Blackjack played at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas

Since its inauguration in December 2010, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has used the slogan “Just the Right Amount of Wrong” According to the resort’s advertising agency, the resort’s edgy commercial message tells visitors that the resort is “a place guaranteeing all the trappings of a sophisticated experience without indicating (it’s) going to be a frat party weekend…. an experience that will leave visitors with tales worth telling rather than secrets to keep.” And that pretty much sums up the action on the 100,000-square-foot casino floor of the Cosmopolitan, where roughly half of the 83 table games are blackjack.

Cosmopolitan Tables & Games

The Cosmopolitan has been ranked among the top ten casinos on the Las Vegas Strip for finding the best odds for real-money blackjack, but it does not enjoy a great deal of respect among serious players. The best game is the six-deck version played with bets between $200 and $5,000. It incorporates doubling down after splitting (DAS), a surrender option, re-splitting Aces (RSA), and a dealer who must stand on all 17s.

The double-deck, $200–$5,000 game with DAS, RSA, surrender, and the dealer hitting on soft 17 with a 0.33 percent house advantage is also a viable option. These activities can be found in the high-limit section of the casino, located off the main gaming floor. The luxurious “Talon Club,” which was added in November 2011 on the second floor above the main casino, features one more six-deck variant with a House advantage of 0.28%; it has 15 tables, food service, and minimums beginning at $500.


Double-deck and six-deck games with $15–$5,000 limits are available on the main gaming floor. The dealer must strike on soft 17 and DAS is permitted. Although the hand-dealt game with two decks does not permit surrender or RSA, it has superior odds with a House edge of 0.45% compared to the shoe game with multiple decks that allows surrender and RSA and has a margin of 0.48. Many tables offer the side wager “Bet the Set,” which pays 10:1 for any pair on the first two cards and 15:1 if they are suited. Note, however, that continuous shuffle machines are occasionally used; games dealt from a shoe are typically more advantageous for the participants.


What’s Unique?

Bloggers have criticized the Cosmopolitan’s experiment of paying 6:5 for natural blackjacks at high-stakes double-deck tables. The casino management is continuously testing variations, and it is the player’s responsibility to determine where the best values are. A recent visit to the Cosmopolitan revealed seven blackjack variations, including a single-deck table offering 6:5 odds on natural blackjacks, a double-deck game offering 3:2, and an eight-deck shoe offering 3:2 odds with late surrender available. On that particular occasion, six-deck Blackjack Switch had the lowest House edge, at just 0.16 percent. Clearly, it is difficult to provide players with “just the right amount of wrong.”


Identification of Regular Blackjack Players

“Identity” is the name of The Cosmopolitan’s rewards program for frequent participants. It is one of the few loyalty programs that elucidates how blackjack players are rated. For each $20 wagered at the tables, one “Identity Point” is awarded. This is equivalent to earning one point for every $1.50 wagered on slot machines and one point for every $7.50 wagered on video poker. However, according to the Terms and Conditions, “Points cannot be earned… for high-limit blackjack play.” There are minimum wagering requirements for Table Games to be rated. Seek help from an administrator in the pit.”


Benefits accrue to members based on their program status, beginning with Silver membership and progressing to Gold with 20,000 Identity points earned within a year and Platinum with 80,000 points. In addition to other benefits, members at the highest level receive priority valet, access to the member lounge, invitations to special tournaments, priority access to the Wicked Spoon banquet, a dedicated reservations hotline, a monthly artifact, and a $250 resort credit on their birthdays. Identity points can be redeemed for complimentary meals, spa services, room enhancements, and more.


Players with Inside View Advantage may opt to avoid the Cosmopolitan. The rumor is that the pit supervisors have zero tolerance for card counters and will demand that they “leave and never return.” In addition, it is unlikely that the casino will ease its policy anytime soon. While gaming is dominant at many Las Vegas resorts, that is not the case at the Cosmopolitan, according to Vegas Inc. There, casino revenue is significantly lower than hotel and food and beverage revenue.” Although management may wish to expand the casino, admitting card counters would not increase gaming’s contribution. John Unwin, the CEO of the Cosmopolitan, has stated that the hotel can be profitable even if gaming revenue continues to decline. He has also stated, “I like being on my side of the table.” In other terms, anyone interested in winning at blackjack may wish to visit a nearby MGM property.






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