Ted, I’ve enjoyed & found your column very informative for a number of years. I first experienced Vegas & the Strip in the late 50’s on my way to join the Navy; and, thru the years, I’ve become one of those traveling Hawaiians that visit what we refer to as “the 9th major Hawaiian island”.
I’ve seen many changes over the past 50 years – some good & some bad. It’s my opinion, shared by many others, that until & unless the casinos make gaming more player-friendly – especially Blackjack
with the 6-5 blackjack & many of the other onerous rules, Vegas will be a long time in recovery. The sad truth is that there are so any “knuckle-heads” that play by the seat of their pants & never bother to learn basic strategy, etc., the casinos would still make a killing while attracting many more players.
Unfortunately, many casinos (mostly on the Las Vegas Strip) are going to continue to offer 6-5 blackjack as long as the public is stupid enough to play it.
For the uninitiated: When playing blackjack, you should be paid 3-2 when you get dealt a blackjack. $15 on a $10 bet. 6-5 blackjack only pays $12 on a $10 bet. When you factor in that the average player will get a number of blackjacks per hour, you are losing a serious amount of money that should have been going in your pocket.
Usually the pay for blackjack is written right on the felt on the table. You can always ask before you sit down. Simply “does blackjack pay 6-5 or 3-2”? If they say anything other than 3-2, WALK away.
Best place to find the traditional good payout? Downtown Fremont Street. Most of the casinos downtown pay 3-2 and table limits start at $5. In addition, at both the Golden Gate Las Vegas and Las Vegas Club<, you can get sexy dealers dealing to you if you are so inclined. See what I mean from our pictures of the Las Vegas Club Fetish Blackjack Pit (If not your thing, have no worries as plenty of tables with normal, regular dealers exist).
I’d tell everyone to study up on the game a little bit, or at least buy one of those little Blackjack basic strategy cards they sell in many gift shops. In my 17 years here, I’ve never taken a bath at gambling on blackjack (over time) precisely because I learned basic strategy. But at the end of the day, people like to play their hunches in blackjack. They see something happen a couple of times and assumes it “always” happens. So, if someone wants to play stupid, so be it. The rest of you should by that little card and stick with it.
Downtown Las Vegas Fremont Street Experience is really coming alive. If someone hasn’t been down there in a few years, they wouldn’t recognize it. It is one big party in the evening with plenty of free entertainment (and plenty of old school odds gambling with low limits and looser machines). My brother was in town and downtown for the first time in years last week and we went downtown on his last night. He said “WOW… if I’d have known it was like this, I would have come down more often during my stay!”
CEO, Managing Editor