It wasn’t that long ago that Binion’s Horseshoe Club in downtown Las Vegas was considered the best place in the world to play blackjack. The casino prided themselves on this fact and make their player-friendly rules and many single deck blackjack games their trademark. This was the best way for smaller casinos to compete with larger, better-financed properties. They might not be able to offer superstar entertainers like Frank Sinatra or swanky rooms, lounges and swimming pools. They might not attract a clientele of the rich and famous on a nightly basis. What they can do, however, is offer better odds and more advantageous rules than other properties. At that point, the name on the marquee still said ‘gambling’.

This has changed dramatically in the past couple of decades. The major casino corporations in Nevada have conspired with state gaming regulators to tailor the industry to best benefit themselves. It’s a dramatic change from the days when Nevada’s gaming industry was considered the best in the world. During those days, the state regulators put the best interests of Nevada and its citizens first and foremost. The result was a vigorous and competitive casino gambling industry. Today, the regulation is written and revised at the behest of the major gaming corporations in collusion with politicians. If MGM or Sheldon Adelson wants something, they get it. And what they want is no competition and certainly not on the basis of odds and rules.


For blackjack players that want to play in a live casino situation, there’s not a lot of places to recommend. The rules in a more tightly regulated jurisdiction are invariably such that the player doesn’t have a fighting chance. If you can find a blackjack game worth playing at a local casino consider yourself lucky and don’t expect it to stay viable very long. The unfortunate reality is that Nevada is the only gaming jurisdiction that approximates a competitive marketplace. As such, there’s still at least a nominal motivation for some casinos to offer better rules than their competitors. Some do this only for higher limits as a way to compete for their business at other games. Other casinos do it to compete against the huge monolithic corporations like Las Vegas Sands and MGM. On the Strip, for example, you’ll find better blackjack games at the SLS or the Cosmopolitan than any of the ‘big name’ casinos.

Better options can be found off the beaten path in downtown Las Vegas, Reno, the Boulder Highway or the locals casinos of Southern Nevada. Sometimes the rules in isolated towns like Wendover and Elko become especially favorable to attract business to these otherwise forgettable destinations. The trick is that you have to pay attention to what is going on. There’s no categorical recommendation that can be made of the best places to play.


The reality now is that for the majority of US blackjack players the best options are found online. Most land-based casinos operate on a policy that they only want to do business with ‘suckers’ and ‘losers’. This is evident in the odds and rules that they offer. It’s also evident in how they’ll give skilled blackjack players the ‘bum’s rush’ once their skills become evident. You’ll find better rules, better odds and a generally better quality blackjack game online.