During my last trip to Vegas I sent a quick tweet joking about the lack of good blackjack tables on the strip. At the time it was just an off-the-cuff comment, but the more I think about it the more it rings true.
Let’s start with what defines a ‘good’ blackjack table for me:
- Blackjack pays 3:2
- 6-deck shoe (not 8)
- Surrender allowed
- Dealer shuffles (no auto or continuous shuffle machines)
- Dealer stay on soft 17
- Dealer and pit boss friendly
Each of these items saves you a fraction of a % of advantage against the house (except the friendly dealer) so your money lasts a little longer when things go bad and you have the chance to win more when things go well.
Using these criteria there are only a handful of tables left on the Vegas strip and of those the lowest limit I’ve seen in past year is $25 with most being $50-100.
Bally’s ‘high-limit’ room has 2 tables meeting this criteria and some times they are only $25 even in prime time, Paris has 1 @ $100, and Planet Hollywood 1 @ $100. I’ve stopped playing at MGM properties due to their 6:5 payouts on anything under $25 and I’d rather poke my eyes out than play at some of the higher-end places with their sour dealers.
This leaves me with almost nowhere to play. Based on the trend I have a feeling this means I’m going to have to move off the strip in the near future and that is annoying. The gambling capital of the world (sorry Macau) and I can’t get a good game.
This is one of the reasons I’m trying to get traction for National Blackjack Day annually on March 2nd. Bring some attention to the deteriorating state of blackjack and hopefully get players to pressure the casinos to bring back some of the more favorable rules for all players so our game doesn’t disappear before our eyes.