Since 1995, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, located on 26 acres of prime real estate just east of the Las Vegas Strip, has provided entertainment and gaming action in a boutique luxury resort atmosphere. In 2010, the property concluded a $750 million expansion, which included the addition of approximately 40,000 square feet of casino space, more than doubling the gaming area to its current 72,000 square feet, and increasing the number of table games in the pit area to 92, of which approximately half are blackjack tables. It is a place for the young and the young-at-heart, as the Hard Rock’s rock’n’roll reputation attracts affluent visitors between the ages of 25 and 40 who enjoy partying and playing around the clock.
Hard Rock Games and Tables
The Hard Rock offers three fundamental variations of blackjack: single deck, double deck, and six deck. The greatest odds can be found at $100 minimum tables where the dealer stands on all 17s, doubling down after splitting (DAS) is permitted, and re-splitting Aces (RSA) is permitted. In the double-deck version, capitulation is not permitted and the house edge is 0.20 percent, whereas in the six-deck version, surrender is permitted and the house edge is 0.28 percent.
For those who prefer lower table minimums, there is a double-deck game with limits ranging from $25 to $2,000 and the same rules as the more expensive version, with the exception that the dealer strikes on soft 17s. This increases the House advantage to 0.40%. And at the $10$1,000 six-deck tables, the dealer hits on soft 17, DAS and RSA are permitted, and capitulation is not permitted, resulting in a 0.57 percent house advantage.
The single-deck games pay 6:5 instead of the standard 3:2 for a natural blackjack. The majority of these tables are located near Hard Rick’s Party Pit, which on weekends features two pole dancers as opposed to the typical runway performance found in other casinos. There is one $10$1,000 Blackjack table. Switch in the main pit as well, and keep in mind that although all blackjack tables are equipped with automated shuffling machines, they are not set for continuous shuffling and must be intermittently reloaded with discards, just like shoes.
Although the Hard Rock was not the first casino in Las Vegas to offer poolside blackjack, it undoubtedly upped the ante with bikini-clad dealers and one of the city’s best music play lists. On the five-acre pool facilities, both in-water and poolside 21 games are available. At the Poolside Palapa at Nirvana, formerly the HRH Beach Club, tables are placed directly at the water’s edge. Four tables are laid up in the shade of the Palapa Hut adjacent to the Nirvana Bar and Grill, away from the water. The hours of operation, which may alter by season, are typically 11 a.m. to sunset on weekdays and 10 a.m. to sunset on weekends. And yes, “special dryers are used to dry out paper bills, and players are typically provided with pouches for their chips when they leave the tables.”
Access to the Backstage for Regular Blackjack Players
In 2012, the Hard Rock introduced the Backstage Pass Rewards Club to reward player loyalty. Points are awarded for slot machines, table games, and poker, as well as “virtually everything you do on and off the casino floor.” Membership levels are determined by the accumulation of points, with General Admission leading to Entourage at 20,000 points, Platinum Access at 125,000 points, and Nirvana by invitation only. The benefits include room, retail, dining, and spa discounts, as well as complimentary food, beverages, and gifts, free slot play, priority services, and accommodation upgrades. Upon enrolling, new members receive a free $10 Match Play coupon. According to the program description, for table games such as baccarat, “Points are generated based on the average wager and total time played.” In addition, “the participant is responsible for ensuring… that a supervisor is aware of play when playing tables or other games.”
The Inside Perspective
The Hard Rock’s Peacock High Limit Gaming area, situated on an elevated platform just off the main casino floor, is one of the best locations to play in all of Las Vegas for those with a substantial bankroll. The allure of $100, $500, or $5,000 hands of blackjack with a House edge of just 0.200.28% should be sufficient to attract high-stakes players, but the management is aware that these players prefer a bit of privacy surrounded by rich timbers, leather seats, and vibrant fabrics. The “Dragon Salon” is a distinct high-limit room that offers Pai Gow Poker and Baccarat, but not blackjack. During the renovation, the peacock-feather vest made famous by Jimi Hendrix’s 1968 performance at the Filmore was removed from the walls, explaining why the moniker “Peacock” was chosen.