Gambling Odds Blackjack

Posted : admin On 08.03.2021
  1. Blackjack Odds Chart
  2. Gambling Odds Roulette
  3. Blackjack Odds Of Winning
What is the value of the blackjack system called 'Mastering the Flow?' It's marketed via an infomercial, and the website is It claims not to be a counting system, yet the vague description of the system that the website gives makes it sound like counting to me. The claims are pretty out-there: 'Win every time' etc. I count cards (using the KO PREFERRED), and understand that this new 'system' has to be either a simplistic count strategy, or a scam. Would you look into it for us, the gullible public?

Home Casino Game Odds Blackjack. Blackjack Game Odds. Understanding the odds is a major factor in becoming a successful player at blackjack. Blackjack is one of the only casino games that is beatable, meaning that by acquiring the right skills, players can swing the advantage into their favor. BLACKJACK ODDS: 12 AGAINST A DEALER 4 Another hand where your strategy is dependent upon the makeup of the cards is a starting total of 12 against a dealer’s 4 upcard in games with S17. Total-dependent basic strategy states to stand on 12 against a dealer 4. A natural blackjack is only 4.8%, which essentially is an ace dealt with a ten card straight off the initial deal. Normally the odds are 3 to 2 and you would win $3 for every $2 wagered. It's a small percentage but it's the most desirable hand to get. The lowest hand you can get is two points (two aces).

I had a look at the web site and also found what little he says about the theory behind his system makes it sound like card counting. However I'm deeply skeptical of anything that claims to 'blow old fashioned card counting away.' I think we can file this under 'If it sounds too good to be true is probably is.'
Update: The web site in question vanished sometime after the publication of this question.

Any tips on money management in blackjack? I usually double after a win, go back to my original bet after three wins (or any loss), and play the game according to the book. I usually do pretty well, but it's slow and steady and not very exciting. Any tips?

I don't put a lot of emphasis on betting systems. In the long run you will lose the same percentage of money bet no matter what system you use. So my advice is use a system that maximizes the fun of the game.

In blackjack, do you improve your chances by playing two hands at once for x each, versus 1 hand at a time for 2x? If the odds are better, how much better?

The simple answer is no, it neither helps you nor hurts you. However, you will have less bankroll variance by betting two hands of x as opposed to one of 2x. Card counters are an exception to the simple no, they may play multiple hands to draw more cards out of a deck rich in good cards, thus improving their odds.

Love your site. I've even taken your blackjack data and made it into a full-color pocket-sized page that I carry in my briefcase for those unexpected trips to Vegas. I've memorized and follow your rules and generally do well (but of course there are times when I lose.) Two questions, you said in a previous answer that you don't cap your winnings. How do you determine when to stop? When have you 'won enough' so you avoid regression toward the mean and lose it back?
Second question, does the number of hits one takes effect the outcome? For example, if I have five cards that total 15 against a dealer's 10, am I pressing my luck by taking a sixth card? In other words, are the odds of busting on a 5-card 15 the same as busting on a 2-card 15?

Thank for the compliment and I'm happy to help your bankroll last longer. When I gamble for fun I keep playing until it isn't fun any longer. Usually the fun ends when I have lost too much or have played too long. With the ups and downs of blackjack it takes hundreds of hours before regression toward the mean will cause actual results to look like expected results. Furthermore, the player who puts a conservative cap on their winnings is never going to experience the fun of a long hot winning streak. Keep in mind this is just what works for me. You should do what you are comfortable with. Everything I have to say about money management can be summarized by the following two rules (1) don't gamble with money you can't afford to lose, and (2) don't gamble if it isn't fun.
Regarding your second question, there is something to be said about the composition of a hand. The fewer the decks the more this is true. My blackjack appendix 3A and appendix 3B show the exceptions to single- and double-deck blackjack, based on the composition of the hand. These appendices show that the more cards that are in your hand the more inclined you should be to stand. Regarding your 15 against a 10 example, there are two situations in single deck blackjack where you should stand when the 15 is composed of 5 cards, A+A+A+6+6 and A+A+3+5+5. Note that in both of these situations either two fives or two sixes have left the deck which are the two most helpful cards for the player. The two situations where you should be the most inclined to stand if you have a multiple card hand are 16 against a 10 and a 12 against a 3.

Do you mean to tell me that man has designed a way to put three million transistors on a single chip (microprocessor) the size of a finger nail, and we don't have a way to beat a 50/50 even money game bet. I find that to be unbelievable, besides I found that computer simulations are definitely not the same as live world action. Also why don't casinos introduce video blackjack to thwart the card counters and get rid of dealers?

