Vegas Strip Blackjack derives its name from a strip of land in Las Vegas that is home to numerous casinos. Over the years, it has become a popular blackjack variant with its own set of rules and strategies.
Let's find out in detail about this specific blackjack variant and its appeal to blackjack players.
What Is Vegas Strip Blackjack
The Vegas Strip Blackjack, one of the most loved and popular blackjack variants, is played in Las Vegas, the so-called casino capital of the world. Las Vegas is home to famous casinos such as Bally's, Caesar's Palace, MGM Grand, Luxor, and others. This variant is widely played in Vegas casinos.
As a variant, it is closer to the American blackjack in terms of rules, payouts, and strategies and a bit different from the European blackjack in the sense that it is more player-friendly. The basic objective of the Vegas Strip blackjack, as with any other blackjack variant, is to beat the dealer with a hand that is worth more points than the dealer's hand, without going over 21.
Vegas Strip Blackjack Rules
There is a set of specific Vegas Strip Blackjack rules that are applicable for both the dealer and the players, as explained in detail here.
Rules for the Dealer
In Vegas Strip Blackjack, the dealer usually shuffles 4 or 8 decks of cards. He then deals two cards for the players, both of which are placed face up. The dealer, on the other hand, will have one card face up and another face down. If the showing card is an Ace, the dealer will give the players the option to place insurance as a side bet. The rule for the dealer is that he will be allowed to peek for blackjack if he holds an Ace or a 10 value card. If the hidden card makes a natural 21, this is revealed and the hands end. In Vegas Strip Blackjack, the dealer always stands on soft 17.
Rules for the Player
Another reason it's quite popular among blackjack players is because of the player-friendly rules of this particular variant of the game. Vegas Strip Blackjack allows players to double down on any initial hand. Players can split up to 4 hands per game and doubling down after splitting is also allowed.
As the doubling down rules are quite relaxed, players can double on any total they wish, though they have to consider if such a decision would be optimal. What is even more liberal in terms of rules, is that players are allowed to split 10-value cards even if they are different such as a King and a Jack. However, aces can be split only once and just one card can be taken to split Aces. Surrendering is usually not allowed in this game.
Also, 21 on split aces is not considered a blackjack.
Special Vegas Strip Blackjack Payouts
The standard payout for the Vegas Strip Blackjack is 3:2, which means winning a bet of $10 pays $15, as an example. Some casinos in Las Vegas, however, offer a payout of 6:5, which turns out to be rather disadvantageous for the players in the long run. Insurance is offered to the players if the dealer shows an ace and the insurance payout is 2:1.
Pros & Cons of Vegas Strip Blackjack
The Vegas Strip Blackjack has its share of both advantages and a few disadvantages for the players.
Better Deck Penetration for Card Counters
Blackjack players who are also card counters have a lot to gain from the Vegas Strip Blackjack. As fewer decks of cards are used in the game, players can penetrate the deck more easily and effectively. Card counting, which involves keeping track of the cards dealt and the cards remaining in the deck by keeping a running count and a true count, can be done better in this blackjack variant. Fewer decks of cards not only improve deck penetration for card counters but also increase the possibility of getting a natural blackjack for the player.
Can Split Up to 4 Times
One major advantage of the Vegas Strip Blackjack is that its splitting rules are relaxed for the players. In this variant, any pair of cards, including aces, can be split. This gives players the opportunity to form two new hands with a pair of cards. By splitting, players literally get a second stake on each hand, equivalent to starting a bet. Then, another card is added to the hand and the player can continue by hitting, standing, and so on. This way, the player can beat the dealer's edge and improve his odds of winning. Doubling down after splitting is also allowed.
Ace Pairs Can Only be Split Once
In Vegas Strip Blackjack, splitting the aces is allowed just once. This somewhat reduces the edge of the player because splitting aces is otherwise quite favorable as it gives the player two separate chances to hit. Splitting aces can turn a losing hand into a winning hand in the true sense. That is why; many casinos limit the player's rights to do so. Vegas Strip Blackjack limits the players by restricting the action and also, disallowing hitting after splitting the aces.
Hits Not Allowed After Splitting Aces
While splitting aces, even if for once, is allowed in the Vegas Strip Blackjack, it does not allow players to hit after having split the Aces. This is quite disadvantageous and cuts down the edge of the player because splitting aces can lead to hands that need improvement with another card. But by limiting the actions that the players can take after splitting aces, the odds turn in favor of the house.
Vegas Strip Blackjack Strategies
Following some of the best Vegas Strip Blackjack strategies can help the players increase the chances of winning in the game.
Never Buy Insurance
Insurance is allowed in blackjack and the players can place this side bet once the dealer shows an ace. The payout for insurance is 2:1. That being said, it is always better to avoid taking insurance because insurance drastically increases the house edge. This leads to an almost systematic loss of money for the player. Insurance brings about long-term losses as well.
Avoid Splitting 10s
Another important strategy for Vegas Strip Blackjack is to never split 10-value cards. A pair of 10-value cards gives a total of 20. Now, a hand of 20 is very difficult to be beaten by the dealer unless he has a total of 21 or a natural blackjack. On the other hand, splitting the 10-value cards poses a high risk of the player ending up with two worse hands, which will be even more difficult to play with.
Always Split Aces
Splitting a pair of aces is a very good strategy and move in Vegas Strip Blackjack. The logic behind always trying to split the aces is improving the chances of success with two new hands that start with a total of 11. By splitting the aces, players get a chance to increase their edge to a significant extent. However, one must remember in this regard that in the Vegas Strip Blackjack, hitting after splitting aces is not allowed.
Vegas Strip Blackjack: FAQ
Here are the most common questions about Vegas Strip Blackjack answered in brief:
What is Vegas strip blackjack?
Vegas Strip Blackjack is a common and popular blackjack variant, played in the casinos of Las Vegas.
Can you resplit after splitting aces?
In the Vegas Strip Blackjack, splitting the aces is allowed only once and players are not allowed to hit or take another card after splitting the aces.
Are you able to surrender?
The option to surrender is not available in most of the land-based casinos where the Vegas Strip blackjack is played.
Why is Vegas strip blackjack favorable to card counters?
The Vegas Strip Blackjack is favorable to card counters because fewer decks of cards are used in the game and this allows better deck penetration for blackjack card counters.
Is Vegas strip blackjack worth playing?
Yes, Vegas Strip Blackjack is worth playing because it is an interesting blackjack variant, offering a lot of liberal rules for the players.
Vegas Strip Blackjack is a popular blackjack variant that blackjack players certainly enjoy and can expect to win too if they are able to apply the right strategies.