National Blackjack Day: Bringing the fun back into the game

We are quickly approaching a very important date on the calendar. March 2nd is National Blackjack Day, and it is for a very specific reason. If you were to write the date like odds and it’s 3:2, the traditional and standard payout on a blackjack. Over the past few years however, there has been a trend developing. More and more casinos are changing up those odds, like a plague that is slowly spreading from Las Vegas to elsewhere. And as a gambler, you should beware, it’s killing your chances at winning.

National Blackjack Day

“Unfortunately, the scourge of six-to-five blackjack is spreading,” said @BlackjackDay, the organizer of National Blackjack Day, an avid blackjack player and aspiring pro gambler who doesn’t want his name to be used on fear of being banned from casinos.

“The big corporations have been squeezing us and squeezing us. One of the ways they do that is with terrible payouts. Six-to-five blackjack is killing folks. Every time you hit blackjack you will be winning less money than you’re supposed to and more casinos are moving in that direction. Nearly half (47%) of all games in Vegas are now six-to-five, which means if you sit down at one of those tables your chances of winning have diminished.”

The Math is Simple

Blackjack is the world’s biggest and most popular casino game. The payout odds have always been 3:2 for 21, which means if you wagered $10 you would get $25 back, or a $15 profit. On that same bet at a 6:5 table you will only get $22 back, which only leads to a $12 win. It’s not just happening at the $5 and $10 tables either. On the Las Vegas strip, typically, once play moves past the $25 game you will only find 3:2 blackjack, but during major events like the Super Bowl or March Madness, a few casinos are now sneaking in 6:5 odds at the higher limit $100 tables.

What’s worse? The average recreational gambler has no idea about the trap they’re walking into, and are simply oblivious to the longer odds. The reality is; if you are sitting down at a $5 or $10 blackjack table on the Las Vegas strip in 2020, you are most likely playing at 6:5 odds.

“The average person comes in with $100 or $200 to gamble. They know how to play blackjack, it’s pretty simple. They know they’re trying to beat the dealer. And they know a 20 or 21 will most likely win their hand, but they don’t the difference between a 3:2 payout and a 6:5 payout, or some of the other rules that might squeeze their winnings. So, they end up losing a lot quicker than they normally would and their enjoyment level goes down. We’re just trying to raise awareness by letting people know that they should only be betting their hard-earned money at tables with better odds and payouts.”

Ace and King in hand with chips in the background

Frustrated & Furious

With an ever-increasing number of tables becoming almost impossible to win at, National Blackjack Day was born out of frustration. Running since 2017, it was officially trademarked last year and recognized by the United States Patent & Trade Office to take place on March 2 every year.

“People had been tweeting about it, saying they were being nickel and dime’d and weren’t having as much fun. As a serious blackjack player, I felt that same frustration. It was getting to the point that it wasn’t even worth sitting down in some games I used to enjoy because the rules were so bad. I finally said enough is enough and I wanted to do something about it,”

If you’re a blackjack enthusiast, the alarm bells should be ringing. The dreaded 6:5 game is expanding far and wide, well beyond the city limits of Las Vegas.

“With gambling, that’s what tends to happen. It starts in Vegas and spreads to other places. We need to stem the tide now, so we have a better chance in the future. Otherwise, every time we sit down and to play this wonderful game, we’ll be getting worse and worse odds. It’s not fair and it’s not exciting. It’s annoying.”

The movement back toward 3:2 is gaining some steam too. Over the past four years, a number of big players have joined the effort in promoting 3:2 blackjack. Specifically, The D Las Vegas, which is a huge proponent of better odds and traditional payouts. On its website it says, “If you are looking for a good time, check out 10x odds on dice or 3-to-2 on blackjack,” being sure to advertise the odds as a reason to play there. Once standard, now a selling point. “The only thing hotter than the excitement of our table games is our dancing dealers,” the website boasts.

Video Blackjack?

How bad is it? In a recent report titled Most Las Vegas Video Blackjack Now Pays 6:5 or Worse for vegasadvantage.com, John Mehaffey notes, “every Las Vegas casino on the Strip now sets it there (6:5), adding about 1.39 percent to the house edge from a 3:2 game with the same other rules. Just five years ago, none of these 6:5 video blackjack games existed.”

In the report, Mehaffey paints a dire picture of the state of the game, suggesting a growing number of casinos are even installing machines that pay even money on blackjack. Even money?

“There was a time when video blackjack was one of the sharpest casino plays. Good rules, no players card exclusions, promotions and, sometimes, countable games, made it a great option for those looking for an edge. Those days in Las Vegas are long gone,”

So What Can You Do?

There are five simple things recreational gamblers can do to help support the movement:

  • Celebrate National Blackjack Day on March 2nd
  • Play blackjack at your local casino
  • Only play at tables with 3:2 odds
  • Share your love for the game on social media
  • Call on casino companies to keep 3:2 tables

“We’re not curing cancer here but it’s a lot of fun and I do take ownership and pride in it. I feel it’s an important day and should be a great cause. We’re trying to help the average consumer when they’re out gambling and having fun with friends.”

For more information on National Blackjack Day, please visit nationalblackjackday.org

Derrick Oliver

Derrick Oliver

Derrick Oliver Dewan is the founder of High Roller Radio and has interviewed a number of the world's top poker players and gamblers. A former radio and television broadcaster, Derrick was brand manager for Poker Pro Canada magazine and has written for a variety of publications, including the Toronto Star & Windsor Life.

News

Gambling Heartbreak is No Joke, But Sometimes it’s Funny

Gambling Heartbreak is No Joke, But Sometimes it’s Funny

Derrick Oliver
August 5, 2020

Ontario Casinos Except Caesars Windsor Prepare to Reopen

Ontario Casinos Except Caesars Windsor Prepare to Reopen

Jennifer Newell
August 4, 2020

The Best Cruise Ships with Casinos

The Best Cruise Ships with Casinos

Dave Golokhov
July 31, 2020