Sin City or Atlantic City?

When deciding where to play blackjack online it is relatively easy to find a site that you like.

I usually go to Online Casino Suite and find the best online casinos. They review all of them and let me know each casino’s payout  percentage as well as the hit frequency. There are a lot of options, but the good thing is you can virtually leap from casino to casino.

But what about when you want to play blackjack at a physical casino? Do you find a local casino or venture to one for the well-known gambling destinations? I was reading an article today at Fox News about how New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been making a push to get players to come to the east coast rather than the west coast. He says that “You’d have to be stupid to go to a dessert in the middle of the summer.”

But would you? Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has to laugh at this, although she appreciates Christie’s efforts to draw tourism to Atlantic City.

The fact of the matter is Las Vegas will always beat Atlantic City in revenue, in 2010 Vegas nearly doubled AC’s earnings, and so Goodman has nothing to worry about.

So which is it going to be: Sin City or Atlantic City?

It all can be summed up with one quote from an active gambler who has visited both destinations many times: “If you want to experience Jersey, go to Atlantic City. But if you want to experience the world, come to Vegas.”

Poker Gaming Company Makes Automated Blackjack Table

PokerTek, a licensed gaming company that specializes in electronic solutions—read: games that do not require the hiring of people—to casinos’ table games, will be unveiling their latest automated table game at this year’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas: Blackjack Pro.

Blackjack Pro is like any other blackjack table except that there is no dealer. The entire game is automated with the basic rules of blackjack already programmed into its software. Basic rules aside, casino operators will have the power to set up and alter some of the rules, such as whether or not a player can double down after splitting a pair, or split a second pair of Aces. So the house edge on these automated blackjack tables is not really set.

Casino operators will also be able to adjust the payout options as well. Meaning that if they want to set a Blackjack Pro table to have a 6-5 payout on a natural blackjack instead of a 3-2 because they are using the automated table to support a blackjack variation instead of a standard game, it is possible.

Each Blackjack Pro table will have a central screen so that players sitting around the table are looking at the same screen, rather than each player having their very own screen. PokerTek claims that this will increase social interaction amongst blackjack players.

But what PokerTek fails to understand is that, despite a table holding seven players, blackjack is a one-on-one game of the player versus the dealer. The plays that the other players make do not impact the outcome of my hand.

I am sure that PokerTek means will with its automated blackjack table, but Blackjack Pro is not going to change the basis of blackjack, and it will not turn blackjack into a social game like poker.

Casinos Taking 6-5 Games Too Far

I’ve said it before. Any blackjack game that pays a 6-5 payout should be avoided.

Now I’m going to say it absolutely must be avoided.

Casinos are getting greedy and desperate it seems down in Vegas. Overall, the gaming revenue at Vegas casinos is declining. And like any smart business, owners and managers are looking for ways to try to boost revenue. And while I can understand this and condone the need to do something to increase a business’s revenue, I do not condone players being taken advantage of.

Several years ago the 6-5 payout blackjack game was introduced. Yes, the payout is terrible. It still is. And the same applies to the house edge. But the carrot that casinos dangled in front of us was that these 6-5 payout games were single deck games.

Now with the need for revenue, casinos are seeing how much more they can squeeze out of players. What have they done? They are now ‘offering’ 6-5 payouts on multi-deck games.

Why is this worse than a single deck 6-5 payout blackjack game?

For one thing the payout is still terrible, and you won’t make the money you could playing in a 3-2 payout game. For every $10 bet you would only win $12 instead of $15.

But the biggie is what changing the payout on a multi-deck game from 3-2 to 6-5 does to the house edge. Just by changing the payout to 6-5, the house edge just jumped by around 2%. Now, before basic strategy and card counting, most 3-2 blackjack games carry a house edge of 2% to 5%. A 6-5 blackjack game will carry a house edge ranging from 4% to 7%, making it worse than some slots games. This throws of the skill play for blackjack. Basic strategy will not be as effective here and it will take longer to play for the house edge to be lowered because you’re starting with a higher house edge.

Casinos will be watching to see if players take to these 6-5 multi-deck games. And if they see that players are still playing them, then we can expect that the 6-5 games will be sticking around, if not growing in number. Do yourself and all your fellow blackjack players a favor and avoid these games.