Video Blackjack For Low Rollers

High minimum table limits are causing many gamblers to question what games to play. You have to go to $25 minimums for many Blackjack players to get 3-2 payoffs, and that’s just out of many a players league. Red chip players often have to settle for a 6-5 payout on blackjack. Why settle? Try other forms of Blackjack. Let’s look at Video Blackjack For Low Rollers.

Why are 6-5 payouts so bad?

Here’s an example. In a six-deck game where the dealer hits soft 17, you may double down on any first two cards, including after splits and split pairs (any pairs) up to three times; those are pretty good rules. The house edge is 0.62% if blackjacks pay 3-2.

With the same rules, except blackjacks pay 6-5, the edge shoots up to 1.98%! Is there any wonder that more low rollers are turning away from the tables and turning to video blackjack instead?

Are Video Blackjack Games Fair?

But some players refuse to play a video blackjack game. These players don’t trust the electronic version. Players tend to think that the casino can alter the house edge to make players lose more because it’s electronic. But that’s not the case. However, video blackjack cards in licensed U.S. jurisdictions are determined via a random number generator, with each card having an equal chance of being dealt. The odds of any given card dealt in a video version are the same as on-table blackjack.

When It All Began

How did it start? Our friend John Grochowski explains.

“When casino operators and game makers started moving toward video gaming in the late 1970s, the near-unanimous opinion was that video blackjack would be the breakthrough game. Instead, it became a niche game behind video poker and video keno.

A problem with early machines was that they paid only even money on blackjack, disguised in the rules displayed on the machine glass. They said, “blackjacks pay 2-for-1,” saying “even money.” The “2” consisted of getting your bet back plus an equal amount of winnings. If you bet $1, you’d get back $2, the same as any other winning hand.”

Today, an electronic blackjack table looks similar to a live dealer table. There are only two notable differences. First, the dealer is an automated hologram on an LCD screen, and the cards appear digitally on the table. Traditional video blackjack looks more like a classic video poker game, with a single seat for a single player.

Video Blackjack Advantages for Low Rollers

LOWER MINIMUMS

Video blackjack machines often have a lower minimum bet of as little as $1. Even $5 seems low compared to traditional tables, especially on weekends where limits can start as high as $15 – $25. In finding the lowest-limit blackjack games, video blackjack has a clear advantage over live blackjack.

BETTER RULES

Video blackjack games can have better rules than live blackjack games in the same casino. So check the rules, and you may find standing on all 17’s, offering surrender, doubling after the split, and splitting up to 3 hands.

BETTER COMPS

Comps, the free perks casinos give to players, are usually calculated higher for machine players unless the machine is part of a multi-game machine. In that case, your comps may follow the video poker rate on the machine. But that’s still better than playing live tables under $25, making it challenging to earn comps.

NO ANTAGONISTIC PLAYERS

Many have played at those serious “No Fun Blackjack” tables. The players are antagonistic, and heaven helps you play the wrong way (according to basic strategy).  Some players can be very intimidating, if not downright nasty. However, with video Blackjack, your poor strategy doesn’t draw criticism from other players, even if there are seats for more players.

NO DEALERS

The dealer might be grumpy. I am not an “anti-dealerite” (thank -you, Seinfeld), but there are no mistakes with the machine’s dealing of the cards. You never have to worry about the hand declared a misdeal or not getting paid correctly. Some dealers also hate their jobs, and it is obvious. They can bring the whole aura of the environment down. Video blackjack games are also faster than most dealers can deal, especially if the dealers have to hand shuffle.

So yes, the machine can offer a better game to low rollers and beginners alike.

A Word Of CautionFASTER PLAY

A word of caution: video blackjack plays a lot faster than table blackjack. The video game doesn’t need time for dealing the cards to other players, settling bets, stacking chips in trays, buy-ins, and cash-outs of multiple players, shuffles, or cuts. You can play just as fast, make decisions, and hit the buttons as a video player. You might play only 50 to 60 hands per hour at a full table. If you’re betting $10 a hand, you’re risking $500 to $600. At your video blackjack game, it’s easy to get in 500 hands per hour. Even with $1 bets, you’re betting $500 per hour.

BAD VIDEO BLACKJACK MACHINES – BEWARE

Advantageous machines are multi-seat machines where blackjack pays 3 to 2.

Some video poker machines, such as Game Kings and Game Makers, made by IGT, have a heads-up blackjack game on this type of Casino Blackjack Formats. But unfortunately, these games typically pay even money on blackjack. And do not allow doubling after the split either. So it is best to avoid these games.

One more word of caution concerns IGT Multigame machines.  Usually, this blackjack format earns the comps depending on the game with the tightest house edge. That includes the rest of the games on that, machine-including the rest of VP, Keno, Slots, and yes, Blackjack. Find video blackjack on machines with poorer VP paytables to ensure the highest amount of earning comps.

Why Video Blackjack Games Are Disappearing

There are several reasons why casinos are removing them from casino floors. First of all, they aren’t all that popular; we’ll get into why in a moment. Secondly, they aren’t profitable enough compared to other games. And third, more high-tech replacements are taking over their floor space.

These machines are being replaced by new, high-tech “blackjack stadiums” at many major casinos. They look like a schoolroom, with multiple desks lining the floors. Except those desks are electronic gaming kiosks. They’re all linked up to a single live dealer at the head of the classroom, making room for dozens, sometimes hundreds of players, to participate in a single game.

Stadium Blackjack at Sands Bethlehem Casino

They can pack more players and charge higher minimums at standard tables and blackjack stadiums. And beware – some stadium gaming earns fewer comps than video poker!


On The Other Hand

If you played basic strategy at a blackjack table offering even money blackjacks instead of 3-2, the casino gains a nearly 2.3% edge, pushing the total house edge close to 3%.

While that would be awful on a traditional blackjack table, there is something positive here. As casino machines go, a 3% house edge isn’t that bad, especially since you only have to bet $1 instead of the usual $5 minimum you would find on the tables. In addition, a 97% payout is better than what you find on nearly all slot machines and about equal to some lower-end video poker machines such as 6-5 Bonus Poker (96.9% payout) or 6-5 Double Bonus Poker (96.8% payout). So, for those stakes, you could do a lot worse.

Summary

To each his own. “Whatever floats your boat,” as my mother-in-law used to say. It’s up to you to pick the criteria for playing it. But if you have the bankroll and can stomach the overbearing players at the same table, play a traditional table. Just know there are options, and fun and money could be right around the corner.

Binbin