Playing Blackjack in Colombia

In 2022 it's no longer necessary for blackjack dealers
in Medellín to know how to shuffle casino cards.
That's because automatic shuffle machines a.k.a.
Shuffle Masters (CSMs) are doing all the shuffling.
This is my report after visiting all the table-games
casinos on the Golden Mile strip and the larger
casinos in Candelaria/El Centro.

The changeover to machine-shuffling is
a detriment to card counters and other
players who relied on dealer shuffles
which could make the cards more

The San Fernando casino in Poblado is completely
closed.  The Madison casino in Premium Plaza mall
has closed its table games area for 'remodelación'.
No indication when or if the live games will reopen.
For now, basically slot play is what is offered.

The Hollywood Casino on the Golden Mile in
Poblado blocked me from entering two nights
ago.  The 'vigilante' at the door repeatedly
spoke the word "tomado," from the verb
'tomar' (to take or to drink), making me think
he was worried about allowing in a 'borracho'
(I don't drink liquor of any kind).

Eventually, the casino manager came out.
I asked him about the shuffle machines ..
and when he confirmed the machines were
in use at the blackjack table(s), I thanked him
and departed.

cccmedia in Medellín
Playing blackjack against a dealer with shuffling machine.

I played blackjack on purpose at a machine-shuffle table for the first time ever today.

This was at Gran Casino.  Despite its lofty name, this Medellín casino only had one table game of any kind in action today, Sunday -- the blackjack table I played at.

With the machine doing all the shuffling, there is no break in the action every 15 or 20 minutes for the dealer to do it.  This adds some momentum to whatever is happening, such as winning or losing streaks.  Streaks can happen fast, especially when spreading to the maximum three hands per round as I prefer to do.

The reason I have decided to play against a machine shuffle in Colombia is that the rules are so player favorable.

The best rule is Early Surrender, which is rarely ever found at North American casinos, or even in casinos in other South American countries.  You can save half your bet (i.e., player 16 versus a dealer Ace or 10) by surrendering, even if the dealer eventually turns over dealer blackjack.

At many Colombia casinos, split Aces can each be doubled, meaning if you bet 10 lucas and get a pair of Aces, you can bet a total of 40 lucas on the hand.   Each Ace gets one card only when a split is initiated.

Doubling of any two original cards and Double After Splitting, or DAS, are also allowed.

cccmedia in Medellín
Dealer personalities?

There is little or no tipping going on at Gran Casino blackjack .. nor at most casinos I have played at in South America.

This means dealers have little to no incentive to chat up the players or display personality.  Most pit supervisors here do not appear to encourage any display of personality on the part of the dealers.

This is a contrast to many casinos in North America, especially the ones (as in Colorado) where dealers keep their tips and tokes as opposed to splitting the 'zooks' among all dealers on their shift.  Toked dealers have a strong incentive to root for the players at their table and to appear to openly root for players' luck and success.  Many casino managers up North encourage this attitude displayed by dealers as a way to entertain players and keep them engaged and in action.

cccmedia in Medellín
Very coincidentally 2 weeks back my gringo friend in Medellin invited me to join him but I have never played blackjack so he showed me.

We went into Casino Caribe La Playa in centro (Beach) and I noticed everything you mentioned.

My friend was so patient teaching me, the buy in was 200 mil and min bet was 10 mil on this table, we played for about 2 hours AND......beginners luck I walked away with 220 mil.

Your right about the dealer, a dead fish, hehehehe but had so much fun laughing with my buddy especially so given that he has played for most of his life and yet I was the one whose night it was.

He told me he always likes the casino over at San Diego, don't know why though.
San Diego mall area casinos.

The S.D. mall area has two casinos.

The one your friend likes is probably the Rio, which is
just across the street from the 'centro comercial'.
This is the oldest mall in Medellín, opened in the
1970s.  Originally it was considered an open-air mall
where you walked outdoors between stores.

The mall has expanded so much that many of
the newer stores are in enclosed spaces, which
makes it easier to pass from one store to another
during rainy seasons such as the current
'temporada mojada'.

