Blackjack at The Palazzo and The Venetian

A little more research for my trip to Las Vegas brings me to blackjack.

Blackjack on the Las Vegas strip over the past couple of years has gone from paying out 3:2 to 6:5 for blackjack in many casinos.  For example; the Harrah’s properties seem to exclusively only pay out 6:5 on blackjack.

I look for any advantage I can get so I look for 3:2 blackjack.

On a small scale this isn’t much of a big deal, but the house edge increases about 1.5% when only paying out 6:5.  One of the reasons people play blackjack is that the house edge is so small that money lasts for a while.

You can check house edge based on different rules with the calculator on Wizard of Odds.

Sometimes to offset a 3:2 blackjack game casinos will use a continuous shuffling machine (CSM).  I don’t like playing these kind of tables because every hand is like the first hand being dealt from a shoe.  There is no counting cards with a CSM and no predictability of the upcoming cards.  I don’t count cards, but I pay attention to face cards and usually know when the deck is heavy or light with face cards.

Until this research I thought the CSM decreased player odds a lot.  I never looked at the math behind a CSM.  The CSM actually decreases house advantage. This surprised me, but it’s hard to argue with the math.  This only changes my mind a little.  I still don’t want to play a game with a CMS, but with this knowledge I hate it a little less.

On to my research for my house casino(s) – Palazzo and Venetian.  I found that they both have plenty of blackjack that is hand hand shuffled and dealt from a shoe and pays 3:2.  After my last trip where I saw only 6:5 games at Caesars Palace this is nice to see.  I didn’t play any blackjack on that trip.  Onward and upward!

Video Poker At The Palazzo and The Venetian

**UPDATE**

The day I landed in Las Vegas I was given a heads up that there was no more 9/6 Jacks or Better video poker at either Venetian or Palazzo.  That was lame.  Details to follow as I write up my trip.

** ORIGINAL POST BELOW**

I’ve been doing some preparation for my trip to Las Vegas as always.  I did so much prep last time that I don’t feel the need to do so much this time.  I really only play video poker at my home casino so I kept my research to the Palazzo and Venetian.  A friend is staying at Caesars Palace, but I know there aren’t any good paying games there.

Sources: vpFREE2 and @palazzolasvegas

Palazzo
99.54% JoB 1-2-3-4-6-9-25-50-800 JoB (FP)
(?) $2/$5 1 Play Slant just inside and outside high limit room
98.44% JW 1-1-2-3-5-7-17-50-100-200-940
(8) 25¢, 50¢, $1 1 Play Up between walkway to Venetian and Laguna Bar
98.01% BP 1-2-3-4-5-7-25-40-80-50-800
(1) 25¢ 3/5/10 1 Play STP Up between slot club and Grand Lux Cafe
(?) 25¢, 50¢, $1 1 Play SP Slant scattered around casino
(?) 25¢, 50¢, $1 1/3/5/10 Play MG Slant scattered around casino
97.87% DDB 1-1-3-4-5-9-50-80-160-160-400-50-800
(?) 25¢, 50¢, $1 1/3/5/10 1 Play MG Slant scattered around casino
(10) 25¢ 1 Play Prog Up between slot club and Grand Lux Cafe
Venetian
99.54% JoB 1-2-3-4-6-9-25-50-800 JoB (FP)
(?) 1 Play Slant
98.73% TB+ 1-1-3-4-5-8-50-120-240-100-800
(14) $1, $2, $5 1 Play Slant near food court
98.45% JoB 1-2-3-4-5-9-25-50-800
(3) $1, $2 1 Play SP Slant in the high limit room
(3) $1, $2 10 Play Slant in the high limit room
(3) $1, $2, $5 3/5 Play Slant in the high limit room
98.01% BP 1-2-3-4-5-7-25-40-80-50-800
25¢, 50¢, $1 1/3/5 Play Up and slant-tops scattered around casino
(7) $1 1 Play Prog Slant near food court
(10) $1 3 Play Prog Slant near poker room
(4) $5 1 Play Prog Slant in high-limit room
97.87% DDB 1-1-3-4-5-9-50-80-160-160-400-50-800
(10) 25¢ 1 Play Prog Slant location and game details are unknown

