$1 blackjack is extremely rare in live gaming. In fact, Las Vegas is the only city in the world that offers dollar blackjack.
You can find these ultra-low stakes in a few Vegas casinos. These games let you play live blackjack for the absolute cheapest stakes.
But will $1 blackjack eventually disappear? After all, it’s only available in select Vegas casinos.
I’ll cover more on why dollar blackjack is so special in the following post. I’ll also discuss the prospects of this game hanging around in the future.
Most Blackjack Games Don’t Offer $5 Stakes…Let Alone $1
Many casinos now feature minimum blackjack bets ranging from $10-$25. That said, $5 blackjack is often considered the gold standard among low rollers.
In Las Vegas, you won’t have much trouble finding $5 tables. Many casinos in Sin City still offer these stakes.
Given the lack of $5 stakes, you can only imagine how rare dollar games are. Even Vegas only has a few casinos that accept dollar blackjack bets.
Why Have Blackjack Stakes Increased?
The fact that most casinos have increased blackjack stakes to $10-$25 suggests sheer greed. The reality, however, is that casinos have had to do this.
$5 today isn’t worth the same amount that it was back in the 1980s, when $5 tables were more common. Instead, $5 in 1980 would be worth $17 when accounting for inflation.
That said, casinos can’t just keep accepting low minimum bets forever. They eventually need to raise stakes to keep up with inflation.
The fact that many casinos still offer $10 stakes shows that they’re not entirely greedy. Instead, they see these increases as necessary to continue making profits.
$1 blackjack stakes are ridiculously low by today’s standards. Here’s a look at how the value of a dollar has changed over the years:
- $1 in 2020 would be worth $1.06 today.
- $1 in 2000 would be worth $1.59 today.
- $1 in 1980 would be worth $3.32 today.
- $1 in 1960 would be worth $9.24 today.
- $1 in 1940 would be worth $19.54 today.
As more time goes by, the dollars that casinos accept become worth less and less. They have no choice but to eventually raise stakes to account for the diminished currency.
Casinos actually lose money when offering dollar blackjack tables. They only provide this game as something of a long-term promotion.
Here’s a scenario to show why casinos lose money with these stakes:
- A casino accepts $1 minimum bets.
- 5 players are seated at the table and placing $1 wagers.
- The table sees 75 hands per hour.
- 75 x 5 x 1 = $375 wagered an hour
- The casino holds a 2.0% house edge.
- 375 x 0.02 = $7.50 in house winnings per hour
- The casino pays a dealer $10 an hour to run the table.
- 10 – 7.50 = $2.50 in hourly house losses
This example doesn’t even include all the other expenses that a casino must spend to run this table and others. Even if some players bet a little more on hot streaks, the casino still wouldn’t make money with this game.
Vegas Casinos that Offer $1 Blackjack
As mentioned before, not even Vegas offers many opportunities to play dollar blackjack. In fact, only three casinos in this worldwide gambling destination provide such low stakes.
Lucky Club provides by far the most favorable $1 blackjack out of the three. Thanks to player-friendly rules, its game only carries a 0.64% house edge.
Oyo checks in with the second-best dollar blackjack game. It holds a 2.0% house advantage on $1 tables.
Poker Palace is the worst place to enjoy dollar stakes. Its $1 game carries a massive 2.72% house advantage.
Of course, you’re unlikely to notice a huge difference between a 0.64% and 2.79% house edge when considering the dollar minimum bets. Nevertheless, you should consider the house edges if you plan on enjoying lots of $1 blackjack.
Why Dollar Blackjack Might Not Be Around for Long
$1 blackjack is definitely an enticing prospect for low-stakes players who want to play cheaply. However, it may eventually be on its way out of Vegas for the following reasons.
Inflation Keeps Rising
The dollar’s inflation rarely stops on a year-to-year basis. In fact, 2009 is the last time that the dollar experienced a deflationary year (-0.36%).
Poker Palace, Oyo, and Lucky Club will find it more and more expensive to offer a novelty like $1 dollar blackjack. They may even be forced to abandon it if these games cost too much.
The scenario covered earlier shows how dollar games cost an operator money. These costs will only further increase along with inflation.
Casinos Already Lose Money with This Game
Continuing off the point above, $1 blackjack isn’t a profit-maker for gaming venues whatsoever. Casinos spend more money on the dealers operating this game than they take in.
Again, though, how much longer will these casinos offer dollar tables if the cost becomes too much? They could instead replace these tables with more lucrative games. At the very least, they might provide another novelty game that’s not as expensive.
No Other Casinos Offer These Stakes
Dollar blackjack isn’t exactly a popular trend in gaming. As mentioned several times, only three casinos in Sin City offer this game.
Lucky Club, Oyo, and Poker Palace stand alone with this game. No other gambling establishments in the world are willing to offer such cheap stakes.
Odds are that the number of casinos featuring $1 tables will decrease—not increase. I’m not sure exactly when this will happen, but it’ll likely be at some point in the near future.
What Can You Do If $1 Vegas Blackjack Disappears?
If you’re itching to play dollar blackjack, then you don’t necessarily have to rush out to Vegas before the game disappears. Instead, you can look towards the options discussed below.
Play Online Blackjack
From casino site to site, online blackjack always features $1 minimum bets. Therefore, you don’t have to travel to play this game cheaply.
The average internet blackjack game lets you wager anywhere between $1 and $500 per hand. You’ll be satisfied with the mobile version no matter if you’re a low or high roller.
Furthermore, you don’t even need to risk anything to play. Most gaming sites let you enjoy free blackjack after you’ve registered for an account.
Check Out $2 and $3 Tables in Vegas
From my perspective, Sin City may not offer dollar tables much longer. However, some casinos might still keep their $2 and $3 tables rolling.
Sam’s Town, Joker’s Wild, and Fremont all provide $3 blackjack. Joker’s Wild and Sam’s Town have the best game among this bunch with a 0.78% house advantage.
Look for $5 and $10 Blackjack in Your Area
You aren’t going to find live blackjack at $2 or $3 stakes outside of Las Vegas. However, you can at least look for $5 and, especially, $10 tables.
As mentioned before, $5 blackjack isn’t overly common either. You’ll likely find it, though, in major gaming destinations, such as Atlantic City, Biloxi, Reno, and/or Tunica.
$10 blackjack is of course more common across many gaming destinations. It may not be the cheapest way to play, but it’s at least cheaper than $25 stakes.
Play Live Dealer Blackjack
You don’t have to visit Sin City just to enjoy the combination of live blackjack and $1 minimum bets. Instead, you can play live dealer blackjack, which is available at many online casinos.
The live dealer game perfectly replicates land-based casinos with a real deal dealer, table, and cards. The only thing that’s missing is the cards and chips actually being your hand.
Furthermore, you can play this game for just $1 at many casinos. At worst, you’ll need to wager $5 a hand.
Live dealer blackjack is the best way to enjoy the live gaming experience without leaving your house. All you need to do is grab your smartphone or laptop and start playing
$1 live blackjack is an anomaly in the gaming industry. After all, only three Vegas smaller establishments offer this game.
Oyo, Poker Palace, and Lucky Club actually lose money through $1 blackjack. They simply run these tables as a promotion to attract more gamblers.
Rising inflation will eventually make $1 tables too expensive to run—even as a money-losing promotion. That said, dollar live blackjack will eventually disappear from the scene.
Even if/when this happens, though, you’ll still be able to play for a dollar at online casinos. You can also find $2 and $3 tables in Vegas.