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Best blackjack in Vegas?

Best blackjack in Vegas?

Old Feb 25, 2017, 4:55 pm
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Best blackjack in Vegas?

Kind of a dumb question, I suppose, but I made a day trip last year into LAS (flying from SFO in the morning, and onto LAX in the evening). Went to Caesar's, and that was a mistake...not because I lost my shirt, but because the playing room was absolutely depressing - no natural light and low ceilings made it feel like I was having a subpar experience and wasted several hours in a relatively unenjoyable environment.

I have had my best luck @ Treasure Island, but that is a pretty standard casino area to be playing in. Anyone have tips on the best place (from an ambiance / atmospheric perspective) that they like to play in?
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Old Feb 25, 2017, 9:26 pm
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I haven't done so in 3 years, so maybe it's changed, but the El Cortez. Dunno if they still have it, but they were the last holdout for a decent game with odds favoring the house only by 0.16% if you played a perfect basic strategy. Also single-deck games that dipped as low as $3 at some times. The casino heat would only start with the green chips, 'twas said.

I once played at a table with some drunk Chinese guy who'd bet $10 on one hand and $200 on the next, which was really freaking out the upstairs. The floorman was parked at the side of the table watching, but the guy wasn't winning so they let him go on.

Used ta be the Western had a $1 game and the Gold Spike sometimes had that, but then they got sold and the new owner put in worse odds. The places used to be dingy with people smoking like chimneys, but at least in the El Cortez case they remodeled and things are better.

The Strip places have just gotten too greedy. For a long time the trade-off was shoe games everywhere (usually 6-deck), which added a point or so to house advantage. But in more recent times they've added egregious things like 6:5 blackjacks or rule variants like hitting soft 17s in shoe games that add even more to house advantage. Millennials weren't playing so they tried to recoup losses by making odds WORSE , thus ensuring people feel they have less fun because their money is being taken at too fast a rate (big difference between 1% and 2.5-3% house advantage).

The El Cortez knew that most players couldn't play a good basic strategy and thus gave 2%+ off the top, and they'd shoo away the Rain Man types with the heat at $25+.

IIRC, the Longhorn on Boulder Hwy. was claiming they had the best odds on my most recent trip a few months ago (when I didn't play anywhere).
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Old Feb 27, 2017, 11:09 am
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Overall, I haven't had much luck on the Strip. I notice that either off Strip casinos like the Orleans, Gold Coast, Rio and Palms will have better odds. Downtown tends to have better odds than the Strip too. I was just there for the Superbowl week and El Cortez still had the $1 tables, which is hard to find anywhere. Golden Nugget has a nice atmosphere for playing and so does the D, but the type of music and atmosphere that is promoted there might turn off certain gamblers.
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Old Feb 27, 2017, 9:55 pm
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Downtown casinos are generally better than the strip with El Cortez's single deck game likely one of the best.

On the strip, Bellagio and Treasure Island 2 deck games offer the best odds. I usually opt for the B's 2 deck games with decent penetration by most Dealers.
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Old Feb 28, 2017, 10:22 am
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Originally Posted by Visconti
Downtown casinos are generally better than the strip with El Cortez's single deck game likely one of the best.

On the strip, Bellagio and Treasure Island 2 deck games offer the best odds. I usually opt for the B's 2 deck games with decent penetration by most Dealers.
For me, Bellagio 2 deck games is offset by high minimums. I need a $5 table where I can play for a long time. I actually had fun a few times at Luxor...it all depends on the dealer and the people at the table and the attentiveness of the cocktail waitress in my book. A really fun dealer and fun players can soften the pain of losing quite a bit.
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Old Mar 1, 2017, 10:52 am
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Originally Posted by corky
For me, Bellagio 2 deck games is offset by high minimums. I need a $5 table where I can play for a long time. I actually had fun a few times at Luxor...it all depends on the dealer and the people at the table and the attentiveness of the cocktail waitress in my book. A really fun dealer and fun players can soften the pain of losing quite a bit.
Sure, there's playing for fun and playing for the best odds. At $5 per hand, the odds aren't as important, unless one is planning to deviate wager amounts.

Downtown Casinos (Fremont St) are really an excellent value for $5 tables. They're all pretty good games, but the El Cortez is really fun on their single deck games. Also, the Plaza has a very fun/interesting Blackjack game with some liberal rules; not the best odds, but fun to kill time. And, they offer an instant match for top tier status.
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Old Mar 1, 2017, 12:33 pm
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I was listening to the vegasfanboy podcast today (episode #44 from 2015 - yes I only just found it!) and his guest said that Treasure Island had some good $5 tables. Granted that may no longer be true but I thought I would mention it.

Edit to add: And if I had been paying more careful attention the first time I read the OP, I would have noticed that you mentioned Treasure Island!
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Old Mar 1, 2017, 1:41 pm
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Seems like you asked about atmosphere/ambiance and everyone is giving you feedback on best games for payback percentage.

