The Decline of Las Vegas Blackjack


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There was a time when blackjack was king on the Las Vegas Strip and it was the primary reason why some people visited the gambling hub. Many players appreciated the favorable rules and this kept tables filled throughout the week. But that was decades ago, and Las Vegas blackjack has changed tremendously since then.

Now blackjack has become just another game to casinos since it doesn't pull in as much revenue. Slots and baccarat have both proven to be bigger moneymakers in recent years. So many casinos have changed traditional blackjack rules and/or raised the stakes to capitalize on this game's hardcore fans.

And one of the worst things that's come out of these changes is the widespread use of 6:5 natural blackjack payouts. Casinos used to offer the more favorable 3:2 blackjack payouts, which may not seem like that big of a difference. However, changing the payoffs from 3:2 to 6:5 raises the house edge by almost 1.4%. Given that many land-based casinos around the world feature a blackjack house edge between 0.6-1.0%, that's a huge increase.

Of course, this isn't to say that it's impossible to find blackjack with 3:2 payouts. But you're going to need to look downtown at some of the less glamorous casinos that are still dependent on gaming revenue. Any Vegas Strip casino with 3:2 natural blackjack payouts likely requires a higher minimum bet too. At the very least, you're going to have to bet $25 a hand to make up for the favorable rules that are being used.

That said, it's no wonder why the Las Vegas blackjack scene has went downhill so much in recent years. There are really no signs to indicate that things will change in the near future because Sin City casinos are focused on their all-around entertainment attractions.

But this certainly doesn't mean that you need to totally avoid playing blackjack in Vegas. Just be sure not to play an abundance of hands because of the higher house edge and/or bigger stakes.