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Rampart marked Blackjack Day with free lessons

Blackjack may not have a world tournament like poker, or even the highest Clark County win amount like baccarat, but it does get its own holiday.

Casinos and players alike celebrated “National Blackjack Day” on March 2 — a play on the game’s 3-2 payout.

The Rampart Casino at the Resort at Summerlin had its third annual celebration of the game on Monday, offering guests free lessons and specialty cocktails.

The game is one of the most popular offerings on the casino’s floor. Sam Garritano, vice president of casino operations, said players are attracted to its fast pace and low house advantage.

“It’s a fun, social game,” he said via email. “For us to celebrate National Blackjack Day just adds another element of excitement for our players.”

Rampart still offers 3-2 blackjack odds — Garritano said the casino believes happy guests will return and spend money on services like food or spa services — but more casinos are moving to 6-5 odds.

Even so, the game is still a powerhouse in Clark County. The most recent data from the Nevada Gaming Control Board shows there are 91 locations with blackjack in Clark County, and the game accounted for nearly 10 percent of total Clark County gaming revenue in January.

UNLV professor and gaming historian David Schwartz said blackjack hadn’t always been the most popular table game in Las Vegas casinos — that title used to belong to craps — but interest spiked once players realized they had a better chance of beating the house.

“The players believe they can actually win. …But players may not be as good at counting cards as they think,” he said. “(The game is) easy to understand, but it can take a lifetime to grasp.”

The simplicity of the game helps draw in both experienced and new players to casinos, according to Michael Green, an associate professor of history at UNLV.

“If you can add to 21, you can play the game,” he said. “It’s a table game where (casinos) train you to keep coming to spend more money.”

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey _schulz on Twitter.

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