Vegas Downtown Blackjack Rules
If you are familiar with the basic blackjack rules, there is nothing about Vegas downtown variation that will come as a surprise. If you need to jog your memory, here are a few quick reminders:
- The goal of the game is to get as close to 21 without going over (busting)
- The game is played against the dealer and if a player has higher total count (not over 21) than the dealer, he wins the hand (1 to 1 payout)
- Face cards have value of ten (10), aces are counted as one (1) or eleven (11)
- Blackjack (or Natural) is the hand consisting of an Ace and a ten-valued card, and it pays 3 to 2
- Players have option to hit (ask for another card), stand (pass the action), split, or double (specific rules for these two options explained further in the text)
This quick overview should help you remember how the game is played in general. If you are really completely new to blackjack, I recommend you check out our main game guide where all rules and game mechanics are explained in detail.
Specific Rules for the Variation
Whereas traditional blackjack is played with six to eight decks dealt out from the shoe, Vegas downtown blackjack is played with only two full decks of cards (no Jokers). In online game variations, found on a number of our recommended Canadian casinos like Spin Palace, cards are shuffled before each deal.
In brick and mortar casinos, you will often encounter games where the decks are only shuffled after two thirds or even more cards have been dealt out, which provides a great opportunity to put your card counting skills to a test.
The main thing you need to know about this game variation is that it is a hole card game. This means that dealer will always check his hand for a blackjack if he is showing an Ace or a ten (paint). If he finds the natural, he will turn the second card over and the hand will be finished. Thus, you will always know that the dealer does not have 21 if he is showing an Ace or a Ten and allows for the hand to continue.
Other than this, a few specific rules you need to be aware of are:
- The dealer must always hit on the soft 17
- Player can split any two same cards (two 8s, for example), or two cards of the same value (e.g. a King and a Queen)
- Up to three splits are allowed
- You can double down on any two cards and doubling after split is allowed as well
- Making blackjack after splitting aces or tens only counts as 21, paying 1 to 1
Tips for Playing Vegas Downtown Blackjack
Looking at the rules of the game, more savvy blackjack players have probably noticed that this game is quite favorable for the player. This is true indeed, as the house edge, provided you apply the optimum strategy, is just 0.39%.
While the entire strategy is a bit too long to be placed in this article, here are a few tips that should help you increase your win rates playing Vegas downtown blackjack.
- Always stand on 17 or better
- Always stand on soft 20
- Never split a pair of Tens
- Always split Aces
- Don’t take insurance (it’s not a profitable bet)
- Double down on pair of 5’s anytime dealer is not showing a Ten or Eleven. When he is, just hit.
Of course, it goes without saying that you should also play the live variation if it happens to be spread in a casino nearby. Live Vegas downtown blackjack can be quite profitable even if you have a rather basic card counting skills, depending on how deep the dealer usually goes.
Vegas Downtown Blackjack Advantages and Disadvantages
Of all available blackjack variations, this is the most profitable one by far. With the house edge of only 0.39%, Vegas downtown is a great choice for players who enjoy putting their knowledge to work and making their efforts count.
It is available on most of our online casinos recommended for Canadian players, so you should have no problems finding the game. Unlike live environment, where casinos are often inclined to do away with these low edge games, online venues have no problems spreading them since they are not restricted by a number of tables / dealers.
One disadvantage of the game is that you can only play one seat / bet at the time, which may be a bit slow for some players. While you can split up to three times, the opportunity to do this may not present itself that often, so if you are an action junky, Vegas downtown blackjack can seem a bit dull.
If you don’t need to play five hands at the time and enjoy the game for its strategic elements, check out casino shortlist to find the best places to play Vegas downtown blackjack and get cracking. Good strategy and just a dash of good luck could see you walk away from the tables with a decent profit.