Blackjack is often the best table game in a casino. The house edge is less than .5 percent when basic strategy is followed and there are favorable rules. Some casinos did not like spreading a game with this small of a house advantage, especially at lower limits. Paying 6-5 (instead of 3-2) on a blackjack is one way this issue was resolved.
Difference Between 6-5 Blackjack and 3-2 Blackjack
A typical blackjack game pays 3-2 when a player is dealt an ace and a face on the first two cards. Paying 6-5 on a natural blackjack may seem like a small rule change. It actually makes a large difference in the return to players. A blackjack occurs about five times every 100 hands.
A player wagering $10 per hand would receive $12 at a 6-5 table, while getting paid $15 on a traditional 3-2 one. This means that a $10 player loses $15 for every 100 hands at a 6-5 game. A blackjack game usually deals about 70 hands an hour, putting the loss at about $10.50 an hour. That is one bet per hour. This makes a huge difference in the long term.
Las Vegas Strip casinos are the most likely venue for 6-5 blackjack.
All blackjack games at Venetian and Palazzo with minimum bets under $50 pay 6-5. Other casinos that spread 6-5 blackjack will have games 3-2 games towards the rear of the casino floor.
Most single-deck blackjack games in Las Vegas pay 6-5, regardless of the venue. Many players have heard that single-deck games are the best ones to play. This preys upon that premise.
There are some Las Vegas casinos that spread single deck blackjack that pay 3-2 on a natural. The best casino to play it is El Cortez. Players may double down on any two cards in this game. Binion’s and Hooters are among the casinos that also spread the game. These casinos only allow double down on a 10 or 11.
Party pits are another venue where 6-5 games are often found. These involve young women dressed in lingerie or bikinis. While the scenery may be great, the returns on the games are awful. The worst offender is Caesars Palace. This casino not only pays 6-5 on a blackjack at its party pit, it only allows players to double down on 10 and 11. That makes it the worst blackjack game in Las Vegas with a house edge of almost two percent.
Blackjack Rules Disclosure
All tables that pay 6-5 on blackjack will disclose this in the rules of the table. There will either be a placard announcing this or it will be embedded on the felt. If you see this rule at the table you are about to join then you should look elsewhere in the casino for a better blackjack game or play something else. Craps is a better game than this. Ultimate Texas Hold’em is too.
Another idea is to play a blackjack variant with a lower edge. Super Fun 21, Blackjack Switch, and Free Bet Blackjack are games that have a lower house edge than 6-5 blackjack. These games may be offered in casinos that refuse to spread a real 3-2 game.
Another important thing to note is that it’s a lot easier to find 3-to-2 blackjack at online casinos with real money blackjack games. Another benefit is that online blackjack casinos offer lower betting limits ($1 per bet in some cases).