A 5-Minute Guide to Atlantic City Blackjack

If you step into any land-based casino, or browse through any online gambling site, you are bound to come across several blackjack games. The best known blackjack games include European Blackjack, Vegas Strip Blackjack and Atlantic City Blackjack.

Atlantic City Blackjack was born in 1976 when New Jersey legalized the casino industry in Atlantic City. It is not very dissimilar to other forms of the game, but it has a few distinct characteristics.

Atlantic City is played with eight decks. In addition, the dealer will always stand on 17 or higher – regardless of whether it is soft or hard. Most importantly, Atlantic City Blackjack allows players to surrender. There are also a variety of minor differences when it comes to Doubling Down and Splitting.

The basics of blackjack remain. The aim is to get as close to 21 as possible without exceeding it. If you go over 21, your hand busts, resulting in a loss. The same goes for the dealer. To do this, you will have the option of choosing to Hit, Stand, Double or Split. Essentially, if you can beat the dealer’s hand, you win the round. You also will win the round if you do not go bust but the dealer exceeds 21. Finally, the strongest hand is blackjack, a 10-value card (10, Jack, Queen, King) with an Ace. An Ace can be worth either 1 or 11. Blackjack beats all hands, besides another blackjack, which results in a push.


Before you can receive any cards, you will have to place your bet. Most Atlantic City Blackjack games give you the chance to play at more than one position simultaneously. Once you have placed your bet, the dealer will deal two face-up cards to each active position and take one face-up and one face-down card for themselves.

Should the dealer’s face-up card be worth 10, they will immediately check for blackjack. This helps the game flow and also ensures that you do not lose any additional cash by playing a hand that can’t be won. If the dealer’s hand is not a blackjack, the game resumes as usual. In addition, should the dealer’s face-up card be an Ace, you will have the chance to place an insurance bet. This bet costs half your stake and will pay out 2:1 if the dealer has a blackjack. This means that you do not lose any money for that hand. Immediately after placing the bet, the dealer checks for blackjack. If they have blackjack, the round is over and you receive back your stake, provided you placed an insurance bet. If the dealer does not have blackjack, the round continues.

When playing Atlantic City Blackjack, you will have a variety of choices during the round. This includes Stand, Hit, Double, Split and Surrender.

  • Stand: You do not take on any more cards.
  • Hit: You take on an additional card. There is no limit to how many cards you can take but be cautious of not exceeding 21.
  • Double Down: You double your bet and receive only one more card, then the hand stands. You may double down on any hand value.
  • Split: You can split your hand provided that both cards are of identical value. However, this can only be done with same value cards. You may not split a Jack with a Queen, even though both of them are worth 10. A Jack must be split with another Jack and a Queen must be split with another Queen.
  • Surrender: You may surrender your hand after receiving your two initial cards. If you do not believe the hand can win, you can abandon it in exchange for half of your initial bet.

One of the most appealing factors of Atlantic City is the leniency that comes with splitting and surrendering. Most blackjack variants will only allow you to split once. However, there are some Atlantic City Blackjack variants that allow you to split multiple times. In addition, players are drawn to the fact that most Atlantic City Blackjack games will even allow you to Double Down after splitting. The snag here is that after splitting aces, you may only take one more card, then the hand stands.

Dealer Rules

In Atlantic City Blackjack the dealer is required to draw more cards until their hand is worth at least 17. That means that they will keep on taking cards but once they reach 17 or higher, they will stand.


The payouts in Atlantic City Blackjack are the same as in most versions of the game. This means that landing a blackjack will pay out at 3:2. If you beat the dealer’s hand but do not form blackjack, you will be paid even money, 1:1. Should your hand and the dealer’s hand be worth the same value, bet is returned as a push

Side Bets

Many Atlantic City Blackjack games offer both the 21+3 and Perfect Pairs side bets. These are wagers that you can place in addition to the main bet and they do not have any effect on the main game.

To win the 21+3 side bet, you will have to keep an eye on your two initial cards and the dealer’s face-up card. The aim is to try and form a poker hand using these three cards. It pays out for the following:

  • A Flush pays 5:1. This is when all three cards are of the same suit.
  • A Straight pays 10:1. This is three consecutive cards, e.g. 4-5-6.
  • Three of a Kind pays 30:1. This is when all three cards have the same value.
  • A Straight Flush pays 40:1. This is three consecutive cards from the same suit, e.g. 6-7-8 of Hearts.
  • A Suited Three of a Kind pays 100:1. This is when all three cards are identical.

The Perfect Paris side bet is own if the first two cards dealt to the player form one of three types of pairs.

  • Two same value cards that are from different suits will pay out 6:1. An example of this is a 5 of Spades and 5 of Diamonds.
  • Two same value cards from different suits but have the same colour will pay out 12:1. An example of this is the 4 of Spades and 4 of Clubs.
  • Two identical cards will pay out 25:1, e.g. Ace of Spades.

Atlantic City Blackjack Strategy

To give yourself the best chance when playing Atlantic City Blackjack it is necessary to follow the basic strategy. This is the term used for making the mathematically optimal decision with each hand. The strategy is displayed on a chart that shows you what to do in each situation. However, as there are so many versions of blackjack, it is important that you ensure you are using the correct strategy chart.

You can find the strategy charts online with ease and there is no rule against using them, even at land casinos. The charts can look a bit confusing at first, but after using them for a little, you will find that it becomes second nature. Here are a few examples, of what the strategy chart may advise you to do:

  • Surrender if you have a 16 and the dealer is showing a 9, 10 or Ace
  • Surrender if you have a 15 and the dealer is showing a 10
  • Always Double Down on 11s if the dealer is showing a 2 to 10
  • Always Double Down on 10s if the dealer is showing a 9 to 10
  • If you have hard 9s, always Double Down if the dealer is showing a 3 to 6
  • If you have soft A-2 to A-7, always Double Down if the dealer is showing a 5 or 6
  • If you have 18 or more, always Stand
  • Always hit a hard total of 4 to 8
  • If you have a pair of 5s, do not split them
  • If you have a pair of Aces or 8s, always Split.


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