The other casino, which is at Premium Plaza mall
several blocks up the main drag toward
Poblado sector, is remodeling .. and may or may not
reopen table games eventually.  The casino rep
I spoke with didn't seem to know the future plans.

cccmedia in Medellín
Gaining access to the table games
at the Hollywood Casino, Golden Mile,

After being shut out by a security guard
several nights ago (see above), I decided
to try again last night, a Monday.  Many
casino managers have non-holiday
Mondays off -- slow times -- so I thought
I might encounter less flack.

And so it was:  the manager and the
security guard who had stopped me
earlier were both absent at my arrival.

The guard on duty at the entrance
frisked me appropriately and then
waved me right in.

It was raining heavily at the time ..
which may be why many open seats
were available for blackjack.

cccmedia in Medellín

How a rookie dealer was corrected.

Molasses-slow shuffles and plentiful dealers mistakes were common when I played blackjack in the Southern border town of Ipiales, Colombia.

Here in Medellín, the continuous-shuffle machines have eliminated the slow shuffles. 

Until last night I did not detect any dealer errors in my first few sessions of this trip.

Last night, while I was playing multiple hands as the only player at a 21 table at Hollywood Casino, the young dealer bypassed my third-base hand -- a hard 14 -- and proceeded to pull from the shoe the dealer cards:  she got 8 - Ace - Ace for a total of 20.

I immediately protested to the supervisor, who was standing right there:  "Hey!  No es correcto.  No tuve la oportunidad para señalar en esa mano!"

The game stopped as pit personnel contacted the big boss.  He came by but wouldn't listen to my story.  Sr. No Nonsense decided to 'burn' a couple of cards .. and then gave me the opportunity to play my ignored hand.

I surrendered the 14, saving one chip .. and pushed the dealer on my remaining hand of 20.

The game resumed.  As for the dealer, she was promptly relieved by another 'empleado'.

cccmedia in Medellín

The worst bet in the casino.

At the Hollywood Casino on Medellín's Golden Mile,
they offer a certain option to any  blackjack player
who is dealt a natural 21 (Ace + 10 or facecard).

The "wager" is available when the Dealer has
a 10 or face showing.  Apparently, the casino figures
the player is so concerned that his or her
blackjack will be 'pushed' by a Dealer natural
(and thus no money for the player),
that the player may want to accept an even-money
payout on the hand instead of "gambling"
on whether the Dealer has an Ace in the hole.

The problem, of course, is that in random cards,
an Ace appears only once every 13 cards.  So if
you take the even money, you are theoretically
giving the casino a 12 to 1 advantage

This is a classic Sucker Bet..

The obvious strategy is never to take the
even-money offering.  It would be the worst
single-wager option in the casino.


Insurance (offered when the dealer has
an Ace showing) is also a dubious wager for
the player.  The odds favor the house, so
it's generally advisable to avoid the
Insurance bet .. including avoidance of
the even-money option in the case of a
Player natural versus a Dealer Ace.

cccmedia in Medellín

A pair of Aces.

Back in the day (meaning several years ago),
it was common for casinos in Colombia to
offer the Player a chance to make double
times double his or her money when dealt
a pair of Aces.

The Player still received one card only
per Ace when splitting Aces.  However,
the Player could simultaneously quadruple
the original bet.  This created a juicy
player advantage when the Aces
were up against a Dealer 4, 5 or 6.

Apparently, that rule has been eliminated,
at least here in the Paisa capital.

I have played in four casinos on this trip,
and none of them is offering the
quadruple Aces play.


Note that the South American
hole-card rule is in effect in
Colombian casinos, and has been so
for many years.  Unlike in many
North American casinos, the Dealer
does not draw the hole card
until all Player hands are completed.

FYI, split Aces receive only one card,
even if it's another Ace.  In other
words, no re-splitting of Aces
is allowed.

cccmedia in Medellín

Who has the advantage in Colombia

      casinos -- the Player or the House?

If you go on some of the online blogs and boards
that pertain to Blackjack, you may see that some
Players just love 21 in Colombia.

They inputted the rules into blog software
and figured out that a perfect basic-strategy
Player has a tiny fraction of one percent
advantage over the House.  (This was often
calculated before the split Aces rule was

The big advantage of Colombia Blackjack
over most North American games is the
option to Early Surrender.

This option gives the player the right to
surrender half his bet to get out of a
hand in which he otherwise has an
overwhelming likelihood of losing
the hand and the entire wager.

