The Top 21 Blackjack Tables to Play in Las Vegas
Published on June 06, 2017
If you’re reading this page, chances are good you take the game of blackjack seriously.
You’ve taken the time to study your basic strategy tables diligently, committing all 260 combinations of hole cards versus a dealer up card – and the corresponding correct play – to memory. You know what the term “house edge” means, and just how valuable information can be when it comes to your bottom line. You even track your results through a spreadsheet, scanning the data for the path to further improvement.
Simply put, you recognize that blackjack is a skill game, and one you intend to excel at whenever the cards come your way.
That’s all well and good, and indeed, you should be applauded for bringing your blackjack knowledge to the next level. Even skill-based casino games offer razor thin margins, so the search for an added edge never ceases.
That’s why proficient blackjack players are always on the hunt for true “3 to 2” tables, or those that still pay the old 3 to 2 rate when you make blackjack – rather than the reduced 6 to 5 payout that has spread insidiously throughout the casino industry. Games which use fewer decks in the shoe, instead of the modern six- and eight deck monstrosities, offer a similar rebate in terms of the house edge you’ll be up against.
Thanks to the vagaries of state by state gaming regulations, and even the whims of individual managers, casinos around the country spread varied versions of standard blackjack. We’re not talking about outright variants like Spanish 21 or Double Exposure Blackjack, as those offerings constitute hybrid table games more than blackjack proper.
No, we’re focused on the myriad of house rules that govern any given blackjack table. These rules – which include the dealer’s mandate to hit or stand on soft 17, and restrictions on player actions like doubling and splitting – can be toggled and twisted to turn one blackjack table into an entirely different game when compared another across the room.
For the average American grinding out hands at their local commercial casino or tribal gaming establishment, limited supply usually dictates that they’ll be playing under “conservative” rules – or those that ensure a slightly higher edge in favor of the house.
But now that you’re a true blackjack aficionado, there’s only one place on the planet to truly ply your trade: Las Vegas.
The casino hotbed known the world over as Sin City is a veritable paradise for gamblers, card sharps, and of course, blackjack experts. With hundreds of venues scattered throughout the Las Vegas metropolitan area, players enjoy ready access to thousands of blackjack tables – each offering their own house rule setups, side bets, deck construction, and most importantly, house edge rates.
We’ll assume you’re familiar with the ins and outs of house edge, but for a quick refresher course, just remember one simple rule: lower house edges equate to a better chance at winning.
The baseline house edge for traditional blackjack, assuming the player is utilizing basic strategy, stands right at 0.50 percent. For the most part, you’ll find tables that sit a few percentage points over, either higher or lower, on the spectrum.
Having the dealer stand on soft 17 hands, for example, pushes the house edge just under 0.50 percent. On the other hand, when the dealer is hitting on soft 17, the house edge increases by an average of 0.22 percent.
Remember those razor thin margins we talked about? Well, sacrificing any equity at all, let alone 0.22 percent, is a losing proposition over the long run – so logic dictates bringing your bankroll exclusively to hit-on-soft-17 tables.
Understanding the minutiae of how house rules combine to create the house edge is a great first step towards adopting an advanced blackjack strategy.
Think about it… most players worth their salt know the basic strategy table by now, so memorizing the rules of the road doesn’t set you apart from the pack like it did in the 1990s. And with the power of the internet, opportunities to improve one’s game are always available.
But unless you’re prepared to journey through the Nevada desert, searching The Strip high and low to learn about each and every casino’s house rules, how can you put that knowledge to work?
Well, you just did. By visiting this page on the Top 21 Blackjack Tables to Play in Las Vegas, you’ve gained access to a complete survey of every blackjack table in the city.
We can’t claim credit for the actual research, as the intrepid souls over at OnlineBlackjack.com compiled the data, but we’ll serve as your guide to interpreting the information.
For instance, casino operators are nothing if not shrewd, so they choose to spread their most favorable games at the higher limits. For players accustomed to $5 minimum tables, and their inferior 6 to 5 payouts on blackjack, learning that the elusive 3 to 2 pays can be found at higher stakes can be confusing.
That may seem counterintuitive at first, as offering lower house edge rates to players plunking down $100 chips or higher on each hand would seem to be a recipe for financial disaster.
But when you think about the casino player economy like a pyramid, with hundreds of low-information recreational players for every sharp with skills, this strategy makes sense. Casinos can give blackjack players incentive to “step up” and play the bigger games, while negating any loss of revenue by goosing their minimum stakes tables with conservative rules and higher house edges.
For that reason, many of the games you’ll learn about on this list are what most players would consider “high-roller” games. In fact, the modern casino management landscape dictates that the true 3 to 2 payouts blackjack fans love be placed predominately in high-limit rooms.
That’s why you should always be prepared to walk through the velvet ropes and enter your favorite casino’s high-limit pit, because that’s where the blackjack bargains will be found.
