Blackjack + exotic dancers = lower payouts

There is a recent trend in casino blackjack and whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing is in the eye of the beholder. The trend is combining table games with table dancing. Many brick and mortar casinos have started providing exotic dancers in “party pits” in the middle of blackjack areas. The thinking is that players will spend more time at the blackjack table if they get to watch half-naked women dancing on a pole while they do it.

Since my wife doesn’t read this blog, I can say that it would work for me. The hard part would be having enough concentration to stick to blackjack basic strategy. If you’re a card counter then I doubt you’d be able to do it with a hot girl table dancing right in front of you. So maybe that’s another reason for the trend: exotic dancers as card counting deterrents.

Some big-name casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City have turned to exotic dancers to provide entertainment to the blackjack players. Harrah’s, Mandalay Bay and Hard Rock (pictured above) are three examples of casinos that have added some skin to the scenery.

So is the trend a good thing? If you’re offended by exotic dancers (usually non-nude), then no, it’s not. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, then… maybe. Another recent trend at the casinos is lower payouts for the blackjack games. On average, those same casinos are dropping their blackjack payouts by 20% by dropping the payout ratio for a natural blackjack from 3:2 to 6:5.

The casinos say that the decreased payouts are necessary in order to pay for the entertainment of the dancers. Instead, it just seems like a convenient excuse. I understand that such entertainment comes at a cost and I can see there being a tradeoff if you’re basically paying extra to watch the dancers, but the problem is that not all of the blackjack players want to watch them. Some just want to play blackjack and when you play blackjack, you expect a 3:2 payout.

I imagine that the lower payouts will anger blackjack purists, who will take their games elsewhere, but the party pits will bring younger customers to the casino who may not have otherwise had any desire to play blackjack. If so, it could end up cancelling out and the casino doesn’t lose any money. So do I support the idea of exotic dancers performing in party pits while customers play blackjack? I guess so, as long as the casino keeps the payout at 3:2. If it’s 6:5, as far as I’m concerned, it’s not really blackjack. I’ll go to a strip club if I just want to pay to watch a girl dance.

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