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Al Moe

Pennsylvania - Where the Blackjack is Great!

By March 24, 2012

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Pennsylvania has some great blackjack rules, better than anywhere else in the United States right now. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but where else can you get a tiny a house advantage of 0.355 percent to 0.371 percent? If you play perfect basic strategy and take advantage of the state's liberal rules such as double down on any two cards, doubling after splitting pairs, and late surrender, you can be a happy camper most days.

I know there is a lot of confusion about the house edged (here it is about 0.36 percent, or around 1/3rd of a percent) and the house hold. The edge is the casino advantage per hand. The hold is what the casino makes on average for a 24-hour period on their games. In Pennsylvania, that's about 20 percent. So overall, the blackjack players are losing 1/5th of all the money they buy-in for. That's a good win for most gaming jurisdictions.

The casino will continue to cry "poor" with these rules, but the hold and the total revenue will again prove that only a small percentage of players really take advantage of blackjack rules by learning basic strategy. Of course these large casinos with great rules in Pennsylvania are perfect for players to employ some simple betting strategies to their gaming.

The Parx, Sands, and Harrah's all have more than 100 table games. It's easy to find a game with space available to play something like the Texas Two Step betting system and take advantage of the great playing conditions. The Two Step requires the player to play mostly two hands and increase their wages when winning. That's easy when the rules are good!

But don't feel sorry for the casinos, even if you do book some nice wins. Pennsylvania is still beating Atlantic City in revenue, and their table games took in $56 million in February of 2012. And, that's only about what the slot machines take in for a single week. So, go ahead and beat'em at their own game!


April 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm
(1) Greg Elder says:

Didn’t know this. Must be trying to lure customers away from AC. May have to check it out. Thanks for the info.

April 2, 2012 at 10:01 pm
(2) djovida says:

The rules for BJ in Pa are favorable but the table minimums are not. Most of the PA casinos rarely have any tables under $25 and, on a busy night, you can’t even find one of those open. $25 a hand is over the budget of most players. So you are forced to play slots, where to odds are horrible. Pa has one of the highest tax rates in the US at 55% (Nevada is 8% and NJ is 10% I think). With such an extreme tax rate, the casinos are forced to set their machines at the minimum required by the state, which is 85% payback, considerably lower than Nevada (about 91%) and NJ (about 90%). This results in a very poor player experience.

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