Without further ado, take a look below to find the 21 tables in Las Vegas where you’ll always get the most bang for your blackjack buck:
Compared to the next two entries on the list, the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino isn’t all that glitzy or glamorous.
But where the venue known as “T.I.” by locals and employees lacks in luxury, it more than makes up for with one of the most generous blackjack deals in town. Sporting a house edge rate of 0.26 percent – or nearly half off the standard baseline – Treasure Island’s take on high-stakes blackjack ranks among the lowest house edge tables in Las Vegas.
In fact, you won’t find a table in the city that can beat it, as 0.26 percent is the lowest house edge currently available – and one shared by the next five entries here. You won’t find a better price either, with the $25 minimum bet the lowest of any game offering a sub-0.30 percent house edge.
Simply put, if you’re not really ready to break out the black chips and begin betting $100 per hand, Treasure Island provides the perfect opportunity to test the high-roller waters.
You’ll only find six of these tables within the property, so be sure to ask a member of the staff for directions to the high-limit area.
And when you get there, be sure to sign up for a Treasure Island Players Club account, which will allow your play to be tracked and the comps to flow freely.
The rules setup used to create this game’s 0.26 percent rate is quite elegant, combining a two deck shoe with dealers standing on soft 17 to shave a significant chunk off the house’s advantage. Other house rules let players double down when holding any two hole cards (not just 9, 10, or 11), along with doubles after a split.
For a full rundown of the house rules for Treasure Island’s $25 minimum blackjack tables, see below:
As the longest continuously running casino in all of Las Vegas, the El Cortez has been in the blackjack business since 1941.
That sense of history may appeal to a certain subset of players, but everybody who enjoys the game should have El Cortez on their radar. After all, it’s the only venue in town running $5 minimum blackjack tables that aren’t house edge traps.
Sure, you’ll have to hoof it over to the Downtown district and explore the famous Fremont Street, but those are two destinations that should be on every gambler’s bucket list anyhow. Once you’re there, head to the El Cortez to enjoy the game in all its glory.
Gone are the multiple deck shoes used to house six or eight decks at once – thus eliminating the role of card counting from the game. Instead, you’ll be playing with a single deck that will be reshuffled after a few hands have elapsed. This element alone gives you a leg up, to the point that the dreaded dealer hitting on soft 17 doesn’t muck things up.
The other rules aren’t really all that liberal, but thanks to the single deck style of play, you’ll be faced with a house edge of only 0.30 percent. That’s the third-lowest rate in all of Las Vegas, which combines with that amazing $5 minimum to make El Cortez an essential stop on your blackjack journey.
And with 10 tables on site at these juicy stakes, you’ll never have to wait in line to get the action started.
We’ll admit, the amenities on offer at El Cortez leave a little to be desired, especially when compared to the gambling meccas erected on The Strip. But if earning the most equity from your quality blackjack play is the objective, El Cortez surely beats the big boys on the block.
By far the best value in all of Las Vegas, the $3 six deck tables at Boulder Station are a wonder to behold.
How wonderful you ask?
Well, consider that Sin City is home to 11 venues which spread $3 minimum bet blackjack. And of those 11 venues, the lowest house edge rate you’ll find – aside from Boulder Station that is – stands at 0.57 percent (The Palms).
That’s higher than the baseline of 0.50 percent we’ve talked about, but it’s a veritable bargain when compared to the bulk of $3 games. The Railroad’s Pass and Jokers Wild casinos both spread $3 tables with a 0.64 house edge rate, while Bally’s, the Excalibur, and Fiesta Rancho rake their players over the coals with an obscene 1.9 percent house edge.
And that’s not the worst of it by any means. Both the California and Fremont casinos run their $3 blackjack at an unbeatable, absurd, and frankly criminal house edge of 2.14 percent.
To put that number into perspective, it’s more than four times higher than blackjack’s baseline rate for basic strategy players – and over five times higher than Boulder Station’s version.
Of course, this game’s house edge of 0.39 percent is well above the 0.26 standard – and even a few of the other games found lower on the list. But that low-low price of only $3 per hand is so attractive that Boulder Station easily climbed over the competition to earn, appropriately enough, entry #3.
It would’ve been easy to point players to the $100 high-roller games as a default when compiling this list, but the fact is, not everybody is prepared to play those stakes. We sure weren’t in the early stages of our blackjack journey, and if not for affordable options like Boulder Station’s legendary $3 tables, we would’ve sunk before we ever learned to swim.
Sporting a six deck shoe and a dealer mandate to hit on soft 17, the rules don’t appear all that friendly at first glance. But thanks to liberal player actions which allow for doubling down on any two cards, doubling after a split, and re-splitting when a second pair shows up – Boulder Station’s $3 game becomes the biggest bargain in the city.
