Played with only two decks of cards, Vegas Downtown Blackjack is a fun and rewarding online version of the classic game of 21. It was developed by leading casino software provider Microgaming as a single-hand game but later, the studio presented a new, multi-hand variation as part of its Gold Series table games, which boast improved design and enhanced graphics.
The online game can be accessed from Microgaming’s instant-play casino platform or after downloading the casino software on your computer. As suggested by its name, Vegas Downtown Blackjack is a variation of the classic game of 21 that is offered in casinos across Vegas Downtown. It uses 2 standard 52-card decks and the so-called hole card – in American-style blackjack, the dealer draws one upcard and another face-down, also called the hole card. If the upcard is an Ace or a 10-value card, the dealer peeks the hole card for a possible blackjack.
Whether you pick the single-hand game or prefer the multi-hand version, where you can play with up to 5 hands against the dealer, the rules will remain the same. The dealer is required to hit on soft 17, which is a rule that ultimately favors the casino. There is no Surrender rule and the payouts are standard – blackjack pays 3:2, Insurance pays 2:1, while the regular win pays evenly (1:1). As a result of this particular set of rules and payouts, Microgaming’s Vegas Downtown Blackjack has a theoretical Return to Player (RTP) of 99.62%.
Standing and Hitting in Vegas Downtown Blackjack
The game starts after players make their bets and click the Deal button. They receive two face-up cards and the dealer draws one face-up and one face-down card. Depending on their hand, players can either decide to request more cards and choose the Hit button or to play out the cards they already have. For this, they will need to choose the Stand option. After they Stand on their hand, their turn is over and it is time for the dealer to decide whether to Hit or Stand.
Splitting in Vegas Downtown Blackjack
Another option at the beginning of the round is Split. It is available only when the player’s two cards are of the same rank or, in other words, if they are a pair. When you split a pair, you divide your current hand into two identical, separate hands. Of course, another bet of an amount that is equal to your original stake is automatically placed. The dealer then deals an additional card to each of your hands and for each of them, you are given the options to Hit or Stand.
Microgaming’s Vegas Downtown Blackjack allows players to Split up to 3 times per round, which could result in a total of 4 hands. There are several things to consider when Splitting Aces, however. First of all, Aces could be split just once and when you do it, only one card is dealt to each of the split hands. Then, they automatically Stand. In addition, when you have an Ace and a 10-value card in a split hand, this does not count as blackjack but as regular 21.
Doubling in Vegas Downtown Blackjack
After receiving their initial hand, the player can decide to Double his bet if he believes his cards are good enough. This option is offered on any two cards in the game, which means that you can Double on your initial hand or after a Split, as well. However, players should know that after they Double their bet, they are automatically dealt another card to their hand and they are forced to Stand.
This means that doubling on hands totaling 19 or 20, for instance, is not a good idea. It also means that only one Double is available per round.
Buying Insurance in Vegas Downtown Blackjack
When you buy Insurance in blackjack, you insure against dealer blackjack – you win if the dealer has blackjack. This is an interesting option offered at the start of the round in Microgaming’s Vegas Downtown Blackjack. When the dealer’s upcard is an Ace, the player is allowed to take Insurance, a side bet, which costs half of his original stake.
Of course, the bet wins if the dealer has blackjack and it loses in all other instances. When you win the Insurance bet, you are paid 2:1, but this is effectively a push because, at the same time, you lose your main game bet.