19 Dec

Vegas Strip 21 Rules and 99.65% RTP Strategy

How to play Vegas Strip Blackjack, the Second String QB in Microgaming’s 21 RTP depth chart.

How to Play Vegas Strip Blackjack Rules, Microgaming’s Second String 21 QBVegas Strip Blackjack is a part of Microgaming’s Gold Series table games, and the second highest RTP blackjack game on the company’s online and mobile casino client; second only to Vegas Single Deck Blackjack. While their individual RTPs are just hundredths apart (99.69% versus 99.65%), there are more variations to the rules than you might expect; enough to show just how strong an impact that single-deck has on the game’s edge.

Vegas Strip 21 caters more to players who prefer flexibility over a minuscule increase in the house edge. Where the single-deck version restricts doubling to 9 thru 11, this game allows doubling on any 2-card total. You can also double after a split, and split up to three times, not just one. Which game you prefer should depend on where your priorities lie – highest RTP or greater flexibility in decision making.

How to Play Vegas Strip Blackjack

Vegas Strip Blackjack Gold Series is a premium online 21 variant that can be played for free, or for real money wagers, starting as low as $1 per hand. It’s also one of the brand’s multi-hand games, featuring the option to play up to 5 blackjack hands at once (see Multi-Hand Play below).

Microgaming’s Vegas Strip Blackjack doesn’t quite equal the table games found today on the Las Vegas Strip. In some ways it’s better , and in others it’s worse. The rules in Vegas are incredibly similar to Microgaming’s edition, but not an exact match.

Most of the tables in Vegas have a higher house edge of 0.4% or more (RTP 99.6% and below). There are a rare few with a lower house edge than Microgaming’s edition – as low as 0.18% (RTP 99.82%), but you’ll have to pay big bucks to play them. The stakes at those tables, currently found in The Bellagio and Treasure Island, require bets of $100 and up per hand. Only high rollers can afford them.

The complete rules of Microgaming’s 0.35% edge Vegas Strip Blackjack are as follows:

Specific Rules of Play

  • Decks: 4
  • Soft 17: Dealer Stand
  • Doubling: Yes, on any two cards
  • Splitting: Yes, up to 3x
  • Double after Split: Yes
  • Resplit Aces: No
  • Draw to Split Aces: No
  • Surrender: No
  • Dealer Checks for Blackjack: Yes
  • Blackjack Pays: 3 to 2

Multi-Hand Play

Playing multiple hands on a Microgaming table is as easy as tapping the bet box in any one of the five eligible betting positions before pressing the Deal button. You can play anywhere from 1 to 5 hands at a time. You can even bet different amounts on each hand, if you wish, by changing the coin size before pressing the bet box.

Note that playing more than one hand will not effect your RTP, so long as you play each hand irrespective of the others, and – of course – follow the correct strategy without err. For instance, if you get a blackjack on your first hand, do not make riskier moves on the second hand just because you’ve already won the first. This will only work to decrease your theoretical return. You may get lucky now and again, but playing by your gut will come back to bite you in the ass in the long-term.

With that being said, let’s move right along into the strategy section.

Strategy for Vegas Strip 21

Playing Microgaming’s Vegas Strip variation with proper strategy will raise your theoretical RTP to 99.65%, equal to a house edge of 0.35%. Numbers like that make this title one of the top online blackjack games for strategic players.

The charts below will help you invoke that strategy. There are three of them, pertaining to the three possible hand types you could be dealt – a hard hand, a soft hand, or a paired hand. Choose the appropriate section, then scroll down the left column to your current hand value. In the right column, you’ll find all correct decisions to be made, based on the up-card of the dealer.

How to Decide a Hard Hand

A hard hand is one that contains all cards with an absolute value. In other words, there is no Ace in the hand that could be counted as an 11. At a value of 12+, these hands can bust in a single hit. As such, the strategy is a bit more restrictive than that of soft hands.

Hard Total Correct Action by Situation
8 & Under Hit
9 Double against Dealer’s 3-6; otherwise Hit
10 Double against Dealer’s 2-9; otherwise Hit
11 Double against dealer’s 2-10; otherwise Hit
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 that contains an Ace that can be counted as 11 points. Although strategy may not always recommend it, it is always safe to hit these hands because you cannot bust. The strategy is more liberal in these situations, not just with hitting, but doubling down to increase your potential ROI.

Soft Total Correct Action by Situation
13-14 Double against Dealer’s 5-6; otherwise Hit
15-16 Double against Dealer’s 4-6; otherwise Hit
17 Double against Dealer’s 3-6; otherwise Hit
18 Double against Dealer’s 3-6; Hit against 9-A; otherwise Stand
19-21 Stand

Conditions for Splitting Pairs

Pairs present an interesting opportunity, being one of the prime situations in which a player can double their winnings on a single hand, but only if strategy suggests doing so. This last chart will teach you how to play Vegas Strip Blackjack when dealt a pair against any dealer’s up-card.

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 Double against dealer’s 5-6; otherwise Hit
5-5 Double against dealer’s 2-9; otherwise Hit
6-6 Split against dealer’s 2-6; otherwise Hit
7-7 Split against dealer’s 2-7; 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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