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by Henry Tamburin


Henry Tamburin has been a successful advantage blackjack player for some 30+ years. During this time he also has taught more players how to be successful at card counting in his courses and seminars then any other instructor living or deceased. He currently teaches Speed Count in weekend classes, edits/publishes this newsletter, runs a book publishing company with his wife Linda, and writes the Total 21 column and Blackjack Magic columns for Casino Player and Midwest Gaming & Travel Magazines respectively. He is a prolific writer with over 700 published articles. He also lectures around the country, and teaches advantage video poker classes in Las Vegas.

You’d be hard pressed not to find a 6-deck blackjack game in Las Vegas. The game is offered in most casinos on and off the Strip. However, some 6-deck games are worth your while, and others are simply a rip off. My goal in this article is to summarize the best 6-deck games currently available for basic strategy players and also for card counters.

I started preparing this report in January by visiting a host of casinos and contacting my fellow players who play mostly in the Vegas area. As is typical with playing rules in casinos, several made changes during the past two months while we hear rumblings that others are planning to make changes (e.g., a dealer at Caesar’s Palace told me they will be converting all their 6-deck games from s17 to h17 – not it’s mixed). In any event, use what follows as a guide and if you want to know for sure what the rules are on blackjack tables for a specific Vegas casinos before your trip, call the main casino number and ask to speak to the Casino Manager’s office. Most of the time, someone will be able to tell you the current rules being offered on their tables.

Basic Strategy Player

If you are not into card counting (and why not? You should be!), then the major factor that determines if a game is good or not is the mix of playing rules and the number of decks of cards. You should be seeking 6-deck games with a house edge of less than 0.5% dealt with an automatic shuffler (no CSM’s, please), and try to play on full tables (since the casino still has a tiny edge over you on every hand, you can decrease the exposure to the house edge by decreasing the number of hands you play per hour).

The following tables summarize the best 6-deck games in Las Vegas... (see member's article)

Card Counters

The most important variable for counters is the penetration, or percentage of cards dealt before the dealer shuffles the cards, the heat from the pit, and secondary the playing rules.

As a general rule, counters at 6-deck games get less heat compared to playing at 2-deck games in town. Even though a 6-deck game is beatable (using Speed Count, High Low, K-O, or any other valid counting system), you must have patience and you must use a bigger bet spread compared to playing a 2-deck game. For tips on how to beat the 6-deck game, see Fred Renzey’s article in the December 2006 issue of BJI.

There are plenty of casinos in Vegas that offer a 75% penetration on their 6-deck games (meaning they cut off 1.5 out of the six decks of cards) with decent rules. Therefore, my first listings below are only for those casinos that offer about a 75% penetration on their 6-deck games... (see member's article for casinos)

Are there any casinos that give consistently 80% penetration on their 6-deck games? Friends of mine say yes, and the three casinos that were named are: (see member's article)

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