If you are visiting Vegas and planning to play Pontoon or Blackjack, also known as 21, the rules on playing in Vegas are quite simple, which is a major reason for the game’s enduring popularity. In Las Vegas casinos, blackjack is played on a semi-circular table, with the round portion of the table facing the players, and the straight edge side facing the dealer.
There are usually five to seven seats at a table and every blackjack table will have the words, “Insurance Pays 2 to 1”, also, “Dealer must Hit Soft 17” or “Dealer Must Stand On All 17’s”.
How to Play Blackjack/Pontoon in Vegas?
Your goal is to draw cards with a value as close to 21 as possible without going over. A hand that goes over 21 is a bust or break . The players at a blackjack table do not play against each other, they play against the dealer. Each player only has to beat the dealer’s hand.
Most casinos in Las Vegas provide two versions of Blackjack. Double Deck 21 and Multiple Deck 21. With Double Deck 21 the cards are dealt from the hand and with Multiple Deck 21, the cards are dealt from a box called the “shoe”
Double Deck 21 and Multiple Deck 21
The object of Blackjack is to get a hand with a value as close to 21 as possible without going over. This is accomplished in two ways:
- Having a higher total than the dealer without exceeding 21;
- Having a total of 21 or less when the dealer’s total exceeds 21.
Rules to play Blackjack/Pontoon
Find an appropriate bet-limit table and place a bet by the chips in the designated area. The dealer begins the game. Depending on how many people are playing, the dealer will deal each player two cards. The dealer is also dealt two cards, one face up, and one face down.
You are then offered the opportunity to take more. If you would like another card, then you tap the table with your fingers or say “hit me”. If you want to stay or “stand” with what you have, then wave your hand horizontally over the table or simply tuck your cards underneath your bet.
The hand with the highest total wins as long as it doesn’t exceed 21. A hand with a value over 21 is called a “bust” or “break” and it is an automatic loser.
Cards 2 through 10 are counted at face value.
The King, Queen and Jack count as 10
An Ace’s value is 11 unless this would cause the player to bust, in which case it is worth 1.
A hand in which an ace’s value is counted as 11 is called a soft hand, because it cannot be busted if the player draws another card. When an ace is counted as one point, this is called a hard hand.
The best possible hand in Blackjack is a combination of an Ace with a 10-card or a face card. This is an automatic 21, when counting the Ace as an 11, and is called, “Blackjack”, or a Natural. It cannot be beaten, unless the dealer has the same, which would be a Push, a tie. In a push, the player receives the bet back.
Points to remember
- The minimum bet is printed on a sign on the table and varies from casino to casino and from table to table like Minimum $5, Maximum $500.
- Dealers play according to house rules for their table. Be aware that blackjack odds may vary from table to table. Feel free to ask the dealer for clarification.
- Your opponent in blackjack is the dealer. Each player’s goal is to beat the dealer by having the higher, unbusted hand.
- Note that if the player busts he loses, even if the dealer also busts. If both the player and the dealer have the same point value, it is called a “push”, and neither player nor dealer wins the hand.
- Each player has an independent game with the dealer, so it is possible for the dealer to lose to one player but still beat the other players in the same round.
Las Vegas Blackjack Etiquette you should know
- Communicate your wish to stand or hit through hand signals. Tap the table with your finger to indicate you want to hit.
- Wave your hand horizontally to indicate you want to stand. Announce your intention to surrender verbally. This allows you to abandon your hand and keep half your bet.
- Switch your mobile phones off. However If you must answer a call, step back from the table and make your conversation as brief as possible.
- Feel free to ask the dealer any questions you want regarding the rules.
- It’s customary to tip the dealer. To do so, simply place an extra bet in from of your original bet. If you win that bet, the dealer keeps it as a tip.