Opened in 1989 as the brainchild of entrepreneur Steve Wynn, the Mirage Hotel and Casino was built at a cost of $630 million—the most expensive hotel-casino in history at that time. The color of its distinctive gold windows comes from real gold dust used in the tinting process. Still viewed as the first true luxury resort on the Las Vegas Strip, the Mirage is noteworthy for its tropical theme, including a huge rainforest atrium, a 53-foot-long aquarium containing 1,000 aquatic species, Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, and a volcano simulation at the entrance. The casino’s 100,220-square-foot gaming space has 144 gaming tables, of which 51 are just for blackjack.
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Mirage Tables & Games
The Mirage offers plenty of choices for blackjack players, with cards dealt by hand as well as from a shoe and table stakes graduated for all levels of play. Excellent odds can be found at the tables with $25~$5,000 limits, where the dealer stands on any count of 17. The six-deck game features doubling down after splitting (DAS), re-splitting of Aces (RSA) and a surrender option for a House edge of 0.28%, while the double-deck version allows DAS, but no RSA or surrender for a House margin of 0.27%.
At the $15~$2,500 double-deck tables, the dealer must hit soft 17; there is DAS, but neither RSA nor surrender, for a House advantage of 0.45%. Those who play at the $10~$5,000 six-deck tables face a dealer who hits soft 17; DAS, RSA and surrender are all permitted, creating a House edge of 0.48%. However, players should be aware that most of the $10 tables pay only 6:5 for a natural blackjack instead of the standard 3:2. None of the tables offer side bets except those with continuous shuffling machines dealing $10~$2,500 Blackjack Switch.
Overall, the Mirage has been rated among the top ten casinos on the Las Vegas Strip when it comes to finding the best odds for blackjack, offering an average House margin of 0.53% when all variants are taken into account. Those who want VIP treatment in terms of both odds and service will want to check out the Mirage High Limit Lounge, an “elite enclave” that has its own full service bar, buffet and private restrooms amid “sophisticated surroundings”. Table minimums start a $100. For low rollers, there are machine options on the slot floor, including IGT’s “Enchanted Blackjack,” which can seat up to six players at a time.
M Life for Frequent Blackjack Players
Because the Mirage is part of MGM Resorts International, it offers the “M life” player’s club, which is shared with such sister properties as the MGM Grand, Excalibur, New York New York, Aria, Bellagio and Mandalay Bay. The loyalty program does not mix “points” awarded for slot play with credits earned for table games. Instead, blackjack players “are eligible to earn Express Comps and Tier Credits based on table games play … based on your average bet and time played.” The Express Comps can be exchanged for hotel accommodations, dining, entertainment, M life Moments and more at any M life destination. Whenever players move up in tier status, from Sapphire to Pearl, Gold, Platinum and NOIR, they can earn even more Express Comps for their play. Note, however, that there is “a minimum betting requirement to be rated for Table Games (so) please see the supervisor in the pit for assistance at each participating M life resort.”
The Inside View
The Mirage has the distinction of being the first casino on the Las Vegas Strip to introduce Geoff Hall’s new game “Free Bet Blackjack” in 2012. The game allows the player to double down and split without increasing the amount of the wager. Offsetting the free doubles and splits is a rule that “if the dealer gets a 22, all bets left standing push.” According to the game’s distributor, ShuffleMaster, the House edge on this game is 0.79%. At the Mirage today, Free Bet Blackjack is offered at two tables with stakes of $10~$1,000.