Blackjack is considered the most popular card game across casinos in the United States for several reasons, most notably for its extremely low house edge compared to all other forms of gambling. Indeed, players who are knowledgeable and highly skilled could increase their chances of winning – with or without relying on tactics such as card counting.
During the years, different variations of blackjack have emerged and developed into the games we know today. One of them is Atlantic City blackjack, a version that is widely preferred by most professional players even though it is mostly found in New Jersey casinos. So, how does this version of the game differs from, let’s say, the Vegas Strip blackjack? Why is the Atlantic City variant so popular? In this article, we are exploring the history of the game and how it developed.
Origins of Atlantic City Blackjack
Atlantic City blackjack is just one of the many versions inspired by the famous game, so let us take a look into the origins of the traditional variation. Just like the majority of classic casino games, blackjack has its roots in Europe and in Spain and France, to be more precise, and at some point in time, it was popularized in North America by European settlers. It is also known around the world by its original name “vingt-et-un” in French or “veintiuna” in Spanish, which simply means “twenty-one”.
It came to the Americas probably in the 19th century. It was not appreciated by locals at first, but after some changes in the rules, it has gained popularity across North American gambling halls. After the legalization of gambling in Nevada, the popularity of blackjack really soared and it became one of the jewels in Las Vegas casinos.
The state of New Jersey, however, was looking into gambling expansion in the 1970’s, realizing the potential for getting tax revenue. In 1976, casino gambling was legalized but restricted to Atlantic City where the first casino opened for business just two years later. In order to attract players and create their own style of the traditional American blackjack, casinos in the city introduced little differences in the rules. Most notably, players in Atlantic City had the option to double down on any two cards.
This variation of the game had its advantages (house edge only 0.35%) and the tiny changes in the rules did attract some blackjack fans from neighboring states. It was not offered anywhere else and players had to visit the handful of gambling establishments in Atlantic City in order to enjoy the game. With the emergence of online casinos in the 1990’s, however, things changed rapidly and many software development companies started creating virtual Atlantic City blackjack games. Today, blackjack enthusiasts can simply open an online casino on their computer or mobile device and play this exciting variation for free or for real money.
Specific Rules in Atlantic City Blackjack
Atlantic City blackjack is based on the popular American-style blackjack where the dealer receives two cards, one face-up and the other face-down (known as the “hole card”). If the face-up card is an Ace, the dealer can peek for blackjack. There are a few other specific rules that you would typically find only in this Atlantic city blackjack variation. While most versions of the game are played with 4 to 6 standard decks of cards, this one usually uses 8 decks, which increase the house advantage and make card counting extremely difficult.
Another thing that sets this version apart from the classic game is that players can double down on any two cards and split up to three times. There is an exception for Aces, of course – if players get a pair of Aces, they can split the hand only once and receive just one card. Splitting is also allowed on a pair of 10-valued cards. In addition, those who choose to play Atlantic City blackjack would probably be able to use the Late Surrender rule, which allows you to surrender after the player checks for blackjack. If you lose, you lose only half of your bet, but this tactic is recommended only when you hold 15 or 16 and dealer has a hand of 9 to 11.