PLAYING BLACKJACK IN LAS VEGAS IS STILL AN AMAZING THRILL
Las Vegas blackjack has a reputation for great odds and fun settings, but that reputation has taken a hit in the past few years. Playing blackjack in Las Vegas remains a bucket list item for astute gamblers. Due to the grandeur and innovation in the city, the Vegas Strip's casino ambiance remains second to none. Resorts have world class amenities. Great shows and attractions dot the landscape, while excellent food and drink are nearby at all time.
Most importantly, savvy players still can find the best blackjack rules in the world in Las Vegas. That fact defies a certain vein of public opinion. Prominent newspapers and online sites have published stories about the decline of blackjack in Las Vegas. They quote Nevada Gaming Commission statistics which show fewer blackjack tables in the city than there were 15 years ago.
While the statistics are correct, the decline of Las Vegas blackjack is overstated. As a British prime minister once said,
THERE ARE THREE KINDS OF LIES: LIES, DAMNED LIES AND STATISTICS
The critics say casinos now offer bad blackjack rules -- rules which have soured players on the experience. That's true to a degree, but it paints with a broad brush. Not every casino offers bad blackjack rules. A player in the year 2019 still can find blackjack rules every bit as good as they once found, but they need to know where to look.
CAN YOU FIND GOOD BLACKJACK GAMES ANYMORE?
Visitors to the Vegas Strip have plenty of options, though they do have to be choosier about the games they play. As more gamblers read about basic strategy at online sites like ours in the past 15 years, the margin for profits at Las Vegas Strip casinos declined. That forced rules changes in many places to the detriment of blackjack players, along with a stratification of results.
Good blackjack rules still produce the same great return-to-player that players in the old days found, but bad blackjack games cost unknowing tourists millions of dollars they shouldn't have to spend.
Demographic changes have caused an evolution of Vegas Strip gaming floors, too. Over the years, casinos installed baccarat tables to appeal to the growing Asian high roller sector, while casinos added electronic gaming studios to appeal to a new generation of players. Electronic blackjack isn't counted among blackjack table statistics.
Based on your choice of blackjack tables, you can find great blackjack odds. You also might find awful rules that rob the player each gaming session. Vegas operators like Golden Nugget have terrible rules, but companies like MGM Resorts and Gaming & Leisure Properties have excellent rules. Go to the resorts which cater to players and you'll find blackjack rules as good as they ever were.
GREAT BLACKJACK TABLES IN LAS VEGAS
The best blackjack games in Las Vegas for mass market players is at El Cortez (downtown), which has blackjack with a house edge of 0.30% and a $5 minimum bet. If you leave the Las Vegas Strip, stop at casinos like Bighorn and Longhorn, which have six-deck $5 blackjack games with favorable rules: double-down after splitting, re-split aces, and surrender.
M Resort has the lowest house edge in the city (0.26%). You'll have to play at high limits ($100 minimum) to get M Resort's best odds, though. If you stay on the Vegas Strip, try any of the MGM Resorts casinos. For $25 and $50 games of blackjack, try MGM Resorts casinos like Treasure Island and MGM Grand.
BAD BLACKJACK GAMES TO AVOID
Though wise players can find good rules, you can stumble into awful blackjack odds if you're not careful. Take Golden Nugget's Bonus Spin Blackjack as an example. This game has a $5 minimum bet and a $1 side bet. The 6:5 payout on a blackjack is bad enough, which means the main bet has a lousy 2.0% house edge.
That's not the worst news, though. The forced $1 side bet has a house edge of 23% -- a sucker bet if ever there was one. Most versions of this game have a house edge of 8%. Bonus Spin Blackjack at Golden Nugget stipulates than an ace without a blackjack loses, where most variations pay even money. That one rule increases the house edge from 8% to 23%.
BLACKJACK: ALIVE AND WELL IN LAS VEGAS
Blackjack isn't dead in Las Vegas. What's really died is the one-stop Las Vegas experience. The integrated resort was supposed to give visitors a singular experience with gaming, shopping, eating, drinking, and sightseeing all in one place. The strategy is this: give a cheap hotel price on opulent rooms, then make a killing on everything else.
If you want to play at the best blackjack tables, enjoy the best amenities, and see the best sights in Las Vegas, you'll need to travel around the city a bit. Plan taxi cab or Uber rides into the budget for your next Vegas trip. It's well worth the investment in time and cash.
Playing blackjack in Las Vegas is still a thrill. In fact, with huge integrated resorts full of entertainment and attractions, this is the best time to enjoy a game of twenty-one in Vegas. The problem isn't lack of options, but too many bad options. Do some research and your next trip to Las Vegas will be the best vacation you've had in years.
Good Luck at the Tables!
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BLACKJACK IN LAS VEGAS
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