The Early part of Early Surrender is
generally unavailable in the USA.
In Colombia, the Player may retain
half the wager even against a
Dealer Ace.

Some of the best hands to
Surrender are 15 or 16 versus Ace
or Ten/facecard.

cccmedia in Medellín

Proof of human shuffles.

Today I saw proof that Colombian blackjack dealers
still can shuffle the cards with their own hands.

It happened at Hollywood Casino in Medellín at
a 21 table where no automatic shuffling machine
was in sight.  A traditional blackjack shoe
was in use.

Questioned by me, the dealer stated that the
machine wasn't working and was being repaired.

Today's shuffle appeared adequate, although I definitely
did better money-wise at the game at the last half dozen
casinos I played at featuring machine shuffles
compared with today's human-shuffled offering.

cccmedia in Medellín

Casino row? 

Due to changing conditions at some
Medellín casinos, notably the closure
of the San Fernando, there are fewer
table games casinos these days along
what had been the city's blackjack row.

However, there is one spot along the
Golden Mile where two casinos still
offer table games in close proximity
to each other.

These are Gran Casino and
Casino Hollywood.

It's a benefit to have at least
two casinos close by to each other.
For instance, Gran Casino often
has only one blackjack table open.
If all the spots are taken, it's
convenient that Hollywood is
a mere stone's throw away.

Also -- as happened this week
at these casinos' 21 tables on
different evenings --
I encountered a slammer and
a steamer, the latter being
someone who was
obnoxiously chasing or appearing
to chase his losses.  The slammer
was smacking the table
in an uncaring manner before
every hand, as if this was
going to change his luck for
the better.

When you can't change tables
in any casino for lack of availability,
having another table-games casino
so nearby usually solves the problem
by enabling you to get away
from an offensive narcissist.


Between these two casinos is my
new favorite Medellín restaurant,
which features dishes from
Thailand and other places in
Southeast Asia -- NaciónSushi.

Nación is two doors down from
Casino Hollywood, located in
the same mini-mall as the casino.
The restaurant offers indoor
dining and an outdoor patio
where you can enjoy your food
in the presence of the Paisa

capital's famed green landscaping.

cccmedia in Medellín

Aces galore.

Aces kept coming up at my session last night
at Casino San Remo in Medellín.

I split a pair of Aces against a dealer
break card and one of the Aces caught
a third Ace.

"Es permitido?" I asked the dealer, trying
to ascertain whether I was up against the
normal rule of no Ace re-splitting and
thus potentially stuck with a soft 12.

Resplitting Aces is allowed at San Remo,
I was told, so I immediately re-split,
with a good result.


A few minutes later, the dealer had a
hard 12, then proceeded to deal
her hand four consecutive Aces.

Eventually, she made a hand, just 18,
and I was able to win two the three
spots I had wagered.  In Colombia,
a player is permitted
to play up to three hands when the
table is not crowded.

In the old shoe games, it was bad news
when so many Aces came out of the
deck in one spurt, as it lessened the
chances of getting a natural Blackjack.
Against these auto-shufflers, though,
the cards get reshuffled so often that
this is no longer a problem.  In this
case, the dealer immediately put the
discards -- Aces an all -- back into
the shuffler, and I complimented her
on the prompt move.

cccmedia in Medellín
Low stakes 21 across from
San Diego mall in Medellín.
Today, Saturday, I noticed a rare
dealer-dealt shoe game at
Casino Río, across
the street from the San Diego
shopping mall and a
few blocks from the newer
Premium Plaza mall.  This area
is between the Golden Mile
and the downtown area of
the Paisa capital.

With a higher-than-usual minimum
bet of 25,000 COP at that table, I chose to
play multiple hands at a 5,000 COP
($1.20 US) table instead.  Most casinos in
Colombia do not offer a minimum
bet at blackjack below 10,000 COP.

Nor will most allow a player to
bet on more than three spots
when the table is not busy.
However, at Río, I was allowed to
play up to six spots .. and did play
five spots most of the time.

The typical protocol in Medellín
is for a supervisor to ask for a
new player's name .. and then
offer them a beverage, which is
typically delivered by a server
who is not part of the
blackjack/table games crew.

cccmedia in Medellín

Blackjack in Bucaramanga.