To make your way to Boulder Station from The Strip, drive north up Las Vegas Boulevard until you hit the Wynn and Encore casino complex. Take a right on Desert Inn Road and proceed through a few stoplights. Once you’ve gone under the Interstate-515 overpass, you’ll see Boulder Station waiting with open arms.
The property only spreads two of the choice $3 tables, so bear in mind that weekends will probably require a brief wait to get in the game.
And one last thing about $3 blackjack tables to keep in mind concerns tipping. Just because you’re playing a white (or blue) chip game doesn’t mean everything comes cheap, so always remember to toss the dealer a toke or two when a winning streak arrives.
Now that we’ve got you out of The Strip area, why not explore the “Off-Strip” casinos that cater largely to Las Vegas locals.
Located three miles to the south of The Strip, the Silverton Casino originally opened in 1994 as Boomtown Las Vegas. The venue was rebranded and renamed Silverton three years later, and over the last two decades, it has blossomed into a favorite for the local community.
And when you consider games like the $10 minimum single deck blackjack table, it quickly becomes apparent why savvy gamblers would prefer the Silverton.
This line table offers the appeal of single deck gameplay, but curiously enough, the other rules are actually on the conservative side. Double downs, for example, are only permitted on 10 or 11 two-card totals, while doubles after splits, re-splits, and surrenders aren’t allowed.
Despite these restrictions, the Silverton’s $10 single deck table still offers the third-lowest house edge in Las Vegas at 0.30 percent.
On the surface, the only thing separating the Silverton game from the El Cortez tables sandwiching it on this list is the price of play. That $10 minimum is a perfect “sweet spot” though, straddling the line between recreational play and more serious stakes.
On a deeper level, however, you’ll be choosing the venue that feels like home to you, so we suggest visiting the El Cortez and the Silverton in succession. Once you’ve tried all three of these low-stakes, low house edge blackjack experiences, you’ll have a much better feel for which casino to call yours.
We’re bringing it back to the El Cortez for a second time, as the venue is home to a single deck table set at a $25 minimum, while still offering the same 0.30 percent house edge as its $5 base game.
The rules for this table – and we do mean table, as you’ll only find one on the floor – are the same too, letting players double on any two cards while the dealer hits on soft 17. The only difference is that minimum bet, which switches out red $5 chips for the green $25 alternative.
We know that most blackjack aficionados who have played the game for a while are ready to move beyond $5 minimum tables. Sure, you can always increase your bet sizing at the low-stakes tables, but with other players present betting $5 per hand while approaching the game casually, inadvertent mistakes on their part can cut into your bottom line.
For that reason, taking a shot at the $25 table at El Cortez is a great idea for players with a little more experience under their belt. You’ll generally be playing alongside fellow sharps, the house edge is among the lowest in town, and that $25 minimum bet isn’t too burdensome.
Once again, the El Cortez may not be able to match the shopping, dining, and other amenities found in a megaresort on The Strip. But with games like this and its $5 alternative, the Grand Old Lady of Las Vegas still has plenty to offer after 76 years in business.
You’ll come for the famous fountains, but after taking a tour of Bellagio’s best blackjack offerings, you’ll stay for the lowest house edge around.
At a minimum bet of $50, the Bellagio game is the first step up on the bankroll scale to make our list, and we recognize that this level of play might not be for everyone. That’s why the first four entries were all capped at $25 or under.
With that said, the only way to enjoy the absurdly low house edge of 0.26 percent is to beef up the betting. And when it’s time to go big, you just can’t beat Bellagio and its ultra-luxurious setting. This place is palatial, inviting you to the high-life with marble floors, towering columns, and handblown glass architecture designed by the renowned artist Dale Chihuly.
There’s a reason some of the biggest poker games in the world take place at Bobby’s Room inside the Bellagio, and that appeal extends to the high-stakes blackjack area known as Club Privétoo. Every great gambling tale deserves the proper setting, and the Club Privéstage is like nothing else on The Strip. The floor is elevated, furniture is lined in fine wood grain, and chandeliers twinkle overhead.
You’ll find eight tables running at $50 stakes, and with dealers standing on soft 17 and doubles permitted on any two cards, the game is designed to be a player-pleaser.
The Bellagio is owned and operated by MGM Resorts International, which means the “M Life” player rewards program is in place. This is widely viewed as one of the more efficient player tracking systems in the industry, but for whatever reason, table game play isn’t covered through M Life.
Instead, you’ll need to visit the pit boss to ensure your play is tracked properly per the following procedures:
“Blackjack players are eligible to earn Express Comps and Tier Credits based on table games play … based on your average bet and time played.”
Aside from the Treasure Island’s $25 game (entry #1), Bellagio’s $50 tables are the only ones in Las Vegas that offer the optimal 0.26 percent house edge with a minimum wager of less than $100. That alone makes this game a favorite for blackjack enthusiasts who have diligently built their bankrolls, so once you’ve completed your apprenticeship at the aforementioned Off-Strip tables, head over to Bellagio and join the big leagues.
