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Blackjack Info:  Statistics and More






This section contains some general published information on Blackjack and gambling, and odds and gambling surveillance.  Sources have been broadcast specials, and other general information on the subject.  You might find some of this interesting.


How much gambling do Las Vegas players do?
Surveys show 87% of the patrons gamble 4 hours a day.  And it was said that this standard has been there for years.

When did Vegas gambling start?

How many visitors in each casino gamble?
For the big casinos with many attractions, sometimes only 5%, or as low as 2%.  Many of the more attractive casinos attract many visitors.  And yes those visitors do gamble - but not necessarily at the places they are visiting.  They leave and go to a place they feel comfortable at.

Patron preferences?
They are said to not like open spaces - but prefer security of closed-in places better.  This may not be in keeping with the super extravagant new casinos.  The new exotic casinos are attracting a great many tourists - but not necessarily a great deal of gamblers.  There is also a belief that for some gamblers, a great dinner buffet at a casino helps.  I would also add that a few of us find smoke free gambling areas also an attraction.


Role of Slot Machines
Even though slot machines had begun as an addition to the casinos to aid their lucrative table gambling, things have changed.  Slot machines are now the big winner for the casinos making approximately 70% of the revenue.  Table games are therefore receiving less emphasis.

Some Odds
Slot machines can vary from approximately 1% in the casino's favor to about 17%.  17% in the casino's favor, which also can be said as an 83% return, is minimum (return) law in one of the states for casino's slot machine minimums.  So slot machines have a wide variation.  They can vary from 1% against the player to about 17%.  Often the machines with better returns are marked that way.  Roulette is approximately 5.26% in the casinos favor over the player for US roulette with 0 and 00.  That difference is really due to the 0 and 00 values which are not even or odd, nor black nor white.  Those two numbers are the houses edge.  In Blackjack, the odds in favor of the house can vary from about 0% to about 6.5%, depending on how the players play, and the rules and the number of decks in play.  I do not know the odds on craps, but my understanding is that they are good - perhaps only 2% against the player.  In fact I have heard that unless one is good at Blackjack, craps might give better odds.  For more on this, see the  rpsoft 2000 "Best-Bet" Odds Thermometer.

How does this compare to state lottery odds?  A recent Forbes article claimed that state lottery returns were about 55% return.  If true, this means that state lotteries can be almost 3 times as bad a bet as the worst (slot machine) casino bet.  And so, regarding the states that do not allow casinos but have lotteries - how does this make sense to anyone?

Which to Play?
Assuming that none of us is a professional gambler (I am not) the answer is not always on the best odds.  If the point of gambling is entertainment, and we do not bet more than we can safely lose, then the idea is to have fun.  Even though I am a very big Blackjack enthusiast, myself and those I go to casinos with play at a number of things:  Blackjack, slot machines, sometimes roulette.  Of course you get to decide this for yourself.  But if the goal is to have fun, it is best not to lose sight of that goal.


Casino Surveillance
Said to be one of the smallest organizations in a casino, nevertheless all important areas are on camera and are recorded on video tape.  If something seems odd, the tape can be played back.  Casino surveillance teams in general do not fraternize with casino employees - since they are also watching dealers and casino employees.

Who is watched by casino surveillance?
The surveillance watches both to safeguard casino money and the players.  To safeguard the game, they watch both the players and the dealers.  However, as a service, many try to also watch to ensure no player is stealing the stakes from another.

How to get watched?
If a player does something unusual, such as betting $5 each hand, and then suddenly bets $100, they are likely to be watched.  Dealers noting unusual playing style can also signal the casino surveillance team by hidden switches.

Casino’s cheating?
Not likely - at least this should be true for the large, physical resort-casinos.  The stated point is that they don’t have to.  Most games are in their favor.  I tend to agree with this by the way, at least for the physical casinos that are a large investment.  Being caught cheating for a casino would be business death, and would be “killing the goose that lays the golden eggs”.

Players cheating?
Some do.  Blackjack players sometimes exchange cards between their hands or with another player.  Some increase bets after seeing their first two cards.  Some players steal from each other, distracting them and taking their cup of coins.  Some other players would keep ink under the lip of the table out of site, and then would mark cards.  Many however, are easily caught because even if the dealer is not watching, the eye in the sky is and recording.  Many players are also caught since they get greedy.  If they get away with something once, they often come back to even the same place and do the same things again.  Of course at some point, they are recognized by the casinos and watched.

Dealers Cheating?
There is a casino concern that dealers in fact might cheat in favor of the gamblers.  Among other things, surveillance personnel watch to ensure that money changed is not more than the money handed in.  Many casinos therefore insist that the dealer's hands and player's hands do not touch - since exchanges would be harder to see by surveillance camera.  Money and chips have to be transferred by putting them down on the table and the other picking it up.  Also, there is an incentive for the dealers to be on the players side since when the players win, dealers are tipped more.

Cards can last 2 hours or 24 hours depending on how much handling by the dealers and players.  If the dealers do not shuffle and use an automatic shuffler, and if the players do not handle the cards, the cards last longer.  However, surveillance examines each and every deck of cards after it is turned in.  They look to ensure all cards are there and are not marked.  Adding to this on a personal note, I always like the casinos that when a dealer gets a new deck of cards, they spread the cards out on the table so all can see that all of the cards are there.  Few people really ever think the casinos would cheat, but it is a nice professional touch to do this.

Card counting
The travel channel on its broadcast noted that card counting is not against the law.  However, it is considered an unfair practice by casinos, and casinos can refuse service.   Notice also that casinos have also instituted many things to discourage card counting, including automatic card shufflers, barring mid deck entry, burning (discarding without showing) one or more cards at startup, and the use of multiple decks..

COMMENTS - at the end

Of course one would hope that for a great game as Blackjack that no one either side would cheat.  But unfortunately at least some of the players try to - and often get caught.

My opinion of casino surveillance is that I am glad it is there.  In addition to protecting themselves, casino surveillance also spends at least a little time, trying to protect us as players from those who would steal all or part of our stakes.  I have heard some in fact say that one of the safest places anywhere is inside a casino.  A common goal it would seem.

Casinos can be great entertainment - again, as long as we do not bet more than we can safely lose.



rpsoft 2000 - software -

Blackjackk book   Book: The Complete Blackjack Survival Kit (click for info)
eBook Available from Google Play, Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook

Does this book tell you how to win? No. It does tell you how you might get the odds in your favor, and gives some strategy tables for some of the more common blackjack games played in casinos. It also tries to explain using math and simulations why getting the odds in your favor may indeed improve your play, but why no one we know of can guarantee winning all of the time.



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