Offline Blackjack Review: The Venetian, Las Vegas

As one of the grandest and most plush casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, the Venetian is the epitome of excess. It is also a little tacky in places, but that’s the whole point of Vegas, it is excess beyond excess and we all love it for that.

When it comes to blackjack though, there has been a recent change at the Venetian — and at most other Vegas casinos for that matter — that makes blackjack at the Venetian a bitter pill to swallow these days. That change is the movement from 3 to 2 payouts, to 6 to 5 payouts. This sounds minimal, barely worth mentioning, and that is how many tourists and amateur players will see it. However, the difference between these two payouts is huge from the perspective of the casino and the professional player, and over the course of an extended session, it can make the difference between a profit and a loss.

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Prior to this change, the Venetian was one of the best casinos to play blackjack on the Las Vegas Strip. It had some of the cheapest tables, some of the best blackjack variants, some of the biggest prizes and generally one of the best experiences overall. After the change, many of the plus points still remain, but they are steadily being phased out. It seems that the days of the professional blackjack player, at least in Las Vegas, are coming to an end. Casinos are in it for the money and as blackjack features so prominently, they are keen to change it and ensure they get a few more dollars at the end of the day.

The change, whilst slight, pushes the house edge up by a huge 1.39%. Prior to the change there were games that didn’t even have this high of a house edge to begin with, so you can imagine the sort of impact it has had. What’s more, further changes are likely to push this up even more. It seems that the ultimate goal of the Venetian and other big casinos is to establish blackjack as a game that naturally comes with a house edge of around 3%, as opposed to one that is only around 0.5%. The players have little say in the matter, because when all the big casinos change and the little ones follow suit, we will be faced with two options: play 6 to 5 games with high house edges, or don’t play at all.

The Venetian is still a nice casino, albeit a little too “much” in places. It is grand, plush and as opulent as you will find in the city, which is saying a lot for Las Vegas. The blackjack tables are very nice and the high roller areas are even nicer. But when you get down to the meat of it, to the actual games themselves, they have suffered massively and are not what they once were. Vote with your feet and stay clear of this casino for now, they need to know that we will not accept payouts of 6 to 5.