Looks Like O’Sheas Blackjack Will Be Unplayable

O'Sheas Casino Las Vegas 6:5 Blackjack Installation
O’Sheas 6:5 Blackjack Installation

Judging from the photo above O’Sheas will pay 6:5 on blackjack.

I was never fond of O’Sheas. It was a dump by the time I found Vegas. When I visited Las Vegas I was usually looking to experience the finer things in life. I spent more money on just about everything. For a few days I wanted to experience a life better than I had at home. I wasn’t looking for a cheap place to gamble. O’Sheas was closed to make way for The Linq.

The Linq is for mainstream American’s who just want to do things they can do anywhere. Oh, shopping and mall restaurants. I can’t wait to travel 500 miles for some of that! Eeesh. People are lame. Just like the original O’Sheas – The Linq isn’t for me. I’ll check out The Linq but probably won’t frequent it.

Years ago an MGM Resorts rep said that most people on vacation don’t care about 6:5 blackjack. Most blackjack players were up in arms. How dare they taint the game anyone could afford to play and possibly find an advantage? Looking back, he was right. Just about every casino (not all) on the Vegas Strip pays 6:5 for blackjack under $25. Tourists may care but they’d rather play $15 per hand at 6:5 than $25 per hand to get paid 3:2 for blackjack.

If O’Sheas does pay 6:5 for blackjack (the photo only shows the “5”) it shouldn’t come as a surprise. This is how the Vegas Strip operates. This is just another reason to avoid the Caesars section of the Vegas Strip Mall.

H/T: @DenverGambler for noticing this.

Photo: @KMCannonPhoto 

Bally’s Flea Market Coming Soon

Bally's Las Vegas Grand Bazaar Shops
Bally’s Grand Bazaar Shops

Vegas Chatter has been sharing news about Bally’s Grand Bazaar Shops for a while but the info wasn’t anywhere else. They had renderings and everything, so surely this was legit. Right? Right.

Well, last week www.grandbazaarshops.com went live with less information than Vegas Chatter had been reporting. At least they have nicer renderings then this.

Ballys Grand Bazaar Shops Night

Bally’s Grand Bazaar Shops is going to be 175 glorified flea market booths set up in front of Bally’s. I envision this to be like a less forced Harrah’s Carnival Court since you can walk past it if you don’t want to deal with the people shopping.

Caesars Entertainment has decided that low brow temporary shopping is the right way to monetize the space between the Bally’s casino/hotel and the street. Some companies may have looked into a long-term infrastructure expansion of the building but that’s probably not possible when you’re saddled with huge amounts of debt.

The Grand Bazaar Shops may not be the best way to expand Bally’s to the street but it should work for the typical Vegas tourist and typical Caesars customer who is your average American consumer. They’re not looking for anything too fancy. In Vegas they buy  the cheapest booze they can find (usually in the ugliest containers they can find) and playing the cheapest games in the casino.

The average Caesars customers are not the same people staying at Wynn or The Venetian or Cosmopolitan. Instead of elevating Bally’s by making a beautiful property, Caesars has decided to meet their customers at their spending level. A flea market may not be the worst idea – for Caesars and Bally’s. It’s a different story for me.

Bally’s has been my go-to for cheap gaming in that area of the Vegas strip. When friends walk into the Cosmo on a Saturday night they see $25 blackjack minimums and say they want to go somewhere with lower minimums. Planet Hollywood and Paris are usually too crowded for a few people to get in on a game but Bally’s usually has room. They don’t care that they’re playing 6:5 blackjack, they just want to drink and gamble.

Two weeks ago I loved the idea that Bally’s would be renovating the South Tower into the Jubilee Tower. I’m less excited about Bally’s today. The renovations should be cool but non-gaming entities invite families. I’m not sure I see myself wading through the families buying cheap Vegas swag just to get to my hotel room or to play $10 6:5 blackjack. I’d rather deal walking through their broken people mover than mass of humans.

This week I wrote about the average Vegas tourist and the gambler for Against The Number. I’m the latter. Even as a tourist I was never a tourist. That’s just not my thing. I’m also not a shopper. I have amazon if I want to shop. Non-gaming attractions bring families and tourists alike. I don’t need to deal with their derpy derping on my way into the casino.

My Vegas Strip Mall is full of casinos, not shopping. Downtown Vegas may be crowded but it’s seems like there’s not a day that goes by where it doesn’t seem more and more like my kind of strip mall.

Gambling on the Strip

I’m just off of a long weekend on the strip in Las Vegas.  We stayed at Planet Hollywood and the hotel, itself, was more of the same.  I love the hotel, but everything inside the room leaves something to be desired.  You can see the highs and lows on Vegas Chatter.

I gamble differently when I’m alone then when I’m with friends.  When I’m alone I mostly play video poker and slots, but when I’m with friends I’ll be a little more social with my gambling and play much more blackjack and table games.  This group of friends strictly played blackjack so when we were together, which was most of the time, I played blacjkack.

I played anywhere from $10 minimums to $25 minimums.  Unfortunately I never won enough in a row to get my progressive bets over $75.  That’s where the real money is won!

We played at Planet Hollywood both in and out of the Pleasure Pit and I won both ways.  We also played some double deck blackjack in the Heart Bar at Planet Hollywood.  This was also considered the Pleasure Pit so we only got paid 6:5 for blackjack, not that I saw many blackjacks this weekend.  We also played at Aira, Caesars Palace and Hard Rock.

