What's a casual player to do to avoid falling into the pit? There are some pretty simple blackjack do's and don'ts, Rogers advises, and by following them and studying the Blackjack News, I finally found the statistically best blackjack games in Vegas: single-deck paying 3-2. Of the 1,000 or so blackjack tables in Sin City, four still offer the game. Two in the gritty El Cortez Hotel, nestled among blood banks and pawn shops on the wrong edge of downtown. And two inside the nearby and slightly more attractive Four Queens.
Marc Cooper is a visiting professor of journalism at the USC Annenberg School for Communication. He is the author of "The Last Honest Place in America: Paradise and Perdition in the New Las Vegas."
Where to find a few good tables
With the shuffle, the odds and the various protocols for playing constantly shifting, a blackjack table in Las Vegas tells you a lot about the hosting casino. Some give players a fighting chance; others are out there to fleece any poor fool. Here is an incomplete snapshot of a few casinos and the games that were offered two weeks ago.
3799 Las Vegas Blvd.
Single-deck, 6-5 payoff,
dealer hits S17
A sucker game. The best advice is just don't sit down.