The next five games on our list are essentially carbon copies of one another, combining two deck gameplay, dealers standing on soft 17, and liberal rules regarding double downs.
All five games are set at a $100 minimum bet, while offering a best-in-the-business house edge of 0.26 percent.
The only difference between the five games then is the venue, and while alphabetical order would place the Aria in its current spot, we’d surely have it there anyhow. That’s because the Aria has blossomed into one of The Strip’s true hotspots, blending a modern vibe and top-notch amenities with a staff that commits itself to catering to the savvy gamblers.
Whereas most Las Vegas casinos focus on treating casual gamblers like royalty, hoping to earn repeat business from happy customers, the Aria takes a different approach. This casino prides itself on creating the perfect place to play at a high level, which is why some of the more skilled blackjack grinders in Sin City call the Aria their second home.
If you’re the type of player who appreciates competent and capable dealers, floor staff who know how to reward big bettors, and courteous service from the coffee shop to the cocktail waitresses – the Aria is for you.
As an example of Aria’s commitment to serving its high-rolling regulars, consider this passage from a 2010 profile of the property published by Popular Mechanics:
And since the Aria is able to track cellphones while on resort grounds, the hotel will easily be able to send guests special features and offers depending on who they are and where they are standing at any given moment. Are you a known blackjack player? The resort can let you know about empty player chairs at the $25 tables.”
Just imagine the convenience of receiving a personalized phone message when your blackjack seat opens up, and the Aria’s appeal becomes crystal clear.
And as an MGM-owned property, the Aria falls under the “M Life” player rewards program, which is generally regarded as one of the more generous in the industry. Unfortunately, table game play isn’t tracked through the M Life program, so you’ll need to see the pit boss to arrange for comps through the Aria’s tiered reward system for high-limit players.
And sure, we’ll admit that the $100 minimum wager is a bit steep, but for that price you’ll be paid back with a 0.26 percent house edge that comes close to the fabled positive expectation proposition.
By flexing your mental muscles and playing perfect basic strategy, this came essentially becomes beatable, especially when comps and other givebacks are factored in. Beatable games are a rarity in the gambling world, so you should always take them up when the opportunity arises.
Fortunately, with six of these $100 double deck tables running around the clock – more than any of the five $100-game venues on our list – the Aria seldom leaves players waiting around for opportunity to pass them by.
The $100 game at the Cosmopolitan made the cut by virtue of its premier house edge, as any game offering the 0.26 rate deserves a spot on the list.
With that preamble out of the way, we will warn you that the Cosmopolitan isn’t necessarily the gambler’s paradise as found at the neighboring Aria. The venue regularly records higher revenue from its collection of high-end shopping outlets, restaurants, and nightlife options – with casino gaming a secondary concern.
For that reason, we recommend the Cosmopolitan for blackjack sharps who bring their significant others on the sojourn to Sin City. If your spouse isn’t necessarily a player themselves, and you’d like to give them ample opportunity for entertainment while you grind out a profit, this is the place to be.
A quick walk across the Skybridge takes you from the Cosmopolitan to one of The Strip’s top shopping destinations. The Shops at Crystals spans several stories, with luxury designers like Versace, Dior, Prada, and Louis Vuitton peddling their fashionable wares.
Sure, a day spent shopping here might eat into your bankroll just a bit, but it sure beats the alternative. Nothing spoils a blackjack session like your loved ones sitting sullenly nearby, waiting for you without a word while the game goes on. At the Cosmopolitan, you can safely plan for an extended run at the tables by gently guiding your hubby to the endless array of high-end shopping.
As for the Cosmopolitan’s player rewards program, which is known as “Identity,” at first glance you’ll appear to be in good hands. The system awards one “Identity Point” for every $20 in blackjack bets you place, so you should be able to rack up points relatively quickly.
Unfortunately, the terms and conditions for Identity rewards state the following, which would seem to preclude this $100 double deck game from eligibility:
Of course, the pit boss will likely hook you up with comps accordingly should you bet big and bet often, but losing the ability to earn consistent points is a big knock.
Like we said above, these $100 games all share the same generous rule setups, so expect two decks on tap, dealers standing on soft 17, and free reign when it comes to doubling down. That arrangement creates the coveted 0.26 percent house edge blackjack winners crave, but you’ll need to get their relatively early to secure a seat.
With only three of the $100 double deck tables on the floor, the games tend to fill up quickly, so it’s best to be the early bird.
While the Mandalay Bay is best known for hosting big-time boxing matches, its $100 bet double deck blackjack games pack quite the punch too.
The same conditions apply to create a 0.26 percent house edge, and by now you know all about the liberal rules.