I have said numerous times that there is no long-term way to beat a game with a house edge. If there were a true 50/50 game with no house edge it would be impossible to guarantee beating or losing to it under real world conditions. The results always approach the house edge in the long-term. It is not just computer simulations that back this up but the fundamental laws of probability.
About video blackjack, that may be the way of the future. I have seen fully electronic tables with video display at the World Gaming Expo. I have also seen tables that with cameras can track every bet and every play each player makes. This enables the house to accurately comp players and alert them to card counters. These tables look and feel like any other blackjack table, so you card counters may be out of business if these tables are successful.

Have you ever heard of the Ken Fuchs progression. If so, would you please e-mail me or post the details on your site.

I’m not familiar with it. Ken Fuchs co-wrote Knock-Out Blackjack so he can’t be all bad. However I just hear the word progression and I’m immediately skeptical.

I’ve got a question about 'progressive betting' (e.g. 'Another Experiment', Player 2 on your Betting Strategies page). Obviously in normal bj play you experience streaks of wins and loses. Where is the faulty logic in 'minimize your losing streaks by resetting at 1 unit, and increase your winning streaks by raising 1 unit after each win?' FYI, I actually play a little variation of that: 15, 30, 45, 50, 75, 100, 125, etc..Thanks for you time. And, please don’t try to humiliate me like Ann {what’s-her-name} on The Weakest Link :-) I really love your site!!! Thanks for all of the great info.

Progressive betting systems, like yours, will turn a good session into a great one without the risk of catastrophic loss as with regressive systems like the Martingale. However progressive systems will turn a choppy neutral session into a bad one. Consider what would happen if you alternated between a win and a loss the entire session. The wins would all be at $15 and the losses at $30. Funny you should mention the ’Weakest Link.’ I tried out for that show during the summer and didn’t make it. It is probably just as well because I’m not that witty in real life and doubt I could come up with a good rejoinder to one of Ann’s jabs.

I play the negative system in black jack meaning I double every time I lose until I Win. I wanted to what the odds are of losing 4,5,6,7,8,9 hands in a row? How many hands should I expect to play till I lost 8 hands which is my stopping point?

The name for this system is the Martingale. Ignoring ties the probability of a new loss for a hand of blackjack is 52.51%. So the probability of losing 8 in a row is .52518 = 1 in 173.

Can You tell me the expected return in Black Jack if a player wagers all his money in one hand and not having money for split’s or double’s. Thank You.

If you can’t double or split that adds 1.9% to whatever the house edge is otherwise. This just goes to show that you should always have double or split money available if you need it.

Gambling Odds BlackjackI’ve been playing blackjack for quite awhile using basic strategy, mostly betting an even unit each hand. Occasionally I will increase the bet because I 'feel' like I am going to win the next one. I would think that just about all recreational players bet on feel once in a while at least. I was reading through some of your past Ask the Wizard columns and saw your calculation of the probability of a string of losses in the August 4, 2002 Column. You know those emotional thoughts that pop in head while gambling (well maybe not your head), 'I’m due for a win!'

That column seemed to put the mathematics to that 'feeling' a player can get. In that columns’ example of a player losing 8 consecutive hands of blackjack the odds were (.5251^8 or about 1 in 173). My question though is what does that really mean? Is it that when I sit down at the table, 1 out of my next 173 playing sessions I can expect to have an 8 hand losing streak? Or does it mean that on any given loss it is a 1 in 173 chance that it was the first of 8 losses coming my way?

I know, I know, its some sort of divine intervention betting system I am talking about and no betting system affects the house edge. I’m still curious though. Besides every once in awhile throwing down a bigger bet just adds to the excitement and for some reason it seems logical that if you have lost a string of hands you are 'due' for a win.

I have no problem with increasing your bet when you get a lucky feeling. What is important is that you play your cards right. Unless you are counting cards you have the free will to bet as much as you want. As I always say all betting systems are equally worthless so flying by the seat of your pants is just as good as flat betting over the long term. When I said the probability of losing 8 hands in a row is 1 in 173 I meant that starting with the next hand the probability of losing 8 in a row is 1 in 173. The chances of 8 losses in a row over a session are greater the longer the session. I hope this answers your question.

First let me say I love your site and will be visiting each of the advertisers to help support it. I hope you are doing very well financially as you are undoubtedly saving a lot of people a lot of money. It is amazing what I see in the casinos and will recommend your site to anyone who will listen (most losers won’t, I get a lot of heat when I hit a 12 vs a dealer 2 even when I explain the math). My question is do you have any advice for Blackjack players participating in Blackjack tournaments? I have participated in a few and have came very close to advancing to the 'money' round with no real strategy other than stay close to the leaders on the table and bet it all on the last hand. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate the thought of visiting the advertisers. However the casinos don’t care about click throughs as much as they used to and now what matters is new real money players, and how profitable those players are. So unless you might actually play there is no pressure any longer to click through the banners.

