We can now thank MGM for bringing 6:5 blackjack to the state of Maryland. 30/50 blackjack tables are CSM and 24 of them are 6:5. The minimums were probably inflated due to it being opening day but lowest minimum for a 3:2 shoe was $100 and most of them were $300. Standard MGM rules apply.
Standard Macau Rules
Blackjack in Macau has changed a lot between my first visit in 2007 and my second visit in 2009. As with most games there, the rules are becoming consolidated. The rules which most casinos follow are as follows.
- In this case, we’re looking at better blackjack rules. The biggest competition for Caesars is MGM Resorts which has 9 casinos on the Vegas Strip. MGM Resorts Las Vegas casinos don’t offer a single 3:2 blackjack game for under $25. Caesars is trying to separate itself by offering some affordable blackjack games at its properties.
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- While Massachusetts blackjack rules allow a casino to offer 6:5 blackjack, they limit how bad the games are. All 6:5 blackjack at MGM Springfield are pitch games with a single or double deck. These games may not be dealt from a shoe. This is advantageous to the player. The house edge for a $15 double deck blackjack game that pays 6:5 is.
- Blackjack, sometimes called Twenty-One, is a popular and fun casino game. Everyone plays against the dealer. The dealer gives each player two cards. The dealer also gets two cards; one face down and the other face up.
- Six decks
- Dealer stands on soft 17
- Player may double on any first two cards, including after splitting
- Player may split to up to four hands, except aces may only be split once
- Player may take early surrender, except against a dealer ace (worth 0.24%)
- Continuous shuffler in use. Some casinos will let a small pile (about 52 cards) build up before putting them in the shuffler.
The house edge under these rules is 0.16%.
Following are some rule variations encountered in Macau.
- Player may re-split aces: This good rule is followed at the MGM and the Wynn. It lowers the house edge by 0.08%.
- Five decks: Some casinos may use five decks, rather than six. I'm told the Hotel Lisboa uses five decks, but the Grand Lisboa uses six, for example. Using five decks, as opposed to six, lowers the house edge by 0.01%. Due to this small effect, I do not keep track of who uses five and who uses six, but assume everybody uses six.
- Player loses all bets when splitting and dealer gets a blackjack: This unfavorable rule is followed at the Galaxy casinos. The player may still double safely, and only lose his original bet if the dealer gets a blackjack.
- Player may split to only three hands: This unfavorable rule is also followed at Galaxy casinos.
The following table shows the rules and house edge at all six casino concessions in Macau. Please report any errors.
|Macau Blackjack House Edge|
|Concession||Resplit Aces||Lose Splits to Dealer BJ||Max Hands by Splitting||House Edge|
* See exception for Pharaoh's Palace below.
Note: I have an uncomfirmed report that the Wynn no longer uses a discard pile, and the Venetian does. I'm awaiting a confirmation, but until then I'm going by the last known rules at the time I was last in Macau in August 2009.
The following two tables show the basic strategies in Macau. Use the one of the left for any casinos other than the Galaxy properties, and the one on the right for Galaxy casinos.
Pharaoh's Palace Rules
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I'm told the Pharaoh's Palace still deals blackjack with an old and unusual set of rules. I believe many SJM casinos used to offer these rules, but most have converted to the standard game. However, a reader tells me you can find the following set of rules at the Pharaoh's Palace. I do not know if every game follows these rules, or just certain tables.
- 5 decks.
- Dealer stands on soft 17.
- Player may double only on 11.
- Dealer does not take a hole card. If dealer has blackjack player will lose entire bet, including additional wagers for doubling and splitting.
- Double after a split allowed.
- Player may surrender on any initial two cards, except against a dealer ace.
- The player may choose to win half his bet with any five-card hand, except against a dealer ace. This option is not available after splitting.
- A player 7-7-7 or suited 6-7-8 in his initial hand will immediately pay 3 to 1. Splitting will void this rule.
- Resplitting aces is allowed.
- Continuous shuffler.
The house edge under these rules is 0.00%. Following is the basic strategy under these rules. I title the strategy 'Lisboa Blackjack,' because when I first made it, the game was still available at the Lisboa.
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