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Atlantic City Blackjack

Atlantic City Blackjack is one of those variations whose differences are subtle and nuanced, yet still significant for both the learner and seasoned player. The fundamental game-play closely mirrors traditional blackjack, with a few caveat differences regarding peeking, dealer rules, and surrender.

We don’t love Atlantic City Blackjack for its crazy innovations: we love it for the subtle changes which keep things fresh without massively hurting our basic strategy or love for the game.

How to Play

As with traditional blackjack, the house acts as dealer and opens every hand by dealing every player two face-up cards. One of the dealer’s cards stays face-down, though the dealer always peeks for blackjack.

The great news is that players can still apply basic strategy (with a few small tweaks) and count cards effectively. The 8 decks used in Atlantic City Blackjack is a bit frustrating (it makes counting and using the count more difficult) but since all the rule changes are minor, players can still massively reduce house edge.

You can apply basic strategy and counting

Atlantic City Blackjack is perfect for new players looking to learn the ropes. The game is almost identical to classic blackjack, but the ruleset is more generous and more forgiving of mistakes. We recommend downloading an Atlantic City Blackjack-specific basic strategy card and following it religiously. Playing RNG games will give you unlimited time to consult the chart, make decisions, and build up your understanding.

For advanced players, note that the basic strategy does differ from classic blackjack. Use your chart to refresh your skills: Atlantic City Blackjack can be punished by perfect strategy more than any other variation, with a house edge of 0.39%.

Card counting with 8 decks is, as we said, very difficult. However if you’re highly skilled in counting then it’s definitely still possible. Combined with your adapted basic strategy, the house edge can be pushed below 0% and you can rake in long-term profits.

Atlantic City Blackjack Rules

The first change to note is that the dealer always peeks for blackjack. This means that once all cards are dealt – but before any extra bets or moves are made – the dealer checks his face-down card. If the dealer has blackjack (21), the hand ends:

  • Any players with 21 will push (receive their stake back)
  • All other players will lose

Once the game gets going, players can double down on any hand (except blackjack) and split any pairs up to 3 times. Against a weak dealer, this means players can win up to 4 hands from a single deal: by doubling down on 4 hands, players can win up to eight times their original stake. Aces, it should be noted, can only be split once.

Atlantic City Blackjack also allows for late surrender and often insurance, two features missing from classic blackjack. Late surrender allows a player with a weak hand to voluntarily withdraw from the round, retaining 50% of their wager. Insurance side bets are placed before dealing, and allow players to push if the dealer hits blackjack.

Both of these can protect the player’s bankroll and even decrease house edge, if leveraged properly. Even better, the dealer is forced to stand on soft 17 which drops the house edge even further. All in, Atlantic City Blackjack offers some of the best possible player odds in blackjack.

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The perfect Atlantic City Blackjack table has:

  • Dealer standing on soft 17
  • Doubling on any two cards
  • Late surrender
  • 3:2 payout
  • Up to 3 splits
  • Doubling on splits

Combined with basic strategy, these extremely generous rules contribute to a house edge of just 0.39%. This is as low as any blackjack variation can get without card counting. And while more complex, it is actually still possible to count in Atlantic City Blackjack and reduce this advantage further.

Armed with a simple basic strategy card, anyone can take advantage of Atlantic City Blackjack’s liberal rule-set. But there are simpler advantages for casual players, too. For example, insurance bets and late surrender can protect bankrolls and help players survive longer at the table. The only downside is that the game lacks any of the vibrant, innovative, or thrilling changes that players enjoy with games like 21st Century Blackjack.

All that said, Atlantic City Blackjack is a must-play variation wherever you can find it. The generous rules and fractional house edge are not to be missed, and if you can commit the time and effort to practicing card counting, there’s no limit to your potential profits.

  • Published date: 2020-04-14 07:59
  • Modified date: 2020-04-14 08:00