For classy, open air atmosphere/ambiance, I'd recommend Aria or Cosmopolitan.

For "party pit" type atmosphere, I'd say Planet Hollywood.

For truly open-air atmosphere - I believe Golden Nugget and Mandalay Bay have poolside blackjack.
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Old Mar 1, 2017, 5:44 pm
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Originally Posted by indyscott
Seems like you asked about atmosphere/ambiance and everyone is giving you feedback on best games for payback percentage.

For classy, open air atmosphere/ambiance, I'd recommend Aria or Cosmopolitan.

For "party pit" type atmosphere, I'd say Planet Hollywood.

For truly open-air atmosphere - I believe Golden Nugget and Mandalay Bay have poolside blackjack.
Yeah, the first is what I am interested in. The second is distracting (I am still trying to win a little, after all - that's part of the fun), and I can't imagine being outside in the middle of a hot summer day in Vegas.

As for playing - I absolutely despise playing single/double-deck hands...I'm generally aware of what cards have been coming out, but I would definitely overthink it (I'm not a card counter). The reason I like blackjack is there is a minor amount of skill involved, but you don't need so much that you become consumed by solely paying attention to what is going on (like you would in poker).
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Old Mar 2, 2017, 1:48 pm
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Originally Posted by indyscott
Seems like you asked about atmosphere/ambiance and everyone is giving you feedback on best games for payback percentage.
Yeah, that was kind of odd, like nobody read the OP, just the title.

For classy, open air atmosphere/ambiance, I'd recommend Aria or Cosmopolitan.
Hmm, both of those are rather "tight" to me. Cosmo casino in particular, it's like an afterthought (well, it is, because they don't make any money in the casino).

Caesars atmosphere is fine in the newer sections, I imagine OP was in the original casino area. But you have to be careful of the 6:5 BJ, especially near the scantily-clad women dancing around poles.

Wynn has nice ambiance, and Encore actually has areas with natural lighting. The Palazzo is also quite open, huge high ceilings, but not a ton of character.
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Old Mar 3, 2017, 6:01 pm
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Originally Posted by ijgordon
Yeah, that was kind of odd, like nobody read the OP, just the title.

Hmm, both of those are rather "tight" to me. Cosmo casino in particular, it's like an afterthought (well, it is, because they don't make any money in the casino).

Caesars atmosphere is fine in the newer sections, I imagine OP was in the original casino area. But you have to be careful of the 6:5 BJ, especially near the scantily-clad women dancing around poles.

Wynn has nice ambiance, and Encore actually has areas with natural lighting. The Palazzo is also quite open, huge high ceilings, but not a ton of character.
I was wondering when someone was going to mention the pussy cat dolls BJ.
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Old Mar 5, 2017, 12:02 pm
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Originally Posted by corky
I was wondering when someone was going to mention the pussy cat dolls BJ.
Lol.
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Old Mar 12, 2017, 10:55 pm
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Originally Posted by indyscott
Seems like you asked about atmosphere/ambiance and everyone is giving you feedback on best games for payback percentage.


For "party pit" type atmosphere, I'd say Planet Hollywood.

.
Good choice on the strip and the dealers are usually friendly. They have the "Love" pit or something to that effect where dancers are on stage at night.
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Old Mar 12, 2017, 11:17 pm
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I learned to gamble at the Western and El Cortez when I was 14-15 years old in the early 80's. I loved the roulette, blackjack and machines there.

I won enough to buy a used computer back then. I would occasionally get questioned at the El Cortez about my age. I can't ever recall getting kicked out of the Western.

I loved the Western, which was owned by El Cortez then, as it was the training casino. I can't tell you how many times, they'd miss taking a losing bet on roulette, or get paid on a 22 or a push on 16 in blackjack.

Less than 10 years later, I'd fly in at 11pm with male gambler friends from Phoenix, gamble all night, behave with testosterone filled stupidity, and fly back on an early morning flight.

Even thinking about some of the things that happened make me question if my memory is right. Getting banned from blackjack for being too skilled always seemed silly.
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Old Apr 3, 2017, 11:36 pm
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I find the 6:5 offensive, purely designed to fleece novices who are not aware of the normal rules (as if the regular odds aren't already stacked in favor of the dealer). You always used to find these tables near the Strip entrances - hopefully not a majority of the tables now but I haven't been in a while.

My 2 main issues are the pervasive tobacco smoke and the H1B automaton dealers. Unfortunately not much you can do about either in Vegas. The local dealers are one of the few things I enjoy in the Tahoe casinos - some have been there for years and they are normally pretty friendly. If I wanted to lose to a machine I would play slots.

As for best BJ casinos, I'm sure everyone has their own favs. Personally I find that I only win at the Palms and TI, and never win at Venetian or Mandalay. But I'm sure that's just random chance.
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