El Cortez Las Vegas

10.02.2021by

Located on the historic Fremont Street, this Las Vegas hotel features a casino and on-site dining options. Free parking and complimentary WiFi are available at the hotel. Las Vegas Boulevard is 5 minutes' drive from the hotel. Guest rooms at the El Cortez Casino provide cable TV. El Cortez, a hotel and casino, is a relatively small downtown Las Vegas gaming venue a block from the Fremont Street Experience and Las Vegas Boulevard.Slots, table games, and a race and sports book occupy one floor of the main pavilion, at this historic casino.

El Cortez Las Vegas Souvenirs

Well, it happened again over the weekend. For the fifth time, I have been backed-off at a blackjack table. This time at El Cortez Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas, NV. This was where I was backed-off the fourth time too, about four weeks ago.

A Fool And His Money Are Soon Parted

I am a blackjack card-counter and I am very good at what I do. If you read my bio in the Meet the Network Section you will see I don’t show my face. This is because we card counters are considered “The Enemy” by blackjack pit personnel. I guess they have a job to do, but so do I. They even have a Black Book where they keep our photos.

You see, blackjack, if understood and played properly, can be beat. However, not all blackjack games are created equally. Every blackjack game is played by a certain set of “table rules” that define the house’s starting advantage. This is the theoretical house win rate, against blackjack players who play perfect Basic Strategy. This number can be very small. As currently constituted, the El Cortez single deck blackjack game has a house starting advantage (edge) of a tiny 0.18%, as shown by the chart, below:

CasinoTableEdgeDecksCutMinMaxRules
El Cortez70.18%10.5$5$1,000h17,shoe
El Cortez70.40%20.7$5$1,000h17,ds,shoe
El Cortez20.63%65.7$5$500h17,ds,csm

Player Notes: Quick to back off. Sweats green action.

For the record, card counting is NOT illegal. Of course, the casinos want you to think it is. Card counting is a relatively simple method of determining when the house has the edge on the cards remaining to be dealt, and when the player has the edge. All I am doing is using my intellect and basic math skills – addition and subtraction – to keep track of this. What is illegal is collusion with the dealer or using any mechanical device, like a computer, at the table. I don’t do any of that and never have.

El Cortez Las Vegas News

But I am pretty sharp at this. We can get into that another time, as that is not the thrust of this article.

Casinos are chickenshit. And El Cortez might now be the new leader in chickenshittedness in Las Vegas, NV.

Casinos cater to the weak and infirm. They serve players complimentary alcohol, as much as the player wants, and extorts the player to play more (and drink more). Especially when he or she is incapacitated. They have zero qualms about taking the Fool’s Money.

Yet, the other side to this is they ban guys like me who know how to play. Why? I don’t really know but it is legal for them to do so. No way am I hurting their bottom line.

Every casino in Nevada (and probably in every other state, too) is considered a private club. They cannot overtly discriminate on the basis of color or creed. Yet, as a private club, they can choose whom to serve (overserve in the case of all the free booze) and whom to not serve, like me, in the case of a player who knows what he is doing.

The casinos and the corporations that run them are all cynical and greedy. They know the masses are not prepared to play any of the games they offer. They offer games with awful rules – like paying 6 to 5 on a Blackjack – and games with huge house edges. They do this because they are greedy and they know their “guests” don’t understand even the most basic math that controls the house edge. As the title states: A Fool And His Money Are Soon Parted.

In the olden days when the real Mob ran Las Vegas, they gave their players a good game and a good gamble. Nowadays, the corporate mobsters who run this town are just plain greedy. They will get you drunk and take your money. But they have no interest in allowing a guy like me to make a tiny profit off of their largesse.

But we can all do something about this – no matter where you are in the world! All we have to do is simply refuse to play the lousy games that are being offered to us. If we all voted with our bankrolls and stayed away from casinos that offer bad games with lousy playing conditions, things would change almost immediately. Unfortunately, the corporations know most of their customers are fools, only looking for a “good time,” and are easily parted from their money.

Over the years, I have taught at least two dozen people how to play basic strategy and how to count cards. I am gratified to hear from any of them who report how they won money at the game of blackjack. If any of you reading this are interested in learning how to play correctly, feel free to contact me through this website. And we can practice at the El Cortez and take even more of their money!

