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The Latest Blackjack Travesty

By MikeE on Monday, 13th February 2017 8:00am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 16


About a week ago, my cousin and I were roaming Mandalay Bay's casino floor in hopes of finding a reasonable blackjack game on an early Friday evening. All the hand cut shoes were $25 and continuous shuffle machines $15. My cousin wasn't comfortable with green chips, so we pulled a seat up to a CSM.

Yes, the MGM-operated continuous shuffle table. You know, the one with six or eight decks. The one where they hit on the soft 17. The one where you're definitely not getting the best game in the city, but the minimums are mostly right, the rules aren't terrible, and with a few drinks and a few friends, it can be fun regardless.

We buy in, get our chips, and lose our initial bets while the only other player at the table gets a blackjack on a $20 bet. Guess what he got paid? $24.

Yes, we were at a 6:5 table.

A zillion thoughts rushed through my mind. How can this be? Two decks and 6:5 is insulting enough. But six decks and continuously shuffled? It said it right there on the felt. I kicked myself for even buying in at this table despite my supposed Vegas veteran status. I realized that I'm conditioned to only look for the 6:5 payout when I'm seeing two or fewer decks.

I immediately colored up and told my cousin to do the same mere seconds after sitting down. The pit boss asked where we were going just as she was about to take my mLife card.

"A 6:5 payout on a continuous shuffle machine? That's offensive."

I hoped my response resonated with her.

We moved across the way to another CSM with the same minimum. The felt said nothing, but I had trust issues and confirmed 3:2 with the dealer. He said they just threw in the 6:5 CSMs last week and even he mentioned how ridiculous it was.

If I want roulette odds, I'll play roulette. It's only a matter of time before this catches on to other MGM properties if it hasn't already. Hell, it wouldn't surprise me if Luxor and Excalibur are saturated with these tables already. Play online games at the best friv 2 games. Play online games at the best friv 2 games this website.

The next night, I played a two deck, 3:2 pitch game at South Point with a $10 minimum. I proceeded to take them for a grand in half an hour. For that moment, South Point was an infinitely better resort than Mandalay Bay.

Tagged: mandalay bay   gambling   blackjack   


Comments & Discussion:

Mike, your post was not unexpected. More's the pity.
I'm afraid this does indeed portend more of the same 6/5 fungus-blight-cancer to spread to other MGM props.
This development is in direct proportion to the amount of club going hipsters, gawkers and penny pinching non-gamers.
While I can afford the, for now, safe havens of the HL rooms, I am starting to feel real old as what Vegas used to be to me passes on.

I agree this is extremely unfortunate.

The solution is simple - never play at a 6:5 table. EVER.

What's that one website that lists all the table conditions at resorts?



Actually, I think they have tried this before (or have been doing it all along). I was at M-B about 4-5 years ago and had the same experience. Sat down at a $15 CSM table and was about to hand over my money when I saw 6:5 on the felt. Walked away and found a "regular" 3:2 CSM on the other side of the pit.

I remember back in the 90s when I would wonder why anyone would ever play a shoe game with downtown rules (dealer hits soft 17) because there were so many good low-stakes games on the Strip. Last week it was nice to play at the Nugget, where you could find $5 games fairly easily in the afternoons, with surrender offered as well.

the illustrious Bellagio has been doing this at their $5 CSM accessible table right by the lobby for years, as well as on some of the other CSM tables when I've walked by (usually CSMs by the lobby and also in the second pit over towards Hyde on the way to sports book, when that pit is open)

I just saw this at the MB a couple of weeks ago myself. Noticed the 6:5 odds before I sat down. Worrisome development.

It is terrible, and indeed the solution is for no one to play 6:5 "blackjack" ever. I don't count cards so I don't care about the number of decks and CSM, but 6:5 is not blackjack. I suppose it's possible to liberalize the other rules to a point that makes up for 6:5, but you never see that, in fact, you see quite the opposite.

But I am not surprised that people play it. When I sit down at a $15 table and see people taking even money on a potential BJ push, not hitting a 13 with a dealer 10 showing, etc., not just on occasion but every single hand played, it doesn't surprise me that they just go along with the 6:5.

Simple solution: Go play BJ downtown.

@Vespajet - ah that's it. thanks!

Definitely a shame to see at any property on the strip, but I've noticed this type of thing more and more at MGM properties, Mirage with real short pay VP tables (on 4oaks) the different tiers for points earned on licensed or unlicensed slots and the machines that MGM doesn't allow any pts to be earned on.

The good thing for MGM is that the perception has been that they were continuing to offer a fair gamble and that CET were the evildoers, in truth CET's seemed to loosen up a bit on some of the things I see, DD BJ on the floor at $25, less 6/5 tables, etc.

I only stay on the Strip for the nice rooms and do all my bjack playing at the local casinos off-STrip. My fave place to play bjack is at the Orleans. Lots of $5- $10 double-deck games that pay 3:2 and they'll let you play 2 hands for the same bet on each hand and not make you double the bet even though you're playing two hands like on the Strip. And most importanly, they'll let you hold the cards in your hand, try doing that on the Strip! LOL

Just got back from Palazzo last night. Most, if not all of the $15 games there were 3:2, no CSMs. They had a double deck $25 game during the week, which goes to $50 on the weekends.


CSM 6:5 BJ will always be around the Strip casinos as long as unsuspecting tourists keep playing it.

To expand on malibugolfer's point...For those of us that are a little older, we will see a whole new generation of Vegas visitors who will never know that an honest, 3:2 game of BJ ever existed. To them, 6:5 will be all they ever know. I know VP machines have experienced a cut in pay tables, but that feels different from a purist's standpoint. While a natural 21 may be more common than a full house on a .25 JOB, it feels way more exhilarating.

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