Aussies aren’t as spoilt for choice when it comes to land-based casinos, so when we plan to make a visit to play blackjack we want to know which has the best rules and payouts. Crown Casino Melbourne and Star Casino Sydney are considered to be the two best brick-and-mortar casinos in Australia – but which one offers the best blackjack tables? We compare the two to determine which one is worth your time and money.
About Australian land-based casinos
There are only 12 land-based casinos in the whole of Australia, which is less than you’d find in the single Strip of Vegas, so Aussie players are quite limited when it comes to land-based venues.
The top two from the 12 include Crown Melbourne and Star Casino Sydney, and both offer a large variety of blackjack tables.
Crown Casino Melbourne was established in 1994 as a temporary casino but moved to its permanent residence of Southbank in Melbourne’s CBD in 1997. Crown offers a 220,000 square feet gaming floor featuring around 399 table games, including a vast array of blackjack variants from Crown Blackjack to Crown Pontoon, as well as a variety of rule variations.
Similarly to the Crown Casino, Star Casino Sydney (formerly Star City Casino) opened a temporary casino in 1994, and then took up a permanent residence on Darling Harbour, in 1997.
Star Casino’s gaming floor isn’t as big as Crown Melbourne’s, at 104,450 square feet, and only offers around 200 table games – half as many as Crown Melbourne offers – including a number of blackjack tables.
Crown Melbourne has a bigger gaming space and more blackjack tables, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve won the race – yet.
Star vs Crown Melbourne blackjack
We take a look at the table limits on offer at both venues and the rules available on their blackjack tables.
Blackjack table limits
- Sydney blackjack minimum: $10
- Melbourne blackjack minimum: $10
Both venues have quite a high minimum, but when compared with each other they are on equal ground.
We’ve taken the most common blackjack variants found at the two land-based casinos in order to compare them to determine which offers the best blackjack tables and lowest house edge.
- The dealer stands on any 17, hard or soft
- Double Down is available on nine, 10, or 11 on two cards only
- House edge: as low as 0.554% (with perfect basic strategy)
- The dealer hits on soft 17s and stands on hard 17s
- Double Down is available on any total, on any number of cards
- House edge: 0.42% (with perfect basic strategy)
Sydney Blackjack Challenge
- The dealer stands on all 17s
- Double Down on any hand total of two or three cards
- House edge: 2.53%
- Dealer hits on soft 17s
- Double on 9, 10 or 11.
- House edge: 0.56%
- Dealer hits on soft 17s
- Double Down is available on any number of cards
- House edge: 0.38%
- Dealer stands on soft 17s
- Double Down is available on any hand of two or three cards
- House edge: 2.86%
As you can see both land-based casinos offer a title convenient for the house, Blackjack Challenge and Blackjack Plus, each with a very high house edge meaning players are more likely to lose. However, Blackjack Plus has the worst house edge of the two and has unfortunately taken over the majority of low limit tables, meaning Melbourne loses some points here.
Pontoon is also offered on low limit tables though, so it is recommended to stick to Pontoon over Blackjack Plus when looking for low table limits at Crown.
Additionally, Pontoon has the lowest house edge at both land-based casinos, so it really comes down to which casino offers the best Pontoon variant.
Sydney vs Melbourne Pontoon
Pontoon is considered to be the best blackjack option at land-based casinos due to the house edge.
Star Sydney’s Pontoon title offers a house edge of 0.42%, while Melbourne offers as low as 0.38%. This is of course when the perfect strategy is in play.
Both titles are played with eight decks – each deck featuring 48 cards – but Sydney’s version only allows one split, while Melbourne allows two.
Additionally, Sydney only offers a $50 Super bonus whereas Melbourne offers up to $5000.
Overall, if you are looking for the best Pontoon title out of the two land-based casinos based on the house edge, Crown Melbourne’s Pontoon is a clear winner.
However, if you are after a standard blackjack title you might be better off going to Star Sydney when taking the above games’ comparisons into consideration, as the Star offers a lower house edge when it comes to the standard blackjack tables.