One of my favorite sites is The Wizard of Odds – it provides all types of great info on the probabilities and statistics related to various gaming activities. I hope the person who runs it is a multi-millionaire from busting casinos. So when I had a question about the seemingly increasing trend of 6:5 pay-outs for blackjack – meaning you get your wager plus a 1/5 or 20% bonus for blackjack – easiest example is a $10 bet = $12 win at 6:5 whereas a $10 bet = $15 win at the standard 3:2 payout – I turned to the Wiz to see how bad this really is.
According to the Wiz the odds for getting a blackjack in a six deck shoe are about 1/21 or 4.75% so if you’re sitting down to play at a 6:5 table vs. the standard 3:2 table your losing a fairly decent amount every shoe. I’m not a statistician so I’m going to keep this high-level. If you are playing by yourself with a 6 deck shoe = 312 cards, take out 33% for the cut (called the penetration) that leaves roughly 200 cards, and if the average hand takes 6 total cards you get 30+ hands per shoe and the average number of blackjacks hits at 4.75% and you split those evenly with the dealer you could expect to see 1-2 blackjacks per shoe.
So if you are playing a 6:5 table at $25/bet you’d win $30×1.5 or $45 on your blackjack hands. If you are playing at a 3:2 table at $25/bet you’d win $56.25 on your blackjack hands…that is a potential Delta of $11.25 in one shoe!
Obviously getting a couple of blackjacks per shoe is a problem we’d all like to have when we’re playing and my math is not nearly as tight as the Wiz, but $11/shoe adds up over the course of a night or a three day stay in Vegas.
No matter what the actual difference in payout amounts the basic principle is the same – if you are playing blackjack make sure you get the maximum possible benefit from your investment and do your best to find a 3:2 payout table at your favorite casino.