Blackjack tournaments are not my strong subject. For advice on that I would highly recommend Casino Tournament Strategy by Stanford Wong. Wong says that if you are behind to bet opposite of the leader, small when he bets big, and big when he bets small. If you are in the lead then you should bet with the second highest player. The book gets into much more detail. Speaking of supporting my site, it helps to click through my Amazon links when buying books there.

How do you calculate the expected return for a blackjack game with a .5% house edge and a 20x play requirement and an initial Bank Roll including bonus of $1000. Does it matter if you flat bet (assuming that the bets are relatively small compared to the BR) or bet based on the Kelly criterion, or does the Kelly criterion just affect the risk of ruin?

Your expected loss of this play is 0.005*20*$1000=$100. The betting system will not affect the expected loss, but will affect the volatility.

Does losing a hand at blackjack increase the probability that the composition of the deck is in your favor? More specifically, is your expected return on one hand ever positive after a given net loss since the last shuffle?

Without knowing anything else, if you lost the last hand in blackjack then it is slightly more likely that more small cards than large just left the deck. This would make the remaining deck more large card rich and thus lower the house edge. However I speculate this is an extremely small effect. Yet it does go to show that if you must use a betting system one that increases the bet after a loss is better than one that increases after a win. I hesitate to put this in writing at all because again the effect is probably very small and I fear system sellers will misquote me and imply I endorse any system, which I DO NOT.

I have a question about a blackjack tournament, where only the largest stack at the end is paid. Assume 1000 players start with 100$ in chips and can bet 5 hands at a time, from 1-10$ per hand. If no one knows anything about the other chipstacks, what chipstack should you be looking for before being satisfied?

You didn’t say how many rounds there were. However, I would bet $10 in all five hands every hand, or go bust trying. With 1,000 players and a relatively low max bet you’ll need all the variance you can get.

As a blackjack player, I recognize betting systems don’t work in the long run. However, having played a lot of blackjack, streaks (good and bad) do happen. So, I am wondering, without card counting, would tracking simple wins vs. losses, compared with the remaining cards in a 6 or 8-deck shoe, deck be meaningful? In other words, would you be able to obtain a small percentage advantage for the remaining third of the shoe if you knew the win-loss ratio was out of whack?

I’ve been wondering this myself for years. In 2004 somebody accepted my betting system challenge, claiming he could beat blackjack without counting. The details are in my page on the Daniel Rainsong challenge. After I posted it, I received a message from a blackjack genius, who goes by the handle 'Cacarulo.' He challenged me under the same conditions and blackjack rules set forth in the Rainsong challenge.

Knowing how knowledgeable he is about blackjack, I felt that he was probably right, so I declined the challenge. I asked anyway how he would have gone about his strategy, but he wouldn’t tell me. I tend to think that he would have bet the minimum most of the time, except if it was late in the shoe, and the ratio of losses to wins was very high since the last shuffle, he would have bet the maximum. The reason is that losing is positively correlated to small cards being played, and winning to large cards. In other words, a benefit of losing is that it tends to make the count better. However, this is a weak correlation. My challenge allowed the player a bet range of 1 to 1,000, which is probably enough to overcome the house edge, but it will be hard to find a real casino okay with a jump in bet size by a factor of 1,000.

The short answer to your question is, no, tracking wins and losses will not help enough to warrant the bother of doing it.

The small island of Aruba has twelve casinos to entertain the nearly 1.5 million visitors it gets every year. Eight of them are located in the Palm Beach section of the island, which could be considered the Las Vegas Strip of the Caribbean. The casinos are very similar to those in America in their look and game selection. Furthermore, all gambling seems to be done based on the U.S. dollar. This page details my observations on most of the casinos there and includes some general Aruba travel tips at the end.


Except for a few exceptions, all blackjack rules seem to be six decks, blackjack pays 3-2, dealer hits soft 17, double any two cards, double after split allowed, surrender not allowed and re-splitting aces is not allowed. Beware that 6-5 blackjack has unfortunately invaded Aruba. I also saw a double-deck game at the Orchid casino at the RIU. I would roughly estimate that 60% of the tables used an automatic shuffler, 30% a hand shuffle, and 10% a continuous shuffler. Penetration on the first two types was about 2/3. Following is the basic strategy under the Aruba rules:


Three casinos offer live poker in Aruba: the Orchid Casino in the Rui, the Excelsior Casino at the Holiday Inn and the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino. I can only comment on the rake at the Rui, which is 5% up to $10 for Texas Hold' Em and up to $12 for Omaha. Compared to Vegas, this rake is inordinately high.

