Why You Keep Losing Money Playing 6:5 Blackjack

Man With Head In Hands at a Blackjack Table

Blackjack is near the top of my list for the all-time most fantastic casino game. The game allows players to impart strategy on a straightforward game with a reasonably low house edge.

Advantage players can hone their craft and gain an edge on the house. This ensures the gambler a long-term profit.

Unfortunately, like all casino games, many blackjack tables have rules designed to significantly cut the players’ chances of winning.

One of the more severe infractions comes to how the games payout for a natural. For years the standard payout was 3:2, but more and more tables are transitioning to a 6:5 payout.

Let’s examine why you keep losing money playing 6:5 blackjack.

A Disappointing Trend in the Blackjack World

The casino industry is forced to constantly evolve. Otherwise, they’d see their attendance drop dramatically and be forced into much smaller quarters.

So, the casinos are in the position of having to offer a tremendous overall entertainment experience that caters to a wide range of guests. You need to bring in the families looking for a theme park atmosphere, partygoers that want to live it up poolside by day and in the clubs at night, the crowd that’s focused on exquisite dining experiences paired with shows you can’t see anywhere else, and lastly the gambler.

Don’t be under any illusions that gamblers weren’t last on the list. That’s not to say casinos don’t care about gambling or even gamblers. Still, gambling isn’t their sole or even primary focus.

The emphasis on an all-encompassing entertainment venue has worked for casinos, and the popularity of casinos is reaching an all-time high. This means hordes of new recreational and casual gamblers coming through the door.

The 6:5 payout on blackjack is the casino’s way of increasing the house edge on the casino classic. The additional profits help the casino continue putting its best foot forward when it comes to offering the pinnacle of world-class entertainment.

Players Don’t Recognize the Impact

Many players merely fail to understand the fundamentals of blackjack. They see a game to 21, and it’s familiar because most of us play the game at home as kids—at least most of us did when I was growing up, before iPads or YouTube.

If you don’t spend time learning the casino game you’re playing, you should hardly be surprised that you’re losing money. So, before you ever consider sitting down at a blackjack table, you need to learn how to play the game and become familiar with its rules.

Many players are losing money on 6:5 blackjack tables because they don’t understand the diminished payout’s impact. I suspect many more players fail to recognize a difference at all and assume they’re playing your average real money blackjack game.

Closeup of a Blackjack Table

The other problem with the 6:5 payout is that some people struggle with math. For instance, many years ago, A&W launched a 1/3 pound hamburger to compete with McDonald’s’ 1/4 pounder.

The campaign was a significant failure for the company and allowed Mcdonald’s to become, well, McDonald’s. The defeat was ultimately linked to most Americans believing that 1/3 was less than 1/4.

So, the same can be said for the 6:5 payout on blackjack. When you put 6:5 next to 3:2, many people will mistakenly assume that 6:5 is better.

Have you ever seen the fantastic Mike Judge film Idiocracy?

Why 6:5 Makes It Hard to Win

By now, many of you may be buying into the notion that 6:5 blackjack payout is terrible for the player. Even those on the fence should be convinced by what I’m going to share next.

When a blackjack table pays out 3:2 for a natural, you’re getting 1.5 times your bet as a win. So, on a $20 wager, a natural pays $30. That’s not bad at all, and these increased wins for a natural help combat the house edge significantly.

Now, on a 6:5 payout table, the same blackjack on a $20 bet will net you only $24. Every time you hit a blackjack on a 6:5 table, you’re compromising yourself substantially.

Instead of getting 1.5 times your original bet as a win on a $20 wager, you’re getting 1.2. Throughout a gambling session, this leads to your bankroll depleting at a much faster rate than necessary.

If you play blackjack perfectly under good rules, the house edge in a 3:2 blackjack game is only 0.5%. Compare that to a 6:5 game where the house edge catapults to a whopping 2%, and you may never play a 6:5 game again.

I understand that 2% isn’t approaching the worst territory for a house edge when it comes to sucker bets in casino games. Still, jumping from a game at 0.5% to 2% is a 400% increase.

You can’t help but lose money at those odds. Remember, those numbers are under ideal circumstances.

Based on your blackjack acumen, you could be facing much higher odds. Regardless of your skill or strategy, the house edge will always be considerably higher at tables paying 6:5.

Can Card Counters Beat 6:5 Games?

Card counters are the most elite blackjack players on the planet. They have learned a skill set that allows them to flip the script on casino blackjack games and enjoy a long-term positive expectation.

Counting Cards is not hard. The advantage gambling method uses a running tally of cards in the deck using a point system. When the deck is heavy on high-value cards like 10s and aces, the card counter will increase their bet significantly to maximize wins from a natural blackjack.

People Playing at Blackjack Table

Unfortunately, when the payout is only 6:5, the task of making a profit becomes much more challenging. The diminished payout has a hard time covering all of the smaller bets lost previously.

Under the perfect conditions, card counters can make a profit on 6:5 tables. However, any advantage is nearly imperceivable.

The bottom line is that no card counter worth their salt would ever be caught at a 6:5 blackjack table. If the players that hold an advantage won’t bother playing at 6:5, should you?

Implementing Basic Strategy Will Help

Basic strategy for blackjack is a fabulous way to reduce the odds and enjoy positive swings in your favor. The strategy was created based on results from millions of hands of computer-generated blackjack hands.

When utilized under ideal conditions, the basic strategy will cut the house edge below 0.5%. That’s on games where the casino pays out 3:2 for a blackjack.

For the 6:5 tables, the house edge remains considerably higher even with the basic strategy. Still, you’ll be able to stick around for much longer than those playing each hand on a whim.

The great thing about basic strategy is that you won’t be forced into learning complicated algorithms or keep a tally on a busy casino floor.

Merely purchase or download a strategy chart online and bring the card to the casino. You are free to reference the card as much as needed, provided you aren’t holding up the game.

You may not always come away as a winner, and you’ll win even less often on a 6:5 table. Still, the basic strategy is straightforward to use and can increase your overall chances by more than half.

Playing Games With Better Rules Is Your Best Option

You can always find ways to stop losing so much by finding games with better rules. On the Las Vegas Strip, finding games with the best practices is complex because the casinos know they are full of tourists who will gamble regardless.

No matter what the rules for a casino game are, there will be butts in seats. That’s a result of most players being far more concerned with how to play a game than the actual odds of the game they’re playing.

Las Vegas Strip

Fortunately, you can find dozens of casinos off the Strip that offer players a fighting chance to hold onto their money. Places located downtown or away from the tourist corridor is more focused on the pure gamblers. Just check out our guide for the best blackjack casinos in Vegas!

These casinos place emphasis on catering to the guests that are more concerned with blackjack and slot machines than spa treatments and amusement parks. It shows in their games, where 3:2 blackjack tables are much more common sightings.

There are plenty of pundits who may try to convince you that single-deck games, dealer standing on soft 17, and the player is allowed to double down after splitting will give you a fighting chance.

I’d instead convince you to avoid tables that pay 6:5 for a natural blackjack like the plague. If you have to find a new favorite casino in the process, remember that variety is the spice of life.

In Summary

Hopefully, you can now see why you keep losing money playing 6:5 blackjack. Don’t mistake what I’ve given you as being all on the casinos.

You’re the one that has been playing a vastly inferior game, whether you noticed or not. Implementation of best practices can help curb the burn of the house edge, but only so much.