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An Expert Strategy for Atlantic City Blackjack

Blackjack is the most popular casino card game both online and offline. There are several versions of the game with most using the same standard set of rules but minor variations. The most popular blackjack types include European Blackjack, Atlantic City Blackjack and Vegas Strip Blackjack. In this article, we take a look at Atlantic City Blackjack.

Atlantic City Blackjack is played with eight decks of cards. The blackjack variant was developed around the mid-1970s when New Jersey legalized the casino industry in Atlantic City. It is similar to Vegas Strip Blackjack but uses more decks of cards and has different rules for the dealer, doubling down, splitting and surrendering.

Ultimately, the aim of the game is to get as close to 21 as possible, without going over. If you go over 21, or the dealer does, this results in a bust – automatically losing the hand. The hand that wins is the one that is closer to 21. The strongest hand is blackjack, which is made with an Ace and 10-value card. Aces can be worth either 1 or 11 whilst 10 value cards include 10, Jack, Queen and King. Blackjack is not just the strongest hand, but it offers the largest payout. Having 21 with more than two cards is not considered blackjack.

Atlantic City Blackjack Basics

Every round of Atlantic City Blackjack starts off with the player placing a bet on a position. In some variants, the player will be able to bet on more than one position, allowing them to play with several hands during a single round. Once the bets have been finalized, the round starts when the dealer serves two face-up cards to the player and takes a face-up and face-down card.

At this point, if the dealer reveals a 10-value card, they will check for blackjack. If they have it, the round is over. This speeds up the game and will not let you wager more money. If the dealer reveals an Ace, you will have the chance to place an insurance bet. The insurance bet costs half of your initial stake and will pay 2:1. Essentially, this means that if the dealer has blackjack, you will not suffer a loss. If the dealer does not have blackjack in either of the scenarios above, the round continues as normal.

Onto the gameplay, you will have five options in Atlantic City Blackjack. These include Standing, Hitting, Doubling Down, Surrendering and Splitting.

  • Stand: This means you do not wish to take on any more cards and are happy with your hand as it is.
  • Hit: This means you want to take another card. You can take as many cards as you please as long as you don’t exceed 21.
  • Double Down: This doubles your bet and deals one more card to the hand. You can Double Down regardless of what your hand is.
  • Surrender: This gives you the option to lose your hand after receiving your initial two cards and claiming back half your bet.
  • Split: This means to split your cards into two hands if you have pairs. After splitting, you will be able to take on more cards. However, you can only split once. In addition, if you split aces, you will only be able to take one more card. By splitting, you are doubling your bet.

Dealer Rules

In Atlantic City Blackjack, the dealer has to follow a set of strict rules. Essentially, they will always have to hit if they have 16 or less and stand on 17 or more. The rules of hard and soft hands – whether there is an ace or not – do not have any affect here.

Pay Outs

Once the round has finished, you will know if you have won or lost. A standard win – beating the dealer’s hand – will pay out even money at 1:1. As for blackjack, it pays out 3:2. Surrendering will recoup half of your stake whilst Insurance Bets will claim the entire stake back at 2:1 if the dealer reveals blackjack. All tied hands will result in a push where your bet is returned.

Atlantic City Blackjack Side Bets

Most variants of Atlantic City Blackjack will have one of two – if not both – side bet options. The most popular side bets are Perfect Pairs and 21+3. As they are side bets, they do not have any impact on the main game

For Perfect Pairs, you will need to keep an eye on your two initial cards. If you are dealt a pair, you win. However, what type of pair you are dealt will also affect the payout.

  • Mixed Pair: This is when you are dealt a pair that does not share the same colour. An example of this is a 7 of Diamonds and 7 of Spades. Usually, it pays out 6:1
  • Coloured Pair: This is when you are dealt a pair that shares the same colour but not the same suit. An example of this is the 8 of Diamonds and 8 of Hearts. Usually, it pays out 12:1.
  • Perfect Pair: This is when you are dealt two identical cards. An example is two 9s of Clubs. It pays out 25:1.

As for 21+3, this pays out if the player’s first two cards form a poker hand in combination with the dealer’s up card. The standard payouts for 21+3 are the following:

  • A Flush pays 5:1
  • A Straight pays 10:1
  • Three of a Kind pays 30:1
  • A Straight Flush pays 40:1
  • A Suited Three of a Kind pays 100:1

Atlantic City Blackjack Strategy

When playing Atlantic City Blackjack, you vastly enhance your chances of winning by following basic strategy. Basic or Perfect Blackjack Strategy is displayed in charts that tell you, mathematically, what is the best decision for you to take.

The charts are based on your two initial cards and the dealer’s face-up card. They will inform you whether to Stand, Hit, Double Down, Split or Surrender. Whilst they may be tricky to learn at first, the more you play, the more familiar they will become.

Below, we have included some of the basic strategies used for Atlantic City Blackjack. If you want to increase your chances of winning, it may be worthwhile consulting the strategy chart for every hand. This may take some time but eventually you will become faster at reaching your decision. Let’s take a look:

  • If the dealer shows a 9, 10 or A, whilst your hand is worth 16, always surrender.
  • If your hand is 15 and the dealer shows a 10, always surrender.
  • If you have 11 and the dealer shows a 2 to 10, always Double Down.
  • Always Double Down if you have a hand of 10 and the dealer shows a 2 to 9.
  • If the dealer shows a 3 to 6, always Double Down.
  • If the dealer shows a 5 or 6, Double Down on all A-2 to A-7 hands.
  • Always stand with a total of 18 or higher.
  • Never split a pair of 5s or 10 value cards such as 10-10, J-J and so on.
  • Always split Aces and 8s.

These are just a taste of what the Perfect Blackjack Strategy chart looks like. You can easily find the full chart online and after playing with it for a while, it will become second nature. Furthermore, you can keep it next to you while you play, even in a land casino.

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