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Atlantic City Blackjack

Not all Blackjack games are as generous and as forgiving as Atlantic City blackjack. The game showcases all the standard rules of conventional Blackjack, and is one of the few Blackjack variants that allows a late surrender*. You can find tables with similar rules throughout Atlantic City; or if you don’t feel like travelling great distances just to gamble, there are numerous online casinos that will be more than happy to humour your request.

Basic Rules

Cards – A standard game of Blackjack can be played using one to eight full decks; each holding no less than 52 cards. Atlantic City Blackjack is played using 8 decks, shuffled together in a ‘shoe’. The value of each card is determined by its denomination and not its suit (suits in Atlantic City Blackjack make no difference to the game). Aces can be counted as 1 and as 11, depending on what is best for the particular hand. Number cards correspond to their denominator (2-10) and all Face Cards (K,Q,J) have a common value of 10.


Like in all Blackjack games; a player must place his bet inside the designated betting area before he is eligible to receive a hand. There are of course minimum/maximum betting limits that every gambler must adhere to. There wont be any actual money on the table, so make sure that you purchase all your chips from the floor before sitting at a table.

The Hand

The dealer will hand each player 2 cards (1 hand), placing them face-up in front of the players. After he is done servicing the table, he would deal 2 additional cards for himself, but keep one of them face-down. In Atlantic City blackjack, a player can play up to 4 different hands, all in the same game (an option known as a split*). Each hand has a certain total, which can be summed up by adding the value of each individual card in that hand (sum total it called). If you have a 5 and a 6 ,then you have a total of 11 in your hand (5+6=11).
*If a player has two card of equal value (two 4s, or a J and a Q), then he can split the two same-value cards, for two individual hands. The dealer will deal one additional card to each initial card, to make two separate hands. Each hand is treated independently from the other.


There are a few ways you can win at Blackjack. The first of course is having an actual blackjack. A blackjack (also known as a Natural) refers to a player having 21 as his total. The player will automatically win, unless the dealer too has a blackjack, in which case the event is called a push and all wagers are returned to their respective owners. But getting a blackjack all the time is somewhat of a deal-breaker (plus it won’t happen). The other way to beat the house is by having a total greater than that of the dealer, without going over 21. If you have 19 (J,9) and the dealer only has 17 (8,9), then you win. You can also win if the dealer goes over 21 himself.

Hit vs Stand

Hit – The dealer won’t always give you the cards you need or were looking for. Sadly, you cannot discard any cards from your hand without forfeiting your wager. You can, however, ask the dealer for more cards, should you wish to do so. Requesting additional cards is called a hit, and there is no actual limit as to how many times can a player hit in a single game (as long as he doesn’t go over 21). The dealer can hit as well, but not on his own free will. Atlantic City rules state that the dealer must hit only if he has a total lower than 17. This rule is referred to as standing on all 17s, because once the dealer’s total has reached 17, he can no longer hit and must stand* instead.


To stand refers to NOT asking for any additional cards (in this regard, we say that standing is the exact opposite of hitting). Standing is usually wiser compared to hitting, but that depends on both your hand and the dealer’s face up card.

Splitting and Doubling Down

Like I mentioned earlier, if you have two cards of equal value (a pair, or two 10 cards), you can split them to get two new hands. Atlantic City Blackjack states, that you can split cards up to 3 times (giving the player a total of 4 different hands). After a split, players can hit, stand or double down* on all 4 hands, if need be. Note that Atlantic City Blackjack forbids the splitting of Aces more than once per game. This means that if you were dealt a pair of Aces (A,A), you can make only 1 additional hand out of them (also, you can no longer hit, split or double down)

Double Down

If you wish to double your bet on the spot, there is a sure but often risky way to do this. You must place an equal amount of chips next to your initial bet. Th dealer will hit you, but only once per hand! Basically, everything will be riding on a single draw – if you score high enough and beat the dealer, you win; if not you lose both your bets. Atlantic City rules state that you can double down after a split/splits and on any two cards (except Aces of course).

Late Surrender and Insurance

Atlantic City Blackjack offers players the option to forfeit half their bet, should they feel like they are going to lose to the dealer. But before I explain the rules behind a late surrender, I would like to talk about the game as a Hole Game. A Blackjack game being a Hole Game basically means that the dealer is allowed to peak under his face-down card if he has a 10 valued card or an Ace showing on his face-up card (remember; we said that when a dealer deals his own hand, he would place one card face-up and the other face-down). If he has a Natural/21/Blackjack (the face-down card complements the face-up card to make a total of 21), then it is an automatic victory for the house, and all players that did not get a Natural/21/Blackjack lose their bets.

Late Surrender

Atlantic City rules state that a player can surrender at the cost of only half his wager, but only after the dealer has checked his Hole Card (face-down card). In other variations of the game, the dealer won’t be allowed to look under his whole card; thus the player can surrender immediately, hence the name “early surrender”. Late surrender is different from early surrender because the dealer can still beat the players if he has a Natural on his first hand; in which case surrendering is not an option. Only after the dealer has made sure that he doesn’t have a blackjack can players forfeit the game.


Some people take offence from the fact that the house can beat players ‘almost immediately’ after dealing their hands. This is the reason why Atlantic City casinos have made it, so players can make a small ‘side-bet’ on top of their original bets. Basically, you bet that the dealer will have a blackjack (the dealer won’t inform the players whether or not he has a Natural, until all insurance/surrender moves have been made). You can only bet half your initial bet, and you must still play your hand against the dealer (either both you and the dealer have a Natural, in which case you win the side-bet, but draw/push on your own 21; or the dealer doesn’t have a Natural, and you lose your side-bet). Worst case scenario the dealer doesn’t have a Natural, but he still beats your hand; either by you going over the 21 mark, or you having less sum total.

More Articles Covering Blackjack

Blackjack Basics
Blackjack Rules
Blackjack Variations
Multi Hand Blackjack
Single Deck Blackjack Rules
Vegas Downtown Blackjack
Vegas Strip Blackjack Rules
Atlantic City Blackjack
How to Hit a Hand
Splitting Hands in Blackjack
Insurance in Blackjack
Surrender in Blackjack
Standing a Hand
Blackjack Double Down
Splitting Hands in Blackjack
Blackjack Odds
Blackjack Strategy for Playing Hands
Blackjack Cards and Hands Value

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