6 to 5 Blackjack? Just Say No!

by Kenneth R Smith

No 6 to 5

There’s a real crisis developing for fans of casino blackjack. Many casinos in the US have begun introducing a rule change that dramatically increases the house advantage in the game. If you’ve been to Las Vegas lately, you may have seen signs advertising “Single Deck Blackjack” at many of the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.

But, there’s a catch. Look out for a sign on the table that says “Blackjack Pays 6:5”. In a normal blackjack game, a “natural” or blackjack pays 3:2. If you bet $10 and draw a blackjack, you’ll be paid $15. However, at these new 6:5 games, a $10 blackjack wins only $12.

The casinos have so far been successful in marketing this game, because many occasional players have been told over the years that single deck blackjack is a better game than the more common 6 or 8-deck games on the casino floor.

Using that single marketing angle, the casinos have drawn lots of players to the new 6:5 version, despite the fact that these single-deck games are worse for the player than the worst 8-deck game on the casino floor. Much worse.

Changing that one rule, reducing blackjack payouts from 3:2 to 6:5 adds a substantial 1.39% to the casino’s advantage.

Consider this example from the Flamingo on the Las Vegas Strip:

They offer a single deck 6:5 game, where the house edge for a basic strategy player is 1.45%. (Like most of these 6:5 games, they allow double after split, which doesn’t nearly compensate for the poor 6:5 rule.) They also offer an 8-deck game where the house edge for a basic strategy player is 0.56%. So, a player who chooses their single-deck offering has almost triple the expected loss of a player at their 8-deck game!.

What’s the difference in actual dollars? For a $25 player, assuming 80 hands per hour, the expected loss at the Flamingo’s 8-deck is $11.20 per hour. The expected loss for the same player at the 6:5 single deck game is $29.00 instead. And, remember, this is compared to the game that was previously the worst blackjack in the house!

What can you do to help?

  • Don’t play any blackjack game that pays less than 3:2 for a blackjack.
  • Warn your friends and family if they’re headed to the casino. Tell them to play the multi-deck “shoe” games instead.
  • Let the casino floorperson at your favorite casino know that you hate to see the casino floor filled with misleading games instead of real blackjack.
  • If you have a casino host, let them know your displeasure as well.

If players don’t stop supporting these games, it’s just a matter of time before the casinos remove all the real blackjack games. Don’t let it happen.

Other webmasters are invited to use this article and the “No 6 to 5” graphic on their own sites. If you use the article, please leave the author line intact, including the link to the author at BlackjackInfo.com.

Alternatively, feel free to link to the article here. Either way, help spread the word. Thanks!

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Nathan Hutton

Inflation and casino greed is pretty bad right now. Lower limit tables offer 6:5 knowing those customers are naive enough to make up for the smaller bets. However, casinos seem very firm in having normal rules for green chippers.

Ron Maede

Encouraging people to complain to the casino management is really good advice. All of these little changes to games really affect visitor’s perception of Las Vegas. Once they start to realize that casino gambling is barely less crooked than a carnival sideshow they’ll stop showing up.

Whatcha gonna to do then?

Keep it fair. Keep them coming.

Mr Disappointed

I’m here in Vegas and BJ stinks now! I brought $5000 with me but if I don’t get
3-2 on BJ, I don’t play. I’ve been here for1/2 day and I am ready to go home. Greed has destroyed LV. I’m never coming back. I checked out about 12 casinos; it’s the same everywhere.

rnoto

The average player is completely clueless about the rules, odds, and strategy. This has already taken over the strip.

ksjayhawk

Here is one solution. I usually carry around $1500 with me when I play blackjack. If I go into a casino and they only pay 6:5 I go to the table and buy in for my total $1500 in black chips. The dealer announces to the pit boss that he is changing $1500 which will always prompt the pit boss to wander over to the table. Just before the dealer starts to deal I ask the dealer what they pay on blackjack. When he says 6:5 I say I’m sorry and ask to color up. This sends a message to the pit boss and if enough people do this the message may make it to management. Plus, you may get to educate other players at the table.

