Yet More Blackjack in Pennsylvania

Have you heard that phrase ‘When it rains, it pours?’

That could be said about blackjack in Pennsylvania. It is raining blackjack in Pennsylvania.

Already six casinos have received, set up, tested and opened blackjack tables. Those six casinos would be the Meadows, the Rivers, the Presque Isle Downs in western Pennsylvania and the Mohegan Sun, Mount Airy and Hollywood casinos in eastern Pennsylvania.

Now blackjack, and other table games like craps and roulette, will be coming to the Philadelphia area. Thankfully it is not another three casinos; this time it is only two: the Parx Casino and Harrah’s. Parx is located in Bensalem and Harrah’s in Chester.

Both casinos will be working their table games test today and hope to open said table games at 6 am on Sunday morning.

Ever since table games were approved earlier this year it seems that every brick and mortar casino in Pennsylvania is jumping up to install table games.

The funny thing about the sudden downpour of blackjack and other table games is that table games is not where the money is in casinos games of late. Vegas can attest that money comes from the slots machines. Popularity seems to be with the slots too.

So why the mad dash to install, staff and offer table games?

The only guess that I can offer is that casinos are hoping to draw more traffic, pulling it away from Atlantic City, by offering more gambling options to patrons. Yes, offering table games is could bring in more money but here is a little secret: with the offering of table games, these casinos have also been allowed to increase the number of slot machines to help accommodate an increased number of casino patrons.

So in short the table games were a means to an end. Not that blackjack players in Pennsylvania will care. They are just happy to not have to drive a long distance to play their favorite game.

More Blackjack for Pennsylvania

On Thursday of last week three brick and mortar casinos in western Pennsylvania opened the blackjack tables, drawing patrons away from the long haul drive to Atlantic City to enjoy some blackjack.

Unfortunately for Atlantic City the run of Pennsylvania casinos is not at an end yet. This past Tuesday, July 13th, saw the opening of blackjack tables in three eastern Pennsylvania casinos.

Blackjack players all over Pennsylvania are very excited with the addition of their favorite casino game in six casinos. This follows months of back and forth political arguments earlier this year about whether or not the State would allow table games like blackjack, roulette and craps to be added to their game offerings. But the demand was there and the income to the State in gaming taxes was needed. Everyone wins. Well, except for Atlantic City.

For decades Atlantic City was the mecca of East Coast gambling in the United States. But with the down turn in the economy and a lack of funds trickling down the government hill, states began looking at other ways to bring in money.

Pennsylvania is not the only state to look to gambling. Florida recently settled a long standing dispute with the Seminole tribe about blackjack there. Florida will be making $1.5 billion over the next five years from their deal with the Seminoles.

But with the addition of blackjack to the casino games at the Rivers, Meadows and Presque Isle Downs casinos in western Pennsylvania and the Mohegan Sun, Mount Airy and Hollywood casinos in eastern Pennsylvania could spell even more trouble for Atlantic City.

Not only will the time-honored East Coast gambling destination be competing with these six improved casinos next door, they might also be competing against online gambling. New Jersey is looking at legalizing online gambling for New Jersey residents that would make the competition even greater for Atlantic City.

While Pennsylvania blackjack players are quite happy with the new table games in six of their casinos, we shall have to see how Atlantic City fares over the next few years. Will it be able to keep itself afloat or will it sink in the ocean that is the gambling industry.

A Little Effort Goes a Long Way

When I was a child my mother told me nothing comes for free in life. And really? The same could be said about your profits from casino games.

It seems the easier a casino game is, be it a casino game online or in a brick and mortar casino, the worse the odds are. This should tell you something.

Let’s take a look:

Slots: 2% to 15% depending on what the manufacturer has set its payout percentage at
Roulette: 2.70% for European and 5.26% for American

Those are two of the easiest types of casino games that can be found. Now we are going to look at the house edge on blackjack: 0.5% after basic strategy.

Compared to the 2% and up on slots and roulette, blackjack seems like quit a nice game to turn a profit on. But it is not as simple to work as slots or roulette. Meaning you have to do more than push “Spin” or choose a few numbers and watch the ball spin.

