Before I left for vacation on Aruba, it was discussed here that the casinos cheat there. For this and other reasons, gambling was a very small part of this trip and I only brought $200 to gamble (usually I play at $25 min tables). In two separate instances at the Stellaris Casino (Marriott), I approached an empty table with the cards spread facing down and asked the dealer if he could open the table and both times he said "soon." I don't know if that indicates cheating, but it is suspicious. Overall, I visited four casinos (to take advantage of match play or free money promotions), and all tables were $5 or $10 minimums. I was usually there before 8 pm, and the casinos were ghost towns. Toward the end of the trip, I was at Stellaris after 10 pm and it was much more crowded. There was one $50 table (one player) and one $100 table (empty). I know "bad" players and "bad" plays help us as much as hurt us, but the players in these casinos were THE worst I have ever seen. One player playing SD heads up would hit every stiff hand against the dealer's low card but stay against a ten or ace. He would hit most hard 17's vs. dealer's 10. He lost all of his money. Talking to the dealer afterward, he said he couldn't tell the player what to do. In one deal, the dealer had to machine shuffle the cards so the player could double down. One highlight was when a player wanted to stand on 2-2 vs. 6 and even the player who had just split 10's (not a counter, and we know what the alternative is)told the guy he had to hit it (never mind that the correct play was to split). The penetration (with the exception of the SD game above) was poor in all casinos. Aruba is a great place to relax, but not play BJ. Unless you love just lying on the beach (which is beautiful), I don't understand people who go there year after year, but apparently there are many. The people are very friendly but there is limited sightseeing and the food is expensive. If you do want to play BJ, take advantage of $10 match plays (one per day but bring the spouse or SO)at Excelsior (Hoilday Inn, touted as the only casino with S17), Hyatt Regency, Al Hambra, and Radisson, where the player receiving the cut card in the form of a joker gets an automatic 21. Only on one table and not sure what happens if the dealer has a BJ. Supposedly, BJ pays 3:2 on that table. Many $5 tables in most casinos pay 6:5 BJ.
I don't think it is worth the trip for he following, but if you happen to be there, take advantage of the following at the Marriott:
take their time share presentation and get $150 in promo chips (as opposed to $100 in restaurant comps). If you have to play each chip once and you only get back $5 if you bet a $5 promo chip, but if you win the bet, you can keep the promo chip on the table. Spreading 1-5, I won $280. Just happened to hit a good streak. I really enjoyed the $15 bet where I took insurance (had to break a $5 promo chip in to two $2.50 real chips to take full insurance). The dealer had the BJ and didn't know what to do. So she took $15 in real chips and paid off my 2-1 insurance bet, without taking any of my chips. I didn't correct her. In conclusion, I think it's better to drink your money away on Aruba, rather than gamble it away. If possible, convince some of the players that you can offer a much better game for them in your room and you could quickly pay for your trip.