Is it worth playing $1 Blackjack at Downtown Grand and Oyo?

Table games at Downtown GrandExciting table games available at Downtown Grand.

I recently discovered that Downtown Grand and Oyo are the only remaining Las Vegas casinos that still offer live $1 blackjack. However, there is a slight catch – in these games, blackjack only pays even money. This means that players won't receive the usual 3:2 payout for getting a natural blackjack. As a result, the house edge for these tables is around 2.9%, making them one of the least favorable blackjack options in Las Vegas. Interestingly, both of these casinos also provide low limit 3:2 blackjack just a few steps away from the $1 table. So, players have the option to choose between the convenience of the $1 game or the better odds offered by the low limit 3:2 tables. Ultimately, there are advantages and disadvantages to playing either game, and it's up to the individual player to decide which option suits them best.

Securing a spot in the $1 blackjack games poses quite a challenge. The primary hurdle lies in the limited availability of these tables at both casinos. Downtown Grand occasionally resolves this issue by adding a second table. Nevertheless, if you manage to snag a seat at one of these coveted tables, your anticipated losses may not be as dire as initially anticipated.

Exciting blackjack games offered at Downtown Grand's lively casino.

Downtown Grand pit

At Downtown Grand, when the pit is open, you can always find a $5 3:2 blackjack game in addition to the $1 table. The hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 11am to 3am, and from 11am on Friday to 3am on Monday, the game runs 24 hours.

According to the blackjack calculator developed by the Wizard of Odds, the house edge for this particular $5 3:2 blackjack game stands at 0.46%. To enhance the gameplay experience, a continuous shuffling machine is employed, ensuring a fair and random distribution of cards. In addition to that, the rules allow for the option of hitting soft 17 and the opportunity to double down both before and after splitting. Furthermore, players have the advantage of surrendering and re-splitting aces, adding an extra layer of strategic decision-making to the game. The combination of these features contributes to a thrilling and potentially rewarding blackjack experience.

At the minimum bet of $5, a player would hypothetically lose approximately $0.023 per hand. On the other hand, at the $1 table, the theoretical loss per hand at the minimum is around $0.029. If a $1 player enters the game with a $20 buy-in, it would take approximately 700 hands for them to theoretically go bust. Conversely, for the $5 player with the same $20 buy-in, it would take roughly 870 hands to bust them.

The swings in the $1 game are less volatile, which means that a $1 player could potentially last hundreds of hands longer than a $5 player. On the other hand, the swings in the $5 game are much higher, and it is likely that the $20 will be busted well before it reaches the theoretical.

Based on my analysis, here's my recommendation: If you find yourself equipped with a modest $20 bankroll, I would advise opting for the $1 game. Although it may entail a slightly steeper loss per hand, this choice presents you with the advantage of withstanding the unpredictability of outcomes. Conversely, if you possess a more sizable sum of $100, I would suggest indulging in the $5 game instead. Not only does this option offer a superior value, but it also affords you the opportunity to potentially reap greater rewards.

Oyo blackjack games

Formerly known as Hooters Casino, Oyo now offers three variants of blackjack. Among them, there is a table where the minimum bet is $1 and the payout is even money. Additionally, they have $5 games with a 6:5 payout ratio and $10 games with a 3:2 payout ratio. When playing at the $1 table, the theoretical loss per hand remains consistent at $0.029, which is also the case at Downtown Grand when placing the minimum bet. However, if you opt for the $5 6:5 tables, the theoretical loss per hand increases to approximately $0.10. On the other hand, at the $10 game, the theoretical loss per hand is around $0.064 when playing at the minimum bet. This value is slightly higher than Downtown Grand's 3:2 game due to the absence of options like surrendering or re-splitting aces at Oyo.

After careful consideration and evaluation, I have reached a conclusion: for those seeking to minimize their losses per hand, the optimal choice is the $1 blackjack table. However, if you happen to possess a more substantial bankroll and are in pursuit of a more thrilling experience, it is advisable to bypass the $5 6:5 tables and instead make your way to the $10 3:2 ones. These higher-stakes tables will provide the excitement and potential for greater rewards that you seek.

In the year 2020, the Las Vegas market sadly bid farewell to its final $1 3:2 blackjack table.

In March 2020, as a result of the pandemic closure, the Las Vegas market bid farewell to a popular $1 3:2 blackjack game. This particular game could be found at the Lucky Club, situated in the charming city of North Las Vegas. However, upon its reopening, the Lucky Club decided to temporarily suspend live table games, leaving blackjack enthusiasts longing for their favorite pastime. Currently, the establishment is closed once again, undergoing an extensive renovation and rebranding process.

In Poker Palace, back in March 2020, you could find a $1 blackjack game. However, things have changed since then, and now the minimum bet is $2. The game is played with a double deck and pays even money. One important rule to note is that you cannot double down after splitting. But fear not, because for just $3, you can enjoy a six-deck blackjack game at Poker Palace. This game follows the 3:2 payout ratio and allows you to double down both before and after splitting on two or three cards. It's worth mentioning that this is the last remaining traditional blackjack game in the Las Vegas market where you can double down on three cards.

For years, both Riviera and Sahara casinos offered an enticing deal: $1 blackjack with even money payouts. However, in 2011, Sahara decided to halt the game when it closed down to transform into SLS Las Vegas. Now, however, Sahara has reverted back to its original name. As for Riviera, it continued to offer $1 even money blackjack until the night before its closure in 2015.