In order to make blackjack profitable you do need to use a strategy. Thankfully a novice blackjack player can grab a basic strategy chart and drop the house edge down to that 0.5%. They can do this because a basic strategy chart has the best statistical play for every hand against any dealer’s up card. All the player needs to do is make that play.

So really we should be moving blackjack onto that list of easy casino games. In fact, I think it is easier to play with a basic strategy chart than without one. Not only does basic strategy give you a play, it gives you the best play.

Okay, okay so with blackjack and basic strategy you have to check your hand against the chart to find out what the best play is. And, yes, that is a little more work than pushing ‘Spin’ or watching a ball fly around a wheel. But considering what checking that chart can do for you and how it can increase your profitability, that little bit of work is very much worth the effort.

Another thing my mother always told me: a little work never killed anyone.

Blackjack Odds vs. Other Casino Games

When it comes to playing online blackjack, it is one of the best online casino games to play. For one thing, online blackjack is easy. But in terms of making a profit from a casino game, online blackjack is the way to go considering that it offers you the best odds.

Seriously, it does. Let’s take a look shall we. I am going to list all of the online casino games that can be commonly found in online casinos and their house advantages. I am going to list them by game and in order of highest house edge to lowest.

Baccarat: Tie: 14.44%
Baccarat: Player: 1.24%
Baccarat: Dealer: 1.06$

Caribbean Stud Poker: 5.22%

Craps: Any 7: 16.67%
Craps: Any Craps: 11.1%
Craps: 4 and 10: 6.66%
Craps: Field: 5.55%
Craps: 5 and 9: 4.0%
Craps: 6 and 8: 1.51%
Craps: Pass/Don’t Pass: 1.41%
Craps: Come/Don’t Come: 1.41%

Keno: 25%-29%

Pai Gow Poker: 2.50%

Roulette: American: 5.26%
Roulette: European: 2.7%

Slots: $0.05: 15.20%
Slots: $0.25: 10.20%
Slots: $0.50: 9.10%
Slots: $1: 8.10%
Slots: $5: 5.50%
Slots: $25: 5.30%
Slots: $100: 3.90%

Video poker: 5.00%

Now that you have seen the odds on some of the most common online casino games we can talk about online blackjack odds. The house edge in online blackjack when playing with basic strategy is 0.5%. As you can see, none of the common online casino games comes close to the odds offered by online blackjack.

When you consider blackjack’s placement in comparison to othercasino games, it is easy to see why a large number of players prefer online blackjack. With the house edge being that low, a player’s odds of making a profit with online blackjack explains its profitability.

European Blackjack vs. Blackjack

For the most part blackjack is a pretty standard casino game. There are not a lot of ways to vary blackjack. And that is probably why most of the blackjack variations you run across in online casinos and in brick and mortar casinos are based on side bets, while the actual game is played the same as always.

However. There are a small number of blackjack variations which are true variations, meaning that some rules are different. European Blackjack is one such variation.

European Blackjack is not a variation based on a side bet. There are two rules in this game that make it different than regular blackjack. And these differences in rules are not to the player’s advantage either.

First off players can only double down when the first two cards total 9, 10 or 11 in European Blackjack. Because double downs are highly advantageous to players, this rule does impact a player’s blackjack odds. When a player can double down on any hand it increases the player’s blackjack odds by 0.23%. But when players are limited to only doubling down on 9, 10 and 11 it takes 0.09% off of the player’s odds.

Next up in the differences between European Blackjack is that there is no surrender. Surrender is bowing out of the hand at the cost of half your wager. It is used when your chances of losing the round are very high; so rather than losing your entire wager, you only lose half your wager.

Late surrender gives players an added 0.08% to their blackjack odds, while early surrender takes 0.6% off of the house edge. In European Blackjack, players lose that added 0.08% and the house is not hit with that 0.6%. So not having the option to surrender hurts the player’s blackjack odds. Again.

And those two are the two biggest hits against a player’s blackjack odds. Overall the house gets to add 0.62% to its edge thanks to all the house favorable rules.

I would only recommend playing European Blackjack only for low stakes or for a break from regular blackjack. But I do not like that 0.62% added to the house edge, especially for regular playing. If you want to play European something in the casino or in an online casino stick with European Roulette.