Mandalay Bay is located on the far south end of the Las Vegas Strip. It is connected to Luxor by walkway and tram. The same tram runs to Excalibur. Mandalay Bay is owned by MGM Resorts. The company owns all three of those casinos, as well as seven others in Las Vegas.
Mandalay Bay opened on March 2, 1999. It was developed under the company once known as Circus Circus, which was later acquired by MGM Resorts. Mandalay Bay occupies the property that once hosted the Hacienda Casino.
There are 3,309 hotel rooms at Mandalay Bay. Some operate under the Four Seasons and Delano brands. The casino floor at Mandalay Bay is 135,000 square feet. It is the largest casino floor in Nevada. Unfortunately, it seems to shrink with every upgrade.
Mandalay Bay Tables and Games
Mandalay Bay was once one of the best places in Las Vegas to play blackjack. That was before MGM Resorts decided not to offer good games to players under $25. There are only eight playable blackjack tables on the main casino floor at Mandalay Bay. There are another half-dozen in the high limit area. There are 17 6-5 tables that should be avoided. There are also four exotics and two video versions of the game.
The best blackjack games are in the high limit salon. The bet limits are $200 to $20,000 per hand. Higher limits are available upon request and approval.
One game in the high limit salon offers six decks with double down on any two cards and after splitting. Surrender and re-split aces are also available. The dealer stands on all 17’s. The house edge for this game is 0.27%. There are two of these tables.
There is also a great double deck blackjack game in the Mandalay Bay high limit salon. It allows double down on any two cards and after splitting. The dealer stands on all 17’s. The house edge is 0.25%. There are six of these tables.
There are eight decent blackjack games on the main floor. The bet limits are $25 to $5,000 for these games. One is a six-deck that offers double down on any two cards and after splitting. It also offers surrender and re-split aces. The dealer hits soft 17 in this game. The house edge is 0.48%. There are four of these tables.
There are also four tables of double deck blackjack. Players can double down on any two cards and after splitting. Re-split aces are also permitted. The dealer hits soft 17. The house edge is 0.4%.
There are two exotic games. The bet limits are $10 to $2,500. One is Blackjack Switch and the other is Free Bet Blackjack. There are two tables of each. Blackjack Switch requires two bets per deal on separate hands, making the minimum bet actually $20. Free Bet Blackjack is easily the best $10 game on the floor at Mandalay Bay.
There are 17 6-5 blackjack tables. These have $10 to $5,000 limits. Players can double down on any two cards and after splitting. The dealer hits soft 17. Eight decks are used. Cards are dealt out of a continuous shuffle machine. The house edge for this game is 2.01%, making it one of the worst blackjack games in Las Vegas.
There are two video blackjack games at Mandalay Bay. There is no reason to play either. They are Interblock machines that pay 6-5 on a blackjack and have a $5 minimum. Mandalay video blackjack does not accept a player card. You are better off playing video poker to get comps. Even then, you only earn them at a rate of .1% at most MLife tiers.
Mandalay Bay is different from other Las Vegas casinos in that it does not spread any traditional 3-2 blackjack games under $25. It also has 6-5 video blackjack. It takes $200 to get the best blackjack game in the house. As bad as MGM Resorts has become, this is still much higher than the limits other casinos under the company offer.
MLife Rewards for Frequent Blackjack Players
MLife is not a generous players club program for blackjack players. Most players under $100 should not expect much in the way of comps beyond a free buffet. Players under $25 don’t get rated at all. Blackjack counters should not take the risk of playing with the MLife card because there is no reward in doing so. It will only help track play that may get the action backed off.
The Inside View
Mandalay Bay used to be a top place for blackjack action, even for locals. MGM Resorts started lowering the blackjack conditions in 2014. Many of the lower limit games already used continuous shuffle machines. Two more decks were added. On top of that, all games under $25 went from a 3-2 to 6-5 payout.
The $25 double deck games are reasonable since double down after splitting is permitted. The $10 Blackjack Switch and Free Bet Blackjack tables are also decent.
The best games require a $200 minimum bet, which is higher than almost any other casino in Las Vegas. We just don’t feel that there is much of a reason to travel to the south end of the Las Vegas Strip for these blackjack conditions.