Blackjack is the most popular casino game in the world, and it can be played at dozens of tables in Colorado’s various gambling destinations. At any hour of the day you can split 8s and double down to your hearts content, with most tables offering a minimum bet of just $5. From 8-deck shoe games to hand pitch double-deck, fans of all variants will be able to find a table.
Blackjack In Black Hawk
Black Hawk is Colorado’s mini-Vegas, with 15 casinos in close proximity. Not all casinos in Black Hawk have table games, but those that do all have at least a couple of blackjack tables. Rules vary by casino, but are generally favorable. As in all Colorado casinos, the maximum bet per hand is $100.
Ameristar is the largest casino hotel in Black Hawk. Its gaming floor offers 15 blackjack tables in a rustic alpine lodge setting, the most of any casino in town. Ameristar has variants including Buffalo Blackjack and STREAK blackjack, and only offers shoe games, so fans of pitch games will want to look elsewhere.
Isle Black Hawk Blackjack
With 14 blackjack tables circling the center of its newly renovated gaming floor, the Isle offers nearly as many spots to play as Ameristar. The Isle offers Buffalo Blackjack, and has shoe games only. It’s connected by climate-controlled skywalk to its sister casino, the Lady Luck.
Lady Luck Black hawk Blackjack
Lady Luck Casino’s 1880s railroad themed gaming floor has four blackjack tables to choose from. The Lady Luck offers $5 blackjack anytime with variants including Buffalo Blackjack. If you want to shake up the luck a little, Lady Luck’s sister casino The Isle is a short walk by climate-controlled skybridge.
Golden Gates Casino
The Golden Gates Casino’s main gaming floor is small, but what it lacks in size it makes up in variety. Golden Gates offers six-deck and double-deck pitch varieties of blackjack with the pair square bonus side bet spaced throughout its casino floor. Attentive drink service means you’ll never go thirsty while waiting for your next blackjack to be dealt.
Mardi Gras Casino Blackjack
The Mardi Gras Casino is the largest of its sister properties, Golden Gulch and Golden Gates, boasting a 12-table blackjack pit where the cards fall 24 hours a day. Minimum bets as low as $5 are typically offered day and night.
Gilpin Hotel BlackJack
The Gilpin Hotel Casino is a bit of a misnomer, as it no longer offers hotel rooms, but it still offers plenty of casino action. The Gilpin has four blackjack tables ready to play and is open to guests 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Lodge Casino Blackjack
The Lodge Casino has an impressive variety of blackjack varieties, with nine tables in all. With everything from $5 shoe games to a $25 minimum double-deck game to choose from, there’s a game for every player.
Monarch Casino Blackjack
At the gateway to Black Hawk by way of Colorado Highway 119 is the Monarch Casino. There are six blackjack games to choose from, including shoe games and a double-deck table that’s often just $10 minimum. Bet the bust bonus is offered at most tables.
Saratoga Casino Blackjack
Saratoga Casino opened in original location of Fitzgeralds Casino in 2013. It has nine blackjack tables, with varieties including Buffalo Blackjack Extreme and STREAK Blackjack. The Saratoga offers $5 minimum bets on table games every day.
Z Casino Blackjack
Opened in 2014 in the former location of Bullwhackers, the Z Casino features 36,000 square feet of gaming space with four blackjack tables in its Z Pit area. The Z Casino is part of the Z Family of casinos, which includes sister properties Grand Z and Johnny Z’s up the road in Central City.
How To Play Blackjack
Blackjack’s popularity is in part due to giving knowledgeable players a fighting chance to win some money compared to most casino games. With a basic knowledge of how the game works and a casual understanding of the systems and strategies at play, players can cut significantly into the house edge. That means you can make your casino bankroll last a lot longer than you could playing roulette or slots. Blackjack has been prominently featured in Hollywood movies like Rain Man, The Hangover, and 21, in which most of the winning strategies involve counting cards, which can get you kicked out of a casino. Even if you aren’t counting cards, if you’re patient and play wisely, you can still get a leg up on the house and win some serious money with a little luck on your side. You can read a bit about the history behind blackjack here.
Blackjack is played against the dealer, who also deals themselves a hand, revealing only one card at first. The dealer opens the game by dealing two cards to everyone. Players examine their cards to decide if they want to hit, split, stand or double down. Though there are several players at a table each one is playing the dealer individually. The object of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s total without going over 21, or to let the dealer “bust,” by going over 21 themselves.
Blackjack Table Layout
The cards are counted and totaled as follows:
- 1-10 are worth face value
- J, Q, K are worth 10
- A is worth 1 or 11
There are seven possibilities for how a hand plays out once you are dealt your cards in blackjack:
- Blackjack! – This means you got dealt an ace with a 10, jack, queen or king. Normally it pays 3-2 but this can vary depending on casino, type of game and number of decks used. This is an automatic win unless the dealer also has a blackjack which means you tie, or push, and you do not win or lose your bet.
- Hit – This means you want another card. It’s commonly signaled by tapping the table with your fingers. You may also say “Hit me.” If you go over 21, you bust and your bet is lost.
- Stand – When you think your hand has a good chance at beating the dealer based on your cards and their up card, you indicate your desire to “stand,” or decline another card, by waving your hand over your cards with your palm parallel to the table.
- Double Down – This means you can double your wager after your first two cards are dealt, receiving only one more to improve your hand. The idea being the large number of cards valued 10 in the deck improve your odds of getting a total close to 21, particularly if you have a 9 or 10 and the dealer shows a weak “up” card (4, 5, 6). Casino rules vary in what combinations you’re allowed or not allowed to double down.
- Split – If your first two cards are a pair, you may “split” them and play them as two hands by placing a second bet equal to your first on the table. This is indicated for the dealer (and cameras) by spreading your pointer and index finger apart while pointing at the table. Most casinos allow you to double down after you split, but others don’t. You may hit as many times as you want on either hand after a split. If you go over 21 you bust and lose your wager on the busted hand only.
- Insurance – If the dealer’s up card is an ace, they will ask if you want insurance. For insurance, the player can bet up to half his original bet. If the dealer has blackjack, the insurance pays 2-1. If not, the player loses his insurance bet only and play continues as normal. Odds wise, insurance is considered a “sucker” bet, and you’ll rarely find a table where players take this option.
- Surrender – Many casinos do not allow the option to surrender. If the dealer has a strong card showing, a player can decide to surrender a hand and lose half of their bet, but only on their first two cards. This is signaled by simply saying “surrender” or by drawing an imaginary line on the table parallel to your body.
Blackjack is a lot of fun and usually played at a faster pace than most casino games. There is a basic strategy to Blackjack based on mathematical probabilities that is not difficult to master. Learning basic strategy significantly reduces the house edge, making it one of the more “fair” casino games.