I don't always want to play single-deck blackjack. As an amateur card-counter, I'm a little scared of games with just one deck in the shoe. For one thing, the deck is often shuffled after every hand. For another, most of the time the games follow the 6-5 blackjack payout that really destroys player odds.
Come to think of it, the bet range isn't ideal for a card-counter, either. But all that aside - when I do decide that I want to play a game like this, nothing else will really do.
Single-deck blackjack is ideal for a few reasons:
With these games on the decline over the past few decades, it can be difficult to get my fix.
To that end, I've reviewed every single game in Vegas (that I know of or could find through research) that uses just one deck of cards and pays out 3:2 for player blackjack.
My research and experience has turned up five such games regularly played in the gambling capital of the world. Vegas has a lot more one deck options than casinos on the East Coast, but still not quite as many as I've heard you can find in Tunica and other Southern gaming spots.
Opened in 1951 by famous Texas gambler Benny Binion, this venue was originally called the Horseshoe Club. It was actually the first true "gambling hall" in Vegas. You can't miss Binion's – it takes up a full block of Fremont Street. The Horseshoe Club is where poker got famous. It's also the traditional home of the World Series of Poker, though that event has moved on since its inception.
The table at Binion's is a good representation of all one deck games in America. The bets have a typical range for this table – a $10 minimum and a $500 maximum. Not much to say here, except that I play at Binion's more than anywhere else just because of the simple rules. There are no restrictions on doubling or splitting as far as I can remember.
Once owned by actual mobsters, El Cortez is another piece of old-school Vegas that's still doing bang-up business in the gambling world. This is the oldest continuously-open downtown casino in all of Vegas. Opened in 1941, it is the beating heart of Fremont.
The Cortez has the unique distinction of offering two different single-deck options. The only distinction between the games is the betting range. One table has a $5 - $500 range, so typical of Vegas blackjack games. But the casino also has a $25 - $1,000 table also using just one set of cards.
The old San Remo Hotel and Casino has finally been converted to Hooter's. It's hard to say much about a brand-new property. We don't know much about Hooters yet, except that they have generally-very-bad blackjack rules at their tables.
The betting range on the table at Hooter's ranges from $10 - $500, a slight variation from the Vegas standard. The big knock on Hooters blackjack game – that their tables are mostly 6:5 payout for blackjack and that they use modified single-deck rules for shoe games – are all true. But I think their single-deck table is worth a visit, if just for the 3:2 payout.
This is one of the weirder casino properties in Nevada. Silverton is located off I-15, attached to a massive Bass Pro Shop store. Yes, it is a traditional full-service Vegas hotel and casino, and it happens to be somewhat popular with locals. The casino itself is 90,000 square feet – but that's nothing compared to the 165,000 sq. ft. Bass Pro Shop store. Don't ignore the casino because of the dumb store, though – they have some decent games.
In fact, my only complaint about Silverton's non-shoe game is that players can only double on 10 or 11. That one rule really affects the house edge, making it about twice as high as similar games at El Cortez. The betting range allowed is the standard $5 - $500 found everywhere in Las Vegas.