Palazzo

99.54% JoB 1-2-3-4-6-9-25-50-800 JoB (FP)
(?) $2/$5 1 Play Slant just inside and outside high limit room

98.44% JW 1-1-2-3-5-7-17-50-100-200-940
(8) 25¢, 50¢, $1 1 Play Up between walkway to Venetian and Laguna Bar

98.01% BP 1-2-3-4-5-7-25-40-80-50-800
(1) 25¢ 3/5/10 1 Play STP Up between slot club and Grand Lux Cafe
(?) 25¢, 50¢, $1 1 Play SP Slant scattered around casino
(?) 25¢, 50¢, $1 1/3/5/10 Play MG Slant scattered around casino

97.87% DDB 1-1-3-4-5-9-50-80-160-160-400-50-800
(?) 25¢, 50¢, $1 1/3/5/10 1 Play MG Slant scattered around casino
(10) 25¢ 1 Play Prog Up between slot club and Grand Lux Cafe

Venetian

99.54% JoB 1-2-3-4-6-9-25-50-800 JoB (FP)
(?) 1 Play Slant Location unknown

98.73% TB+ 1-1-3-4-5-8-50-120-240-100-800
(14) $1, $2, $5 1 Play Slant near food court

98.45% JoB 1-2-3-4-5-9-25-50-800
(3) $1, $2 1 Play SP Slant in the high limit room
(3) $1, $2 10 Play Slant in the high limit room
(3) $1, $2, $5 3/5 Play Slant in the high limit room

98.01% BP 1-2-3-4-5-7-25-40-80-50-800
(?) 25¢, 50¢, $1 1/3/5 Play Up and slant-tops scattered around casino
(7) $1 1 Play Prog Slant near food court
(10) $1 3 Play Prog Slant near poker room
(4) $5 1 Play Prog Slant in high-limit room

97.87% DDB 1-1-3-4-5-9-50-80-160-160-400-50-800
(10) 25¢ 1 Play Prog Slant location and game details are unknown

Blackjack Switch

A friend of mine recently told me about Blackjack Switch.  My friends rarely tell me about a casino game that I don’t know about.  That sent me into research mode.  I had to find out what this game was all about.  I think I like what I found.

Explanation of Blackjack Switch.

  • The player makes two bets on two hands of blackjack.  The cards are all dealt face up.  The player is allowed to switch cards between those hands.  For example; if the player is dealt a 10-5 and A-5, the player can switch the hands to have 10-A and 5-5.
  • Blackjack is paid 1:1 instead of 3:2 like the normal game or even 6:5 like we’re seeing more often and dealers hit on soft 17.
  • If a player switches cards and get’s 21 it is not blackjack and will push against 21 or 22 by the dealer.
  • The dealer plays until 22.  If the dealer gets 22 then the hand is a push.
  • There is also a bonus bet.  The bonus bet pays anywhere from 1:1 for a pair all the way to 40:1 for four of a kind.

Blackjack Switch sounds like fun to me, but what seals the deal is the house advantage

Default House Advantage for Blackjack Switch is .58%.  That can be lower depending on the house rules.  The bonus bet has a house edge of 2.55%.  Normal blackjack has a house edge of approximately .63%, depending on the rules.

Blackjack switch seems a lot more fun then some of the other carnival type games that I’ve tried in the casinos.  I will give it a shot on my next trip to Vegas, but won’t likely go out of my way to play it.  No game really makes me do that.

Sources:
Wizard of odds: Blackjack switch

Wizard of odds: Blackjack

Wikipedia

Seven Stars Insider

Here is the new Seven Stars Insider newsletter for October and November.  This is a great source of information if you’re curious about the Harrah’s Total Rewards program.  It was started for the highest level gamblers (Seven Stars), but provides information that can be used for any level of player.

[NOTE: While this newsletter was originally designed exclusively for Seven Stars Club members, there is useful for anyone who has a Total Rewards® player’s card and/or plays/stays at a Harrah’s property.  Please feel free to pass this on to your friends.]

Question Of The Month

I heard that, as long as I confirm my travel plans on or before March 31, 2010, I can take my 2009-2010 Seven Stars trip after April 1, 2010.  Is this true? This used to be the policy, but it changed a couple years ago.  Now, it’s “use it or lose it” if you don’t complete your travel by March 31, 2010.

