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Rules by Jurisdiction

Las Vegas Strip

Four deck games and six deck games are the standard. There are some single deck games featured but beware of playing at them unless you find out the rules beforehand. Several hotels which proudly announce "Single Deck Blackjack" on their marquees have separate rules regarding these games. You may not be able to double down on any two cards in these games, even though you may do so at the other multiple deck games in the same casino.

The Strip follows all the standard rules and among the optional rules, two are common to all Strip Casinos.

Standard Rules:

Hitting and Standing Raising and Lowering of Bets Blackjack pays 3-2 Ties are pushes Pairs may be split Doubling down is permitted Insurance pays 2-1

Optional Rules:

Doubling down on any two cards Dealer stands on all 17s

Other optional rules depend on the whim of the particular casino you're playing in. Some have conventional surrender, other don't offer any surrender. In some casinos, you can double down after splitting pairs, in others this option is not available.

The first thing you should do when playing on the Strip is ask the dealer just what rules are in force at his table. He may give you a limited answer, so you will want to specifically ask if there is surrender, if you're permitted to double down after splitting pairs, and just how many decks he's dealing from the shoe. Armed with this information, you'll have a much clearer picture of what the game offers.

For example, suppose the following optional rules are in effect:

Six deck = -.60 Doubling down after pair splitting = +.12

Our disadvantage is -.48. Perhaps we could go across the street to another casino where there are only four-deck games, bringing our disadvantage to -.38. Or we might find a two-deck game, lowering the disadvantage to -.28.

This disadvantage is just off the top of the deck. With card counting and judicious raising and lowering of bets we can overcome this small disadvantage and come out winners. With multiple deck games there may be long stretches of favorability. We must take advantage of this with larger bets. With equally long stretches of unfavorable cards, we must take minimum bets.

The Riverboats

Use the rules below as a general guide. Since riverboats are governed by individual state laws, they may have different rules as well as betting limits.

Again, as with other jurisdictions, study the rules before playing.

The Following are Typical Riverboat Rules:

All standard rules Double down on any two cards Multiple deck games: 4-6 decks

Indian Reservations

The Following are Typical Indian Rules:

All standard rules Four to Six Decks Double down on any two cards

The above rules may change from state to state. Use these rules as a general guide.


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