Bally’s Hotel and Casino

Depending on who one asks, Bally’s is either “the center of the action” or “the blandest of the bland” when it comes to casinos on the Las Vegas Strip [1]. Obviously, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Bally’s has a fantastic location on Las Vegas Boulevard at the intersection of Flamingo Road, right in the middle of all the main properties. It’s also true that the hotel rooms and decor are a touch dated, with renovations underway but lagging behind nearby competitors. Fortunately for blackjack players, the resort’s 66,200 square feet of gaming space [2] still provides ample opportunities. The casino floor features “more than 65 Las Vegas table games, including four distinct blackjack variations” [3].

Tables and games provided by Bally’s.

According to at least one study, Bally’s blackjack action ranks in the bottom half of Strip casinos, with an average House advantage of 1.09 percent [4]. However, if a player avoids single-deck tables paying 6:5 for a natural blackjack, the odds are significantly more in his favor. Due to the fact that many table minimums begin at $5 or $10, essentially anyone can afford to play.

The finest games in Bally’s main pit are the shoe-based multi-deck games. The dealer hits on soft 17, doubling down after splitting (DAS) and surrender are permitted, but re-splitting Aces (RSA) is prohibited. For the six-deck shoe, the house advantage is 0.55%, and for the eight-deck shoe, it is 0.57% [5]. The version of blackjack with two decks and a minimum bet of $25 that does not permit DAS or surrender and has a house edge of 0.60 percent is a game with a slightly less welcoming atmosphere. The utmost bet at almost all tables is $2,000, with the exception of one or two $25-$3,000 games, depending on the level of crowding in the main pit.


One section of the casino floor has been designated as “Jarrod’s Party Pit,” which contains a small platform for a go-go dancer and otherwise resembles the main pit. In this area, you’ll find two continuous shuffling machines and two blackjack variations, including a side wager called “21+3 Xtreme” offered on the standard games and one table set up for Blackjack Attack.


What’s Unique?

The availability of $5 blackjack with an eight-deck shoe and the absence of a high-limit area are indicative of Bally’s position among the casinos on the Strip. It caters to a less wealthy clientele, the low rollers, many of whom are novices [6]. As one of the region’s elder casinos, its chairs, tables, and felts tend to be a bit more worn, although new carpeting was installed in 2006. Players will notice that the tables are closer together than in newer, more upscale casinos. Some have mentioned that smoke can also be an issue at Bally’s, due in part to inadequate ventilation and a high percentage of smokers among participants.


Total Benefits for Avid Blackjack Players

“Total Rewards” is the players loyalty club at Bally’s Las Vegas. This is the same program offered by Harrah’s and approximately 40 other resorts and casinos worldwide that are owned by Caesars Entertainment Corporation [7]. Frequent play earns “Reward Credits,” which can be redeemed for entertainment, dining, merchandise, and more. The credits also function as “Tier Credits” to determine a player’s status within the program, ranging from “Gold” to “Platinum” to “Diamond” to “Seven Stars.”


One Tier/Reward Credit is earned for each $5 wagered on reel machines and $10 wagered on video poker. For table play, you must present your Total Rewards card to the dealer or pit supervisor as soon as you begin playing 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.” If complimentary rooms, meals, or show tickets are desired, many hours must be spent at the blackjack table.


The Inside Perspective

Visitors’ comments on bulletin boards reveal a great deal about Bally’s gambling experience in relation to other Las Vegas casinos. A blogger writes [8] that Bally’s lacks themes, attractions, and diversions, as well as upscale retail promenades and outrageously overpriced nightclubs. What you receive is an excellent value and a lot of unpretentious joy.” Others have stated that “it has the feel of a classic joint” and that it is “old school Vegas on the Strip.” And perhaps the most revealing remark: “Just plain joy. Simply follow Le Boulevard south from the pit area to arrive in Paris.






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