On my previous trip to Buca (both trips in 2022),
I usually played at Casino El Doral.  It became a
favorite because it's inside the best mall in the
city, Caciuque (kah-SEE-kay).

As usual for a Friday evening, the 21 table was
packed.  A couple of players were playing two
spots each, and one of them (with supervisor
prompting) relinquished a spot so I could
get in on the action.

Unlike in Medellín, El Doral's game is shuffled
manually, no Shuffle Master.  It took about
eight minutes between shoes for the
deliberate dealer to mix the cards and
exchange/color-up chips between shoes.

The game seemed molasses-slow, although
that was not exactly unexpected on a
weekend night in the capital of the
Santander 'departamento'.

One reason the game is slow is other
players' inclination to place the maximum
three bets per spot, two of those being
for side bets.  The big payoffs on side bets
come when someone is dealt a suited pair,
especially a royal pair of two kings of hearts,
for instance. 

The dealer has to take and pay up to
21 bets per round.  I don't play the
side bets due to the house advantage,
but -- as in Medellín -- other players
(with my permission) place small wagers
alongside my 21 bets on a regular basis.

Such action is permitted.  And, by the way,
the use of cell phones
is also allowed at Colombia's
blackjack tables.

cccmedia in Bucaramanga
Saturday night blackjack in Buca.

The 21 players had a big night at the
El Dorado casino on Saturday.

The blackjack dealer's chip tray
was almost cleaned out by the
time the game ended after 1:30 a.m.

The game was slow as molasses,
enabling the casino to weather the
player-favorable results and not
have to do a late-night tray fill.

As I approached the table and took
the only available seat at 12:30 a.m.,
the shoe was ending.  Eight minutes
later, the dealer got out the first
round of a new shoe and dealt
the third-base player a pair of 7's.
He had a side-bet that would
pay him handsomely if he could
draw a third seven.

Which he proceeded to do!
The casino erupted in cheers and
a show of celebration as the
man completed a 7-7-7 hand,
entitling him to a pozo or jackpot.

The supervisor told me the
jackpot was worth over a million
Pesos (over $250 US), although
I didn't see that much in chips
distributed.  The star player
tipped the dealer and gave
smaller tips to all of us
other players.

By the time the round was
completed, I had been wagering
and waiting for over 15 minutes
and exactly one round had
been completed.

The game barely picked up pace
as the players continually wagered
on all seven casillas  plus
the 14 side-bet circles on each
and every hand.

It's hard to complain about
the game being slow when
the casino was giving out money
as on Saturday night at the
El Dorado casino in Bucaramanga.

cccmedia in Buca
How to win the full 'pozo'.

The maximum wager on the 'Acumulación'
side bet is just 1,000 pesos (about $0.23 U.S.),
whereas the potential payoff for three sevens
of spades in a single player hand is
approaching ten million pesos.

So this side bet is getting continual play
at the generally full table at Casino El Doral
in Bucaramanga.  The possible payoff would
be worth up to about $2,300 U.S., giving
side bettors all the incentive they need
to play the Acumulación wager on
every round.  I don't play this bet, but I
do allow the eager players to my right
and my left to place extra side bets next
to my 'casilla'.

As mentioned above, I was present at the
table several days ago when a player
was dealt 7-7-7.  His sevens were not
suited, so he qualified only for ten percent
of the 'pozo total' or total jackpot.

A player who places this side bet and
receives three suited sevens wins
30 percent of the possible jackpot.
As mentioned above, three sevens of
spades in one hand would win
the entire jackpot.  Unsuited sevens
totaling 21 would win a smaller pot.

Last night at the table, a player was
dealt two sevens of spades and
called for a third card, which turned out
to be a five of spades.  So he received
no side-bet payout and lost his
one-peso wager.


I noticed another player split his sevens
against a dealer low card while wagering
on the Acumulación last night.  He proceeded
to split his sevens, which is consistent with
regular 21 basic strategy but is a questionable
decision when a lucrative payoff is possible
should his next card be any seven.

cccmedia in Bucaramanga
Broadway Casino of Bucaramanga.

