Basic Rules for Blackjack in Las Vegas

Table games at LINQ Las Vegas

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Once you get to Las Vegas, you might want to play cards. Yes, poker seems complicated and you might have difficulty knowing how to bluff. But you don't need to worry—you can still play blackjack. After all, you can count to 21, right?

The game is quite easy to learn, and in Las Vegas, most casinos have gaming lessons scheduled to help you learn the basics. If you stick to a few simple rules, you will be able to increase your odds of winning. However, be aware that no technique can guarantee that you'll win. Be careful with your gambling budget, and stick to a plan.

Basic Strategy

In order to increase your edge at blackjack, it’s important to follow a few simple rules. According to the "American MENSA guide to Casino Gambling," if you follow these simple rules, you can win at blackjack. More importantly, you can lessen the house’s edge, which in turn gives you a better shot at leaving the casino with a bit of cash. That is, as long as you don’t try your hand at something else before you walk out the front door.

Technique

If you have: – You should:

  • 9 or lower – Hit
  • 10 or 11 – Double down if your cards add up to more than the dealer’s up-card. If not, hit.
  • 12 thru 16 – Hit when dealer's upcard is 7 or higher; stand otherwise.
  • 17 or higher – Stand.

With soft hands, things change a bit. A soft hand includes any hand that uses an Ace as an 11 instead of a 1, such as a “Soft 17”, which includes an ace and a 6.

  • 13 thru 18 – Double down when dealer's up-card is 5 or 6.
  • 17 or lower – Hit.
  • 18 – Hit when dealer's card is 6 or less; stand when dealer's card is 7 or higher.
  • 19 or higher – Stand.

With pairs, use the following tips:

  • Always split Aces and 8s.
  • Never split 10s, 4s, or 5s.
  • Split all other pairs when dealer’s upcard is 6 or less.

If you consider playing blackjack in Las Vegas, understand that betting limits change depending on the day of the week and the location of the casino. Downtown you might have lower limits but you also will have different payouts. Consult the payout card on the table or simply ask the dealer if there are any different rules to the particular game you are playing.

On a busy weekend night, you will see that the table limits go up so keep that in mind when sitting at a table. Also, if you are looking to start with a little less money, avoid the luxury resorts such as Bellagio, Wynn, and Palazzo. Instead, find a table at casinos such as the Flamingo, Bally's, and the LINQ.