I spoke with a friend who plays a lot of poker in Aruba. He says most games are no-limit hold 'em and pot-limit Omaha. He says that many players speak Spanish openly at the table, despite an English only rule. The dealers, he complained, don't enforce the rule. Nevertheless, he says the locals are awful players, which American pros prey on. Players from Venezuela were the second best source of soft players, but there are fewer of them around due to the economy of that country tanking.


The video poker and video keno in Aruba are simply awful. The pay tables are about as bad as they get, often the same as used at the Las Vegas airport, which is the worst place to play video poker in Vegas. To make matters worse, some older casinos use cathode-ray machines that date back to the 80's. If the video poker and video keno are any sign of how they set their reeled slots, which is generally a strong indicator, then I would expect them to be as tight as a cruise ship. My advice is to avoid anything that plugs into the wall. If you must play the machines, then do so in strict moderation.

Drink Service

Aruba is one of the few places I've been outside the United States where alcoholic drinks are free to players. The frequency of cocktail waitress service can vary significantly from one casino to the next. I would estimate the frequency of visits per hour ranges from zero to three. I do think the mixed drinks are generally stronger and larger than what you get in the US.


Smoking is, unfortunately, allowed in casinos in Aruba. It is sad that any locality would allow this health hazard in a public place. A role of government should be to keep places of business open to the public healthy and safe, which most countries realize by banning smoking in all public places, including casinos. The United States and Aruba are unfortunate and sad exceptions.


Live blackjack gambling

I'm not sure if this is true, but I was told tipping expectations are the same in Aruba as the US. Be warned, many restaurants will quietly add a service charge to the bill. I didn't notice this until a few days into the trip and I'm sure double-tipped at some restaurants before catching it. In the casinos, I seldom noticed other players tipping the dealers or cocktail servers, but I may have just been around stingy patrons.

Dress Code

The entire island of Aruba is very casual. You will be perfectly fine in any casino or restaurant in shorts and a t-shirt. Furthermore, Aruba is hot. The more clothes you wear, the more uncomfortable you'll be. I brought some nice clothes with me, not knowing what to expect, and never touched them.


Taxis are readily available and have fixed pricing from one zone to another, like in Washington DC. The price from the airport to Palm Beach is $25, which is quite reasonable. Unless the cab is the type that is a small bus, the maximum number of passengers allowed is five, which is strictly enforced. I was a bit annoyed at this rule as we were a party of six. At the airport there will be a queue for taxis. Don't worry if it looks long -- it moves fast.

Rental cars are readily available, but I think most people won't need one, especially for the whole trip. We got one for just one day to hit some miscellaneous points we didn't see on a guided tour during previous visits. The cost for one day with a small car was about $120.

There is a public bus that goes up and down between Oranjestad and Boca Catalina Beach. When I was there, the cost was $2.50. There are also private individuals (I assume) that make the same trip in big passenger vans. These poachers charge the same amount.

Finally, there are blue rental bicycles at self-service facilities where you rent by the hour, or day, with a credit card. Cost was $8 for one hour and $12 for two. I forgot the rates for increments greater than two hours. I highly recommend this method of transportation in any city that has them.


There are many coupons for match plays and free slot play for many of the Aruba casinos. Most hotels have a desk for somebody who arranges excursions and there are many coupons to be found on or near such desks. If not, I'd suggest the hotel front desk. I’ve heard many casinos will reimburse cab fare as well, but can't directly vouch for that. On my visit I collected about $200 worth of casino coupons and triple-dipped with my wife and daughter.


Downtown Oranjestad, the capital of Aruba, has two small casinos. They seem to attract mainly locals as the city is rather far from most of the hotels. They probably get some foot traffic from the cruise ships that park within walking distance. Both casinos were pretty quiet the evening I paid a visit.

Seaport Casino

I think this is the only casino in Aruba that isn't associated in any way with a hotel. It is located on what seems to be a large pier supporting various shops and restaurants, similar to Pier 39 in San Francisco. It was very quiet on the evening of my visit other than several locals playing the slots. Almost all the table games were closed, which were as follows:

  • Blackjack: 3
  • Roulette: 2
  • Caribbean Stud Poker: 1
  • Three Card Poker: 1

A $0.25 video keno game I took notes on had an average return of 91.97%.

