Hurting for cash, Colorado casinos petitioned the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission for a rule change that would tilt the game’s odds more in their favor. Their idea was to make more money by paying out 6:5 for a natural blackjack rather than the standard 3:2. Changing the payout required approval from the Commission, though, since the state already has strict rules about the payouts in place.
Yesterday, the Commission approved the rule change, allowing the casinos to pay blackjack players at a 6-to-5 ratio for a blackjack. To get an idea of how this would change things, consider a $10 bet. With the standard 3:2 odds, a player wins $15 on that bet if they have a blackjack. With the 6:5 odds, though, they only make $12. Played out over the long term, that is a large difference in money.
Many casinos have started using 6:5 payouts for single-deck games. Players like the odds of single-deck games and the lower blackjack payout evens things out. However, this rule change in Colorado does not say that the 6:5 tables have to be single-deck games. It is likely that the casinos will only make some of their tables 6:5 games, but in theory they could lower the payout for every table and keep them all multi-deck tables.
I understand that the economy is rough and people need to make money, but this move could backfire for the Colorado casinos. As I reported earlier this week, blackjack revenue has dropped in Las Vegas, in part due to a tightening of the rules and lowered payouts. Many players will avoid playing at the 6:5 blackjack tables, and I can’t blame them. I would never play at those tables myself. Vegas found that trying to squeeze more money out of players has actually resulted in making less money. Colorado should take note.