Vegas Strip Blackjack: A Beginner’s Guide
Vegas Strip blackjack is a popular form of blackjack with New Zealand players. It has its own set of strategies and rules that are helpful to understand if you want to improve your chances of winning. If you’re interested in trying your luck at the blackjack tables, just like at the Las Vegas strip, then this guide can help.
In this guide, we’ll explain what Vegas Strip blackjack is and the basic rules of this type of blackjack. We’ll also show you step-by-step how to play Vegas strip blackjack and outline the pros and cons of this style of the game. Finally, we’ll offer some tips and strategies if you’re ready to play Vegas Strip blackjack and provide some links to other useful blackjack guides.
What is Vegas Strip Blackjack?
Vegas Strip blackjack hails from the famous Las Vegas strip on Las Vegas Blvd, that’s home to some of the world’s most well-known casinos. It’s one of the most popular variants of blackjack and is played throughout Vegas casinos including Bally’s, Downtown Grand, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Luxor, Caesars Palace and more.
Basic Rules of Vegas Strip Blackjack
When you play Vegas strip blackjack there are some important rules to be aware of, both as a player and for the dealer.
Vegas Strip blackjack rules allow players to double down on any initial hand
Here are the most common rules of playing Vegas casino style blackjack for when you’re ready to play blackjack for real money:
Vegas Strip blackjack rules allow players to double down on any initial hand. You can split up to four hands per game. And unlike some other variants of blackjack, you can also double down after splitting.
Players can also double on any total they choose. But consider your game strategy before doing so to make sure it’s a good option. Players can also split 10-value cards if they’re different. For example, King-Jack or Queen-Jack. But you can only split an ace once and you can take just one card to split aces. Be aware however that if you get 21 on split aces, it’s not considered blackjack.
The other key difference from other blackjack tables is you’re not usually allowed to surrender when you play Vegas strip blackjack.
When you play Vegas Strip blackjack, the dealer usually uses four or eight decks of cards. Once the dealer shuffles they deal two cards for each of the blackjack players. Both are face-up cards.
The dealer deals themselves two cards. One is a face-up card, the other is dealt face-down. If the face-up card is an ace, the dealer gives all players the opportunity to make an insurance side bet. However, if the dealer has a face-up Ace or 10-value card they’re allowed to peek for blackjack.
If the peek reveals a natural 21, the dealer has to reveal their cards and the hand ends. The dealer stands on soft 17 when playing this variant of a blackjack game.
How to play a hand of Vegas strip blackjack
Once you’ve grasped some of the rules, like double down rules and when the dealer stands on soft 17, follow this step-by-step guide to start playing:
- Setup: The setup of the Las Vegas form of the game involves between four and eight decks of cards. The dealer shuffles all the cards and then places them into a special shoe.
The shoe is used until around two-thirds of the cards are dealt out.
- Place your bets: All bets must be placed before any cards are dealt. Different casinos have different minimum bets, so check before you play.
If you’re playing in a Las Vegas casino, like Caesars Palace, the minimum bet is usually $5. Vegas Casinos, just like online casinos have different bet limits, so check the terms and conditions before playing. Some casinos offer a high-limit room for high rollers (or when you’re playing at live tables at an online casino), where you can request to bet higher.
- Action: Once players have made their bets in Vegas strip blackjack, it’s time to deal the initial hand. Each player is dealt two cards starting from the dealer’s left face up. While the dealer gets one card face up, and the other card face down. If the dealer’s face-up card is an ace (and in some games when it’s a 10), the dealer will peek, to check for blackjack. If the hidden card reveals blackjack, the hand ends.
In the online version, just like in a Las Vegas casino, players need to decide whether or not to hit. Taking a hit means requesting additional cards so you can get as close to 21 as possible. Another option is to stand, which means you’re satisfied with your hand.
You can choose to split your hand if you have cards with a value of 10, or aces. You can also double down after splitting, which means you can increase your bet and take on just one more card.
- Close: When you’re happy with your hand and you’re as close to 21 as you think you’ll get without going bust, you can ‘Stand’. Then it’s time for the dealer to play their hand.
- Dealer Plays: Once each player has closed their hand, the dealer will reveal their hidden card. They’ll take more cards if needed according to the casino rules. Remember that in most casinos, Las Vegas strip blackjack the dealer normally stands on soft 17. Some casinos can have different rules though, so be sure to check terms and conditions wherever you’re playing.
The dealer will either beat your hand, lose or go bust. If the dealer goes bust, which means they go over 21, all players still in the game get paid 1:1.
Pros and Cons of Vegas Strip Blackjack
When you’re playing online casinos, Vegas strip blackjack offers both advantages and disadvantages. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when you’re deciding if Las Vegas-style blackjack is for you.
💚 Card counting: Different blackjack games offer better opportunities for card counting. With the Vegas Strip version, there is better deck penetration for card counters. Because fewer decks are used, it’s easier for players to keep track of the cards more effectively by keeping a running count. Card counting works by monitoring which cards are dealt and determining what cards remain in the deck.
💚 Increased chances of blackjack: In addition to fewer decks being good for card counters, playing with fewer decks also helps to increase the chances of a player getting a natural blackjack.
