Why the Minimum Buy-in for Blackjack Is So High at Some Casinos

$25 Dollar Blackjack Table Minimum Over A Dealt Blackjack Table

Blackjack games used to only require $5 or $10 minimum bets. Today, however, many land-based tables feature a $25 minimum wager.

If you’re a low-stakes player, you might have trouble lasting very long at these tables—especially during a cold streak. Furthermore, you may wonder why casinos have increased minimum blackjack bets.

The following guide discusses why $25 blackjack is becoming increasingly common. It also covers why casinos have increased the stakes so much.

Where Is $25 Blackjack Most Prevalent?

Las Vegas is the blackjack capital of the world. Therefore, I’ll begin discussing where $25 stakes are most prominent with Sin City.

Most casinos on the Vegas Strip feature lots of tables with $25 minimum bets. The most lavish resorts, such as the Bellagio and Venetian Sands, especially stick to these higher stakes.

Even some casinos in less-heralded areas, such as North Las Vegas and downtown, require $25 stakes. Tables with lower minimum bets are also available in these areas, but they don’t always feature the greatest rules.

Of course, you don’t necessarily need to be In Las Vegas just to find $25 games. Many casino destinations across the country have raised their minimum wagers.

Reasons Why Blackjack Stakes Have Increased

Casinos don’t increase minimum blackjack bets just to be greedy. They’ve raised the stakes for the reasons covered below.

Inflation

Inflation is a constant with the US dollar. The value of a dollar has decreased by over 800% since the 1960s.

Not coincidentally, the ‘60s is also the era when $5 tables were everywhere. You’ll have trouble finding $5 blackjack outside of Vegas these days.

Two People Playing Blackjack Table in Casino

Inflation has forced casinos to raise minimum wagers to keep up with a declining dollar. A $5 bet in 1960 would be worth $45 today.

Casinos haven’t raised blackjack stakes to $45 yet. With that said, they actually feature cheaper minimum bets when accounting for inflation.

Casinos Need to Make Money

Gambling establishments could still technically only require a $5 bet across the board. However, they’d lose lots of money in the process.

Most gaming venues can’t afford to provide blackjack tables at such cheap stakes. They need players wagering more to make the game worth their while.

Here’s how much casinos stand to make off you based on different wager sizes:

$5 Minimum Bet

  • You play 70 hands per hour
  • 70 x 5 = $350 wagered per hour
  • The house edge is 1%
  • 350 x 0.01 = $3.50 in hourly winnings for the casino

$10 Minimum Bet

  • You play 70 hands per hour
  • 70 x 10 = $700 wagered per hour
  • The house advantage is 1%
  • 700 x 0.01 = $7 in hourly winnings for the casino

$25 Minimum Bet

  • You play 70 hands per hour
  • 70 x 25 = $1,750 wagered per hour
  • The house edge is 1%
  • 1,750 x 0.01 = $17.50 in hourly winnings for the casino

All things being equal, the house will make 5x as much off you at $25 stakes than they will at $5 stakes.

Less Emphasis on Gambling

Decades ago, casinos used to be all about gaming. They may have also offered fancy hotel rooms and food, but their main focus was always gambling.

These days, however, casinos provide a broader range of entertainment. They seek to draw visitors who aren’t just interested in playing games.

They now provide fine dining, lavish bars, shopping centers, spas, and more. Some casinos even feature amusement rides.

Of course, gambling is still a key attraction. However, most casinos don’t feel the need to offer really cheap stakes just to draw players.

Why $25 Blackjack Isn’t That Bad

The thought of wagering $25 on every blackjack hand might seem intimidating. However, you can actually survive at these stakes for a while with an adequate casino bankroll. Here are the main reasons why you don’t have to fear $25 games.

Better Rules

Casinos often tailor rules based on the stakes. Generally speaking, they’ll provide more favorable rules at the higher stakes.

You can find plenty of $5 tables in Las Vegas. However, you shouldn’t expect to also enjoy great rules through these same games.

Hand Showing Cards Playing Blackjack, Casino Chips, Group of People Cheering

$25 blackjack usually offers better rules than the lower stakes. Depending upon the casino, it can pay 3:2 on natural blackjacks, let you double down on any total, and/or allows you to double after re-splitting.

Lower House Edge

The favorable rules covered above lead to a lower house edge at the blackjack tables. You’ll almost always enjoy less than a 1% house edge on $25 tables.