Do You Plan To “Renew” Your Seven Stars Status For 2010-2011?

According to our September informal survey, “if it happens, it happens.”  No one responding was actually working toward qualification, but if their play happens to get them to that level – or closer to the end of the year, if it appears to be possible, they might even increase their play just to maintain their status.  Nearly everyone who responded – especially “first-timers” – said that the benefits simply don’t justify the amount of money or time required to qualify.  Some came right out and said they would switch to another casino’s “VIP” status because they were disappointed in how they had been treated, and the benefits they received – or, more accurately, didn’t receive.

Special Seven Stars Self-Parking Benefits In Atlantic City

If you self-park at Caesars in Atlantic City, there is special Seven Stars dedicated parking on the seventh floor.  Be prepared to insert your card in order to access the area.  [Caesars Windsor has a similar dedicated parking area.]  Upon departure, each of the Harrah’s-owned properties – except Showboat, where you show your player’s card upon entry – has a special Seven Stars (and Diamond) express lane when you leave the self-parking lot.

Continue reading “Seven Stars Insider”

NBA Season Starts Tonight!

The NBA season starts tonight.  I usually don’t get too excited by the beginning of the season but I am this year.  I think having an HDTV helps because the action looks so crisp.  Taking a look at the futures bets the Lakers are the easy favorite at less than 2-1, while the Cavs lead eastern conference teams at 3-1.
I don’t bet futures often because I hate waiting a whole season to know if I’m going to win the bet.  If I were going to throw a few bucks on long shots I’d go with a team from the east.  Based on the long odds I would try the Hawks (50-1), 76ers (75-1) and Raptors (100-1).
Here are all of the odds for the NBA teams.  The  numbers are based on $100 bets, so $100 on the Hawks at +5,000 is 50-1.
Atlanta Hawks   +5000Boston Celtics  +400Charlotte BobCats  +10000Chicago Bulls  +7500Cleveland Cavaliers  +300Dallas Mavericks  +3000Denver Nuggets  +1500Detroit Pistons  +7500Golden State Warriors  +10000Houston Rockets  +5000Indiana Pacers  +10000Los Angeles Clippers  +10000Los Angeles Lakers  +180Memphis Grizzlies +10000Miami Heat  +5000Milwaukee Bucks  +10000Minnesota T-Wolves  +10000New Jersey Nets  +10000New Orleans Hornets  +5000New York Knicks  +10000Oklahoma City Thunder  +10000Orlando Magic  +700Philadelphia 76ers  +7500Phoenix Suns  +7500Portland Blazers  +1500Sacramento Kings  +10000San Antonio Spurs  +700Toronto Raptors  +10000Utah Jazz  +3000Washington Wizards  +5000

The NBA season starts tonight.  I usually don’t get too excited by the beginning of the season but I am this year.  I think having an HDTV helps because the action looks so crisp.  Taking a look at the futures bets the Lakers are the easy favorite at less than 2-1, while the Cavs lead eastern conference teams at 3-1.

I don’t bet futures often because I hate waiting a whole season to know if I’m going to win the bet.  If I were going to throw a few bucks on long shots I’d go with a team from the east.  Based on the long odds I would try the Hawks (50-1), 76ers (75-1) and Raptors (100-1).

Here are all of the odds for the NBA teams from sportsbook.com.  The  numbers are based on $100 bets, so $100 on the Hawks at +5,000 is 50-1.

    Online Sports Betting at Sportsbook

  • Atlanta Hawks   +5000
  • Boston Celtics  +400
  • Charlotte BobCats  +10000
  • Chicago Bulls  +7500
  • Cleveland Cavaliers  +300
  • Dallas Mavericks  +3000
  • Denver Nuggets  +1500
  • Detroit Pistons  +7500
  • Golden State Warriors  +10000
  • Houston Rockets  +5000
  • Indiana Pacers  +10000
  • Los Angeles Clippers  +10000
  • Los Angeles Lakers  +180
  • Memphis Grizzlies +10000
  • Miami Heat  +5000
  • Milwaukee Bucks  +10000
  • Minnesota T-Wolves  +10000
  • New Jersey Nets  +10000
  • New Orleans Hornets  +5000
  • New York Knicks  +10000
  • Oklahoma City Thunder  +10000
  • Orlando Magic  +700
  • Philadelphia 76ers  +7500
  • Phoenix Suns  +7500
  • Portland Blazers  +1500
  • Sacramento Kings  +10000
  • San Antonio Spurs  +700
  • Toronto Raptors  +10000
  • Utah Jazz  +3000
  • Washington Wizards  +5000

And now…a little Little Bow Wow.