Unlike Casino El Dorado, where the game
is frequently crowded at all hours of the
table gaming day (4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.),
the Cabecera commercial district of
Bucaramanga has multiple casinos ..
and on a day like yesterday, plenty of
seats are often available.

The Broadway Casino allowed me to
play as many spots as I wanted when
most spots were open -- and I
consistently played four spots.

The table games area was over-cooled
by air conditioning.  The staff
moderated the temperature upon
request.  I'll bring a jacket with me
next time I play at Broadway.

Besides the main blackjack table and
tables for different games, one 21
table was in use for training only.
A staff member was teaching two
young women how to deal
blackjack.  I suspect the table may
be used for regular play at peak
times on the weekend.

cccmedia in Bucaramanga
The Cabecera sector of Buca.

The commercial sector of Cabecera is
Expat-friendly .. and gives the 21 player
a choice of multiple table-games casinos
that is not available in the Cacique area.

In addition to the Broadway casino
(aforementioned), there is the nearby
Encore casino and Crown Casino
(not yet visited).

Within several blocks of these casinos
is virtually every type of commercial
enterprise a visiting tourist could
imagine... restaurants, laundries,
shopping malls and supermarkets,
for starters.  And that list does not even
include the many night venues within
easy walking distance, including bars,
nightclubs and Zona Rosa.

cccmedia in Bucaramanga

Three cheers for Broadway!

The Broadway casino in Cabecera, Bucaramanga,
has become my hands-down favorite of all the
casinos where I have played blackjack on my
current Colombia trip to Buca and Medellín.

It's not just that I've won consistently at
Broadway.  It's also that I have been able to
play three to five hands at a time, even when
several other players are in action at the
21 table.  Also, Broadway allows minimum bets
of 5 Lucas  per betting space when playing
multiple hands -- half the required minimum
at Buca's other casinos where I've played.

Additionally, players are not opting for the
side bets, probably because (unlike at
El Dorado) there is no pozo  or jackpot
for a hand of 7-7-7.  This means the
Broadway game moves rapidly as the
dealer is not constantly paying and taking
side bets.  Since there is no dealer shuffling
(the shuffle machine is constantly mixing
the cards), it eliminates the 5 to 7
minutes of downtown on the game that
one gets several times an hour
at dealer-shuffled games such
as El Dorado and Encore.

Additional features of this casino are
its proximity, within several blocks, to
other casinos .. and its location near
many restaurants, superior food courts,
two shopping malls connected by a fourth-level
bridge across an avenue) and small
shops from 7-11 style convenience
stores to clothing and shoe repair shops.

cccmedia in Bucaramanga
Good info.. We just left Rock n Roll Casino in Bogota off of Calle 82. It was a very uneventful night. But both my wife and myself were exhausted. We are headed back tomorrow night after some rest. Probably do a different Casino though. There are a few right in this area of Zona Rosa
On a side note not to hijack your post. We were given a 25k peso's voucher to visit this Casino today over at a convention at Corferias close to Salitre which is why we chose the casino. However upon arriving at the casino we were told the voucher was no good. We didn't lose anything by having it. Obviously was just a ploy to get us in the door and spend money. Which it worked, the voucher itself was free so no loss there. Just kinda crappy thing to do to get people in the door.
"...not to hijack your post...."


Glad, actually, to get some company on this thread.

Would welcome your impressions beyond what you
have posted so far .. about Bogotá area casinos.

I have not played 21 in Bogotá -- but mainly in
Medellín, Bucaramanga and Ipiales.

Do most of the tables in the capital have 10,000
peso minimums?  ($2.40 US)

cccmedia in Buca
I have not played 21 in Bogotá -- but mainly in Medellín, Bucaramanga and Ipiales.

I vaguely recall years back that you spent some time in Armenia playing blackjack?

What about giving the casinos in Manizales a shake, or does its high elevation, hilly streets and rainy weather steer you clear of it?
Blackjack in the Coffee Zone.

You have a good memory, Mr. Barley.

It has been five years since I played blackjack
in Armenia, Quindío, so my recollection of that
is vague as well.

I'd consider going back to Armenia if I
thought the Mocawa hotel and the the
attached Mocawa condo building heated
their pools on a daily basis.  I have stayed
at both, as well as the famous hotel across
the street, and all three places kept their
pools cool and unheated except on
weekends and holiday periods.

