Just How Bad are 6-5 Blackjack Games?

It’s been awhile since I’ve discussed this topic. But it’s still relevant.

The casino industry is still not pulling in the revenue like it normally is. But then the economy is down and, therefore, so is tourism. And that means less people are coming to places like Vegas and Atlantic City, and they are gambling less and spending less.

However, the downturn in the economy hasn’t impacted the online casinos too much. But then players have no travel or accommodation expenses to worry about. They can sit there in their bunny slippers and play blackjack to their hearts content.

But in Vegas, thanks to the tough economy, blackjack players are seeing more and more games that are offering a 6-5 payout. It seems Vegas is trying to hang on to as much of its money as it can.

Some blackjack players may be wondering just how bad 6-5 games are. Well, let’s take a look.

First we’ll look at some of the things that casinos do to improve their edge over a player: hitting on a soft 17 increases the house edge by 0.002%; having players play a six deck game rather than a single deck increases the house edge by 0.05%.

We know that perfect basic strategy can lower the house edge to about 0.05%.

Got a grasp on those numbers? Good.

Playing in a 6-5 blackjack game increases the house’s edge by 1.39%. Huge by comparison. That’s more than triple what basic strategy brings the house edge down to.

Now for the numbers and the money. Pretend that you’re playing at a $10 table, making $10 bets.

On average you will play 441 rounds of blackjack, just you and the dealer. Of those 441 rounds you’ll receive, on average, 20 blackjacks that you win and don’t push on. In a 6-5 game you’ll be paid $12 for blackjack rather than $15. So in a 6-5 blackjack game you will have lost $60, and that $60 could have been put towards six more rounds of blackjack rather than line the casino’s pocket.

The thing with 6-5 blackjack games is that they skim a little at a time off of players. And a little can add up fast. Let’s say that you’re at a full table of 6-5 blackjack. In 441 hands those seven players have just given the casino $420. And that’s just one table!

It’s best to avoid 6-5 blackjack games for the sake of your own money and for the sake of the odds—don’t give them extra money or that extra edge.