Atlantic City is known for plenty of things, including the Boardwalk, Steel Pier, and its large casino resorts. One thing that this town doesn’t get a lot of attention for, though, is its blackjack scene.
Sure, Atlantic City is the one place where casinos can’t ban card counters. What if you’re not a card counter, though?
I’m going to discuss what, if any, AC casinos offer great blackjack games. But first, I’ll discuss what exactly makes for quality blackjack.
What Constitutes the Best Blackjack Games?
Gamblers typically determine the top blackjack games by their odds alone. As you’ll see below, though, this is just one important aspect in the matter.
Low House Edge
The blackjack house edge directly impacts your chances of winning. A lower house advantage boosts your odds of making money.
The typical Atlantic City blackjack table carries between a 1% and 2% house edge. Such games feature six or eight decks and only pay 6:5 on natural blackjacks.
The latter condition raises the house advantage by 1.39% compared to 3:2 payouts. Therefore, your first step should be finding a table that offers 3:2 payouts on naturals.
Single-deck blackjack isn’t abundant in this town. Some games feature 6:5 natural payouts, which makes them unplayable even with the single deck involved.
Other rules also play a significant role in the house advantage. Here are notable ones to watch out for:
- Double down on any two cards: +0.25% for player
- Dealer stands on a soft 17: +0.20% for player
- Double after splitting (DAS): +0.17% for player
- Re-splitting ace: +0.08% for player
- Late surrender: +0.07% for player
If these rules are reversed, they increase the house advantage by the matching amount. Assuming the dealer hits on a soft 17, then the house edge increases by 0.20%.
Atlantic City offers a few tables that give you a strong chance to win. However, you also must be wary about the required stakes in these games.
The best Atlantic City blackjack tables can charge upwards of $50 per hand. In this case, you’re better off at a $5 or $10 table with a 2.0% house edge in terms of theoretical losses.
Here’s the math:
- You play at a $10 blackjack table with a 2.0% house edge.
- The table sees 70 hands per hour.
- 70 x 10 x 0.02 = $14 in theoretical losses
- You play at a $50 blackjack table with a 0.5% house edge.
- The table sees 70 hands per hour.
- 70 x 50 x 0.005 = $17.50 in theoretical losses
If you want to play for high stakes, then you should definitely look for the lowest house advantages. However, stakes are just as important as the house edge if you’re dealing with a smaller bankroll.
Good VIP Rewards
Most Atlantic City casinos are competitive with each other in terms of VIP benefits. However, certain establishments stand out in this regard.
Ocean Casino Resort has established itself as the premiere spot for top-notch loyalty rewards. It comps you well on blackjack play and offers flexible options for rewards points.
The Tropicana also features a solid VIP program. Just like Ocean Casino, it features plentiful rewards on your blackjack bets.
Of course, loyalty perks don’t quite make up for the house edge. But you can’t go wrong by getting a few more freebies for your play.
The Best of Atlantic City Blackjack in Different Categories
As you can see, blackjack tables can excel in different areas. That said, here are the top AC casinos with regard to the blackjack house edge, stakes, and rewards.
Best Blackjack with a Low House Edge
Golden Nugget offers the best blackjack odds in Atlantic City at the moment. They feature certain six-deck tables that pay 3:2 on naturals, see the dealer stand on soft 17, and allow late surrender.
The latter is especially notable, because late surrender isn’t available at many casinos around the world. This rule lets you surrender half of your stake to get out of a hand after the dealer checks for a natural.
These rules result in a 0.34% house advantage. Golden Nugget’s odds are as good as any you’ll find versus Las Vegas and beyond.
The only problem, though, is that you need to bet $50 or more to play. If you’re not willing to do this, then you might consider heading to Bally’s Hotel & Casino.
Bally’s has a game with almost the same rules as Golden Nugget. The lone difference is that you can’t use late surrender, which results in a 0.42% house edge.
The benefit, though, is that only need to wager $25 per hand. This minimum bet is more in line with the rest of Atlantic City.
