6 to 5 Blackjack? Just Say No!

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!


21 comments on “6 to 5 Blackjack? Just Say No!

  • Dale Thomas said:

    Went to vegas first time. Slots left me ho hum. Thought I might like blackjack as you actually have to use your brain. So im reading up on all the basic stratigy. Will memorize that and not deviate from the rules. In a nutshell , please advise me. Like which tables. Where to sit. importance of SP and Dh. Im okay with moderate minimums.

    • Starting out, you are likely better off playing at a “shoe game”, where all the cards are dealt face up. Just make sure blackjack pays 3:2.

      After you gain some experience, look for good rules in a 2-deck game, which will usually be dealt face down.
      Where you sit at the table matters very little.

    • Anonymous replied:

      I totally agree about the casino’s black jack house rules 6:5 cast out.

    • Tomi replied:

      I disagree, i think where u sit DOES matter. I think, it helps to either play 1st or last chair. 1st base is preferable, mainly cuz ur not victim to stupid moves by other players. It us irritating when other players take the dealers’ bust cards… for example, if the dealer has a 6 up, and you have 17 or better, chances are u will win unless some goof takes a card, the bust card from the deck, which would have gone to the dealer. Good “1st & 3rd base” players can make a difference 4 the rest of the table. And please, don’t split 10s… if you have Aces, yes, split them.

      • Anonymous replied:

        I agree partially. I agree that no one should split tens, only because I feel bad for them on a personal level because they obviously don’t know how to play blackjack.

        But I don’t agree with the notion that the 3rd baseman who plays “non-conventionally” screws up every other player. I’ve been playing blackjack for decades and have sat with these “bad” 3rd basemen. A lot of times other players would immediately leave the table because hey don’t want to play with that “idiot.”

        I think that most players have selective memory. They tend to focus and remember the instances where the 3rd baseman’s stupid play cost them the hand. In reality, that “stupid” play oftens sets up the next “good” round (blackjack, winning splits, etc.). In other words, what goes around, comes around.

        In closing, I feel that the everyday player should just stick with his best blackjack strategy and disregard other player’s deficiencies. If it is too intolerable, by all means, just move on.

  • James Farley said:

    Went to Vegas and spent a little time at the Blackjack table for the first time in years. Used your site to bone up on my basic strategy. Thank you! I had no clue arriving on January 1 this year that this payout change had happened. I didn’t notice it until after I laid out $100 on a $5.00 table at the Monte Carlo where we were staying. I asked what was up with the change when I realized the payout was less and nobody at the table seemed concerned. I continued to play and eventually left a net $65 behind. When I got home I researched this, including your article Ken, and am now really miffed about this. I checked every table in the casino. The 6/5 payout was the same at every table in the casino, even multi-deck $20 minimum tables. Walking to other casinos I believe this change has become universal, at least on the Strip. I hope I’m wrong. I vow I will never play at a 6/5 payout table again, anywhere. I’ll be going to the Morongo Indian casino in CA on the way back from AZ this year. It will be interesting to see if they still have the 3/2 payout. Thanks again Ken.

  • manny said:

    I just arrived in Vegas yesterday!!! The 6-5 totally took over the strip. I finally found 3-2 blackjack at the SLS hotel and casino.

      • Eric replied:

        I just came back from Vegas and I could not find a game on the strip that paid 3:2 for less than a $25 minimum.
        However, found plenty downtown with $5-15 buy-ins that pay 3:2.
        El cortez has a double-deck game that’s face up with about a 75% deck penetration that pays 3:2.

  • Brad said:

    The 6:5 was very sneaky by the casinos. Slowly but surely, it is catching on like wildfire and why not, it is saving casinos thousands. Sure for the average gambler it doesn’t sound like a lot, but it adds up…quickly. Also if the dealer has an Ace up and you have a natural blackjack, no more even money. Even the dealers hate the rules as it normally decreases their odds of a better tip. This is just another attempt to water down and make a circus game of Blackjack. Spanish BJ, dealer cards delt face up, single deck with multiple rules. I agree…talk to the pitboss or floor manager and at a minimum, the dealer. Bottom line…have fun, but don’t give the money back to the casino because they have decided to manipulate the rules in their favor!

    • Anonymous replied:

      WOW! Vegas is absolute shit now! And I keep dreaming about going there and trying out their blackjack tables. I currently reside in Hong Kong so I go to Macau to play and they have some, what I feel, pretty awesome rules namely: 50% surrender (unless dealer shows ace), black jack even pay (if you choose 1 to 1 surrender), Push on dealer and player blackjack, BJ pay out is 3-2, doubling after splitting is allowed, can double on any hand (some casinos only allows you to double at 11). And no tipping (house rules); if you tip, it goes directly to the casino.

      I also went to Singapore Universal Studios and they have a casino there. They play Pontoon which is pretty awesome as well. All rules are the same except no “50% surrender of hands” but they have a nice perk of any 21 or black jack is an auto-win. So, for example, if dealer is showing an “A” and you have 10 and 2 and draw a 9 to reach a total of “21”, then you collect right away. How awesome is that!?

      Anyway, I’ve only started playing recently. Good luck guys!

  • Frank A said:

    Was in Vegas May 20-23. Bally’s has 3-2, 8 deck shoe, DH soft 17 & surrender. Started at $10 and progressively increased to $25 before I left. No grandfathering of bets though.

  • SD Ted said:

    Late June: Tropicana and Excalibur each have at least ONE table with 3:2 with $15 min. Was wondering for people who insist on playing at a 6:5 game, is it better to double down a BJ against a dealer 4 or 5 with a positive count rather than taking the 6:5 payout?

  • Artieboy said:

    The Monte Carlo had one DD table that was 3:2. Unfortunately it was $25 min :(

    Is 3:2 on the verge of extinction?

    • The Vegas Strip is becoming a tough place for lower limit players to play. 3:2 is alive and well, but you will likely need to either increase your bankroll for the higher limits, or look downtown instead.

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