Atlantic City Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most played casino games and as such, a great number of variations have been developed over the years to give players the chance to experience a different way of playing it. Some of them grew in popularity so much that many of the casinos nowadays offer them along with classic blackjack.

Some variations allow players to enjoy their favourite game by placing an additional side bet, whereas others give them the opportunity to make moves and decisions which are restricted in the classic version.

With such a huge diversity, the game is always enticing and interesting and it is no wonder why after so many years it is still one of the most sought-after card games. However, before players give one of the variations a try, they should always take into account not only its specifications but also the casino rules.

This is because some rules can vary depending on the place the game is played at. It is best to make sure they are aware of them in advance, otherwise, they significantly increase their chances of losing more money.

Atlantic City Blackjack is a variation that became popular thanks to its low house edge. It gives players moderately good chances of winning, provided that they apply basic strategy correctly. It is a very challenging and enticing version, which makes it extremely appealing to many players globally. It is very accessible to enjoy this variation as it is offered by most brick-and-mortar casinos as well as online.

The Atlantic City Blackjack Experiment

As the name implies, the birthplace of this blackjack variant is the US East Coast, and more specifically, Atlantic City, New Jersey. For the larger part of the 20th century, legal gambling in the United States was restricted solely to the territory of Nevada, with Las Vegas being the Silver State’s largest gambling hub.

Legal casino gaming officially arrived on the East Coast in 1976 when New Jersey residents voted in a referendum in favour of the legalization. This paved the way for legal gambling within the borders of Atlantic City only. The state quickly developed its newly regulated gambling sector, with the first licensed casino (Resorts Atlantic City) opening in 1978.

Atlantic City casino operators had to attract customers to their floors and what better way to achieve this other than offering them blackjack tables with extremely liberal rules? The competition with Las Vegas led to what is known as the Atlantic City Blackjack Experiment.

During said experiment, Atlantic City casinos introduced a new and unique rule to their blackjack tables, known as Early Surrender. This allowed players to minimise their losses since they could surrender a hand and forfeit half of their stakes back before the blackjack dealer had peeked under their hole card for a natural.

Playing conditions were so favourable in Atlantic City’s casinos that the bad effects on gambling profits were felt shortly after Early Surrender was introduced. Because of this, the “experiment” did not last for long and the rule was soon discontinued.

Many casinos replaced it with the Late Surrender version whereby lousy hands can be forfeited only after the peek. While still player-friendly, this version of surrender causes a significantly smaller house-edge reduction.

Rules of Atlantic City Blackjack

Atlantic City is no different than the rest of the variations in terms that it uses the same main rules and principles as the classic Blackjack. The objective of the game is to reach twenty-one without surpassing it and compete against the dealer. The cards are valued in the same way as well and the ace remains the most powerful card in the deck. Even though there aren’t many major differences, this version has its specifications and subtleties which is the reason why it is recommended for players to take their time to consider them. Moreover, it is always best to first experience the classic Blackjack and then try some of its variations such as Atlantic City Blackjack.

The rules of this version enforce the dealer to stand on soft 17 and also to peek for Blackjack as there is a hole card. The peek is in place on both ten-value cards and aces. If the dealer has a blackjack, they would immediately expose the value of their hole card. Players lose all wagers unless they have naturals as well to push with the dealer’s blackjack. The peek is obviously a player-favourable rule since it saves you money from unsuccessful splits and double downs – you lose only your initial wager.

The Late Surrender rule we previously wrote about is also enforced in Atlantic City Blackjack. Furthermore, you can surrender any two-card combination against any dealer upcard. Insurance is another available move although its availability is practically useless to basic strategy players. There is never a good time to take insurance when you play with basic strategy only.

Doubling down is allowed on any two cards and also permitted after splitting. Splitting can be done to a maximum of three times but there is a restriction when it comes to splitting a pair of aces as they can be split only once and they receive only one card.

A split ace next to a ten-value card counts as a regular total of 21 rather than a blackjack and pays at odds of 1 to 1. Players have the option to split unlike ten-value cards like K-Q and J-10. Most online variations of Atlantic City Blackjack are dealt out of eight randomly-shuffled decks.

The rules of Atlantic City Blackjack are largely uniform across all available online variations and coincide with those described above. The most popular version is the one created by software supplier Microgaming, with an RTP percentage of 99.65%. We recommend you play the version from Microgaming’s Gold Series since it has improved graphics and additional interesting features.

Another version is supplied by developer Cryptologic. It has table limits of £1 to £100 and capacitates bets on up to three betting spots during any given round. The graphics are not as impressive as Microgaming’s but we find the game is still playable. One thing to keep in mind about this variation is that it disallows resplitting. Another popular take on online Atlantic City Blackjack is the one supplied by the WGS Technology studio. This one allows you to play up to five betting spots at a time.

