American Blackjack is a variation of the popular casino table game Blackjack. The underlying rules are very similar to that of other blackjack variations, with some key differences. We’ll cover this in more detail further down.
American Blackjack: Overview
Ultimately, the aim of the game is to outscore the dealer, up to a maximum value of 21. This particular segment of the blackjack franchise is available to play at traditional land-based casinos, as well as thousands of online gambling platforms. Moreover, it is also possible to play the game online via a live dealer. Let’s find out how you actually play it.
How to play
As stated above, the aim of the game is to outscore the dealer. Firstly, the player will be dealt two cards, both of which are facing up. The dealer will also deal themselves two cards, however one of the cards is face down. Before the player gets to make their first move, American Blackjack allows the dealer to discreetly check their face down card, should the face up card have a value of 10, or an Ace.
All picture cards have a value of 10, as well as the 10 card itself. Take note, should the face down card be an Ace, then the dealer automatically gets ‘Blackjack’ and the game is over. In other words, all players lose their bets.
If not, players then get to choose their next move. Under normal circumstances, the player can either ‘Stick’ or ‘Hit’. If the player chooses the latter, then they require no more cards and as such, their current score remains in place. Alternatively, the player can ‘Hit’, meaning that the dealer gives the player another card.
Take caution, should the player surpass the all-important 21 mark, then they ‘Bust’. In doing so, they lose their stake. Once the player(s) has finished their turn, it is then over to the dealer.
Upon turning over their face down card, the dealer has to automatically ‘Hit’ when their hand is below 17. When their hand is 17 or more, they have to automatically ‘Stick’. If the player has a higher score that the dealer, then they win the game and are paid out at a rate of Even money. If the player manages to get ‘Blackjack’ from their opening two cards (which is an Ace and any 10-value card), then they are instead paid out at odds of 6/4. Finally, if both the player and the dealer finish with the same score, the game is classed as a ‘Push’, meaning that the player gets his original stake back.
Rules of American Blackjack
As with all variations, there are some notable differences to American Blackjack. First and foremost, there are actually two main segments to the game, depending on where you are playing it. Atlantic City rules are identical to that of Las Vegas, apart from two key factors.
Firstly, Atlantic City rules permit the act of a ‘Surrender’. In a nutshell, if the player feels that their hand is significantly inferior to that of the dealer’s before any moves have been made, they can surrender their hand and receive 50% of their stake back.
Other than that, the only other difference is that Atlantic City has 8 decks of card, as opposed to the 4 found in Las Vegas. Ultimately, everything else remains the same. Therefore, we will explain the main rules to the American Blackjack variation below.
When the player is dealt their initial two cards, they have the option of performing a ‘Double Down’. Essentially, this allows the player to double their bet, but on one important condition – they can only receive one more card.
For example, if the player was dealt a 7 and a 4 (amounting to 11), and the dealer had a face up card of 6, then it would be a wise move to double down. The key reason for this is that there is a good chance the player will land a 10-value card, against the dealer’s weak 6.
One of the most favourable advantages to playing American Blackjack is the ‘Split’ option. For those unaware, a split allows you to split your initial two cards in to separate hands, meaning that each new hand will receive a newly dealt card. Take note, splitting requires you to outlay an additional bet, which equates to your original stake size.
The reason that splitting is favourable in American Blackjack is because the player can utilise this strategy with unsymmetrical 10-value cards. For example, if the player is dealt a 10 and a King, they still have the option of splitting.
Moreover, splitting in this particular branch of Blackjack can be utilised up to 4 times in a single round. However, take note that any blackjack combinations formulated from a split does not constitute a 6/4 payout. Rather, it pays the standard Even money.
Like most other blackjack variances, this particular form of the game allows players to use an Ace card as either a 1 or an 11. For example, let’s say that you were dealt an Ace and a 6. If you decided to stick, you could use the Ace as an 11, meaning that your total score would sit at 17.
On the other hand, if you decided to Hit, then the value of the Ace would be determined based on the next card(s). Let’s say that the next card was a 4. As the total makes 21 when using the Ace as an 11, this is obviously what the player would do.
Alternatively, if the next card was a 6, then the player would use the Ace as a 1, giving the player the difficult decision of whether to stick or Hit on 13.
In summary, it is clear to see why American Blackjack is such a popular table game with online casino fans. Moreover, the availability of the game in both software and live dealer form gives players excellent choice.
One of the key reasons that players are drawn to this variation of blackjack is because of the split option. Unlike its fellow blackjack counterparts, American Blackjack allows players to split on unmatched picture cards. Furthermore, if playing the Atlantic City form of American Blackjack, players are also offered the choice of utilising the ‘Surrender’ option.