Located downtown on Fremont Street, the El Cortez proudly calls itself “the longest continuously-running hotel and casino” in the city. It has been serving Las Vegas since 1941, and few casinos can claim to have been dealing cards longer than that. In fact, the hotel’s longevity recently earned it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Legions of locals love the decades-old 45,300-square-foot gaming floor, where a dozen blackjack tables can be found among the 20 games offered in the pit area. Low limits, favorable rules, friendly dealers and a laid-back clientele are reminders of how things used to be in the “good old days,” back before corporations replaced ‘wise guy” owners, turning gambling into gaming and hotels into resorts. Microgaming slots for us players.

El Cortez Tables & Games

El Cortez Las Vegas Nv

In a town where being #1 means everything, the El Cortez has made blackjack its niche. For five consecutive years, 2009~2013, the Las Vegas Review Journal has cited the casino for having “The Best Blackjack in Las Vegas”. The bread-and-butter game here that gets all the rave reviews is the $5 single-deck version paying the traditional 3:2 for natural blackjacks. Although the dealer hits on soft 17 and there is no doubling down after splitting (DAS), no re-splitting of Aces (RSA) and no surrender, even with such options eliminated, the House edge is just 0.19%.

Couple that with access to a $3 double-deck game that allows DAS for a House edge of 0.45%, and it’s easy to see why the El Cortez tables have such a strong fan base. According to one study, the average advantage to the House at the El Cortez on all of its blackjack games combined is just 0.24%, which rates it better than all downtown casinos, all Strip casinos and all off-Strip hotels and casinos combined—the undisputed #1. The only drawback is that wagering is limited to $500. There’s just one single-deck table offering limits of $25~$1,000, which makes the games unattractive to professional card counters and high rollers who might like to take advantage of such favorable odds.

Other blackjack variations available at the El Cortez include Double Attack Blackjack with a side bet on whether the dealer will bust and several types of Royal Match, which has side bets for wagering on suited pairs and suited K-Q combinations that pay from 2.5X to 25X. There’s also a Royal Match Progressive where thousands can be won with a properly timed one-dollar bet. Oddly enough, all of the blackjack games are dealt from shoes, not from the dealers’ hands.

What’s Different

El Cortez Las Vegas

The El Cortez proves that a casino can be old school without being old-fashioned. In fact, it has been lauded by many for its seemingly unique ability to mix “retro with modern” year after year. An example of this are “Vintage Vegas” promotions and marketing that make a big deal out of the hotel’s association with the infamous mobster known as Bugsy Siegel. In fact, Siegel briefly owned the hotel-casino for about a year in the mid-1940s before turning his attention to construction of the old Flamingo on the Strip after World War II. However, the real personality behind the El Cortez is 93-year-old gaming legend Jackie Gaughan, who owned the property from 1966 to 2008. Now retired, today Gaughan lives in the hotel’s penthouse, and he still plays cards with customers in the casino’s poker room, providing a true glimpse of Vintage Vegas.

Club Cortez for Frequent Blackjack Players

Also referred to a “Jackie’s Club” in reference to the hotel’s former owner, the Club Cortez is the casino’s loyalty program, which provides players with “VIP access to El Cortez promotions, giveaways, and events.” Points are earned for play on slots, video poker and video keno, while Comp Dollars are earned for playing table games and live keno or wagering at the Race & Sports Book. Blackjack players must present their Club Cortez Card to the dealer to get credit for the average amount bet and length of time at the table. Benefits increase as members progress in status from the Emerald level to Sapphire, Ruby and Diamond, including a personal Comp Dollars account, cash back, discounts off accommodations and dining, priority reservations and line passes, free gifts, and invitations to exclusive events.

El Cortez Las Vegas News

The Inside View

The El Cortez may be custom-made for low rolling tourists and locals on a fixed income, but the word on the street is that the casino will “sweat” suspected card counters and anyone varying wagers between 1X and 10X, including those at the $5~$50 range. The safe zone is apparently 1X~6X. Also, bets of $75 or more will earn special attention from the pit supervisors in any event, as will winnings of $200+. Once the heat begins, it is reportedly not at all difficult to get banned from play. On the other hand, some professional blackjack players have said that “being 86’d at the El Cortez is almost a rite of passage,” so wager at your own risk.

Siegels At The El Cortez Las Vegas

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