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Best of Henry Tamburin

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6:5 single-deck 21

19 February 2010

There's an awful single-deck 21 game that is spreading like wildfire in casinos throughout the U.S. It has a reduced payoff for a blackjack -- 6:5 instead of the standard 3:2 -- which results in a house edge that's about eight times greater than on a standard single-deck game. The game is prospering because novice players and uneducated tourists have accepted the reduced blackjack payout. It's time, therefore, for knowledgeable players like you to do something about it. Otherwise, as one casino manager predicted, "In the future all blackjack games will be 6:5 single-deck games."

When this game was first introduced at the Flamingo Hilton in Las Vegas, I thought it didn't have a chance because I mistakenly believed that players wouldn't stand for the reduced payoff. But, unfortunately, I was dead wrong as players continue to flock to the 6:5 single-deck games to the delight of casino operators.

Why is the public enamored with this terrible game? I believe it's because the majority of tourists and uneducated players have heard for years that "single-deck blackjack games offer better odds." That's a fact and the smart basic strategy player can virtually eliminate the house edge in a traditional single-deck game where blackjacks pay 3:2. The problem is that the traditional single-deck blackjack game is hard to find these days so marketing the "new" 6:5 single deck games to the gullible public has been very easy.

How much does the reduced payoff in a 6:5 game cost a player? In terms of the house edge, it's about 8 times greater than the standard single-deck game and 2.3 to 3.5 times greater than the 6-deck game (depends on whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17).

In dollars and cents this is what a 6:5 blackjack payoff costs you. If you bet $10 and get a blackjack in a traditional game (3:2 payoff on blackjack) you will win $15. In a 6:5 game that same $10 bet will net you only $12. So you're out $3 for every blackjack hand that you get. On average you'll get four blackjacks per hour, so for every hour you play a 6:5 single-deck game, it costs you $12. Do you want to hand over to the casino $12 per hour for the privilege of playing blackjack? Of course you wouldn't but that is exactly what you do when you play the 6:5 single deck game at a $10 minimum bet.

Besides the poor payout on blackjacks, the 6:5 game has these additional pitfalls.

  • The 6:5 payout rule hurts all players. That means the tourists will be adversely affected by this rule as well as the more skilled basic strategy players and card counters.
  • If you wager an amount that is not divisible by 5, your payoff for a blackjack gets worse. Suppose you wagered $8 and got a blackjack. In a 6:5 game you'll get paid $6 for the first $5 of your wager and even money for the remaining $3. In other words, you get paid a net of $9, which is $3 less than what you would have gotten paid in a traditional 3:2 game. The reason for this is that a 6:5 payoff can only be paid out at the correct odds if the player wagers in multiples of $5.
  • Dealers are also impacted by the 6:5 payout. If you make a $1 tip bet for the dealer in a traditional 3:2 payout game and get blackjack, the $1 tip bet would earn the dealer $1.50. But in a 6:5 game, they only get even money because of the difficulty in paying off in small change (a $1 bet in a 6:5 game would pay $1.20).
  • Because the math doesn't work out with the 6:5 payoff, the even money option when a player is dealt a blackjack and the dealer shows an ace is prohibited. Most novice players and low rollers like to take the sure even money when they get a blackjack and in a 6:5 game they can't.
  • For the most part, card counting is not as profitable on a 6:5 game unless you can get away with a very big bet spread.
  • You won't find a 6:5 single-deck game on high-limit tables. The reason is that high rollers wouldn't stand for a 6:5 payout (the per hourly added cost for a black chip player playing heads up against the dealer in a 6:5 game is about $180).

It's painfully obvious that this game is being marketed to tourists and amateur players that know very little about blackjack. So be forewarned and do not play any blackjack game where player blackjacks pay 6-5.

Recent Articles
Best of Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

> More Books By Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

Winning Baccarat Strategies

> More Books By Henry Tamburin