A Complete Guide to Atlantic City Blackjack Strategy

The Atlantic City Blackjack games found online have a particular set of rules that gives them in-depth strategies. This can throw off players who are used to rule sets that aren’t as complicated. However, once you adjust to each of the special rules, it’s worth playing for the high payout percentage.

An Introduction to Atlantic City Blackjack Strategy

If you’re a fan of multi-deck blackjack games, then you probably feel like you have to play Atlantic City Blackjack at some point. Overall, it’s really considered an iconic title in the genre, and it’s easy to understand why.

This game has one of the most liberal and flexible rule sets out there. This leads to very robust strategies compared to similar titles.

For the strategic blackjack fan, it’s hard to find a multi-deck game online that’s better fitting than this. However, that flexible set of rules can be a double-edged sword. That’s because it also obligates the player to learn how to handle a wide range of different types of situations for the more atypical betting options.

If you’re starting with a basic multi-deck strategy and want to adjust to these particular rules, that’s a great plan. However, the adjustments aren’t always completely clear. That’s why we’re going to break down all of the adjustments you need. This will help you to know exactly how to play in each key situation.

An Overview of the Atlantic City Blackjack Rules

We’re going to assume that you know the basic rules of blackjack. If you don’t, then check out our overview of Atlantic City Blackjack before you get started here.

With that said, there are a few key rules that really affect how strategy is handled here. We want to point out those rules and why they’re important in the following:

  • Eight Decks – This means that composition-based strategies will not be viable.
  • Dealer Peeks for Blackjack – You’re able to be a bit more aggressive against tens and aces.
  • Late Surrender – Having the surrender option available with any number of cards allows you to bail out of some of the worst situations you can face.
  • Double After Splitting – This gives you more profitable opportunities in split hands, but it also encourages splitting for lower valued cards since you’re more likely to split into excellent doubling opportunities.

Overall, they’re really encouraging a lot of surrendering, doubling and splitting. These are the less used options on average, so you can see how Atlantic City Blackjack strategy is all about increasing how often these options are used on the most basic level.

With this rule set as well, we want to point out that we’ll be calling the dealer cards 2-6 “weak” cards while we’ll be calling dealer cards 7-A the “strong” cards. This happens because the dealer is much more likely to bust out with 2-6 than 7-A.

Now that we’re all set, let’s jump into breaking this game down from a strategic standpoint.

Hard Hands in Atlantic City Blackjack

Hard hands in this game can be broken up into three simple categories. If you learn each category on its own, you can be playing hard hands perfectly in this game within a very short period of time.

Additionally, hard hands make up a majority of the hands you’ll face in this title. Subsequently, you can actually learn to play most of the hands in this game perfectly within a half hour at the most with the following strategies.

Hard Totals of 11 or Less

Your default action when you have a hard total of 11 or less is to hit. It doesn’t matter what the dealer has for the most part because you never have a hand low enough for standing to make sense.

The exception to all of this is learning when to double. You should double with totals of 9, 10 or 11 in the following circumstances:

  • 9-point Hand Doubling – Double when facing a dealer card of 3-6.
  • 10-point Hand Doubling – Double when facing a dealer card of 2-9.
  • 11-point Hand Doubling – Double when facing a dealer card of 2-10.

It’s really important to note that you never double against a dealer ace in this game. That’s important for players who are used to doing so when the dealer peeks for blackjack. However, you will double against a 10 if you are holding a hard 11, but that’s the only time.

Hard Totals of 12 or Higher Against Weak Dealer Hands

This is probably the easiest part of the overall strategy because you almost always stand. Everything is set up so that the dealer will tend to bust out a little more often than single-deck hands and other scenarios. As such, you only need to remember one thing:

Stand unless you have a 12 against a dealer 2 or 3. In these two situations only, you should hit instead.

That’s all there is to it. However, even if you forget and just stand in these two exceptional cases, it won’t affect your payout rate a terrible amount. This is probably the biggest of our tips for Atlantic City Blackjack in terms of how easy it is to apply to a large range of situations that you’ll face.

Hard Totals of 12 or Higher Against Strong Dealer Hands

Generally speaking, the situations where you’re the most likely to lose in Atlantic City Blackjack are the spots where you have a hard hand and are facing a strong dealer card. With that said, you can actually split those hands in half and play them almost perfectly with a simple rule:

  • With a hard total from 17 to 21, stand against hard dealer cards.
  • With a hard total from 12 to 16, hit against strong dealer cards (except when surrendering, see below).

The only exception to this straightforward rule is when you’re surrendering. It’s really, really important that you don’t surrender in any other situation in this game other than these four spots, all of which assume you have hard totals:

  1. 15 vs Dealer 10
  2. 16 vs Dealer 9, 10 or A

That’s all you need to know to master surrendering in this game. However, it’s also all you need to know to master hard hands at the Atlantic City Blackjack tables overall.

Atlantic City Blackjack Strategies for Soft Hands

With soft hands, we break things up a little differently. First, you need to know the default play with each hand total. Second, you need to know when to deviate from those defaults in order to double. If you learn things in this way, which is how we’ll be breaking them up, you’ll master the strategies for Atlantic City Blackjack pretty quickly.

The Default Scenarios for Hitting and Standing

If you have a soft total of 17 or lower, then your default is to always hit. The reason for this is simple: You have no risk of going bust because you can drop your ace from 11 to 1 at will.

Likewise, all soft totals of 19 or higher are always a stand. With this high of a total, you don’t really get much benefit from hitting to try to pull a 2 or another ace to try to improve your hand.

However, that leaves soft totals of 18. Whether you hit or stand with these hands depends completely on the dealer card you’re facing:

With a soft 18, stand against an eight or lower, and hit against a 9 or higher.

The reason is simple: With a 9 or higher, the dealer still has a good chance to beat you without having to draw a single card because of all of the aces and 10-point cards in the deck. Additionally, the reasoning here makes it easier to remember this rule.

Knowing When to Double: The Rule of 24

The Rule of 24 in Atlantic City Blackjack is a simple guideline that tells you when to double with soft hands. If you have a soft total of 13 to 18, and you’re facing a weak dealer card, you can calculate when to double with the following:

  1. Add your total to twice the value of the dealer’s card.
  2. If that total is at least 24, then you should double.
  3. If it’s 23 or lower, you should go back to the default for your hand.

For example, suppose you have a soft 18 against a dealer showing a 3. You’ll add your total of 18 to twice the value of the dealer’s card, which yields 18 + 6, which is 24. Since your total is at least 24, that is a double.

This is a lot easier than trying to memorize a bunch of individual situations. That’s especially the case considering there are a dozen and a half different doubling spots here.

Wrapping Up With Paired Hands

Splitting is rewarded in this game since you can double afterward. Additionally, since the dealer checks for blackjack, you can split more against aces and 10-point cards. Subsequently, the rules you need to remember for this game are pretty easy for splitting.

  • Never split 5s or 10-point cards. Always split aces and eights.
  • With 2s, 3s and 7s, split when facing a 7 or lower.
  • With 4s, only split against 5s and 6s.
  • If you have 6s, only split against 6 and lower.

The above isn’t difficult to remember. However, playing 9s correctly can be tricky because you should split against 2-6 and against 8-9. The reason you don’t split against a 7 is because it’s often the case that the dealer will have a 10-point card, stand on 17 points, and you’ll win with your hard 18.

Bringing It All Together

If you segment the strategy for Atlantic City Blackjack in the way we have above, you can learn it quickly. Each individual part just takes a little bit of study and practice to learn by heart. Once you do this, you can play this game perfectly and enjoy the huge 99.65 percent payout rate that it offers.