Here are video poker games available on a randomly chosen 25-cent machine:

  • 30-7-7-7 All American 94.00%
  • 20-10-8 Deuces Wild 95.96%
  • 6-5 Double Double Bonus 94.66%
  • 7-5 Jacks or Better 96.15%
  • 14-7-4 Joker Poker (kings) 94.00%
  • 6-5 Triple Trouble Bonus Poker 96.26%
  • Average 95.17%

Crystal Casino

The Crystal Casino is associated with the Renaissance hotel in downtown Oranjestad. It is a nice property that boasts its own private island to hotel guests. The casino is about twice the size as the Seaport and much more modern and upscale. Drink service was the fastest I've seen in Aruba. The players seemed to be a mix of locals and hotel guests. Following were the table games I counted:

  • Blackjack: 6
  • Roulette: 3
  • Baccarat: 1
  • Three Card Poker: 1
  • Caribbean Stud Poker: 1

The dealer did not take a hole card in blackjack, but if the dealer got a blackjack the player would lose his original bet only, making it mathematically equivalent to the peek rule every other Aruba casino followed.

The Caribbean Stud table followed a jackpot side bet pay table I haven't seen before, as follows:

Blackjack Odds Chart

  • Royal flush: 100% of jackpot
  • Straight flush: 10% of jackpot
  • Four of a kind: $500
  • Full house: $100
  • Flush: $50
  • Straight: $25
The return on the side bet is 46.05% plus 1.40% for every $10,000 in the meter. It turns positive at $385,208.79.

A 5-cent keno machine I took notes on had an average return of 91.97%. Sorry, I couldn't find a 25-cent machine. It has the same pay tables as the machine at the Seaport Casino.

The video poker pay tables were exactly the same as at the Seaport casino for the games the four games the two casinos had in common:

  • 30-7-7-7 All American 94.00%
  • 20-10-8 Deuces Wild 95.96%
  • 7-5 Jacks or Better 96.15%
  • 14-7-4 Joker Poker (kings) 94.00%
  • Average 95.03%

Palm Beach

Palm Beach could easily be compared to a miniature Las Vegas Strip. Here you will find several high-rise hotel/casinos and plenty of shops and restaurants. Most guests seemed to be from the U.S. and the casinos, for the most part, seemed like small versions of what you would see in Las Vegas. However, unlike Vegas, these were hotels with casinos, not casinos with hotels. The hotel lobbies looked like something you might see in Hawaiian resort with the casinos in a separate room you would likely never enter unless you were looking for it. Following are details about each property, in geographical order starting north.

Ritz Carlton

This casino was very crowded and energized the Friday evening I paid it a visit. Every table seemed to be near full except for some high-limit blackjack. The crowd seemed to be very American. The following table games were what you would expect in any American casino. The low-limit blackjack tables paid 6-5 on a blackjack.

  • Blackjack: 8
  • Roulette: 3
  • Craps: 1
  • Three Card Poker: 1
  • Caribbean Stud Poker: 1
  • EZ Baccarat: 1
  • Let it Ride: 1
  • Here were some video poker games on a randomly-chosen 25-cent game:

    • 30-6-5 Bonus Poker (/games/video-poker/tables/bonus-poker/) 96.17%
    • 20-10-8 Deuces Wild 95.96%
    • 7-5 Jacks or Better 96.15%
    • 800-15-7-5 Joker Poker (kings) 96.38%
    • 7-5 Double Double Bonus 95.71%
    • 7-5 Bonus Poker Deluxe 96.25%
    • Average 96.10%

    I found four different 25-cent keno games at the Ritz. The first numbers represent some variable numbers in the pay table for picking ten numbers. The return is the highest return for that game for any number of picks. The number of picks in parenthesis is the number of picks which maximizes the expected return.

    • 5-24-142 Spot keno 92.67% (pick 6)
    • 12-59 Caveman Keno Plus 92.19% (pick 7)
    • 30-160 Cleopatra 92.16% (pick 4)
    • 4-9-25-120 Power Keno 92.49% (pick 6)
    • Average 92.38%


    Like the Ritz Carlton, the Marriott casino was also very big (by Aruba standards), modern, glitzy, and crowded. If forced to compare, I would say the Marriott was a little more high energy than the Ritz. I feel pretty confident in saying that the Marriott is the largest casino in Aruba. Here is the table game count:

    • Blackjack: 8
    • Roulette: 4
    • Craps: 1
    • Three Card Poker: 3
    • Caribbean Stud Poker: 3
    • Let it Ride: 2

    Here were some video poker games on a randomly-chosen 25-cent game:

    • 25-16-13 Deuces Wild 96.77%
    • 9-6-4 Double Bonus 96.38%
    • 7-5 Jacks or Better 96.15%
    • 800-50-15-7 Joker Poker (kings) 96.38%
    • 7-5 Bonus Poker Deluxe 96.25%
    • 7-5 Double Double Bonus 95.71%
    • 12-4-3-2 Deuces Wild Bonus 96.22%
    • 6-5 Triple Bonus Poker Plus (/games/video-poker/tables/triple-bonus-plus/) 96.62%
    • Average 96.31%

    The only two video 25-cent keno games I found were surprisingly liberal. In both cases, they were set to the most liberal pay tables the machine allows.

