Why is it that every great bargain these days seems to come with a derisible catch? Get a free cup of coffee (when you buy a dozen over-priced donuts); save $10 on your next shopping order (for spending $200 on non-sale items); get a $25 gift card (for sitting through hours of timeshare promos). There’s a similar offer on the blackjack tables at one Las Vegas Strip casino.
If you walk into The Riviera and traverse the casino gaming floor long enough, you’ll find two blackjack tables with $1 minimum bets. The economy certainly isn’t what it used to be, therefore $1 bets on blackjack are becoming unheard of, especially on the Vegas Strip. You might expect these tables to be packed with players at all hours, with lines stretched out the door, but that’s not the case.
During peak hours, the seats are generally full, but lines aren’t common and you can generally snag a seat at off hours with no wait. That’s because the rules of the game are so bad, it might not even be worth the effort.
Most casinos, on or off the Vegas Strip, offer 3:2 payouts for a natural blackjack. Those that present 6:5 payouts are considered the worst in the business because it adds nearly 2% to the house edge. And of course, that’s what these $1 blackjack tables are advertising. However, you have to read the fine print on the table, because you’ll only receive the terrible 6:5 payout if you wager $5 or more on the hand. Placing a $1 bet will only payout even money for a blackjack.
That’s the worst part of the game’s rules, but there are more negative aspects worth mentioning. The games are played with a 6-deck shoe that is constantly reshuffled after each and every hand. You can forget about trying to count cards, and the chance of being dealt a blackjack in the first place is pretty slim (not that you’ll gain much from it).
To make matters worse, the blackjack rules require the dealer to Hit a soft 17. That’s also bad for the player, adding about 0.2% more to the house edge. The only good aspect is that players have the option of doubling down after a split. But in the end, the house edge on this blackjack game is about 2.9%. Those are terrible odds when compared to a traditional 3:2 blackjack game, where a decent strategy can reduce the casino’s edge to around 0.5%.
Other $1 Blackjack tables in Las vegas
If you happen to be in town on a Thursday, forget The Riviera. Take a ride beyond the Strip to Downtown Vegas, where Binion’s is promotion Throwback Thursday Blackjack. These $1 blackjack tables offer much better rules, including the 3:2 payout and a single deck shoe. The only problem is that, unlike The Riviera, these blackjack tables are jammed packed, and there is most definitely going to be a line for a seat.
If you don’t mind traveling a little farther, you can also find $1 blackjack tables at Poker Palace, about 9 miles to the North along I-15 (Las Vegas Blvd). They’re also being hosted by The Pahrump Nugget, but that’s a little more than an hour’s drive west on NV-160.