💚 More splitting: A significant advantage of Vegas Strip blackjack is its relaxed splitting rules. Any pair of cards can be split, including split aces. This allows players to form two new hands with a pair of cards. Players can get a second stake on each hand. They can then choose to hit or stand to help build a better hand and increase their chances of winning against the dealer’s hand. Splitting can help decrease the house edge, improving the players’ chance of winning. Players are also able to double down after splitting.
💔 Split Aces are limited: Ace pairs are only allowed to be split once. This is a disadvantage for players because when aces are split it can help you turn a losing hand into a winning hand. It also gives players two separate chances to hit, to get closer to 21.
💔 No hits re-split aces: While you can split aces once in the Vegas version of blackjack, you can’t hit after you’ve split aces. Again this increases the house edge and reduces the edge of the player to improve their hand.
Difference Between Vegas Strip Blackjack and other Blackjack games
Vegas Strip blackjack is similar to traditional American Blackjack. It shares the same rules, payouts and strategies. The main difference relates to the peek.
Las Vegas Strip Blackjack is also more player-friendly than European Blackjack. The objective, like other forms of the game, is to beat the dealer with a hand that’s as close to 21 as possible, without going bust.
In American blackjack, two cards are dealt to the dealer at the beginning of each hand. One card is dealt face-up, and the other is face-down. If the visible card is an ace or 10-card, then the dealer will peek for blackjack, which they’ll reveal if found. In Vegas Strip blackjack, the dealer can only peek on an ace. This can be helpful for a player’s strategy and allows you to double down on any score you wish.
In European blackjack, the dealer gets a single card at the beginning of the hand. The players get their hands like in the American version. They can see their total and the dealer’s face-up card. Once everyone has completed their hand the dealer takes the second from the shoe (and more if they wish). In European blackjack, players are only allowed to double down on a score of 9, 10 or 11.
There are many different variations of blackjack if you want to play blackjack at an online casino. All have slightly different rules though the overall objective remains the same. For example, double exposure, progressive blackjack, Atlantic City blackjack, Spanish 21 and more.
Tips and Strategies for Vegas Strip Blackjack
Understanding the common rules of Vegas strip blackjack can help you improve your game. Discovering Las Vegas blackjack strategies and tips can also help improve your game. Follow the below tips to help increase your chances of winning in Vegas blackjack games.
💡 Avoid Splitting 10s
A useful strategy when you’re playing Vegas Strip blackjack is not to split your 10 value cards. That’s because a pair of 10-value cards equals 20, which is a difficult hand to beat. The only way to beat this hand is if the dealer has a total of 21 or blackjack.
Splitting 10’s is a high-risk strategy that can often mean you end up with a worse hand. For example, you are dealt two low-value cards and you’re worse off than sticking with your 10s. That means you may be relying on the dealer’s hand rather than playing your own game.
💡 Don’t Buy Insurance
Insurance is available in this version of the game. Players can place a side bet after the dealer shows an ace and receive a payout of 2:1. At CasinoCrawlers we recommend avoiding taking an insurance bet. Over the long term, it increases the house edge and decreases your odds of winning.
💡 Always Split Aces
Splitting a pair of aces is always a good bet when you’re playing Vegas Strip blackjack. This strategy allows players to improve their chances of winning money with two new hands. Each hand starts with a value of 11. Just remember that after you split your aces, you can no longer hit.
Other Blackjack Guides
Las Vegas Strip blackjack is just one of many variants of blackjack you can play and bet online. Different online casinos offer various games to choose from. Some may offer bonuses or promotions that can be a good way to improve your chances of winning. Each casino will have its own set of terms and conditions that are important to be aware of before you start playing.
If you’re interested in finding out about other blackjack games, check out other blackjack guides to learn more.
- How to deal in blackjack games: This guide covers a range of useful information about how to deal, which is useful if you’re looking to deal for friends and family. And also help you understand the game better to improve your blackjack strategy.
- Blackjack insurance explained: Our insurance guide outlines what blackjack insurance is, when to take it and why to avoid it.
- When to surrender in blackjack: This useful guide can help you to understand when and why to surrender when you’re playing different versions of this game.
- How to play blackjack: This is a great guide for anyone new to the game of blackjack.
- Blackjack card counting: Learn everything you need to know about card counting in blackjack with this handy guide.
- Atlantic City blackjack: This version of the game originates from Atlantic City, which is another famous casino area in America, just like Las Vegas. It has slightly different rules from the Vegas version, which you can find out about in this handy guide before you start playing.
The Bottom Line
If you want to feel like you’re hitting the blackjack tables like real Las Vegas casinos (such as Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace and more), then Vegas Strip blackjack is a great option. Learning the rules of the game, including double-down rules, and understanding strategy is a great way to improve your chances of winning.
For New Zealand players, there are several casinos where you can play Las Vegas Strip blackjack. Check out our full list of recommendations for some of the best online casinos. We only recommend licensed and reputable casinos, so you can play safely online. And always check the terms and conditions for each game you play, to make sure it offers favourable conditions for you as a player.
- History. “Las Vegas”, https://www.history.com/topics/us-states/las-vegas
- YouTube. “BlackjackBonus: Vegas Strip Blackjack”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=%22
Noah is the senior content editor at CasinoCrawlers and a writer with many iGaming articles under his portfolio. Therefore, he is skilled at writing bonus guidelines, gambling strategies, and casino reviews. During his spare time, he enjoys playing Call of Duty and is a huge rugby fan.Read more about the author