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Best of John Marchel

Gaming Guru

 

Down with 6-to-5 blackjack

7 March 2015

I just returned from a short trip to Las Vegas. Sin City is still pulling in 40 million visitors a year to the oasis in the desert. I stayed on the strip and did all my gaming there. What surprised me the most was the number of casinos that now offer 6 to 5 for a blackjack. They are all over the strip.

I was able to find some that offered 3-to-2, but they were at the $25, $50 and $100 tables only. There were times when I had to ask what a blackjack paid, since I couldn’t see anything on the layout or on the table placard. When I would shake my head or make a comment about 6-to-5 being a poor game, most dealers recognized my problem and seemed to agree with me. I even had one saying she would not play at a 6-to-5 table. Still many of the tables I observed with the 6-to-5 payout had lots of players, whom I suspect, really didn’t know the difference.

As many of the readers know, by playing basic strategy alone, a player can reduce the house advantage to about one-half a percent. However, if the payout for a blackjack is only $6 for a $5 wager, the house advantage goes up to 1.39 percent, making it a poor one for the player.

Just like what happened when Dr. Edward Thorp’s book, "Beat the Dealer," came out in 1962 and Las Vegas casinos changed the rules of blackjack; players moved away from the game. When the old rules were returned to the pre-book period, players returned. Players today need to move away from the 6-to-5 tables and the casinos would be forced to return to a 3-to-2 game. That is the only way casino management will react; the player, and only the player, has the ability to make it happen.


BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW

• A $500-a-hand player with only a 1 percent advantage (using a card-counting system) could make $600,000 a year playing the game.

• Main Street Station casino and hotel in downtown Las Vegas has two antique railroad cars. The “Blackjack” was originally the personal car for Buffalo Bill. Later Annie Oakley owned it, and later Theodore Roosevelt became its owner.

• Roger Baldwin, William Cantey, Herbert Maisel and James McDermott published “The Optimum Strategy in Blackjack” in the September 1956 issue of the Journal of the American Statistical Association. They were the first to develop what we now know as basic strategy: the best way to play any combination of player and dealer up card. In 1957, they published a book titled “Playing Blackjack to Win.” McDermott, one of the authors, later reported that he received a total of $23 in royalties from the book.

• In the summer of 2005, Harrah’s Entertainment introduced the $6 to $5 payout for a blackjack instead of the standard 3 to 2 at Harrah’s Las Vegas casino.

• The Blackjack Hall of Fame honors the greatest blackjack experts, authors and professional players in history. It was launched in 2002, and its physical premises are in the Barona Casino in San Diego, California.

• The first written reference about the card game of 21 is found in one of the Exemplary Novels (written between 1590 and 1612) by the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes, who is most famous for writing "Don Quixote."
Recent Articles
Best of John Marchel
John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

101 Casino Gambling Tips: Affordable Strategies & Techniques for Maximizing Profits & Reducing Loses

> More Books By John Marchel

John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

101 Casino Gambling Tips: Affordable Strategies & Techniques for Maximizing Profits & Reducing Loses

> More Books By John Marchel