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25/8/2002 Edition No.29

Las Vegas Blackjack


With blackjack in Australia becoming a more and more difficult proposition, many counters have decided to take their action further afield, playing overseas and in particular, playing in Las Vegas.

White Knight regularly receives phone-calls and emails from players relating their experiences and recommendations for the city of sin. It seems you can still find conditions that leave you scratching your head as to why you ever bothered playing blackjack in Australia. This is largely a result of competition; a word which is foreign to the vocabulary of Australian casinos. If only you didn’t have to pay for travel, accommodation and exchange rates!

We have tried to summarise some of the blackjack rules and playing conditions you will find in Vegas differing to those in Australia:

1. Dealer is initially dealt two cards, one face up, one face-down (hole card)

2. Dealer will check the hole card for blackjack if the face up card is an ace or 10, before the continuation of play

3. One deck and two deck games are common. Players hold their cards in their hand which can make card counting tricky

4. Most games allow you to double on any first two cards.

5. One deck usually has dealer taking a card on soft 17 and no double after split; both rules favour the house slightly

The best two deck games will make the dealer sit on soft 17, allow double after split, provide the surrender option and repeat splitting of aces; all these rules favour the player slightly

A betting spread of one-two for one deck and one-four for two deck is about all the pit will tolerate - restrictions are common and most staff are educated about card counting

The point at which a shuffle takes place is often at the discretion of the dealer

Occasional dealer tipping is allowed (and expected!)

Shoe games (usually six decks) are quite common with good rules and penetration (around 75%).

It is important to note that the less decks in play, the more important the playing strategy becomes. The true count in one deck and two deck games swings around wildly and the more playing indices that have been memorised translates to better end-of-day profits.

Best of Betting!

News 12/7/2002

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