There has been a recent trend in Las Vegas for blackjack games that offer a payout of 6 to 5 for a blackjack, also known as a “natural”. A blackjack is obviously a huge part of the game of blackjack, and from a player’s perspective it is the only way to secure big and instant wins. Most blackjack games pay 3 to 2 and this has been the way of things since the game first landed in the City of Sin. However, in an effort to increase the house edge without the majority of players taking notice, Vegas casinos have begun to change.
Until recently you could still find games of blackjack on the Las Vegas Strip paying 3 to 2, with the Bellagio and Aria holding firm against the trend. However, this month, July 2015, that changed and those two casinos jumped on the bandwagon.
This is a big letdown for professionals and indeed for any blackjack players, because whilst it might seem like a minor difference, it has a big impact on all blackjack games across Las Vegas. This is because as well as increasing the house edge by 1.39% on the games that offer 6 to 5, it also makes a statement to all casinos in Las Vegas, specifically those away from the Strip where 3 to 2 is currently still paid. From then, the trend may even continue further, into Reno and beyond.
There is little chance this could expand into Atlantic City. Thanks to the fact that they can’t ban card counters from their casinos, all Atlantic City casinos use 8 decks and have increased the house edge this way. They can adapt the 6 to 5 payout system if they want, but by doing do the house edge for games of blackjack in AC will be so high that the number of players will drop significantly. Going by the current state of decline in the New Jersey city, such a move could spell the end for the Las Vegas of the North.
That’s a long way away though and for all we know the 6 to 5 “experiment” might not even last on the Las Vegas Strip. Players need to vote with their feet, refusing to play on the tables that are paying out 6 to 5 and choosing instead to venture further afield, away from the Strip and to the casinos keeping the rules how they should be, how they are supposed to be. Of course, this only really applies to professional players, because the tourists who flock to the city every year will not care. They might not even notice the difference, too high on the rush of gambling, and on the free alcohol. They are also the ones that feed the most money into the casinos, which means that blackjack lovers in Las Vegas could be fighting against the tide, ultimately witnessing the beginning of the end in terms of 3 to 2 blackjack.