    • 5-24-146 spot keno 94.99% (pick 6)
    • 14-75-890 Super Keno 92.99% (pick 6)
    • Average 93.99%

    Holiday Inn

    What is called the Holiday Inn Casino is a separate building called the Excelsior. It is a small and run-down casino that I am surprised is worthy of the Holiday Inn name. The machines looked like hand me downs from Arizona Charlie's (Decatur) in Vegas. The table game felts were so old, stained, and cigarette-burn ridden that I think they fished them out of the dumpster at the old Western in downtown Las Vegas.

    I played some blackjack one on one while I was there. We went through a whole shoe without a single word or friendly gesture from the dealer. When he won a bet, he would slam the chips in the tray. I got the impression he was probably the bouncer on a normal day but one of the dealers called in sick. The Aruba license plates say 'one friendly island,' but I don't think whoever came up with that slogan ever met this particular dealer.

    Most of the table games were closed the afternoon of my visit. What did exist were as follows:

    Gambling Odds Roulette

    • Blackjack: 5
    • Roulette: 2
    • Craps: 1
    • Caribbean Stud Poker: 1
    • Three Card Poker: 1

    I could not find a single conventional video poker game. What few machines I did find looked like cathode-ray jobs from the 1980's. They had games I've never even heard of like Improve Your Hand and Triple Chance Poker. The only game I was familiar with was Pick 'Em Poker. A deuces wild pay table had a return of 97%, which, in all fairness, is pretty good for Aruba. I was genuinely afraid if I took notes on the other games for later analysis, the blackjack dealer would take me in the alley and show me how they deal with spies the old-school way.

    What few patrons were there all looked like locals who probably spent a little too much time there. Never once did I see a cocktail waitress and nobody spoke a word to me the entire hour or so I was there. I will say the rest of the Holiday Inn looked nice, so I wouldn't let this casino report scare you from staying there, as long as you gamble somewhere else.


    The Hyatt had a nice medium-sized casino that always seemed to be crowded and high energy. The flip side of that was it was usually difficult to find a spot at a blackjack table under a $25 minimum bet. The table mix was typical for Aruba, as follows:

    • Blackjack: 6
    • Roulette: 3
    • Craps: 1
    • Let it Ride: 1
    • Three Card Poker: 1
    • Caribbean Stud Poker: 1

    The video poker was on nice modern machines but the pay tables were awful, as follows:

    • 6-5 Bonus Poker 96.87%
    • 9-6-4 Double Bonus 96.38%
    • 7-5 Double Double Bonus 95.71%
    • 9-6-4 Triple Bonus Poker 95.88%
    • 6-5 Jacks or Better 95.00%
    • 40-20-5-4-3 Joker Poker (kings) 95.46%
    • 25-16-13 Deuces Wild 96.77%
    • Average 96.01%
    A 25-cent spot keno game I chose at random followed a 1-0-0-0-1-2-36-115-225-300-800 pay table for a pick-10 for a return of 92.69%.


    This is probably the smallest casino in Aruba. Very quiet too.

    Only three tables -- two blackjacks and one roulette.

    Here is the lousy 25-cent video poker:

    • 6-5 Bonus Poker 96.87%
    • 9-6-4 Double Bonus 96.38%
    • 7-5 Double Double Bonus 95.71%
    • 6-5 Jacks or Better 95.00%
    • 25-16-13 Deuces Wild 96.77%
    • Average 96.15%

    The pick-10 spot keno followed a pay table I hadn't seen before, which went 1-0-0-0-1-2-36-115-225-300-400 for a return of 96.62%, which for Aruba is quite good. In fact, better than most of their video poker games, which is very unusual.


    The Hilton casino was rather small and non-descript. Here is the table game count:

    • Blackjack: 4
    • Roulette: 2
    • Craps: 1
    • Let it Ride: 1
    • Three Card Poker: 1
    • Caribbean Stud Poker: 1
    Here is the 25-cent video poker:
  • 8-5 Jacks or Better 97.30%
  • 35-6-5 Bonus Poker 97.36%
  • 9-5 Double Double Bonus 95.27%
  • 20-12-10 Deuces Wild 97.58%
  • 7-5 White Hot Aces 97.44%
  • 10-7-5 Shockwave 95.72%
  • Average 96.78%
  • I could find only two 25-cent video keno games. Big disparity in the returns, which is unusual. That Cleopatra pay table is as low as they get.