I was a winner everywhere except Aria where their CSM dealt me almost the same hand every time.

10+ > low card > 10+

Even though the odds say don’t I’d rather play 6:5 single, double or shoe games than CSM because I get some kind of rhythm for the cards.  By calculation each Grey Goose and soda at Aria cost me $100, but they were 3 good drinks!  Once again no blackjack games under $25 were shoe Aria. This ensures that I will not be staying at Aria or any other CityCenter properties.  It also gives me no real reason to return to Aria to gamble.

The night before we had one of the greatest runs of blackjack at the Hard Rock where we played until they kicked us out at 5:30am.  We all won.  The size depended on how much we bet.  The smallest winner walked away with $150 and the biggest walked away with over $1,000 in profits.  I played small and drank heavy.  Since I don’t frequent the Hard Rock I wasn’t worried about accumulating any points for comps so I only won only a portion of that I could have. I also made a death defying recovery from my last bet to plus $200-300!

One of my friends didn’t speak for the last hour we played at Hard Rock.  We later realized he wasn’t just in a zone, but he was way to drunk.  At least I’m smart enough to cut my Grey Goose with club soda.

I’m leaving the horrible tales of the worst payouts ever at the Pussy Cat Dolls Lounge at Caesars Palace for my friends over at Vegas Chatter.  I walked away even, but I was the only one.  At least there were PLENTY of good looking girls.

The only other tale of gambling is that I saw someone playing my special 9/5 3-play Jacks or Better video poker machine at Planet Hollywood.  Previous to this sighting the machine had ALWAYS returned at least even money.  After the old man touched it I couldn’t win.  This took any winnings I may have had in sports betting and blackjack.

Overall this was a negative trip, but I only needed one days worth of my bankroll for all four days.  I will call this a success!

6:5 Blackjack Math

Blackjack is a social game for me.  I don’t play much when I’m alone at a casino, but play almost exclusively when I’m with friends.  It seems there are many more blackjack players in Las Vegas than back east. The 6:5 vs. 3:2 blackjack issue seems bigger in Vegas as well.  Especially as the Cosmopolitan will be opening with 6:5 blackjack on the casino floor (like most casinos in Vegas).

I don’t gamble exclusively based on odds, but I try to play better odds games.  I like to know what I’m in for so I try to do the math beforehand to know what my expected losses are going into the casino.

I decided to check the awesome Wizard of Odds Blackjack house edge calculator to see the difference in payouts and if it’s worth it to make a stink out of the difference.  Under basic rules I find that the house edge for 3:2 blackjack is about .25%.

Click here to view full size

While 6:5 payouts with the same result jack the house edge to about 1.61%.

Click here to view full size

The difference seems staggering at first, but when looking at my bankroll I don’t think it’s enough to dissuade me from playing 6:5 blackjack if I “have” to.  Meaning, if I was having a good time at a casino I’d probably play if it were the only choice.

The house edge in 6:5 blackjack is still half of most of the other card games in the casino.  Obviously I will always look for better options, but I wouldn’t let the payout dictate my fun.

Gambling is recreational for me and I’d rather drop $100 drinking vodka while playing blackjack as opposed to $100 just drinking vodka.  That’s just how I roll.

Cosmopolitan to Have 6:5 Blackjack

In gambling news that should surprise nobody, Vegas Tripping received a tip last week that the Cosmopolitan will have 6:5 blackjack.

In response to Mike’s recent rant, a very reliable source inside the Brillo Pad (thank you Steve) has told us that the Cosmopolitan will offer their guests the opportunity to be paid 6:5 on all natural blackjacks.

I find it hard to believe that high limits tables will be paid 6:5 and not 3:2.  Most strip casinos are filled with 6:5 blackjack now anyway, so there should be little surprise here.

Additionally, how could anyone expect good gaming for a strip property that has not once – in any marketing – talked about their casino?

As I’ve said before, I love the independent spirit I’ve see with the Cosmopolitan’s set up marketing but if that spirit doesn’t move to the gaming floor it’s all BS.  I expect something different from the Cosmopolitan than the casino monolith’s Harrah’s Caesars and MGM (MRI).

They Cosmo is trying to set the bar above the others on the strip with their hotel – it would be nice to see that carry over to the casino.  Like with the Jets, I’ll hope for the best, but expect the worst and that’s too bad.

Less than two weeks until we see the reality of all of this.  Even though gaming expectations are low, I’m looking forward to seeing what Cosmopolitan has to offer.

6-5 Blackjack is “Great” For Tourists!?

I don’t know how this one slipped past me until today, but the headline says it all.

..6-5 games are “great” for tourists..

The exact quote is “The 6-5 games are “great” for tourists getting a feel for blackjack, Rubin says.”  Rubin is “Max Rubin, a casino consultant and gambling book author.”  It’s this attitude that angers people that pay attention to pay tables and such.

There is lots of great fodder in the article for me to spew anger at, but even in context there’s no way anyone can justify that 6/5 blackjack is better for the player than 3/2.

Like all casino games you just look for the slowest bleed and odds to maybe win a little.  6/5 blackjack speeds up the losses.  Animal psyche will run away if it endures too much pain too quickly.  Less people gambling less lead to $1 billion less in blackjack take for the Vegas casinos.

Time for the casinos to slow do the lust for money and get consultants that don’t look down on their core consumers.

This morning Vegas Tripping has an article that touches on a similar topic.  As usual, a good read on VT.