What Are the Worst Blackjack Casinos in Vegas?

Dealt Blackjack Table on Left Las Vegas Strip on Right

Las Vegas is home to the world’s best blackjack action. Some of its casinos offer an excellent combination of great rules and a low house edge.

By comparison, no other gaming jurisdiction has the same number of favorable real money blackjack games as Vegas. However, even Sin City has some bad games.

You’ll want to know which casinos offer the worst blackjack tables so that you can avoid them. The following guide discusses the characteristics of a poor blackjack game along with which Vegas casinos rate the worst in this area.

What Makes for a Bad Blackjack Casino?

The casino house edge is definitely a big factor in choosing a blackjack table. If the house edge is high, then you want to avoid the associated game. As seen below, though, the house advantage isn’t the only factor to consider when trying to avoid bad games.

Low Natural Payouts

Poor rules form the foundation of a high house advantage. Most notably, low payouts for natural blackjacks can completely ruin a table.

Las Vegas casinos can either pay 3:2 or 6:5 for a natural. The latter payout increases the house edge by 1.39%. This increase is enough to taint any blackjack game.

Sometimes, casinos will tempt players by offering a single deck with 6:5 payouts. Even the single deck, though, doesn’t counteract the effect of the 6:5 payoffs.

High Casino House Edge

A low natural payout always leads to a higher house advantage. Some casinos also slip other unfavorable rules into the mix, including double-down restrictions (9-11 or 10-11 only) and not letting you double down after splitting hands.

All of this has a negative effect on the house edge. Some Las Vegas blackjack games can feature house advantages ranging from 2.3% to 2.8%.

At the bare minimum, you shouldn’t play any game that carries over at 1% house edge. Games with over a 2.0% house advantage are completely unplayable. Nevertheless, some Vegas casinos still offer them.

High Stakes Blackjack

Nothing is inherently wrong with high-stakes blackjack. Some players have the bankroll to bet big, and they get more thrills with larger wagers. Furthermore, high-limit games usually offer a lower house edge on average.

The problem comes in, though, when casinos only offer quality tables at high stakes. This situation forces you to place large wagers or deal with a low house edge.

Additionally, your theoretical losses will be higher when the stakes are bigger. This situation is even true when the house edge is lower.

An Active Blackjack Table

Here are some examples to show how theoretical losses increase along with the minimum bet size:

$5 Blackjack

  • You play 80 hands per hour.
  • You play for 4 hours total.
  • 80 x 5 x 4 = $1,600 bet overall
  • House edge is 0.5%.
  • 1,600 x 0.005 = 8
  • You’ll theoretically lose $8 in the session.

$10 Blackjack

  • You play 80 hands per hour.
  • You play for 4 hours total.
  • 80 x 10 x 4 = $3,200 bet overall
  • House edge is 0.5%.
  • 3,200 x 0.005 = 16
  • You’ll theoretically lose $16 in the session.

$25 Blackjack

  • You play 80 hands per hour.
  • You play for 4 hours total.
  • 80 x 25 x 4 = $4,000 bet overall
  • House edge is 0.5%.
  • 4,000 x 0.005 = 20
  • You’ll theoretically lose $20 in the session.

Low Selection of Blackjack Tables

Ideally, a casino will spread different stakes and odds across a variety of tables. This way, you’ll have more options to choose from when picking a game.

Some Vegas casinos don’t do a very good job of offering lots of tables. In this case, your only option is to play what’s given or visit another gambling establishment.

If you’re a recreational gambler, you might not even know the difference and just start playing anyways.

Which Vegas Blackjack Casinos Are the Worst?

As discussed above, some Las Vegas casinos do a poor job with blackjack in one area or another. Below, you can see the worst of the worst when it comes to the Vegas blackjack scene.

1 – (Tie) Cosmopolitan and Tropicana

The Cosmopolitan and Tropicana both offer terrible double-deck games with a $15 minimum bet. They only pay 6:5 on natural blackjacks and don’t allow you to re-split aces.

The end result is an unsightly 1.83% house advantage. This house edge might be semi-acceptable for a $5 table, but it’s awful for a $15 game.

3 – (Tie) MGM Grand and Park Grand

The MGM Grand and Park Grand are sister casinos that aren’t much better than the Cosmopolitan and Tropicana when it comes to blackjack. Their single-deck tables, which require a $15 minimum bet, pay 6:5 on naturals and don’t let you double down after splitting.

These rules lead to a 1.70% house edge, which is just a shade lower than what Tropicana and Cosmopolitan offer.

5 – (Tie) Caesars Palace and The Wynn

Unlike the ties covered so far, Caesars Palace and the Wynn don’t feature similar stakes and rules. However, their blackjack games are both bad, and I couldn’t decide which is worse—hence the fifth-place tie.

Caesars Palace

Caesars Palace’s blackjack is bad across the board. If you visit the single-deck tables, you’ll face a 1.97% house advantage. Assuming you go to the $10 tables, you’ll be looking at a 2.34% house edge.

The Wynn, meanwhile, offers dozens of $15 tables where the house advantage ranges from 2.0% to 2.34%. You’ll have to play high stakes here just to get a decent game.

How to Avoid a Bad Blackjack Casino in Las Vegas

Luckily, you don’t have to take whatever is available at the closest Vegas casino. Sin City is filled with different casinos and blackjack games. The following tips will guide you to the best blackjack hotspots while avoiding the worst.

Check Out a Vegas Blackjack Survey

Some gambling experts contact Vegas casinos and ask questions about their blackjack games. They then compile all of their information into a survey.

You can use blackjack surveys to find the rules and house edges at different casinos. These guides save you lots of time and research. Furthermore, they often provide info that’s not available anywhere else on the internet.

Play Away From the Vegas Strip

The Vegas Strip is great for lavish resorts, incredible amenities, and unique forms of entertainment. You can ride a roller coaster at New York-New York, for example, or enjoy a luxurious spa at the Encore.

The Strip isn’t so good when it comes to blackjack. The mega resorts on Las Vegas Boulevard know that they’ll still draw visitors and gamblers even with poor games.

If you’re a serious blackjack player, then you want to head away from the Strip. Downtown Vegas, North Las Vegas, and the Boulder Highway generally feature the best tables.

Only Choose Blackjack Tables With 3:2 Natural Payouts

If you take one thing away from this guide, let it be that 6:5 natural payouts are the devil. This single rule increases the house advantage by 1.39%.

That said, you should only pick games with 3:2 natural payoffs. Ideally, you’ll find tables that provide other favorable rules as well.

As long as a game delivers 3:2 natural payouts, though, you’re off to a good start. You can see how much a table pays for a natural blackjack right on the felt.

Don’t Play High Stakes Just for a Low House Edge

Many casinos either offer low stakes with a high house edge, or high stakes with a low house advantage. You might be tempted to choose the latter just for better odds.

Larger stakes lead to bigger theoretical losses. You don’t want to pick a game with a high minimum bet in hopes of winning more.

Of course, you can certainly play for high stakes if this is what you want to do. You want to avoid betting big, though, just because of the lower house advantage.

In Summary

Las Vegas offers a large number of excellent real money blackjack games. This being said, you shouldn’t settle for anything else.

Some Vegas casinos don’t think enough of players to offer fair games. You’ll definitely want to avoid the gaming establishments covered here.

Meanwhile, you can use a blackjack survey to find the better tables. In turn, you’ll be able to play for lower stakes and also enjoy strong odds of winning.