As for Manizales, my research indicated
there might be either zero or one
casino offering blackjack with a live
dealer.  That's not enough.  If there's
a significant change in the playing rules
or the betting limits or the shuffle method,
there's no other 21 table in town to move to.
As the blackjack conditions changed in
Armenia, I gradually lost interest in
traveling there again.  The swimming
pool deal was the clincher.

Manizales may be too chilly and hilly
for my taste, as you suggested.

Medellín and Bucaramanga seem to
have all I want, including
well-climatized pools at my favoite
hotels in each city ..
and multiple table-game casinos
within a short distance of each other
such as a city block or two.  In the
Paisa capital, the casinos where
I play are along the Golden Mile
bus route or near the big shopping
malls along what I consider the
Golden Mile extended.

cccmedia in Bucaramanga

El Guasón's Broadway appearance.

The names of special casino cards are not taught

in high school Spanish, so our readers may not be

familiar with the terms Guasón -- Joker --

or el comodín -- the wild card.

At Bucaramanga's Broadway Casino tonight,

a new promotion appeared at the blackjack table.

El Guasón was mixed in with the regular cards

by way of the Shufflemaster .. and appeared as

a card in one the multiple hands I was playing.

The dealer immediately put the card aside.  I was

informed that the value of el bono  would be

100,000 Pesos, a.k.a. 100 Lucas.

Putting the Guasón bonus into play.

After some paperwork and some waiting,

I received the bonus in the form of

20 special green chips, each one worth

5,000 Pesos or 2.35 USD.

"Cómo se usa?" I asked the supervisor.

How are these chips used?

He told me the special rules for

the Joker chips...

Player blackjacks pay even money instead

of the usual 3 to 2 payoff ..

double-downs require a regular chip

to be wagered for the second bet ..

surrender is not allowed.  I soon learned

that the player keeps the Guasón chip

for additional use on any wager that wins

or ties;  it is only taken by the dealer

on a losing player hand.

The game proceeded quickly as I was

the only player in action, so no side bets

were in play, no delays for a novice player

hesitating on his 13 versus a dealer 10.

When the dust cleared eight minutes later,

I had made a profit of 120 Lucas with

the promotional chips.

cccmedia in Bucaramanga

Hi cccmedia,

I enjoyed reading your treads on Blackjack in Columbia. I live in Ecuador, and just came back from a 3 day weekend in Bogota. I played only in one Casiño called Millionaires Casino. Only CSM. I played a total of 10 to 11 hours. All in all came out winning, but not much. First time, and hopefully the last playing without a hand shuffle. I am looking forward to taking another trip either in the end of November this year or January of 2023.  I will fly into Bogota and then hop on another flight to Bucaramanga to try out the casinos you mentioned. Hand dealt shoes is what I want.

Justjoy, the blackjack table at Centro Comercial

Cacique (kah-SEE-kay) gets really crowded,

especially Tuesday through Saturday, as there

are no other casinos within reasonable

walking distance.  The shoes are hand shuffled.

There was only one 21 table operating during the

month I stayed at the adjacent Holiday Inn.

There are three casinos within easy walking

distance of Casino Broadway in Cabecera.

Broadway's game is dealt from a continuous shuffler.

There were hand-shuffled 21 games nearby at two

'centro comercial' casinos.  All three of these

casinos typically had seats available in the

afternoons, on weekday nights and on Sundays.

Minimums as of my recent trip:  5,000 pesos

(currently about one dollar US) at Broadway,

10,000 during most hours at the other



Hallo Ccc!

am traveling to Colombia in a few weeks for work and staying there for 6 months.

I find your inside on black jack super interesting and useful.

I myself been an AP for a couple of years now.

I was wondering if you could make a a short summary of the casinos/cities where one can still find hand-shuffled game?! thank you so much in advance!!!!

Dear Mas Ref,

Welcome to the Colombia forums of ...

In the past year -- and going forward --

I have been playing blackjack in sectors of my

favorite Expat-friendly cities in

Colombia.  That means casinos along

the Golden Mile in Medellin and in

Cabecera sector, Bucaramanga, Santander.

I have also played at Cacique as it is located

in the same hotel-shopping-casino complex

where I was staying for a month in Buca.

