6:5 Blackjack is a Bad Bet

October 13, 2013 Posted in Casino Games by No Comments
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A GamblingForReal.com reader sent in a question last week and he was kind enough to let me make a blog post of it. Many of you experienced blackjack players are already aware that 6:5 blackjack is a bad bet, but I still see the question asked somewhat frequently by newbies.

Here’s the question Jon sent:

Does it ever make sense to play 6:5 blackjack? I know the payouts are less compared to 3:2 blackjack, but what if casinos promise better rules or single deck games? Seems like it is getting harder and harder to find good old fashioned 3:2 blackjack games.

It’s a good question because 6:5 blackjack has been making the rounds at live casinos around the country over the past decade or so. Naturally, this causes confusion among those familiar with the traditional 3:2 payouts.

In every casino I’ve ever seen, 6:5 blackjack is a bad bet. Even when they make up for it by giving you single deck games or player-friendly rules, the odds don’t work out in your favor. I can’t speak for every possible combination of rules at every casino in the world, but 6:5 blackjack is generally a bad idea.

You can also think about it this way: casinos do not often make sweeping changes to their games for the sole purpose of decreasing the house advantage.

Let’s back up for a second. If you’re not familiar with 6:5 blackjack it is simply a variation on the rules in which a player blackjack only results in a 6:5 payout instead of the traditional 3:2 payout. Let’s say you wager $10 per hand at blackjack. Here’s how the payouts would differ between 6:5 and 3:2 blackjack:

  • 3:2 blackjack payout: $15
  • 6:5 blackjack payout: $12

That’s a 20% reduction off a measly $10 bet. Everything else staying the same, that increases the house advantage by 1.39%. In a low house advantage game like blackjack, that is a massive change. Over the long run, the reduced payouts in 6:5 blackjack will kill your bankroll.

The Wizard of Odds has a handy house advantage calculator here that you can use to input the rules of the game, number of decks and blackjack payouts to see what the house advantage is with optimal play. I can’t find a single combination of rules and decks that brings 6:5 blackjack lower than 1% in house advantage.

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