That’s why we’ll focus on the venue, as Mandalay Bay’s exclusive High-Limit Salon sports superior amenities designed to spoil big bet players. A recent renovation transformed the High-Limit Salon into the lap of luxury – which is exactly where you’ll want to be when splashing around with black $100 chips.
You’ll also be well taken care of by a dedicated staff that services only High-Limit Salon patrons, which is definitely a nice touch. Some casinos in Las Vegas simply offer a cordoned off area for high-limit action, but once you’ve passed through the velvet ropes, the atmosphere can be lonely and empty.
At the Mandalay Bay, however, you’ll always have a friendly floor staff member, cocktail server, or chip runner on hand to attend to your needs.
Four tables regularly run the $100 game, so you should be able to find a seat without much waiting at all.
As an MGM-owned property Mandalay Bay uses the same M Life player rewards program we’ve discussed already. That means no blackjack tracking via M Life specifically, so you’ll need to speak with a pit boss to get into the Tiers program instead.
And when a major fight night is scheduled, there’s really no place on The Strip quite like Mandalay Bay, which becomes the city’s center stage for an entire weekend. Crowds of crazed fight fans may not be your thing, and that’s perfectly fine, but if you have a penchant for the kind of “buzz” that can only be found in Las Vegas when the stars align, Mandalay Bay is calling your name.
We’ll leave this entry short and sweet, because everything you just read about Mandalay Bay applies to MGM Grand as well.
Obviously, this is an MGM-owned venue which utilizes the M Life player rewards program – which you know all about already. The game itself is the standard $100 double deck offering we’ve gone through a few times before, and the house edge is set at the gold standard of 0.26 percent. And with five tables on site, MGM Grand makes sure big blackjack bettors never lack for a seat.
Even the boxing atmosphere is replicated here, as MGM Grand shares status as a premier event center with Mandalay Bay.
Thus, there’s really nothing all that special about this entry, but it does offer an additional five tables to work with, along with a more casual setting.
The last of our $100 bet double deck games is found at the Mirage, yet another MGM-owned property located in the heart of The Strip.
You know the drill by now: M Life rewards’ lack of blackjack coverage requires a visit with the pit boss to obtain tracking and comps, but the game itself is choice at a 0.26 percent house edge.
That rate is the reason this game made the list, because once again, it’s the best you’ll find in all of Las Vegas. Sure, the Mirage hasn’t been considered a premier venue since the late 1990s, but with four $100 double deck games running at all times, it still belongs on every blackjack sharp’s map.
With the $100 double deck tables done and dusted, our list moves on to the relative blackjack bargains.
Bally’s isn’t the prettiest place to play, not by any means, but it’s perfect for folks who don’t care about fashion shows, famous chefs, and other distractions designed for recreational gamblers.
Reading reviews of Bally’s posted to sites like TripAdvisor will reveal the place’s true charm, with most respondents reporting that the venue reminds them of “what Vegas used to be.” We take that to mean friendly dealers who remember your name, generous floor staff who let the comps flow, and a noticeable lack of pretention.
And of course, spreading games like the $25 table with a 0.29 percent house edge doesn’t hurt either.
That house edge is created by the most liberal set of gameplay rules around, which require the dealer to stand on soft 17, while allowing for doubles on any two cards, doubles after splitting, re-splits when dealt a second pair, and even the surrender option.
The only drawback which drains a few points in the house’s favor is a six deck shoe, so casual card counting methods are mostly rendered obsolete. But even with six decks to wade through, the lack of restrictions on player actions leaves you in the proverbial driver’s seat while you chase down that incredibly low house edge.
Boasting the second-lowest house edge in the city, 0.29 percent tables are actually dime a dozen in Las Vegas, with more than a dozen casinos running blackjack with the same rules. But the Bally’s game joins the next two entries on our list as the only ones with those odds at the $25 minimum level.
Once again, we know most players – even those like yourself who are serious about blackjack success – can’t always afford $100 hands. Trust us, we didn’t break through into the black chip games for years, and only after patiently taking our lumps at the lower stakes while learning how to play perfectly.
If you’re still working your way up the ladder, but you realize that moving up from red chip $5 games (and their much higher house edge rates) is the way to go, Bally’s green chip game is the perfect place to begin your progression. No “bros” wandering around to bug players, no dance music blasting from overhead – just blackjack players who know their stuff grinding out a living bet by bet.
Bally’s is also a member of the Caesars Entertainment family of casinos, which means you’ll be using the popular Total Rewards program to track your play. Total Rewards players who have moved past the minimum stakes are treated like royalty, but be sure to consider the following passage covering table game play from the fine print before taking a seat:
Both Tier Credits and Reward Credits are earned based on length of play, average bet and type of game.”
That simply means you’ll need to speak with the pit boss to ensure your bets are being tracked – and comps are being awarded in kind – but once you’ve introduced yourself, Bally’s employees tend to remember their regulars.