Scott

I have a solution. At a $25 table I usually buy in for $500 and get all green chips. If I know the table only pays 6:5 I buy in for $2000 and ask for black chips. The dealer will announce that he is changing $2000, and the pit boss will usually walk over to check me out. After I get my chips and right before the dealer starts to deal, I ask the dealer what they pay on blackjack. When he says 6:5 I apologize and say I only play 3:2 blackjack and ask to color up. If enough of us do this the pit bosses will eventually get the message and hopefully pass it on to management. You may also get the chance to educate the other people playing at the table.

Anonymous

The Cromwell has made a big push going the opposite direction. Almost entire retail floor is 3/2 shoe and pitch double deck. $10-$15mins normally from what I’ve seen. Maybe up to $25 on the pitch at times but that’s still better than the rest of the strip. Should check it out.

something

But isn’t it worth it if you’re counting cards? If it means playing in a one deck game doesn’t that mean that you will recoup the difference and then some? It depends on the cut card’s location and the number of others at the table, and the min bet and max bet of course, but I was just at a casino that had a min bet of 10 and max of 200 on a game like that. I didn’t play that because I wasn’t prepared for it and I thought even if I pulled it off, it was a quick way to get das booten out of the place, to either bet 10 or 200 every hand, the 2 deck game looked more appealing.

Phil Calbi

Just came back from MGM Grand. Now blackjack at multi deck games with a show is paying only 6:5. Onl games with $50 or higher minimum pays 3:2.

LVBear

If you don’t want to play the $50 minimum, play elsewhere.

Stacker

You’re really kind of a nasty person, aren’t you?

Anonymous

Sorry you feel that way. I believe I provided the correct answer. Perhaps your annoyance would be more directed towards the casinos like MGM that offer the garbage games.

Jimmy

But not dumb….

Steve

and your stupid to bet more than 50 dollars of hard earned money too. Blackjack should be fun,not ruined by high stake gamblers like you.6 to 5 blackjack is unacceptable,and anybody that plays blackjack that has a clue would make a stand against these casinos ruing players odds by making 6 to 6 blackjack.whether its 1 dollar minimum,or 1000 dollar minimum,blackjack should allways payout 3 to 2.

Ron Dillard

I’m staying at NYNY and went across the street to MGM because NYNY had nothing but 6:5 games while mgm had 3:2. Ended up doubling my money before calling it quits.

Donald Carroll

I wish my dum as wouldve ask and learn alil more about the game before wasting 3,000 up there cause how u bet against the dealer hand and lose then somebody elae step in and win all kinda ways…

Ron Dillard

I just left MGM. Many of the games were $10 min with 3:2 payout.

tim

/I have a question about another rule change….dealer must hit soft 17. How bad is this for the player? Appreciate any comments

C

Just to update the thread. Golden Nugget in the Rush Lounge had several $15 minimum 3:2 blackjack tables. Unfortunately almost every other blackjack game I have seen in Vegas is 6:5 🙁

JB

Headed to Vegas next week. Staying at the Monte Carlo. Where can I find a list of the best casinos to play at? 3:2 BJ Payout, Re-Split Aces, DS S17, Deep Deck Penetration, etc?

JB

Thank you for the reply, I typically play $25/$50 tables to get the better parameters and no Mid-Shoe Entry. Hopefully with those minimum bets I can get a good game out there. I found this website while searching online, any idea if it is pretty accurate or up to date? http://wizardofvegas.com/guides/blackjack-survey//

Anonymous

Are you better off playing a single deck game with a 6:5 payout where you can count and increase your bet depending on the count or a six deck game with a 3:2 payout playing only basic strategy (not counting)? I can count a single deck perfectly but not a six deck shoe.

Anonymous

Thanks for the advice, much appreciated. I am currently using KO. I’m fairly new to counting. With a single deck game, I can count, have two different conversations, and watch the casino TV. without losing the count. I guess I just need to practice more at home with a six deck shoe to be able to do the same. Thanks again.

