Las Vegas Blackjack Survey 2013 Methodology


Apr 2013

Ken Tucker | POSTED IN Blackjack | NO COMMENTS

For each of the past two years I have walked the Las Vegas Strip and Fremont Street in Las Vegas during December to find all of the games available to tourists in Las Vegas. There are many good blackjack games available off of the Las Vegas Strip as well so this year we included Palms, Red Rock and South Point to the survey.

How I Scouted Las Vegas Blackjack

I pulled into Mandalay Bay at about 3pm on Friday, December 21, 2012. This was the slowest Friday night of 2012 for Las Vegas due to the holiday season. I walked from Mandalay Bay up the west side of the Las Vegas Strip up to Treasure Island. I then started at Encore on the east side of Las Vegas Boulevard and went back down the strip on that side. This took about ten hours. I went back out on December 27th at about 6pm. I visited the north end of the Las Vegas Strip as well as Fremont Street. I ended the night at Red Rock. The next day I drove to South Point and Palms.

I took note of the minimum and maximum bets of every table that I passed. I also noted whether the felt stated whether a player got paid 3-2 or 6-5 on blackjack and if the dealer hit or stood on soft 17. Some of the placards on the table disclosed other rules such as whether a player could double anything, double after a split, surrender or resplit aces. Those placards were few and far between though. I would often have to ask idle dealers or pit bosses what the rules were in their blackjack games. In many cases, I would actually have to sit down and play as I did not want to draw too much attention to myself or disturb players by slowing down their game by bothering their dealers.

The most surprising issue with creating these surveys is that many dealers do not know the rules of their games offhand. There were at least ten times that I asked a dealer if I could double down after a split in a double deck game or whether I could surrender or resplit aces in a shoe game and they did not know the answer. They would have to ask the pit boss or ask the dealer next to them. I also got some odd answers that I had to confirm with other dealers. For example, I had one dealer tell me that surrender was allowed in the double deck game that they were dealing. I knew this was not true but I had to go to the pit boss to confirm it just in case. This is a leak for the casinos as players may be able to angleshoot a poorly trained dealer.

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