8 Oct

Atlantic City Blackjack Rules & Tips

How to play Atlantic City Blackjack like a Vegas pro.

How to Play Atlantic City Blackjack like a Las Vegas Pro

Every time a casino offers a game of blackjack with a different set of rules, they have to give it a new name to differentiate it from the games already on offer. Long ago, a particular set of rules became prominent in the casinos of Atlantic City, New Jersey. As those rules spread westward to Las Vegas, and eventually to other countries, they took on a name that reflected their origins – Atlantic City Blackjack.

Today, you can find Atlantic City rules played in major casinos from Canada to Macau, China, as well as hundreds of online casinos. At least half a dozen digital gaming software companies have released their own version of A.C. Blackjack, each with some minuscule difference to ensure no one steps on anyone’s copyrighted toes.

Static Atlantic City Blackjack Rules

The following rules are ever-present in Atlantic City style 21 games:

Stand on Soft 17: Every A.C. Blackjack game I’ve ever come across – and there’s been a lot of them – states that the dealer must stand on all 17s, soft or otherwise.

Double on Any 2: Similar to American Blackjack rules, Atlantic City games allow players to double down on any two cards, regardless of their combined value.

Dealer Peeks: The dealer will always peek for blackjack, so players don’t have to worry about losing any additional bets as the hand goes on (double or split).

8 Deck Shoe: A.C. Blackjack always calls for 8 decks in the shoe.

How to Play Atlantic City Blackjack

As I mentioned previously, there are multiple variations of Atlantic City Blackjack, each with a slightly different set of rules. Every slight alteration to the rules will have an equally slight impact on the house edge.

In the following section, I’ve chosen to detail Microgaming’s version of this online blackjack game. I chose this variant for two reasons. First, it’s the most popular variation on the internet. Secondly – and as an extension of that first reason – it has the lowest house edge of all the rule sets I’ve come across.

With a perfect decision making strategy applied (see A.C. 21 Strategy below), you’ll encounter a long-term edge of just 0.35%, equivalent to a 99.65% RTP.

The player and dealer hand rules are as follows:

  • Decks: 8
  • Soft 17: Dealer Stands
  • Doubling: Yes, on any two cards
  • Splitting: Yes, up to 3x
  • Double after Split: Yes
  • Surrender: Yes
  • Dealer Checks for Blackjack: Yes
  • Tie for Blackjack: Push
  • Blackjack Pays: 3 to 2

Atlantic City 21 Strategy and Tips

Our strategy guide for Atlantic City Blackjack will present you with you a commendable 0.35% house edge. Note that the charts are split into three section, detailing situational tactics for Hard Total Hands and Soft Total Hands, and Conditions for Splitting.

How to Decide Hard Total Hands

A hard total is any hand that does not involve an Ace counted as 11 points. If hit, a hard total of 12 or more can bust, therefore the strategy for these hands is more restrictive. Here’s how to handle each and every hard total hand decision, based on the dealer’s up card.

Hand Value Correct Action by Situation
8 & Under Hit
17 & Up Stand
9 Double if Dealer shows 3-6; otherwise Hit
10 Double if Dealer shows 2-9; otherwise Hit
11 Double if Dealer shows 2-10; Hit against Ace
12 Stand if dealer shows 4-6; otherwise Hit
13 Stand if Dealer shows 2-6; otherwise Hit
14 Stand if Dealer shows 2-6; otherwise Hit
15 Stand if Dealer shows 2-6; Surrender against 10; otherwise Hit
16 Stand if Dealer shows 2-6; Surrender against 9-A; otherwise Hit

How to Decide Soft Total Hands

Soft totals are hands with an Ace counted as 11. Because an Ace can be 11 or 1, a soft hand of any value cannot bust if hit.

Hand Value Correct Action by Situation
13 or 14 Double on dealer’s 5-6; otherwise Hit
15 or 16 Double on dealer’s 4-6, otherwise Hit
17 Double on dealer’s 3-6, otherwise Hit
18 Hit on dealer’s 9-A. Double on 3-6; otherwise Stand
19 to 21 Stand

Conditions for Splitting Pairs

When it comes to pairs, just because you can split them, doesn’t mean you should. The following chart shows how to play Atlantic City Blackjack correctly where pairs are concerned.

Pair Correct Action by Situation
Ace-Ace Split
2-2 Split if Dealer shows 2-7; otherwise Hit
3-3 Split if Dealer shows 2-7; otherwise Hit
4-4 Split if Dealer shows 5-6; otherwise Hit
5-5 Double if Dealer shows 2-9; otherwise Hit
6-6 Split if Dealer shows 2-6; otherwise Hit
7-7 Split if Dealer shows 2-7; otherwise Hit
8-8 Split
9-9 Split if Dealer shows 2-6 or 8-9; otherwise Stand
10-10 Stand

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