You’ll find four of these $25 six deck tables at Bally’s, but as the place isn’t the most popular venue with tourists, you’ll usually find a seat open without much trouble at all.
Back into the lion’s den we go, literally…
The MGM Grand’s famous lion’s head entrance invites you into its gaping maw, and from there, the same super-liberal 0.29 percent house edge game found at Bally’s awaits. The rules are identical, with a six deck shoe, dealers standing on soft 17, and free reign when it comes to player actions.
The table count is doubled, however, so you’ll have eight games running at this level rather than four. That ensures a steady flow of patronage, so even when the occasional line crops up, a seat should be open in short order.
We’ve given you the rundown on the MGM Grand’s amenities and vibe already, but sufficed to say, its long-held reputation as a blackjack bastion remains strong
Obviously, the $100 tables we talked about earlier offer a lower house edge at 0.26 percent, but the difference of 0.03 percent is viewed as statistically negligible. In laymen’s terms, that means both games offer basically the same odds, with the only difference being the 75% off reduction in price.
The green chip plateau is the perfect proving ground for any aspiring blackjack sharp, so before you consider blasting off with black chips, be sure to build a sufficient bankroll by grinding these $25 tables into submission.
It’s another return voyage, this time to the Treasure Island’s trio of $25 six deck tables.
And once again, this game is a clone of the previous two on the list, combining the same extremely liberal rules to ensure a low house edge of 0.29 percent.
It makes the cut for the same reason as the other two: affordability.
At the $25 minimum bet level, you’ll be able to weed out the drunks and tourists who frequent $5 tables – thus protecting your equity from the inferior play of others.
But on the other hand, $25 stakes are a far cry from the high-roller realm of a $100 game – so most players can take a shot or two without draining their bankroll to the brink.
Sharp readers are probably asking themselves the same question by now:
Well, to have a little more fun, that’s why.
Entertainment value should always be factored into the equation, especially when the difference in equity amounts to a mere 0.03 percent. Leaving aside from the use of a six deck shoe rather than double deck play, this particular $25 game at Treasure Island differs from the earlier entry #1 in two major ways.
First, you’ll be allowed to split a hand after a previous split produces another paired holding. This play is known as the re-split among blackjack players, and it can lead to action-packed hands where a single bet to start transforms into four separate hands being played simultaneously.
Imagine you’re dealt 7-7 for a lowly 14 total, and you make the natural play to split them up. From there, the dealer delivers a dastardly turn, sliding two more 7s to the felt and producing a pair of inferior 7-7 hands.
At the $25 double deck tables we covered earlier, the rules prohibit you from re-splitting these new 7-7 hands, so you’re stuck with the 14 total – at twice the cost.
But when playing this $25 game at Treasure Island, the more liberal rules allow for a series of re-splits (up to four), which lets you wriggle out of the trap so to speak. For the cost of another bet on each hand, you’d turn your two 7-7s into four separate 7s, each ready to receive a second hole card.
Some face cards and aces later, and you’ll be working with four strong totals against what we hope is a weak dealer up card – meaning four potential payouts are on the line.
This rule alone adds a significant level of “sweat” to the proceedings, and trust us, there’s nothing like watching the dealer go bust when you have four separate hands aimed their way.
Finally, this version of the $25 game lets players exercise the surrender option. Essentially a side bet that protects you from particularly bad hole card / dealer up card clashes, the surrender play isn’t really employed by sharp players all that often. With that said, it’s always a nice tool to have at your disposable, especially when the dealer shows a face card to your thin 15 total.
By including both of these player friendly rules, Treasure Island’s six deck version of $25 blackjack takes on an entirely new dimension – all at a cost of only 0.03 percent house edge.
That’s a small price to pay for fun sweats and smiles all around the table. For that reason, we advise everybody to try this game in conjunction with Treasure Island’s “better” $25 tables to see which version fits best.
You’ll only find three of these games running, however, so don’t be surprised if a small wait is in order.
Bringing things back to the Bellagio for a moment, we find ourselves in a similar circumstance.
This $50 version follows the exact same pattern as the Treasure Island dichotomy described above.
In other words, the $50 six deck tables incorporate the same re-split and surrender rules as entry #14 did, updating the lower house edge $50 double deck game at Bellagio for the fun-loving crowd.
So if you liked what we had to say about Bellagio’s world-class ambience and amenities, but prefer to play a more active experience with ultra-liberal rules, wander from the $50 double deck area over to the $50 six deck tables.
A short drive northbound up Interstate-15 takes you from The Strip to Exit #41, where a right-hand turn will take you to the Downtown District.
Turn left at Exit #41 though, heading west along Alta Drive for a few lights until you hit Decatur Boulevard, will bring you to one of Las Vegas’ hidden jewels: Arizona Charlie’s.
This beloved Off-Strip casino has been in business since 1988, and in nearly three decades since opening its doors, Arizona Charlie’s has become the home-away-from-home for thousands of loyal locals.
