The #1 Place to Play Blackjack Online: Wild Card City
Vegas Strip blackjack is the most common version played on the Las Vegas Strip. The Strip is a 4-mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard South in the casino capita of the world. It’s home to world-famous casinos like Caesars Palace, The MGM Grand, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, and the Wynn Casino. Famous gambling companies like Harrah’s and Bally’s have their names on casinos on the Vegas Strip, while older resorts like the Tropicana, Four Seasons, and Riviera have sat on the street for over 50 years. Throughout that time, blackjack has been one of the most popular games in these casinos, so the version played on the Vegas Strip should be a crowd pleaser.
This page discusses the online Vegas Strip blackjack game offered by Microgaming and Fortune Lounge. We’ve included the full rules and a few tips for playing the game. We even ever offer some insights for planning a trip to Sin City to play the local version of 21.
This Microgaming version of blackjack is played with 4 decks of cards, which is better than the 6-deck or 8-deck games that are so common both online and off. The dealer stands on a soft 17, which is also good for the player. The doubling rules are first rate, as you can double on any two cards and you may double after a split. The game has one bet position. Players can split twice, meaning you can re-split out to three hands. When you play by these rules, the house edge is 0.36%, which mean you should see $99.64 paid out of every $100.00 wagered.
Of course, all of the estimates about the house edge assume that you’re playing with perfect basic strategy.
When you get cards with the rank of 10, whether it’s a ten, jack, queen, or king, these are considered the same rank for splitting purposes. You can split a 10 and king, just as you could split a 10 and 10. Since players can split multiple times, this is an important rule, because the cards ranked 10 give you the best chance of re-splitting.
Most Microgaming sites offer Vegas Strip Blackjack with these rules in place. You’ll find the game in the original software and the Gold Series software with enhanced graphics and sounds.
Microgaming now has multi-hand blackjack using the Vegas Strip rules. Gamblers can play up to 5 hands at one time. I don’t recommend using this method, unless the betting options are such that you can only bet 20% of your normal wager on each of these hands. This preserves the same bet rate you would have while only placing 1 bet, so the costs of your casino gambling don’t rise by five times. While you hope to win, you have to be realistic and understand you’re going to lose more often than you win, because of the house edge.
Players interested in how blackjack is played in Las Vegas, Nevada should also try out the Vegas Downtown and single-hand versions of the game, which Microgaming also offers. An Atlantic City version exists on these sites, if that interests you.
I did a survey of Las Vegas Strip casinos to see which casinos conform to the online version of their rules. Few actually held to the formula, at least so far the 4 deck of cards ran.
For instance, Aria, Bally’s, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Circus Circus, Excalibur, Harrah’s, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York New York, Paris, Planet Hollywood, Riviera, and Wynn all had 2-deck and 6-deck blackjack, but no 4-deck equivalent.
Several, like the Venetian, Rio, Paris, Monte Carlo, and Bally’s included 8-deck games, either replacing six decks or adding an extra set of tables for another option. Riviera offered a 1-deck game.
Be careful for what you wish, because the one-deck games often have worse odds, because of other rules. (A lot of times they offer a 6 to 5 payout on a natural instead of a 3 to 2 payoff, which dramatically increases the house edge.) Read enough to know a general idea of how each rule affects play.
These casinos have wildly different rules when it comes to the soft 17, though most allow people to double after splitting. As you can imagine, the minimum and maximum bets fluctuate according to the key rules employed. The dealer standing on the soft 17 rule often brings with it a major change in the min and max bets. The overall house edge seldom drifted above 0.50% on the Las Vegas Boulevard South, though.
The casino with the lowest house edge in Vegas changes all the time, so don’t take the following information as gospel. That being said, the latest survey of good venues had Luxor (0.2%) at the top of the heap. Aria, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage, New York New York, Palazzo, Treasure Island, and te Venetian all tied for second with 0.27%.
Frankly, that tie indicates all these casinos offer the same rules, so those rules should probably be considered the official game. If you want to know what the rules are, they include 2 decks, standing on a soft 17 for dealers, doubling after a split, no surrender, and minimum that usually started at $100. Bellagio offered $50 minimums, while Mirage offered $25 minimums on the game.
Wild Card City Is Our Favorite Place to Play Blackjack Online