Blackjack play at Caesars Palace Las Vegas

When Jay Sarno launched Caesars Palace in 1966, he based it on a novel concept: visitors to Las Vegas did not come to gamble, but to play. He designed a fantasy and pleasure kingdom with a Greco-Roman theme “fit for an emperor,” and it has remained so ever since—much imitated, but still distinctive. Blackjack players have always been exceptionally welcome at Caesars, which has 182 gaming tables [1] on its 136,500-square-foot casino floor, including 67 tables dedicated exclusively to the game of 21 and many with only five seats instead of the usual six or seven.

Caesars Tables & Games

The casino floor is divided into two distinct sections: the Palace Casino adjacent to the hotel registration desk and the Forum Casino near the Forum Shops. They are linked by a slot floor known as Colosseum Way. The management of Caesars divides its blackjack tables into five basic categories: single deck, double deck, and three distinct six-deck versions played from a shoe [2]; single deck, double deck; and three different six-deck versions played from a shoe.

From a player’s perspective, the best of these games is the high-limit double-deck game where the dealer must remain on soft 17, there is no surrender or re-splitting of Aces (RSA), and doubling down after splitting (DAS) is permitted. With table limits ranging from $500 to $10,000, this game has a house edge of just 0.27 percent [3]. The only other variation with the dealer standing on soft 17 is the $100–$10,000 six-deck game with capitulation, RSA, DAS, and a 0.28 percent house advantage. The best option for players who can afford it is to travel directly to the High-Limit Room at the south end of the property.


Players with reduced stakes may be less pleased with the game’s rules. For instance, the $15–$2000 shoe does not permit doubling down on counts other than 10 or 11 [4], and the single-deck tables only offer 6:5 payouts on natural blackjacks. This means the House advantage ranges from 0.50% to 0.96%, which is among the worst odds in town [5]. Many of the tables, including those with Shania Twain graphics, offer a side wager known as “21+3,” which rewards straights, flushes, and other three-card combinations consisting of the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s up card. On the slot floor, there are also two blackjack machines: IGT’s reliable multi-denomination stand-alone console for $1, $2, and $5 and a new multi-player video unit called “Royal Match 21.”


What’s Unique?

Caesars Palace has always taken pride in being an innovator and providing a secure environment for wagering. In 2007, they were the first casino to increase the maximum stake for blackjack on the main casino floor from $10,000 to $50,000 and permit players to wager up to $25,000 per hand [6]. In 2009, the resort’s Garden of the Gods complex was the first to offer “swim-up” blackjack when it added tables to the shaded section of its Fortuna pool [7]. Recently, a party pit named “Pussycat Dolls Casino” has been installed near the box office, with approximately a dozen tables surrounding a multi-level stage. The seats feature a leopard print pattern, and “kiss marks” in hot pink indicate the betting areas on the table, where players can endeavor to avoid the distractions of live cage dancers while playing [8]. Caesars has always been one of the most reputable operators in Las Vegas.


Total Benefits for Avid Blackjack Players

“Total Rewards” is the name of the player’s loyalty club at Caesars Palace. This is the same program adopted by Harrah’s and nearly 40 other resorts and casinos worldwide under the aegis of Caesars Entertainment Corporation [9]. Frequent players earn “Reward Credits” that can be redeemed for meals, entertainment, merchandise, and more. The credits also serve as “Tier Credits,” which determine a player’s status from “Gold” to “Platinum” to “Diamond” to “Seven Stars.”


One Tier/Reward Credit is earned for every $5 wagered on reel machines or for every $10 wagered on video poker. According to the program rules, “for table play, you must immediately present your Total Rewards card to the dealer or pit supervisor and request to be rated. Both Tier Credits and Reward Credits are earned based on play time, average wager, and game type…. If you play slots and tables, all of your comp-eligible Reward Credits are deposited into the same account.” According to one of the Total Reward representatives, “every 100 Credits earns a dollar in comps,” so if complimentary rooms, meals, and show tickets are desired, plan on spending considerable time at the tables.


The Inside Perspective

Caesars Palace is legendary. Jimmy Hoffa built the resort with millions of dollars from the Teamsters Union’s pension fund more than half a century ago, and the casino’s legendary ambiance continues to attract players to its tables. After all, this is where Evel Knievel rode his motorcycle over the reservoir, Liberace performed his final concert, and Larry Holmes defeated Muhammad Ali… The list of commemorated milestones is exhaustive. Who would not desire to gamble at Caesars Palace?


The real motivation to play here, however, is that the House can be defeated. Badly. Caesars suffered a major loss at the hands of the infamous MIT Blackjack Team card counters [10]. James Grosjean, a member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame for hole-carding, endured “back-rooming, handcuffing, and arrest on false cheating charges” [11], before successfully suing the casino for $105,000 in libel, false arrest, and violation of civil rights. Blackjack experts are aware that Caesars is a colossus, but a vulnerable one; the larger they are, the harder they collapse.






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