    • 4-9-100-300 Caveman (10X) 91.64% (pick 5) 3-5-25-100 Cleopatra 88.58% (pick 10)

    Riu -- Cool Casino

    The Riu has got to be the tallest and biggest hotel in Aruba. It looks big enough to be a contender on the Las Vegas Strip. I hear it used to be two separate hotels, but one bought out the other and merged the two into one. This may explain why they also have two separate casinos. The Cool Casino is the smaller and quieter of the two. If you're looking for a nice quiet casino with available seats at low limits, I think your odds would be good here. Here are the table games:

    • Blackjack: 3
    • Baccarat: 2
    • Roulette: 2
    • Craps: 1
    • Three Card Poker: 1

    Only three 25-cent video poker games to choose from:

    • 7-5 Jacks or Better 96.15%
    • 20-10-8 Deuces Wild 95.96%
    • 30-7-7-7 All American 94.00%
    • Average 95.37%

    The best 25-cent keno game was the pick-10, with a 3-28-140-1000-4800-10000 pay table, at a 86.72% return, which is very bad.

    Riu — Orchid Casino

    The Orchid Casino is bigger and more energetic than the Cool Casino but not as crowded and noisy as the big casinos at the Ritz and Marriot. Best online slot casino canada. Like the Cool Casino, I think it's a place where a low roller can find a spot at a 3-2 blackjack table, but beware that they also deal 6-5 blackjack. I played here about four hours altogether and found the drink service frequent and the dealers on top of their games. Here are their table games:

    • Blackjack: 5
    • Roulette: 2
    • Triple Flop Roulette: 1
    • Craps: 1
    • Pai gow poker: 1
    • Three Card Poker: 1
    • Caribbean Stud Poker: 1

    One of the blackjack games was an exception to the usual rules explained at the top of this page. The only differences were two decks and doubling was allowed on 10 or 11 only. The house edge under these rules is 0.69%, 0.05% higher than the six-deck game.

    You might ask what Triple Flop Roulette is. That is based on standard 38-number roulette, but played with cards. Besides betting on the first card dealt, as in roulette, they deal two more for a three-card hand. There are additional bets on the poker value of the three-card hand. I plan to add a page on this game later.

    Here the 25-cent video poker games, which are Las Vegas airport stingy.

    • 6-5 Jacks or Better 95.00%
    • 10-8-5-3 Bonus Poker 95.78%
    • 8-5 Double Bonus 94.19%
    • 6-5 Double Double Bonus 94.66%
    • 25-15-10 Deuces Wild 94.82%
    • 800-6-5 Joker Poker (aces) 93.78%
    • 7-5 Triple Double Bonus 94.92%
    • Average 94.74%

    Eagle Beach

    I'm afraid I never had the time to visit the two casinos of Eagle Beach, except to take these pictures. I'll have to leave you with these direct links to learn more about them.

    Tropicana: (now Eagle Aruba)


    Aruba — Other than Gambling

    Aruba is a fun place to spend a week. The beaches are beautiful, the people are mostly friendly (outside of the Holiday Inn casino), it seems very safe and there are lots of things to do. The only other places I could compare it to in the Caribbean are Curacao, the Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo and Punta Cana), and the Bahamas (Freeport). Of these, I'd rank Aruba the best. It can be rather touristy, like Las Vegas, but the flip side of that coin is there is lots to do.

    Activities I recommend

    Boca Catalina Beach — While Palm Beach may be beautiful, there is zero to look at snorkeling. If you want some great snorkeling, take the bus or a taxi up to Boca Catalina Beach. As soon as you step into the water, you'll be surrounded by numerous types of colorful fish. It's the same place the snorkeling boats out of Palm Beach bring you. If you didn't bring snorkeling gear, guys one beach up at Catalina Cove will rent you some for $20. The beach is small and quiet with free shaded umbrellas to relax under.

    Mount Hooiberg — To be honest, I'm not sure whether to address this peak as a 'mount,' but somebody should come up with a term for it. While it isn't the highest point in Aruba, I believe it has the most prominence. Aruba has other such small mountains that jut out of the otherwise flat island but this one you can park right next to and enjoy 563 steps (sources vary and I forgot to count) up to the summit. It may be hot on top but you'll enjoy a nice breeze and a great view of the island. Challenge yourself and give it a try!