A Statistical Look at Professional Poker

I don’t play casino poker because I don’t find it fun and don’t like to commit myself to sitting at a table for a long period of time.  I keep my poker playing to taking my friends money.  I find that to be much more fun.  For this reason I don’t find too many stories about poker too interesting.  Today, I found something of interest.

Professional poker player, Daniel Negreanu, broke down statistics from that were recently published by the World Poker Tour (WPT).  He states that players need to make about $20,000 per tournament they play with entry fee being $10,000 and travel being another $10,000.  $10,000 for travel seems a bit high, but I guess when you travel with others and travel big it all adds up.

Of the 176 poker professionals Negreanu noted that only 56 of them reach that $20,000 mark.  That is just over 1/3rd of professional poker players that average break even.  I’m surprised that the number is so low.

Check out Poker News Daily for the full story.

In Running Sports Betting

I was prepping for my upcoming trip to Las Vegas when I came across something that looks to be pretty awesome at the Palazzo and Venetian: In-Running sports betting. In short, this is a way to make sports bets during a game using a device a little bigger than a blackberry. Both prop bets and standard bets are available and lines are updated throughout the game.

After a little more research I learned that Palazzo and Venetian are the only casinos on the strip offering In-Running sports betting.  The technology debuted earlier this year at M Casino.

What a great tool to protect bets if you’re sitting at a sports book watching the games.  This is a smart addition for Palazzo as it gives people another reason to sit, eat and drink at Lagasse Stadium.

I like making a lot of small bets in addition to full game bets and this makes a perfect addition to my style of sports betting.  Needless to say I’m slightly smitten by this.

The Las Vegas Review Journal has a full look at In- Running sports betting.

A Different and Simple Blackjack Strategy

Wizard of Odds posted an update to their simple blackjack strategy.  I’m all for simple strategy and will sometimes modify perfect strategies to be a little more simple.  While I try to play perfect strategy, I have a short attention span and usually drink when I gamble so perfect strategy sometimes goes out the door.
wizard_strategy

Continue reading “A Different and Simple Blackjack Strategy”

Lagasse’s Stadium Opens!

Lagasse’s Stadium opened this weekend at The Palazzo in Las Vegas and I am stoked!  When I last visited the Palazzo, there was no noticeable sportsbook and this changes things a little.

Lagasse’s Stadium combines Emeril Lagasse’s signature cuisine with over 100 HD TVs including 9ft x 16ft main TV, luxury boxes, plush stadium-style seating, billiard tables, and an outdoor patio just steps from the Strip. Excitement abounds with sports betting stations, black jack and craps tables, video poker machines, billiard tables and video arcade games.

LagasseStadiumTop

I prefer a sportsbook with a bar so that I can play video poker while I’m watching a game and drink for free.  The website, doesn’t give a picture on whether or not that’s the case.  At the same time, the option for good food and nice seating for the games is a good option.

I’ll be staying at the Palazzo on my next trip to Las Vegas so this could be a nice treat.  I’m looking forward to the trip, just a little more now.  The Las Vegas Weekly has a full recap on opening night ceremonies.

2 Card High – New Casino Table Game

2 Card High almost has gaming board approval and this table game could be coming to Las Vegas casinos and casinos near you.  The Las Vegas Sun details the game and the approval process.

(Video loads slowly, so be patient)

At first look, this game does not seem appealing to me at all.

Get 5 cards, play two, add to 10, 20 0r 30 without a face card.

Sounds way too complicated to be fun.  I thought Pai Gow was complicated when I first heard about it and now I love it, so we’ll see.

I’m curious to see what the payout percentages are when this rolls out.  Part of the fun of Pai Gow for me is that I can sit, drink and play close to even pretty often.