AC offers some other blackjack tables that feature a 0.68% house edge. They include eight decks, 3:2 natural payouts, the dealer hitting on soft 17, doubling on any two cards, and DAS.
Best Low Stakes Blackjack
Assuming you’re a low roller, then you’ll be looking for great odds combined with reasonable stakes. The catch: you’ll be dealing with anywhere from a 1% to 2% house advantage with most of these games.
Earlier, I showed the math on how you’ll still be getting a better deal with low bets and a higher house edge. But usually, you don’t get to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Fortunately, some exceptions do exist. The Borgata offers a few $10 tables with 3:2 payouts, the dealer standing on soft 17, and eight decks.
These rules lead to a 0.44% house advantage. Combined with the $10 minimum stakes, you won’t find anything better regarding blackjack value in Atlantic City.
The latter force you to pay an extra $0.25 just to play each hand. You’re better off playing slot machines at this rate!
Best Blackjack Rewards in Atlantic City
Again, Ocean Casino Resort offers the best VIP program in the city. Ocean Wow Rewards features five levels and a host of options.
You can attain higher statues and rewards as you continue placing blackjack bets and spending more at Ocean Casino.
Some of the things that you can do with your points include dining, getting free hotel stays, and shopping for free. Other casino comps include VIP Lounge access, free play, and free parking.
What Atlantic City Blackjack Games Should You Avoid?
No one casino in Atlantic City offers the “worst” blackjack. Instead, you should individually judge each table by a combination of its rules and stakes.
I covered how you can’t just look at a $1 to $5 table and automatically assume that it’s a cheap game. Some of these tables include 6:5 payouts to jack up the house advantage over 2%.
Aside from ultra-low stakes, you need to be on guard with single-deck games. Many of these tables are merely used to disguise 6:5 payouts.
Some exceptions apply, including certain games at the Borgata, Bally’s, and Golden Nugget. Overall, though, you should always read the felt of single-deck tables to see if they pay 3:2 or 6:5.
What about the Best New Jersey Online Blackjack Games?
New Jersey is one of the few states that currently offer real money blackjack online. You can play these games as long as you’re physically present in the state and 21 years of age.
NJ online blackjack clearly offers the best odds and lowest stakes. The market is overlooked, though, because many gamblers would rather have the experience of playing live in Atlantic City.
Assuming you’re okay with virtual blackjack, though, then you’ll be happy to know that there are some outstanding games in New Jersey.
PokerStars Casino, Tropicana, Pala, and Virgin all feature single-deck games with house edges ranging from 0.24% to 0.27%. What’s more: you only need to bet $1 per hand.
Even the worst odds, including multi-hand and micro stakes ($0.10 per hand) versions, only feature a 0.7% house advantage.
You may ultimately still opt for playing live blackjack in AC casinos. But the online version clearly features the best value in the Garden State.
Is Atlantic City a Good Place to Play Blackjack Overall?
Atlantic City will never get the same publicity as Las Vegas when it comes to blackjack. However, its blackjack scene can stand on its own merits.
A few land-based casinos feature quality single-deck games with a house edge under 0.5%. The catch, though, is that you must wager between $25 and $50 per hand.
The Borgata offers the top value-based game with a 0.44% house advantage and $10 minimum bets. But you’ll have a tough time finding open seats.
Assuming none of the best Atlantic City blackjack tables are available, you can always grab your smartphone and play blackjack online. NJ gaming sites feature $1 blackjack stakes and house edges ranging from 0.24% and 0.7%.
Atlantic City already offers you plenty of reasons to visit with its ocean views and lavish resorts. Now, you can add quality blackjack games to this list.
I suggest stopping by the Borgata or Bally’s to find the combination of great odds and moderate stakes ($10 to $25). Assuming you can stomach $50 bets, then Golden Nugget features the absolute-best odds (0.34% house edge) in town.
Beware of most single-deck and low-stakes tables, though. Both types of games are used to mask poor rules that drive the house advantage over 2%.