Why El Cortez Offers the Best Blackjack in Las Vegas

Blackjack Table at El Cortez in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is home to over 140 casinos and hundreds of real money blackjack tables. Therefore, finding the best blackjack in Sin City may feel like looking for a needle in a haystack.

If you feel lost in this matter, though, then you don’t need to look any further than El Cortez. This downtown casino offers the best blackjack in Vegas and beyond.

You can see exactly why El Cortez is so great for blackjack throughout the following post. You’ll also learn about some other Vegas casinos that offer quality games.

Reasons Why El Cortez Blackjack Is So Great

El Cortez stands out in the Las Vegas blackjack scene for a few different reasons. It provides extremely low stakes, excellent rules, and a low house advantage.

Low Minimum Stakes

Many Vegas casinos require you to bet at least $10 to play blackjack. Some even require a $25 minimum wager.

You might have no problem playing for these kinds of stakes. If you’re a low roller, though, then you should appreciate what El Cortez offers.

This casino features blackjack stakes as low as $5. With that said, you don’t need a lot of money to play El Cortez’s blackjack games.

Great Rules

El Cortez isn’t the only Las Vegas casino to feature $5 stakes. Some other Vegas gaming establishments also offer these low minimum bets.

However, the same casinos include unfavorable rules at their low-limit tables. They want to make up for the fact that they’re allowing you to play so cheaply.

Luckily, El Cortez doesn’t fall in line with these other casinos. It instead blazes a trail by including player-friendly rules along with the lowest stakes.

Here are the main rules behind El Cortez’s $5 games:

  • 3:2 natural blackjack payouts
  • Single deck
  • Double down on any two cards
  • Dealer hits a soft 17
  • No double down after splitting
  • No re-splitting aces
  • No surrender

Low House Edge

The rules covered above lead to just a 0.3% house advantage. This is not only the lowest house for a $5 game in the city, but one of the lowest house advantages overall.

The average $5 blackjack game only pays 6:5 on a natural (21 on first two cards). This rule alone raises the house advantage by 1.39%.

The El Cortez $5 tables, meanwhile, pay 3:2 on naturals. They also include other favorable rules, such as a single deck, that lead to the 0.3% house advantage.

Downsides to Playing Blackjack at El Cortez

You can see that this casino definitely has some things going in its favor regarding blackjack. However, you should also know the potential drawbacks to playing here.

You’ll Get Banned Quickly

El Cortez provides the best blackjack game in the city when considering stakes and house edge. They feel that they’re already offering a great deal.

Therefore, this casino doesn’t tolerate card counting in any form. If the pit boss even vaguely suspects that you’re a counter, they’ll back you off.


As you may know, “backing off” refers to when you’re banned from playing blackjack at a particular casino. This ban might last for the evening or a lifetime. Everything just depends upon the situation.

In any case, El Cortez is among the quickest Vegas casinos to back off gamblers. They don’t want to take the risk of pro players capitalizing on their cheap minimum bets and low house edge.

Not a Lavish Resort

If you’re hoping to catch a world-class show and dine at a five-star restaurant after playing $5 blackjack, then El Cortez isn’t the place.

This downtown joint is a throwback to Vegas’ past because it concentrates on gambling above all. It uses cheap stakes and even coin-operated slot machines to stand out.

Of course, you can find a decent meal and hotel room here. Just don’t expect to party at an exclusive nightclub or eat at a celebrity chef’s restaurant.

The Minimum Bet Can Increase to $10

The $5 blackjack tables are available quite frequently at El Cortez. However, this casino often raises the stakes during peak hours.

You’ll probably need to bet $10 to play during the evenings and on the weekends. El Cortez increases the minimum wager to capitalize on the increased volume of bettors.

Of course, a $10 minimum wager isn’t that bad when considering the 0.3% house edge. Nevertheless, it’s still double the normal bet.

El Cortez Is Still Worth a Visit

No Las Vegas casino is absolutely perfect when it comes to blackjack. El Cortez isn’t an exception in this regard.

Despite its drawbacks, though, this casino is still great for playing blackjack. It’s the only Vegas gaming establishment that combines an ultra-low house advantage with small stakes.

You don’t have to wager much at all to play here. You only need to risk $5 per hand at most times of the day.

El Cortez Las Vegas

El Cortez also provides a solid chance to win thanks to the low house advantage. Here’s a look at what your theoretical losses would be compared to common stakes in other casinos:

$5 Minimum Bet

  • You play 75 hands per hour
  • 75 x 5 = $375 wagered an hour
  • 375 x 0.003 (house edge) = 1.13
  • You’ll theoretically lose $1.13 per hour

$10 Minimum Bet

  • You play 75 hands per hour
  • 75 x 10 = $750 wagered an hour
  • 750 x 0.005 (house edge) = 3.75
  • You’ll theoretically lose $3.75 per hour

$25 Minimum Bet

  • You play 75 hands per hour
  • 75 x 25 = $2,250 wagered an hour
  • 2,250 x 0.005 (house edge) = $11.25
  • You’ll theoretically lose $11.25 per hour

Other Good Vegas Blackjack Casinos

El Cortez is my favorite blackjack casino in Las Vegas. However, Sin City does boasts several other worthwhile blackjack casinos. You might consider one of these establishments for one reason or another.

Four Queens

Located on Fremont Street, Four Queens offers a solid $5 blackjack game. In this case, you can enjoy $5 Blackjack Switch with a 0.58% house edge.

As you may know, Blackjack Switch allows you to switch cards around in an effort to improve your chances of winning. If you’d like to try fun blackjack variations without risking much, then Four Queens is a good choice.

M Resort

No casino features a lower blackjack house edge than the M Resort. The $50 tables at this Vegas Strip casino only carry a 0.19% house advantage.

You do need to bet $50 per hand to play this game. You shouldn’t consider M Resort unless you’re a high roller. Assuming you play for big stakes, though, then there’s no better spot than M Resort.

Treasure Island

Treasure Island is another Vegas Strip casino with quality blackjack tables. Its $50 game features a 0.29% house edge, which is just a shade better than El Cortez.

Again, you’ll need to be a high roller to play these stakes. If you’re comfortable betting this much, then Treasure Island provides another beatable game.


Located on Blue Diamond Road, Silverton is a decent low-roller joint. Case in point, it offers a $10 blackjack game with a 0.58% house edge.

Of course, the $10 minimum bet forces you to play for double the stakes as El Cortez. Furthermore, the 0.58% house advantage isn’t quite on par with the other games covered here. Even still, Silverton’s $10 game is pretty favorable when looking at Vegas from a broad perspective.

Our Final Thoughts on Blackjack at El Cortez in Las Vegas

El Cortez may not be home to Las Vegas’ biggest swimming pool or hottest nightclub. It is, however, the spot for the city’s best blackjack action.

This downtown casino lets you play for just $5 per hand. It also gives you a great chance to win with a 0.3% house advantage.

If you’re a serious amateur blackjack player, then you should definitely consider heading downtown. The El Cortez tables can’t be beat in terms of stakes and house edge.

Of course, you can opt for some of the other casinos covered here, too. They also offer low house edges and/or reasonable stakes.