High Roller Radio


@BlackjackROI Interview

www.nationalblackjackday.org (Full audio of this Q&A HERE)


Q: National Blackjack Day in America, I saw this on twitter and I thought, ‘Hey this is a novel idea', we need to celebrate one of the all-time classic, recreational and beatable casino games, 21. The more I look into it, I've come to realize this is a serious issue and big day for you guys. March 2nd, second day of the third month, significant numbers for any blackjack player right?


@BlackjackROI: There’s definite symbolism in the timing of National Blackjack Day in America. 

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March 2nd, (3:2), is...

National Blackjack Day in America

Please support 3-to-2 payouts on a 21 and National Blackjack Day on twitter! High Roller Radio interviews @BlackjackROI, a blogger, avid blackjack player and organizer of National Blackjack DayTime to raise awareness about a disturbing casino trend - 6-to-5 payouts. What? Really?

Say 'NO' to 6-to-5 payouts on blackjack!

March 2nd was picked for significant reasons, as you know, 3-to-2 is the traditional payout for a blackjack. If you bet $100 and get a blackjack you get $150 back. More and more we’re seeing casinos change those rules to 6-to-5 payouts, so if you’re betting $100 on a hand and hit blackjack you’re getting $120 back instead of that $150. We picked March 2nd, 3:2, as the day to celebrate National Blackjack Day in America to make a point, that this game, which is the most popular game in many casinos around the globe, is being deteriorated by these big companies squeezing the margins. Quite frankly, at the level I play, the $100 tables, they tend to pay 3-to-2 no matter what but if you’re a casual, recreational gambler playing, especially on properties like MGM or the bigger casinos in Las Vegas, a 6-to-5 table is likely where you're going to end up playing and not even realize it. They’re just eating away at your profits, the profits of a casual gambler, if there are any profits anymore, by playing a 6-to-5 game versus a 3-to-2 game.


Q: This is about industry standards, right? I mean, you get paid 3-to-2 on a blackjack, that’s how its supposed to work, it’s just supposed too?


@BlackjackROI: Amen! You’re preaching to the choir on that one. Since I started this online call to movement, a fun recreational thing for me, since we started this conversation it’s been interesting to see the fun, casual gambler come in and say, ‘Yeah, I went and played and it’s just not as much fun anymore and my money doesn’t last as long.’ For an advantage player, the people coming to casinos and having the angles all figured out beforehand, they can play under almost any rules and still find a way make money. But for the average person who shows up at a casino, they’re just going there to have fun, make their money last as long as they can and hopefully go home with some good stories to tell. When the casinos start hedging on the margins and cutting down on the amount of time your money lasts, the less fun people have. We really want to take this game back, make it for the players and make it a more enjoyable experience for everybody.


Q: We had a card counter on recently, also a casino consultant, who says some of these larger corporations are really changing Las Vegas. You know, 6-to-5 on a blackjack, fewer comps, and in the slot area, these automated cash-out machines that expedite everything, decreasing the amount of playing time. He says casinos are missing the mark?


@BlackjackROI: You can also throw in paid parking, you can throw in resort fees, you can throw in all of the other nickel and dime ways the casinos are looking to make a quick buck. It’s all helping to take away from the average consumer’s experience. These are all things that eat away at that overall experience. It may be great for folks to go and listen to their favourite DJ at the club but Vegas was built on gaming. When you go outside Vegas, these regional casinos, whether they’re in the US or Canada, most of these casinos still pay 3-to-2 because they understand to get people to come to their casino they need to have a experience that’s worthwhile. They need to have a gaming experience. At some point, the DJ’s aren’t going to be as popular, the pool parties aren’t going to last forever, millennials are going to age out of some of those activities, and if they come back they won’t remember any positive gaming experiences. They have less reason to come back to Las Vegas. I completely agree with his point of view, that  these big companies, the Caesars’, MGM’s and others, are really chipping away at the positive experience the average consumer is having.


Q: Back in the day it seemed like casinos almost paid you to come to Vegas because they knew they’d get it back. They enticed you?


@BlackjackROI: Correct. Let’s be honest, I’m not an advantage player, I’m a person who just really enjoys blackjack, I have a good understanding of the game, and I play close to that fifty-fifty margin of winning and losing. On the whole though, the average person doesn’t really understand the odds and is going to lose money no matter what. So, to your earlier point, you’re going to lose your money no matter what if you’re an average gambler going to Vegas for some fun, with $500 in your pocket. Why not make that $500 last a couple of days instead of a couple of hours? If you’re a casino company, I think you’d want people to have a positive experience losing their money versus being frustrated they lost it just a couple of hours. Those people are less likely to come back and gamble again. I’m with you, there’s something to the point of having fun while you’re losing. I think most people go in assuming their going to lose unless their an advantage player.


Q:  Yo you see a day, at 6-to-5 payouts, that blackjack becomes just another game? That it may no longer hold its dominant position in the table games area?


@BlackjackROI: That’s the trend. UNLV Gaming puts out a great synopsis every year of where the money is spent. It focusses on Nevada. If you look at Nevada, the majority of gaming used to be in blackjack but the number gets chipped away every year. Baccarat is now the number one game in Nevada. You’re right, blackjack is becoming just another game, just one other game that people are playing at casinos, it just does’t hold the sway it used too. I don’t know that it’ll ever become just another game in the pit with Let it Ride, Texas Hold’em, or all the other tables games coming around attempting to make you lose your money quicker, but it’s certainly losing it’s prominence as the number one game on the floor.


Q: Put your casino hat on. Does it make sense for them to move the odds to 6-to-5 for a blackjack pay-out, in terms of the bottom line? Wh are they moving away from 3-to-2 payouts? Is it because of the regional casinos popping up and the competition factor?


BlackjackROI: Great point. I think the regional casinos for these major companies make them an awful lot of money. They look at those as their gaming destinations. Look at Harrah’s Cherokee. Harrah’s Cherokee, from what I understand, is the most profitable casino in the Caesars portfolio in the United States. Why? Because you have a ton of gamers, a bunch of people who want to go their and gamble. They’re not going there for the resort experience, they’re gong there to gamble. So, I think these operators get away with offering 6-to-5 payouts in Vegas knowing they’re still offering 3-to-2 at their regional, gaming destination casinos. They can trim the margins off their big resort properties while still making money off the gamblers at their smaller, regional casinos.


Q: You do have support from a major casino in Vegas?


@BlackjakROI: Yes, I’m not anti-casino company at all. I believe all these casino companies have the right to make their money how ever they want to make their money. My point of view is from the average gambler’s perspective. One of the first to engage with us about National Blackjack Day was The ‘D’ and Derek Stevens. At the ‘D’ in downtown Las Vegas, they're very prominent in advertising that they still offer 3-to-2 on blackjack. They’re actually making a concerted effort to tell people that, ‘Hey, we pay better odds on blackjack than the companies on the Strip.’ Those casinos on the Strip typically pay 6-to-5. The ‘D’ Las Vegas has done a great job letting people know that they pay 3-to-2, so a big shout out to Derek Stevens and the good folks at the ‘D’ in Las Vegas. They’ve been very encouraging with what we’re doing on National Blackjack Day.


Q:What’s the plan on March 2nd?


@BlackjackROI: This is really about raising awareness. I think the best thing to do on March 2nd is go out and play some blackjack at a casino that offers 3-to-2 payouts for a 21, avoid tables that are 6-to-5 and go out and let the MGM’s of the world, the Caesars’ of the world, that you’re paying attention and that 3-to-2 is what should be paid on a blackjack.


@BlackjackROI Thank-you!