    Zeerover Restaurant — This seems to be an Aruba legend, enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. I don't want to call it a restaurant, but can't think of a better term. What you can expect is a business right on the water where fishermen park and sell their catch. They then sell it right back to the customers by weight. When you first get there, you can expect to stand in about a 30-minute line, but it's worth it. Get someone else in your party to buy some beers and strike up a conversation to the people next to you in line. When you get the front of the line, there will be a board showing whatever fish or shrimp they are selling that day as well as price per pound. When it was my turn, I didn't know how much to ask for my family of five, so asked for two types of fish, shrimp and fries for five people. They put the fish and shrimp right in a bag in front of me and asked, 'Does this look like enough?' Once you figure out what and how much to buy, they will give you a piece of wood with a number on it, and about ten minutes later, somebody will bring everything recently fried right to your table. It was delicious. There’s nothing like eating fish that was swimming in the ocean a few hours before. There is a separate window for beverages and there was no line at that time. The experience is a great reward after climbing Mount Hooiberg.

    Other Activities

    Here are some other things I did which don't rise to the level of 'Highly recommend,' but are still worth considering.

    De Palm Island -- This is a private all-inclusive island for day use only. A good option if you have children with you. All the food and beverages (with and without alcohol) you want. Great snorkeling as well as a zipline, banana boat rides, trampoline, and safe swimming area. There were some other options too but you had to pay extra. In the end, there may not have been enough to do for eight hours for some people but most people seemed to leave happy, including me. When I was there, the boat towing the banana boat broke down and my locker needed some WD-40 to open, so you might say some aspects were not in the best repair, but at $108 per person per day, you can't complain.

    Catalina Light House — This is a well-preserved light house at the north tip of the island. When I was there it was too early to buy the $10 tickets to walk to the top. If you do any kind of island tour, I'm sure you'll end up here at some point.

    Philip's Animal Garden — It is hard to not enjoy a refuge for discarded pets, from guinea pigs to Burmese pythons, to kangaroos. However, it is difficult to find in a rental car, very hot in the middle of the day, and rather small. I do like that they give you a bag of carrot sticks and what seems like dog food to feed the animals (except the monkeys). Be sure to put the food in the palm of your hand, unlike me who held out a carrot stick to this ostrich who evidently was never told 'don't bite the hand that feeds you!' In the end, it's too small to make a day trip out of, but if you have a rental car for the day and like small zoos, go ahead and kill an hour or two there.

    Baby Beach — If you have a baby with you, don't be fooled by the name. I hear it is called that because it's a small beach, not that it's safe for babies. My guide for the day told me the beach has had more than its share of drowning victims due to a powerful rip tide. Still, I enjoyed some snorkeling there and survived. Not as good as Catalina Beach or Palm Island, but more challenging with the waves pushing and pulling you around. The restaurant there called Big Mama Grill had a nice large menu and a Flinstones theme. Sorry, no brontosaurus steaks, like Fred gets. I should warn you my mother-in-law got sick with what seemed like food poisoning after eating there and two others in my family were hit, but not as badly. The other three of us escaped unscathed, so I can't absolutely blame Big Mama but my mother-in-law certainly does. You can believe who you want.

    Oranjestad — I think it is called this because the royal family of the Netherlands, of which Aruba sort of belongs, (long story), is known as the 'House or Orange.' By coincidence, I was in Amsterdam just six months before and was told this on a tour of the Royal Palace of Amsterdam. What you'll find here is two casinos, several restaurants, lots of souvenir stalls and shops, and jewelry stores everywhere you look. I found the only thing worth doing was the flea market on north end of town, where you'll find souvenirs, including plenty of hand-made items, at 25% to 50% of what you'll pay in the souvenir shops.

    This was actually my room at the Brickell Bay. What are the odds? The only reason for the long pants is I was headed to the airport, where I had to make a connecting flight in Boston, where it was way below freezing.

    As for where to stay, I can only say I was happy with the Brickell Bay. It is a small four-story hotel on the opposite side of the road as the beach in Palm Beach. The building may be a little old but the rooms are comfortably furnished and have nice powerful air conditioners and showers that are not stingy with the flow, like all Vegas hotels. The staff are all very friendly and helpful. They have their own area of the beach a five-minute walk from the hotel. It has an open air restaurant that serves all the American stables, if you get homesick. They have the only American-graded prime steaks on the island. I'm sure the big resorts along the beach are more opulent, but if you want to save a lot of money at little expense in comfort, I highly recommend the Brickell Bay. I do have to confess that I'm friendly with a friend of the owner who set me up there so I may be a little biased.


    Blackjack Odds Of Winning

    Overall, the whole family had a good time in Aruba. It took a lot of time to get there and back from Vegas so I would be more inclined to go more often if I lived on the east coast. As for the casinos, most of them are modern and fun but expect high minimums at the tables and tight machines. As a final word of advice, bring plenty of sunscreen and a big hat.