Payout in Atlantic City Blackjack

In most cases, the payout for Blackjack is standard – 3/2, however players should pay special attention to this rule as there are some casinos which pay differently – 6/5 for instance. The payout plays a crucial role as it determines whether or not they are able to make a profit in the long term and should be always taken into account prior to playing. In order to make sure they will be able to apply their strategy correctly, it is always best to double check the rules in advance.

The bonus payout for a blackjack works to the advantage of the player and decreases the house edge. Respectively, the higher the reduction in the bonus odds, the greater the house edge becomes. A 3 to 2 payout results in net gains of one and a half times your original bet. For example, a £10 wager would earn you £15 in net profits from your blackjack.

Games that pay at odds of 6 to 5 are, in essence, unplayable. This lower payout gains you only £12 per every £10 wagered, which leads to a significant reduction in your long-term expectation from blackjacks. Professional players always advise against playing at such tables, arguing that if everyone ignores them, the casinos will have no other option but to remove them from their floors.

On a more positive note, online players should not worry about this since the vast majority of Atlantic City Blackjack variants available on the web pay at the conventional odds of 3 to 2. There is a silver lining for landbased casino players in the US, too. Gamblers on the East Coast had a limited choice of casinos several decades ago since legal gaming was restricted to Atlantic City only.

However, things have changed in recent times, with many states on the East Coast introducing gambling regulations on their territory. Usually, this happens because state authorities are looking to generate greater revenue from taxes. Therefore, landbased players currently have a greater choice of options and can scout for tables that offer more liberal rules of play and decent odds. If you do not like the conditions in a certain venue, you can always go to another one.

Strategy for Atlantic City Blackjack

As usual, players should consider the concrete rules inherent to Atlantic City Blackjack before they play online or head to their local landbased casino. This is because the casino advantage in blackjack is additive. Each rule at the table gives or takes from the house edge. Furthermore, you will enjoy an almost break-even game on condition you play with accurate basic strategy.

The latter is impacted by house rules such as the dealer hitting or standing on soft 17, the number of allowed splits, the lack of late surrender, and doubling after splitting. The number of packs a given table uses also matters.

You cannot expect to achieve accuracy and boost your expectation by using a strategy chart for a single-deck game in eight-deck variations like Atlantic City Blackjack. If you intend to play this variation, feel free to use the chart below as its suggested plays correspond to Atlantic City Blackjack’s unique set of rules.

Basic Strategy for Atlantic City Blackjack (8D, S17, LS, DAS, Peek, RS to 4 hands)
Player’s TotalDealer’s Upcard
Hard Player Totals
Soft Player Totals
Player’s Soft TotalThe Dealer’s Upcard
A-8, A-9, A-10

Paired Cards
Player’s PairThe Dealer’s Upcard
H = Hit; S = Stand; D = Double Down; Ds = Double if possible, otherwise stand; P = Split; Rh = Surrender if possible, otherwise hit

Advantages of Atlantic City Blackjack

As already mentioned, one of the biggest advantages of the Atlantic City is that its combination of rules work in favour of the players as the house edge is one of the lowest in comparison to the rest of the variations. For instance, a rule which is advantageous for them is that the dealer peeks for Blackjack which prevents them from losing more money by doubling down and splitting. Moreover, the variations in which the dealer stands on soft 17 are not many due to the fact that this move benefits the players and whenever they bump into such a version, they should give it a try.

Additionally, it is noticeable that Atlantic City doesn’t have any major differences and specifications which make it extremely easy to be grasped and played. It is still recommended to adjust the basic strategy according to the above mentioned criteria, however, this doesn’t require as much time and efforts as some other versions do such as Blackjack Switch.

Player is dealt a 9 Hand. Dealer is dealt Blackjack which prevents the Player from losing more money.

Disadvantages of Atlantic City Blackjack

One thing that can be considered as a drawback is the fact that the game is usually played with eight decks which is not very convenient for card counters. The high number of decks will make the card counting process very difficult to conduct. It is no secret that in order to apply their chosen system correctly they need to be extremely focused which can be a very challenging task to cope with as the casino setting is always full of distractions and temptations. This is not good for basic strategists, either, since, the greater the deck number, the higher the house edge they face.

Moreover, as already indicated players should always double check the payout for Blackjack as some casinos tend to change it which can significantly worsen their chances of making a decent profit in the long term. It is always best to search for a table which offers the standard payout of 3/2 as this way they will be able to achieve the desired result. It is extremely important to take this factor into account as it determines whether or not one variation is worth the shot as after all what makes gambling interesting is the possibility to make a profit.


Atlantic City Blackjack is one of the most popular variations of the game because it offers one of the lowest house edges you can possibly hope to find at a casino. It is available in many casinos and can be found online as well. This is extremely convenient for players who like to play from the comfort of their surroundings. Before playing, it is best to double-check the rules of the game as they can vary from one place to another. It is a version that is both interesting and challenging. This is the reason why so many players choose to give it a try.