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Best of John Grochowski
Some views on 'good games'26 March 2017
I told him paying 6:5 instead of 3:2 on blackjacks increased the house edge by 1.4%, and that by itself is higher than the house edge on the best craps bets, on banker or player in baccarat, and on many video poker games. In a typical six-deck game in which the dealer hits soft 17 and there are no unusual rules in favor of the player, the house edge against a basic strategy player in 6:5 blackjack also is higher than the 2.01% on the ante-bet option in Three Card Poker.
The comparison drew quite a lot of reaction, most via e-mail, but also some via Facebook and Twitter. Here are a few things readers had to say:
Matthew: If people were to lose their inhibitions about craps, they might find it’s more fun than blackjack. Especially 6:5 blackjack.
Barry: Even with 6:5 blackjack payoffs and a house edge around 2%, blackjack isn’t THAT much worse than other games. I wouldn’t go saying craps is a better game just because it has a lower house edge. I like to relax over my cards with a dealer who will take it slow. I don’t need all that manic activity.
Pauline: I play mainly on the Las Vegas Strip, once a year with my husband and once with my friends on what we call our “Ladies Take Las Vegas” trip. I’d read about not playing 6:5 blackjack, but on the Strip it’s hard to avoid it.
Last year, my husband and I played close to home in Indiana for the first time, and the blackjack tables paid 3:2. It was marvelous. I love the whole Vegas experience and will never stop going, but I wish they gave me blackjack as good as I can get at home.
Chuck: Your readers should know that in most of the country, the blackjacks pay 3:2. I live in New York and have played in Atlantic City and Connecticut hundreds of times, and always gotten 3:2 on blackjacks. The best game is still the best if you play in the right places.
Phil: The eye-opener for me is the comparison to Three Card Poker. Games like that, what do they call them? Circus games? Carnival games? Something like that. Games that are easy to play and are there to draw in players who don’t want to learn complicated strategies. That there are blackjack tables now that are a worse deal than that kind of game is really kind of stunning.
Marissa: Why hasn’t the market dictated a change back to 3:2? Why haven’t people just refused to play 6:5 when there are better games? It seems like empty seats would force casinos to mend their ways and fix their games.
Joe: I’m convinced this is all a long con by casinos to phase out blackjack. The real thing is too good. Card counters can beat it and basic strategy players win sometimes, lose sometimes and overall lose money slowly. So they turn it into a game card counters can’t beat and basic strategy players avoid because their money disappears too fast. Reduce the demand and they can replace blackjack and put in other games. Maybe more penny slots.
Dale: Always remember the house edge is higher against most players than against basic strategy players. If 6:5 blackjack with basic strategy has as high a house edge as Three Card Poker, then it’s twice as high as Three Card Poker for most players.
Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).
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Best of John Grochowski