Is Video Blackjack Dead in Las Vegas?
Video blackjack is a niche game. There are several reasons a player may sit at a video blackjack machine. A video blackjack machine may better than the live version due to better rules. It may offer better comps too. The minimum is usually lower than the live version. Video blackjack also moves faster than a live game and there is no dealer to tip.
While there are plenty of game king machines that only pay even money on blackjack, there are few places to play a video blackjack machine in Las Vegas that pay 3-2 on a natural.
It all started with the BJ Blitz machine. These started to arrive in Las Vegas around 2001. The games allowed players to double anything and the dealer stayed on all 17’s. Players won automatically on a six card hand that did not bust. It dealt four decks and shuffled after about 120 cards were dealt, though it could be programmed to reshuffle after every hand. Each machine offered five seats.
The technology on the machine was unable to display change so if a player was dealt a blackjack on an odd bet amount they were shorted $.50 in winnings. The minimum bet on these machines was usually $1. It accepted coins and dropped them when cashing out. Ticket in/Ticket out technology was impossible on these machines. The manufacturer went bankrupt in the mid 2000’s and parts became scarce. The last known machine in Las Vegas was at Luxor. It disappeared around 2006.
Shuffle Master Blackjack
Shuffle Master manufactured a multi player blackjack machine that used the Bet the Set and Royal Match side bets. It featured scantily clad women as dealers on a large TV screen. There were two versions of this game. One was a six deck game that allowed players to double everything, double down after the split and surrender. There was also a Six-Card Charlie. The dealer hit soft 17. Blackjack pays 3-2. The minimum bet is usually $1, though it was as high as $5 in some places. The game reshuffled after dealing 200 cards, but did not disclose when the shuffle was. There was also a single deck game with the same rules except the dealer stayed on all 17’s. That game reshuffled after every hand.
These machines have virtually vanished from Las Vegas. There are still two located at Slots A Fun, which is adjacent to Circus Circus. It does not accept a players card. Tropicana installed one in August 2013 that pays points and comps on play. This machine has been removed from Binions, Las Vegas Club, Luxor, LVH and Riviera in the past year.
Dealers Angel 21
Dealer’s Angel is manufactured by Aruze Gaming. It allows players to double anything, double after the split, split up to four hands and surrender. The dealer stays on all 17’s. A natural blackjack that does not push is paid 3-2, just as it would be at a standard table.
These machines may still be found at Circus Circus, MGM, Monte Carlo, Venetian and Stratosphere. Goldstrike in Jean, which is about 25 miles south of Las Vegas, also offers one Dealer’s Angel machine. They have recently been removed from Riviera.
Good Video Blackjack Down to Six Las Vegas Strip Casinos
The Las Vegas Strip has shed most of its video blackjack machines. Only Circus Circus, MGM, Monte Carlo, Venetian, Slots A Fun, Stratosphere and Tropicana still offer it on the Las Vegas Strip. It is also gone from every downtown Las Vegas casino. While the Tropicana machine is the only one to play points, some do offer comps similar to table games. Video blackjack was once one of the best plays in Las Vegas but those days are over.
Next Article: Venetian and Palazzo Drop Payouts on Blackjack to 6-5
Previous article: Avoiding Live Blackjack in Finland and Sweden