13 Dec

Microgaming Vegas Downtown Blackjack Rules

How to play Vegas Downtown Blackjack, a Microgaming favorite featuring a 99.62% RTP.

How to Play Vegas Downtown Blackjack, a Microgaming Favorite at 99.62% RTP

Vegas is home to more blackjack tables than anywhere else in the world, but the pros know the best games aren’t anywhere near The Strip. They’re found in the Vegas Downtown area, where cheap stakes and player-friendly rules run rampant. Thanks to modern technology and an award-winning software group called Microgaming, you won’t need to travel all the way to Nevada, USA to enjoy those favorable blackjack games.

Microgaming produces the largest assortment of real money online blackjack games on the world wide web. Among them, their ‘Vegas’ branded tables are among the most generous. The game we’ll be talking about today, Vegas Downtown Blackjack, offers an RTP of 99.62%, equivalent to a house edge of just 0.38%.

There aren’t many 21 variants left that can claim to pay such a high rate – at least, not with the eCOGRA fairness certification Microgaming is so highly reputed for. You’ll have to work for that RTP, of course, implementing perfect strategy as you play, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered there. This page details the complete rules of the game, including a comprehensive, play-by-play strategy chart to ensure you get the highest theoretical return over the long haul.

How to Play Vegas Downtown Blackjack

This game features all of the player-friendly rules you’d expect to find in a classic game of old-school blackjack – the same rules most major casinos did away with decades ago to pad their bottom line. Only two decks of cards are used, although they are reshuffled after every hand (sorry, no card counting!) Players can double on any two card total, split up to three times (four hands), and double after a split. Throw in a hole-card peek from the dealer, and you’ve got the makings for an iGamer’s favorite.

The complete run down of rules of Vegas Downtown Blackjack are as follows:

Specific Rules of Play

  • Decks: 2
  • Soft 17: Dealer Hits
  • Doubling: Yes, on any two card total
  • Splitting: Yes, 3x (up to 4 hands)
  • Double after Split: Yes
  • Resplit Aces: No
  • Draw to Split Aces: No
  • Surrender: No
  • Dealer Checks for Blackjack: Yes
  • Blackjack Pays: 3 to 2

Up to 5 Hand Multi-Play

As generous as the RTP is, some players enjoy upping the ante, so to speak, and Microgaming is quick to oblige. This game does not feature side bets of any sort (thankfully – all side bets are sucker bets anyway), but it does feature the option to play multiple hands against the dealer, up to five at a time.

Most online blackjack games only have two hand positions on their virtual felt; one for the player, and one for the dealer. Vegas Downtown Blackjack looks more like a live casino table, displaying hand positions for up to five players. Since the RNG-based set-up only allows for a single player, you get the opportunity to play more than one position.

Should you decide to play two or more hands, the interface makes it easy to do so. Choose a chip size, then click the betting circle next to the hand positions you want to play. You can bet the same amount, or different amounts per hand. Strategically speaking, the number of hands and bet sizes don’t matter, so long as you play every hand individually, irrespective of one another. Which brings us to…

Strategy for Vegas Downtown 21

Being one of the lowest house edge game on the internet, it will only take the slightest bit of luck, while following a strategic directive, to find this game profitable – at least, in the short term. Long term probabilities only seem to pan out in the favor of mathematics. If the RTP is 99.62% (as in Vegas Downtown Blackjack), you can – over the long term – expect to win back 99.62% of all the wagers you make. The end result is a loss of 0.38% (equal to the house edge) of all your wagers. You can choose to view this as a loss, or you can make the most of comps, loyalty rewards and other promotions to slide the advantage into your corner.

With that being said, you’ll find three strategy chart segments below. Each segment pertains to one of three player hand type – hard hands, soft hands and pairs. To use the charts properly, select the correct section for your hand type, scroll down to the total from the left column that matches your current hand value, then make the corresponding move on the right column according to the dealer’s face-up card.

How to Decide a Hard Hand

A hard hand is any hand of 21 or below with an absolute value; that is, one that does not have an 11-point Ace in it.

Hard Total Correct Action by Situation
8 & Under Hit
9 Double against Dealer’s 2-6; otherwise Hit
10 Double against Dealer’s 2-9; otherwise Hit
11 Double
12 Stand against Dealer’s 4-6; otherwise Hit
13-16 Stand against Dealer’s 2-6; otherwise Hit
17-21 Stand

How to Decide a Soft Hand

A soft hand is one with a flexible total, having an 11-point Ace that can be reduced to 1-point if hitting increases the value beyond 21. As such, a soft total cannot bust when hit.

Soft Total Correct Action by Situation
13 Double against Dealer’s 5-6; otherwise Hit
14-16 Double against Dealer’s 4-6; otherwise Hit
17 Double against Dealer’s 3-6; otherwise Hit
18 Double against Dealer’s 2-6; Stand against 7-8; otherwise Hit
19 Double against Dealer’s 6; otherwise Stand
20-21 Stand

Conditions for Splitting Pairs

Splitting is a critical aspect in achieving the maximum return from any blackjack game. This next chart reveals how to play Vegas Downtown Blackjack whenever you are presented with a pair. Follow this chart perfectly to attain the lowest possible house edge of 0.38%.

Pair Correct Action by Situation
Ace-Ace Split
2-2 Split against dealer’s 2-7; otherwise Hit
3-3 Split against dealer’s 2-7; otherwise Hit
4-4 Split against dealer’s 5-6; otherwise Hit
5-5 Double against dealer’s 2-9; otherwise Hit
6-6 Split against dealer’s 2-7; otherwise Hit
7-7 Split against dealer’s 2-8; otherwise Hit
8-8 Split
9-9 Split against dealer’s 2-6 or 8-9; otherwise Stand
10-10 Stand

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