INFO: Why you should never play a 6:5 Blackjack game

You’ve probably seen them before in Las Vegas.  A felt gaming table that reads:

Single deck Blackjack
Blackjack pays 6 to 5

image_thumb1If you see this, DO NOT PLAY THIS GAME.  Avoid it like the plague.  The casino has a drastic advantage over you and there is no real way for you to win even if you play perfectly.

That’s right.  Playing the "pass/don’t pass" line on craps requires little actual skill and thus you can’t ever screw it up, unlike blackjack where poor gameplay can drastically affect your odds of winning.  More importantly, if you go to a casino and you see a blackjack game that pays $6 for every $5 (aka 6:5) that you bet for natural blackjacks, you would be better off playing craps because the odds no matter how intelligent a player you are – will always be better.

Craps has a casino advantage of 1.4%, meaning that for every $100 bet on "red" or "black", a player can expect to lose $1.40.  This doesn’t require any sort of thinking or decision making… just betting on "pass" or "don’t pass" will net the player a disadvantage that will never exceed 1.4%.

CASINO ADVANTAGE WHEN PLAYING 6:5 BLACKJACK = 1.64%-5.39% (Depending on skill)
Assuming that the player is playing at a blackjack table that pays 3 to 2 for natural blackjacks, the average casino player has about a 4.0% disadvantage against the casino.  An ‘intelligent’ blackjack player that has a good idea of how to play basic strategy has about a 2.00% disadvantage against the casino.  But an EXPERT player that plays absolutely perfect blackjack strategy has about a .25-.50% disadvantage against the casino, depending on table rules.

But the moment, the table pays 6 to 5 (6:5) for natural blackjacks, the casino edge skyrockets by an astounding 1.39%.  This means that even the most expert players that never make mistakes play at a 1.64% disadvantage.  Even professional blackjack players that use their skills at watching the cards can at their very best can only narrow this gap to about a casino edge of .83%.

Comparison chart of Casino Edge taken from

Because the existence of a 6:5 Blackjack table is the casino deliberately attempting to squeeze you, the unknowing, out of a lot of money. 

It starts with the premise that in the game of Blackjack, the casino has an advantage over the player because of this specific situation:

If both the dealer AND the player ‘bust’ and go over 21, the dealer still wins

Think about it:  If you take a card, and you go over 21, you lose the hand.  The dealer however always goes last and if the dealer subsequently draws to finish the hand and busts as well, you STILL LOSE YOUR MONEY.  After all, you don’t get your money back if the dealer busts after you bust, do you?  There’s no such thing as a tie… and this little fact provides an advantage to the casino over ~2.0%.

However a large part of what makes Blackjack a more ‘balanced game’ to play in a casino is the 3:2 payoff you USUALLY get from natural blackjacks.  The additional winnings you get from blackjacks provide the player with what is essentially the weight that "balances the scales" against the casino.

When a casino pays only 6:5 for natural blackjacks, this ‘unbalances’ the game.

You see, when you bet $10 a hand and get a Blackjack, you win $15.  This is $5 extra over a normal win against the dealer.  And because statistically on average, a player gets 4 blackjacks an hour, this amounts to an extra $5×4=$20/hour in extra winnings.

When you play a 6 to 5 Blackjack game, things are very different.  If you bet $10 a hand and get a Blackjack, you win only $12 instead of $15.  This is only an extra $2 over a normal win against the dealer.  And over the span of an hour assuming 4 Blackjacks per hour, this amounts to only an extra $2×4=$8/hour in extra winnings.

Usually people see this on ‘single deck’ Blackjack games and think that single-deck is some sort of major advantage when it’s absolutely not.  Over a 6-deck game, a single deck game has about a .12% advantage… nothing CLOSE to the 1.75% you give up with 6:5 Blackjack.  The only thing that really comes as a result of playing a single deck is that you have find the dealer shuffling a lot more, wasting your time at the tables resulting in ~30% fewer hands being dealt.

Imagine if you worked at a $20/hour job and your boss told you that you’d get 4 additional 20 minute breaks during a workday… but you’d be taking a 60% paycut from $20/hour to only $8/hour.  Would you still work for him?

Don’t just take it from me.  Read what the real experts say:

Seriously.  Don’t play 6:5 Blackjack.  Stay away from this game.  It’s toxic and a sign of a disingenuous casino.  And in case you think that your luck or your purported skill can somehow ‘crack’ a 6:5 Blackjack table, keep this fact in mind:

Even the best professional Blackjack card counters, cannot "beat" this game.  You will never find any Professional Blackjack players playing this game.

2 Responses to INFO: Why you should never play a 6:5 Blackjack game

  1. Jerry says:

    I absolutely love playing blackjack when I\’m gambling online.

  2. Instructor says:

    Hey Kurt!

    Great article… 6:5 blackjack is a complete ripoff!

    Anyone looking for real 3:2 single deck blackjack games can find a complete list at my website I do my best to keep it fresh and up-to-date.

    Good luck out there!

    ~ Blackjack Instructor

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