Here are some house advantages for $25 games in Vegas:

  • Downtown Grand (double deck) – 0.46%
  • Paris (double deck) – 0.46%
  • Tropicana (double deck) – 0.46%
  • Cromwell (double deck) – 0.60%
  • Golden Nugget (double deck) – 0.60%
  • Encore (six decks) – 0.48%
  • Mandalay Bay (six decks) – 0.48%
  • Mirage (six decks) – 0.48%
  • The D (six decks) – 0.64%
  • The Wynn (six decks) – 0.64%
  • Cosmopolitan (eight decks) – 0.50%
  • Excalibur (eight decks) – 0.50%
  • Park MGM (eight decks) – 0.50%
  • Luxor (eight decks) – 0.57%
  • New York-New York (eight decks) – 0.50%
Casinos stand to make more money when they raise the stakes. As a result, they’re willing to give you a better deal on the house advantage.

Competitive in Terms of Theoretical Losses

Again, $25 stakes may seem intimidating at first glance. You probably won’t lose that much more money on these tables, though, when accounting for the lower house edge.

Here’s a comparison of your theoretical losses at different stakes:

$5 Table

  • You play 80 hands an hour
  • 80 x 5 = $400 wagered each hour
  • The house edge is 1.5%
  • 400 x 0.015 = 6
  • Your hourly theoretical losses will be $6

$10 Table

  • You play 80 hands an hour
  • 80 x 10 = $800 wagered each hour
  • The house edge is 1.0%
  • 800 x 0.01 = 8
  • Your hourly theoretical losses will be $8

$25 Table

  • You play 80 hands an hour
  • 80 x 25 = $2,000 wagered each hour
  • The house edge is 0.5%
  • 2,000 x 0.005 = 10
  • Your hourly theoretical losses will be $10

What to Do When You Want to Play Lower Stakes

A $25 minimum bet isn’t exactly the devil in blackjack. Nevertheless, you might want to take less risk when playing. The following tips will help out when you’re seeking cheaper stakes.

Visit Las Vegas or Reno

Las Vegas is THE spot if you love blackjack. It features hundreds of casinos that offer this popular table game.

The sheer variety of Vegas blackjack leads to a wider range of stakes. You can even play games with $1 minimum bets. Lucky Club, Oyo, and Poker Palace are the Vegas casinos that offer dollar minimum wagers.

Las Vegas Strip

If you’re okay with betting a little more, you’ll also have access to numerous $5 tables. Here are some of the many casinos in Sin City with $5 blackjack:

  • Aliante (single deck)
  • El Cortez (single deck)
  • Gold Coast (single deck)
  • Santa Fe Station (single deck)
  • California (double deck)
  • Club Fortune (double deck)
  • Fiesta Rancho (double deck)
  • Joker’s Wild (double deck)
  • Excalibur (six decks)
  • Green Valley Ranch (six decks)
  • Orleans (six decks)
  • Skyline (six decks)
  • 4 Queens (eight decks)
  • Harrah’s (eight decks)
  • Planet Hollywood (eight decks)
  • The Strat (eight decks)

Located seven hours away from Las Vegas, Reno is another solid spot for low stakes. It doesn’t have quite the number of casinos as Vegas, but it still features around 20 gambling establishments.

Moreover, Reno is a popular low-roller destination. As a result, it offers plenty of $5 tables with reasonable house edges.

Don’t Be Fooled by Single-Deck Blackjack

The payout on a natural blackjack has the single biggest effect on the house advantage. A 3 to 2 natural payout lowers the house edge by 1.4% when compared to a 6 to 5 payoff.

Nevertheless, many people obsess over the number of decks. They’re convinced that single-deck blackjack is always the best game in the casino.

The number of decks does have a noticeable impact on the house’s advantage. A single-deck game lowers the house edge by 0.47% compared to six decks.

However, a single deck doesn’t counteract 6 to 5 payouts. The net effect of one deck and a 6 to 5 payout is a 0.93% increase (1.4 – 0.47) in the house edge.

Casinos realize that many experienced players go crazy over single-deck blackjack. They often sneak 6 to 5 payouts into these games and get away with it.

Play Online Blackjack

You don’t have to visit Las Vegas, Reno, or anywhere else for quality low-stakes tables. Instead, you can simply play online blackjack.

Mobile casinos provide fair blackjack games at $1 stakes. The average house edge for an online blackjack game is just 0.5%.

You can do even better than this, though, in certain circumstances. Saucify and Microgaming, for example, feature single-deck games with just 0.2% and 0.3% house edges, respectively.

Conclusion

More and more US casinos are requiring $25 minimum bets. They’ve raised the stakes due to inflation, a need for profits, and a decreasing emphasis on low-stakes gambling.

If you don’t have a big bankroll, then you may feel like these stakes are above your head. However, you don’t necessarily need to fear $25 games.

Provided you’re dealing with a low house advantage, you won’t be facing big theoretical losses. Previous examples in this post show theoretical losses of around $10 an hour at $25 stakes.

Of course, you can still look for cheaper games too. Casinos in larger gaming destinations—especially Vegas—still offer plenty of $5 tables.