Why is 6:5 Blackjack so awful?

I originally wrote this as part of another entry but I thought that this was important enough of a point to write its own entry about.

Many casinos are rapidly moving to dealing blackjack at tables with rules that specify that people that get "natural 21s" or are otherwise initially dealt an Ace & a Ten-card, are paid only $6 for every $5 they bet (6:5), instead of the traditional $3 for every $2 they bet (3:2).

While this might not appear to be a big deal to the lay-person, this is a monstrous advantage for the casino and they’re hoping – in fact they’re BETTING – that you won’t know any better or you won’t care.

Put simply, the "6:5" game is sheer highway robbery and a horrendous advantage for the casino.  This rule has gotten more and more popular as ignorant tourists come to play random tables in the casinos, completely unaware of what 6:5 natural payouts do to their opportunity to win. 

Whereas a typical game of blackjack would have the casino net an average of $2.60 an hour, assuming $10 bets at 100 hands/hour, a 6:5 game nets the casino $14.30 an hour.  Let me repeat that:

  • $2.60 is lost per hour when betting $10/hand for 100 hands/hour, on a 3:2 table
  • $14.30 is lost per hour when betting the same amount, on a 6:5 table

$2.60 vs $14.30:  Hello?  McFly?  Again, casinos are betting that you’re too blind to notice or care that they can take your money much faster if they make their tables 6:5.  Intelligent people take heed – there’s only one basic rule you need to know about this topic:


There’s a great article written on this in the Las Vegas Sun, basically depicting casinos that put 6:5 games in their pits as folks that consider their customers to be stupid and deserving of being fleeced and swindled of their money as quickly as possible.

The most common scenario in which you’ll find 6:5 tables is to highlight it as a "single deck" game,
(often advertised as "Now back by popular demand… Single Deck Blackjack") which in comparison to a double deck game, negates the traditional -0.35% advantage the house gets from using 2 decks, however if the table is also paying only 6:5 on naturals, players are getting gipped of -1.37% for a grand total of -1.02%.  Compare this to a typical double deck game with a house edge of only -0.36%.


Players lose their money 3x FASTER on a "single deck 6:5" game than on a "double deck 3:2" game.  Take it from Blackjack legend Stanford Wong – this is his article on 6:5 tables:

(Sidenote:  Don’t even get me started on blackjack tables that pay EVEN MONEY on naturals or tables that state that TIED HANDS LOSE.  This is a colossal -2.29% disadvantage for the player and a -1.79% disadvantage respectively.  Yes, you read that correctly… paying even money on naturals creates a larger disadvantage for the player than losing with tied hands.)

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