all the same. To the non-gambler, blackjack is blackjack is blackjack. Gamblers know that isn’t true. Not only do many casinos offer different rules, odds and returns for games, you may even find different rules and odds for the same game under the roof of a single casino.
A casino may offer blackjack with different odds depending on if you're by the door, in the high limit room or in the party pit. This can be the case with other forms of casino gambling, from betting on sports to video poker.
Imagine this scenario. A visitor to Las Vegas finds a game in a casino that he knows has a small house advantage. Therefore, he thinks, he shouldn't lose a lot of money playing that game. He plays for a short while, and he loses all of his money, and he walks away confused and pretty unhappy. What happened? Was it just bad luck? More likely, he just experienced the concepts of volatility and of risk of ruin!
A recent VegasChatter article about how much money is needed for a trip to Las Vegas got me thinking about the closely related concepts of risk of ruin, volatility, bet size, and total gambling bankroll size. Risk of ruin explains why you can play a game with a slim house advantage, and still lose your entire bankroll more quickly than you might expect.
If you’ve been on the Vegas Strip anytime in the past year or so there’s a good chance you’ve seen that New York-New York has at least one $5 blackjack table open throughout the day. If things get busy, they’ll open a second. It’s more difficult every day to be a low roller on the Vegas Strip so any $5 game is a welcome sight for many. These tables are almost always packed with people waiting to get on them.
Unfortunately, these aren’t the games for those looking for low-rolling blackjack with good odds. You’re paid 6:5 when you are dealt blackjack, making returns on this game about three times worse than a traditional game that pays 3:2. You won’t find many games on the Vegas Strip that are under $15 or $25 that pay 3:2. Howevuh, if you're at New York-New York, you’re across the street from one of the best blackjack games on the Strip.
Binion's / Blackjack / Low Rolling / Downtown Vegas / Downtown / → All Tags
We all loooooove cheap gambling. Especially, when the gambling is good. Well, we may have found the best new low rollin' blackjack in Las Vegas. The $1 blackjack at Riviera is cool, but it’s almost impossible to find a seat at the single table devoted to super low rollers. You're more likely to find an open seat at one of the nearby $5 or $10 tables.
It looks like Binion’s took notice of that and improved on it for their Throwback Thursday Blackjack promotion.
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Casino party pits aren’t for everyone. These parts of the casino are often marked with scantily clad go-go dancers and dealers, even louder music and less-friendly blackjack payouts. There are people that enjoy the atmosphere and don’t mind playing a game that pays 6:5 as long as they’re having a good time.
One of our go-to resources for casino gaming information, Michael Shackleford (a.k.a. Wizard of Odds), recently interviewed Angela Wyman, a former party pit dealer, who revealed some interesting information about what it’s like. The interview (embedded below is 15 minutes long, but here are some highlights if you don’t have the time to devote to it.