And with a game like $5 minimum six deck sporting a 0.34 percent house edge, you can clearly see why.
We covered another $5 game already with El Cortez in entry #2, and while that game is technically “better” with a 0.30 percent house edge, it’s all a matter of perspective.
By now you know that a loss of 0.04 percent house edge isn’t tremendously significant from a statistical perspective, so swapping out the $5 game at El Cortez for Arizona Charlie’s alternative is all about style.
The earlier entry uses just two decks and the dealer-stand-on-soft-17 rule to shave its house edge down, but in terms of player actions, the gameplay is quite conservative. At the El Cortez tables, you can’t double down after a split OR re-split paired hands, while the surrender play is also prohibited.
But when you fire away at this $5 red chip game at Arizona Charlie’s, the jump to six decks is offset by letting players double after splits AND re-split pairs. As we mentioned in the previous two entries, freeing up the player actions like this creates a livelier experience, with the potential for big-time payouts whenever multiple hands are split and/or doubled.
One rule to watch out for at Arizona Charlie’s concerns the dealer, who is required to hit rather than stand when holding a soft 17 total. As you’re well aware, this mandate to hit on soft 17 adds doesn’t work in the player’s favor, but it’s more than offset by the liberal player action rules.
Arizona Charlie’s isn’t the largest casino in Las Vegas by any means, and with only 59,000 square feet of gaming floor to work with, they spread just two of these goldmine $5 six deck tables. That means the line to get a seat could be deeper than you’re used to, but if that’s the case, take advantage of the venue’s cheap prices and grab a cold one while you wait.
The Rio is best known as the site of the World Series of Poker (WSOP), which has been hosted on site since 2005.
For six weeks every summer the best poker players on the planet gather under one roof, competing for six-figure prizes and the most coveted prize in gambling – the WSOP gold bracelet.
But while they’re in the Amazon Room taking flops and fading flush draws, blackjack aficionados are grinding away on the $15 eight deck game located in the main casino. Here you’ll find a relatively favorable house edge of 0.37 percent, still well below the baseline of 0.50 percent.
At first glance, the massive eight deck shoe and dealers who hit on soft 17 seem to be warning signs, but with a true payout of 3 to 2 on blackjack (like every game on our list), the Rio more than compensates for these conservative rules.
Throw in the freedom to double on any two cards and double after splits, and the Rio’s $15 tables turn into a favorable proposition for players.
You can definitely find cheaper games, tables with lower house edge rates – and even both at once – but the reason the Rio made our cut is all about atmosphere. Between late May and mid-July every summer, this casino has the gambling world’s brightest spotlight shining overhead.
Between national media coverage from outlets like ESPN, hordes of poker fans who convene for their annual “summer camp,” and even well-known pros who love hitting the pits when their tournament grind ends – the Rio is the place to be for two months every year.
We won’t name names, but let’s just say we’ve rubbed elbows with bracelet winners and other famous poker pros while grinding on these very same $15 tables. That may not appeal to everyone, but if you enjoy striking up a conversation with somebody who has won and lost millions of dollars playing cards – the Rio’s blackjack tables are a top draw.
And when the clock strikes midnight, the Rio lives up to its Brazilian heritage. The blackjack dealers you’ve been playing with all day will be swapped out for attractive women wearing nightclub attire, while go-go dancers do their thing and the beats bump from overhead.
Blackjack “party pits” are almost always money traps – poorly constructed games offering terrible house edge rates – but at the Rio every game becomes a party after dark. If you prefer a livelier experience and the company of pretty ladies, head over to the Rio’s $15 blackjack games following a long day of sweating WSOP action.
Finally, the Rio is a fan favorite for players who visit Las Vegas often, and all because of its location. Rather than battling through the dense crowds of tourists wandering The Strip, you can head west on Flamingo Road and hit the Rio for a more relaxed vibe.
Even though this $100 game at Planet Hollywood can’t match the 0.26 percent house edge offered by the previous five-pack of black chip tables, it does have a calling card of its own.
That would be the venue itself, as Planet Hollywood has been built into one of The Strip’s most popular one-stop shops for both gambling and entertainment.
Thanks to the incredible array of shopping, dining, and just plain fun found at the Miracle Mile Shops – a stretch of non-gambling offerings which runs right through the property – Planet Hollywood is the perfect place to bring the family.
Finding a way to keep the kiddos happy in Las Vegas can be difficult. After all, the city proudly calls itself the world’s “Adult Playground” for a reason. But as you explore the seemingly endless buffet of fun on tap at the Miracle Mile Shops, you’ll be forgiven if you forget you’re even in Sin City at all.
Interactive displays like haunted houses and the like join forces with arcades, candy stores, and other treats for children provide just the right blend of family-friendly options. And while your spouse guides the little ones through their own playground, you’ll be free to take a shot at big-bet blackjack with black chips on the line.