Due to overcrowding at the one 21

table that was in use there at most hours,

I expect to limit my action at that venue

during my next Buca stay.

However, Cacique may be a good casino for you

as it offers manually-shuffled cards, no CSM.

Play at off hours, such as early afternoon when

the table opens, Sundays, late-night on

weekdays and any Monday nights when there's

not a major soccer game on the tube.

Gradually in recent years, CMS's have taken

over the blackjack tables of Medellin.  The

table games managers there can absorb the

CSM lease fees since a big city such as the

Paisa capital has plenty of action at most


So, in your case, Mas Ref, I would recommend

you play at Cacique in Bucaramanga and the

other casinos I mentioned above on this thread

that are in Buca.  The exception is

Casino Broadway, which offers

CSM-shuffled cards only.


cccmedia thanks a lot for taking the time for the valuable inside!

I will definitely make time to visit Medellin and Bucaramanga

do you have any info on the game in Cartagena or Bogota?

have you ever had back-offs in Colombia? do you know whether it could be potentially aggressive/dangerous? or just similar to in US/Europe?!

thanks again!

Back-offs unlikely.

I have never even sniffed a player being

backed off or 86'd for advanced play in

Colombia.  I have played in Medellin,

Bucaramanga, the Coffee Zone capitals and

Ipiales.  The casino at Gran Plaza, Ipiales,

had put its table games in storage in 2021

due to the Situation.

Neither I nor other players I've seen

have drawn excessive heat from the

pit personnel.

It's South America, so keep your wits

about you, especially if exiting a casino

after a win late at night. 

I never worry about back-offs as I don't

alternate between low bets and table

maximum .. and am often satisfied with a

70 USD win even if the table conditions

remain solid.  My sessions rarely exceed

one hour.

I have no inside information on the games

in Bogota and Cartagena, just what's

available on the Internet.   The weather in

the capital is cool and rainy .. and in

Cartagena it's hot and humid, whereas

I prefer the mild climates in Buca and

the Paisa capital.


Thanks again for the inside! I will come back to the thread as soon as I make some time at the Colombian tables!

There is wide agreement among blackjack players

that online blackjack is filled with scammers.

I once bought in for online play at a casino .. and

accepted what seemed like generous bonuses as

part of my welcome package.

However, much later, when I wanted to cash out,

I learned that the bonuses had beens structured in

such a way that it was virtually impossible to get to my

cash balance.

So far as I know, there is no gaming commission to

decide disputes between player and online casino.

So guess who has the final decision in all matters?


I would like to know why in Colombia does the blackjack dealer only flip one card? In US the dealer flips 2. seems to me that it gives the house a huge advantage. Unless there is a different strategy when a dealer flips 1 card as opposed to 2 ,, I can't seem to win a lot of hands. Any advise?

Dear Alex,

Welcome to the Colombia forums of ...

The dealer not showing a hole-card is standard

at every casino where I have played 21 outside

of the United States, including my play in

various South American countries and two

Asian countries.

The no-hold-card policy makes sense from the

casinos' point of view .. as it prevents a weak

dealer from accidentally revealing her second

card prematurely, which would give players an


Basic strategy will change versus a dealer ten-up

in some casinos where a dealer blackjack would

capture both the original bet and the double-down

bet.  In such casinos, do not double an 11 versus

a ten or face card. 

Your lack of success at no-hole-card games

is probably not due to the way the game is dealt,

unless you are over-aggressively doubling.

cccmedia in Santander

CSM pen in the Paisa capital.

On Sunday (March 19, 2023), dealers at Casino Rio

near the San Diego mall in Medellín were stacking

about three decks of discards in the discard tray

before returning them to the CSM machine.

This may be of interest to AP's who are searching

for at least this much penetration.

The Rio game opens at 10 a.m. most days, and

4 p.m. on Sundays

cccmedia in Medellín

Member revelation0928, who has experience

playing 21 at various Asian casinos, wrote in

to ask about playing conditions in Armenia,

Colombia, one of the Coffee Zone capitals.

I replied that I stopped playing blackjack in

Armenia six years ago when the number of

table-game casinos including blackjack in

Armenia dropped from two to one.

cccmedia in Medellíin