J S Cooper

As you probably know, this battle has been lost on the strip since both MGM and Caeser’s properties now just pay 6/5 (although I did see a single table in the Margaritaville section of the Flamingo still paying 3/2.

Michael

A suggestion, after playing at a number of 6:5 tables on the Strip. Depending on the dealer’s up card, if you have a blackjack, do seriously consider doubling down instead of accepting the 6:5 payout. It’s completely appropriate, and I was successful a good 80% of the times I did it.

Anonymous

Staying at Wynn there are still tables in both casinos with 3:2 and sh17 but you have to hunt them out they are typically higher min bet tables.

Jesse

What about if you count? Can the deep penetration in a single deck games make up for it?

Jesse

Thanks….

I have another question: My local casino has deep shoe penetration, and often the games are $3-$1000.

The Single deck game is usually 10-300, with BJ paying 6:5. I don’t have a large roll and would rather be aggressive in my betting, rather than grind a game for 7 dollars an hour. Does it make any sense to play the single deck and wait for larger counts and bet big, (wouldn’t the single deck count have much less variance for aggressive betting?)

Jesse

Your information is invaluable, and I am deeply grateful. And I might bug you for years to come 🙂

observer

Not so sure that’s so devastating as you make it out to be. A loss of 1.4% to the house could be worth it to play a 1-deck game. That’s only the same difference in player/house edge as 2.8 in the truecount. And that can happen prettttty easily in a 1-deck game, if you’re halfway through the deck, that’s a count of only 1.4! The standard deviation of the truecount halfway through a n-deck shoe is sqrt(40/n), which means if n is 1, that’s straight-up the square root of 40 or 6.5. Which means a full 16% of the time, the truecount will be over 6.5 halfway through a single deck. I’ve seen the truecount get up to 15 in a 6-deck game near the cutcard and I’ve seen it go to 12 in a 2-deck game, both of which with the cutcards 1 deck before the end. It depends on where that cutcard is. Is it with 26 cards left? 22? 30? That 16% of the time when it’s over 6.5, that’s when you’d be betting big, 6:5 blackjack or 3:2. The 1.4% house edge or 2.8 in the truecount is only 0.4 standard deviation of the truecount with 26 cards left and it’s no obstacle at all if the count is 10 and the player gets a 5% advantage from it. Though I guess it wouldn’t quite be the same 0.5% per truecount since it’s the increased probability of blackjack that accounts for much of the advantage you get from the count being high, so it’s probably more like 0.4% then. The question is, how serious are they about catching people trying to count their 1 deck game with the 6:5 blackjack, and what is the min and max bet at the table? If it’s a 50 dollar min and 300 max or if there’s serious heat then I’d say screw it. But if that’s what they do in atlantic city where they’re not allowed to prohibit card counting players, I could very well go there and make them very very sorry they offered a 1-deck game myself, with or without a 6:5 blackjack payoff. Hell I’d go there and count cards out loud just to mess with them, that would be funny, 6:5 blackjack payout on a 1-deck game is hardly an obstacle in a 1-deck game it seems to me!

observer

Well I guess more like 6.33 since 6.5 squared is 42.25. But still.

Sold an

Finally a rational voice…All true…6 5 is a great game to practice counting with low limit bets…One important thing not mentioned…When the count goes hot, which casinos order dealers to shuffle up the second run of cards at a full table…THAT can change everything!!!

Jim

Was in vegas all week, haven’t been here in ten years. I can’t believe how these strip casinos have changed this to 6:5 so quickly. I ended up going to the Boulder highway casinos a little east of the strip and found they have the old 3:2 games in all of them. I don’t recommend the strip for blackjack at all anymore ….what a joke.

Susan

This is how long it has been since I played BlackJack in a casino. Am just about 50, and in the 1990’s, if you bet 100.00 and won that hand, you had 200.00
in your pocket! Have times changed. Went to Vegas a year ago but did not pay any attention to BlackJack or the payouts. Used to go there several times a year. Good Luck everyone

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