How to Play Vegas Downtown Blackjack: Rules, Strategy & Odds
Vegas Downtown Blackjack got its name from the most prominent location in which it is found; the Downtown Vegas area. This variation should not be confused with Vegas Strip Blackjack, where the rules of the game differ slightly.
The only alterations between the two blackjack variations involve how many decks of cards are used in the shoe (2 in Vegas Downtown Blackjack, 4 in Vegas Strip Blackjack), and that the dealer must Hit a Soft 17 in this version, while Standing on Soft 17 on the Las Vegas Strip. These miniscule differences create for an equally miniscule variable in the casino’s house edge. The Downtown version gives the casino an edge of 0.39%, while the Strip version is marginally better at 0.35%. Vegas Downtown Blackjack can also be found at many online casinos, especially those powered by the industry’s leading software developer, Microgaming.
Variations in the rules of Vegas Downtown Blackjack include the following:
- Vegas Downtown Blackjack is played with a shoe of two standard 52-card decks. Note that when playing Vegas Downtown Blackjack at an online casino, card counting is useless. Online casinos reshuffle the deck with each new hand played.
- Doubling down is permitted on any two cards, before or after splitting. A player must double their initial wager on the hand when choosing to double down. The hand is then dealt one more card, after which the player must immediately stand. If a doubled hand busts, the entire bet is lost.
- Splitting is allowed on any two cards of equal value, not just rank. By this rule, players are allowed to split any two face cards, or a 10 and face card, not just traditional pairs. Of course, splitting up a hand of 20 is never recommended under any circumstances. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Players are permitted to split up to three hands in a single round of Vegas Downtown Blackjack, creating a maximum of four hands. Aces may also be split, but will receive only one more card to create a 2-card hand, after which they must immediately stand on the total. Split Aces cannot result in a natural blackjack.
- The dealer will accord to the following rules: The dealer is required to hit any hand total of 16 or below. The dealer will stand on any Hard total of 17 or above, but will hit a Soft 17 (any hand of 17 with an Ace valued at 11). Vegas Downtown Blackjack is a hole card game, thus the dealer will offer optional insurance bets and peek for blackjack if his exposed card is a 10, Face Card or Ace.
- If the dealer has a blackjack, the hand ends immediately. All insurance bets are paid 2 to 1, and all other bets are lost unless the player also has a blackjack. A player’s blackjack will always beat the dealer’s blackjack.
Vegas Downtown Blackjack Pay Table
- Natural Blackjack Pays 3 to 2
- Insurance Pays 2 to 1
- Beating the Dealer Pays 1 to 1
- All Tied Hands (except Blackjack) are a Push