A recent article on Las Vegas’ Palace Station brought to our attention to the city’s blackjack tables. The West Sahara Ave casino reported that it is working on bringing back the locals by focusing more on player-friendly blackjack rules and payouts. That led us to conduct an investigation on who really has the best blackjack tables in Las Vegas.
Every casino has its niche, whether it be elegance, convenience or a gambler’s delight. Unfortunately, it’s rare to find all three in a single destination. Blackjack tables with a favorable house edge (and 3-2 payouts for blackjack) and a low minimum bet aren’t easy to come by. Getting a good night’s sleep in a casino hotel that meets these standards… damn near impossible.
Best House Edge – El Cortez Blackjack Tables
The El Cortez in Downtown Las Vegas still has the best house edge of any casino in Sin City. Players can find the most favorable house edge of just 0.20%. That premium is available on blackjack tables with two price ranges of $5-$500 and $25-$1,000. Both are single deck blackjack tables with favorable rules.
The “M” Casino also offers blackjack tables with a 0.20% house edge. The only difference is there are two decks in play and the table minimum is $100.
Lowest Minimum – El Cortez Blackjack Tables
Once again, we look towards the El Cortez in Downtown Las Vegas for offering the best low cost blackjack tables. Players can find $3 games here, as well as several other casinos in and around the city, but at El Cortez, the house edge on $3 tables is 0.46% with two decks; better than the 0.57% at Arizona Charlie’s (Boulder) and Boulder Station, or the Fiesta Henderson. At the California and Freemont in Downtown, the $3 minimum exists, but the house edge increases to 0.78%.
Best On the Strip – Mirage/Monte Carlo/Treasure Island
Three casinos on the Las Vegas Strip offer two deck blackjack tables with 0.26% house edge, but you’ll need a sizeable bankroll since they all carry a $50 minimum bet. You’ll find them at The Mirage, the Monte Carlo, and Treasure Island.
The Negative Side
Clearly, El Cortez has the best all round blackjack tables in Vegas, but it comes with pitfalls. The structure is old and the rooms outdated. The noise on Freemont Street last well into the wee hours of the morning, and if it’s a good night’s sleep you seek, don’t expect to find one here. Noise is one of the most common complaints of guests at the El Cortez, as is the near un-digestible cuisine (albeit cheap).
You could always opt to stay elsewhere in Downton (unless you happen to be a local) and do your gameplay at El Cortez, because you can just as easily grab a bite to eat elsewhere up the street. But the problems may run deeper than accommodations. While I’ve never experienced this myself, there have also been complaints by respectable sources of pit bosses giving winners the evil eye.
Yet another negative to watch out for is reshuffling of single deck games before the shoe runs empty. Again, I can’t say I’ve experienced this myself, but I know trustworthy people who swear it’s happened. So if you’re planning to count cards at the blackjack tables, just be warned – there’s no rule that states the dealer can’t shuffle early.