This is a six deck shoe game, which explains the slightly higher house edge, but other than that the rules are extremely liberal. Dealers will stand on soft 17, and you’re free to exercise any and all player options but the surrender play.
The floor is home to just four of these $100 six deck tables, but the bigger stakes tend to thin the herd, so you’ll get a seat in no time. And win or lose, you’ll always have the Miracle Mile Shops to ease the pain as you head back to your hotel.
Named for the nearby Red Rock Canyon Recreation Area, the Red Rock casino resort is a hidden gem among Las Vegas’ gambling landscape.
To get here, you’ll need to drive about 20 minutes – more during high-traffic hours – to the northwest of The Strip. But after navigating the concrete jungle of Las Vegas’ non-Strip areas, you’ll arrive at a casino that rivals any of the more well-known mega-resorts.
We’re focusing more on the setting for this entry, because all things considered, the $100 minimum game at Red Rock isn’t anything special. With a house edge of 0.35 percent, it’s 0.09 percent worse than the five $100 games listed earlier, and the rules are fairly standard as well.
What sets Red Rock’s blackjack games apart from the rest is those red rocks, as the casino venue is literally a short walk away from Las Vegas’ most beautiful natural scenery. Most players who visit Sin City with regularity take a liking to Red Rock’s bevy of rugged hiking trails and beautiful views, as it offers one of the area’s few avenues for non-urban exploration.
We think you’ll enjoy the place too, so much so that a sacrifice of 0.09 percentage points in terms of equity will be well worth it. When you get to Red Rock, take our advice and clear your head before placing that first wager.
Head outside and hike to your heart’s content, soaking in the sunshine and scenery before heading back to the comfortable confines of the casino. If you’re anything like us, those moments of respite from the reality of gambling will work wonders, and that night’s session will be free and relaxed like few before it.
Yet another $100 minimum bet game offering a 0.35 percent house edge, Harrah’s made the cut for one simple reason: we just like playing here.
First off, Harrah’s is located in the heart of The Strip, so purely for the sake of convenience it has become one of our regular haunts.
Second, as a Caesars-owned property, Harrah’s subscribes to the Total Rewards player compensation program – one of the best in the industry.
Finally, the vibe here is always relaxed and friendly, so we never leave without a smile – win or lose.
Harrah’s is just a fun place to play cards, and even if luck isn’t on your side that day, lunch should be. The property’s food court is the stuff of legend, blending “grab-and-go” convenience items with high-end pizza by the slice, sushi chefs slicing up fresh cuts of fish, and other treats 24 hours per day.
It’s not the best $100 game in town, at least according to house edge comparisons, but for our money Harrah’s blackjack offers a better time than the more “serious” venues occupying higher positions on this list.
We’ve already told you about the WSOP wonders awaiting you at the Rio, so this entry will be shorter than most.
If you’ve already cut your teeth at the lower stakes and prefer $100 big-bet games, the Rio has a six deck version that sports a nice house edge of 0.35 percent. That’s only 0.09 percent higher than the first group of black chip games on our list, which isn’t too big of a deal all things considering.
If hunting for the best possible house edge is your aim, by all means head over to The Strip and take your shot at the 0.26 percent house edge tables. But if you like mixing poker with your blackjack pleasure, there’s no better place to be in Las Vegas during the summer than the Rio.
Here, you can tackle big-time tournaments or cash games by day, before earning back any losses incurred at the poker table by playing $100 high-limit blackjack at night. That’s the best of both worlds as far as we’re concerned, because even the most hardcore blackjack fans need a breather from time to time.
And seeing as how the Rio spreads six of these six deck $100 minimum tables, you’ll more than likely avoid the usual wait times that plague players on The Strip.
The study of blackjack for more than six decades has distilled the game into a pure science, which is great for analytical players who enjoy dissecting their favorite gambles. But at its heart, blackjack is an art. One meant to be enjoyed by players who apply their own personal touches to the proceedings.
Using our list of the Top 21 blackjack tables to play in Las Vegas, you’ll be prepared to explore the gambling mecca as it was truly intended – like an art gallery with infinite wonders waiting to be discovered. Everything from $3 games at local haunts to $100 high-roller affairs at mega-resort casinos can be found here, each offering their own blend of gameplay, rules, odds, and amenities.
The 21 games listed on this page are all among the best available, combining that elusive true payout of 3 to 2 with other elements to create house edge rates well under the 0.50 percent baseline. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll never need to wonder if the game you’ve sat in is on the level, as the multitude of money pits scattered throughout the desert like landmines have been clearly mapped out.
Now that you know the lay of the land, you’re fully prepared to visit Las Vegas with your bankroll and your brain in tow. Look at the city as a blank canvass, and your blackjack game as the medium – and we’re sure you’ll be drawing masterpieces in short order.