We set out to find the best place to find cheap blackjack in Las Vegas for $5.00. After arriving in Vegas one Saturday evening in January and filling our bellies with the Rio Buffet, we set out on our mission. We searched high and low and some places we cannot mention.
Let me mention that I am luckier gambler during the daytime hours. At night I am good on quick in and out games.
After the buffet we meandered about the Rio Hotel, dropping in some loose change into our favorite slot machines and could not find a $5.00 Blackjack table or even get near a $10.00 table. It was a peak time, so we do not fault the Rio for making money it is called supply and demand. We never found an open $5 Blackjack table, but we did however find $10 – $25 and up tables, waiting for us after all the short-timers lost their bankroll for the evening. We did find in the evening on Sunday and weekdays the Rio, had one table of $5 Blackjack open. Even during the day we were hard pressed to find any $5 tables at the Rio. Alas, we never did play the $5 tables at the Rio Hotel, for many reasons. Most of the higher end casinos or Mega Resorts are about the same as the Rio, some casinos are bigger than others and have the crowd to fill in any open slots at the table. These include: The Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Wynn, Venetian, Paris, Bellagio, Monte Carlo, Mirage and the MGM Grand. The other Casinos that had their fair amount of $5 and sometimes $2 and $3 Blackjack tables include: Excalibur (we had a long session here this trip), Stratosphere, Sahara, Riviera, Circus Circus, Casino Royale, Imperial Palace and Slots-A-Fun. Harrahs, Ballys and the Flamingo had a decent showing.
During the day all the low-rolling you want, but just around dinner time the prices go up. If you are planning on playing $5 Blackjack find a table early and sit there, because when day rolls into night those tables are quickly saturated. We found this to be true at the Flamingo and Harrahs. Mark and I went to the Pink Pit at the Flamingo and were hard pressed to find a seat together, so we opted to play at a $10 table. We found a dealer that would fit our bill and began to play, rather well I might add then it hit “Dealer change. What a blow to the bankroll, this lady was like a stone. I finally made her laugh, with the phrase “Are you sure you shuffled these cards, after four 2s were dealt in the same set. We should have gotten up a lot sooner!
We did find the Excalibur enjoyable and at $5 a hand with a 6 deck shoe, who is complaining. One of our rules is the dealer has to be fun or entertaining. If we cannot make them laugh or have a good time we will not play, no matter what denomination. We have been known to follow dealers around or sulk when they leave. One of the only reasons we play at the Circus Circus is because of George a 7 foot tall dry humored fellow and Grandpa Harvey a oriental man who had us crying we were laughing so hard. I believe we all came out ahead except DV8R who Harvey after stopping all play at the table made him go buy a basic Blackjack strategy card before he would let him play again at his table. It is times like these you will remember a lifetime.
Ellis Island, before you say anything, we know it is not on the strip but only one street behind Bally’s. They had single deck $5 Blackjack and pretty entertaining dealers. I put a $100 on the table and almost immediately I was comped with free full size drinks from the bar, not bad and I was not going to play the full $100, we were passing time before dinner. The pit boss was courteous and not intimidating the dealer we had was an good guy and was easy to get along with. I cannot remember his name, but he is around 6′ and skinny with black hair. (Sorry for forgetting your name). Ellis Island has very lenient Blackjack rules, letting you split until you hearts content and doubling down after your third card, I was amazed to say the least. The single deck was shuffled a little too quickly sometimes, but over-all not a bad time. The main reason we went to Ellis Island was the BBQ. Some of the best tasting Baby Backs we have had in a while and yes we know our Ribs. For $9.95 you got a full slab, two small ears of corn, baked beans and coleslaw. The sides were adequate tasting but you are there for the ribs. While you are there get the Homemade Root Beer it is great! They brew their own beer their, which we did not sample, so making Root Beer would come naturally and it was inexpensive too. Ellis Island is a locals place and it is a locals hangout. The dealers and workers know everyone’s names. Be prepared the bathrooms are not spectacular. I will have a separate article about Ellis Island later.
Most often during the latter part of Sunday and through Thursday afternoon you are more likely to find the ever elusive $5 Blackjack table. Something to remember about Blackjack in Vegas, stay away from any table that has an auto shuffler. It is a big black box that sits next to the dealer and it counts cards! It knows when the table is leaning towards being favorable for the player and then reshuffles. Never sit at one of these tables unless you have money to burn.
A word to the wise always set your daily limits of spending that way you can have enough money to get back to the hotel room to lick your wounds. I would suggest putting the bulk of your money into the hotel safe in you room and only take a little bit above your limit with you, in case you get a little crazy or you accidentally lose your money.
Many veterans of Las Vegas will be scoffing at this article, saying you should know better and that there are no great places to play Blackjack for $5 on the Vegas Strip, which in turn they are mostly right. But, if you know where to go and do not mind the crowds or sometimes smoke, you can find that needle in the haystack.
Let me just remind everyone a cold weekday in January, there are not a lot of people in Vegas, so if you are looking for some action, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are not your nights. The casinos are somewhat busy but the strip could be closed off for a drag race, but this could be a whole other article.