Vegas Downtown Blackjack
Vegas Downtown Blackjack is virtually an identical twin to the game of blackjack. The game is played with 2 standard 52-card decks. After each hand is completed, the deck is reshuffled. Players are dealt two cards each. The first objective is to obtain a hand that beats the dealer's hand. The second objective is to get as close to 21 as possible without going over which is also known as "busting." In the scenario that the dealer goes over 21 (and you don't), you win even money, and every time you go over 21 the house wins. Natural 21s or 'blackjacks' automatically win and beat all drawn hands valued at 21. Blackjacks are paid at the rate of 3 to 2, or $1.50 for every $1 wagered. When dealers deal themselves an ace facing up, they do check for natural blackjacks.
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The value of each card is determined by its face value. For example, a 4 is worth 4 points or a 9 is worth 9 points. If you were dealt a 9 and a 4, you would have a hand valued at 13 points (9+4). The exception to this is that all picture cards (JJs thru KKs) are worth 10 points and aces are worth 11 points or 1 point, whichever is more advantageous to the player.
When players are dealt a pair, they can be split. Players can split hands up to 3 times making 4 playable hands. The exception would be aces. Aces can only be split once, they cannot be doubled down on and will only receive one card for each hand before automatically having to 'stand.' Split aces that are dealt a 10-point card are not considered blackjacks, but are considered hands with the value of 21 points. This is important to understand so you know why you're being paid even money instead of 3:2 like a natural blackjack.
In Vegas Downtown Blackjack, all hands can be doubled down on. Unlike quite a few blackjack games, players can also double down after splitting a hand (the exception again being aces).
Other than that, the only important rules left are:
- Dealers have to hit soft 17s.
- Ties are "pushes" and do result in a player getting his or her wager back.
- Late surrenders are not allowed.
Playing Vegas Downtown Blackjack
As you can probably tell, Vegas Downtown Blackjack is a spitting image of blackjack. Even some of the rules that would be considered variations are actually rules of blackjack that might vary from casino to casino, so no real big difference there either. Unlike other blackjack variations however, you'll find that since this game is so close to the actual game of blackjack that basic strategies and charts can be used.