Vegas Downtown style of blackjack originated from the central area of Vegas and, known as one of the variants with the lowest house edge, continues to gain a significant amount of online popularity. Released by Microgaming, online Downtown variant is a single-hand, hole card game, played with two standard 52 cards decks.
The game starts with a pair of cards being dealt to both the dealer and the player. Only one of the dealer's cards is revealed while the other, a so-called hole card, is facing down. If the upcard is a ten value card or an Ace, the dealer is allowed to peek for blackjack. After the cards are dealt, the player can click on Hit and request an additional card, Split equal value cards up to three times or Double the bet on any two cards and draw one extra. Alternatively, the player can Stand until the dealer reveals their hand. Should the dealer gets a soft 17, he will have to hit.
Insurance move is optional in Vegas Downtown and the player can place half of the original bet to protect themselves against dealer's blackjack. While there are blackjack variants allowing the player to give their hand up and keep 50% of their bet, Microgaming's Vegas Downtown keeps it real and the surrender move is not allowed.
Any regular hand is paid even in Vegas Downtown. That means that the player will get his bet back together with the additional amount equal to the original bet. Blackjack hand is paid 3:2 and insurance 2:1. With the bet maximum of $1,000 Vegas Downtown has a rather low house edge of 0.38% or 99.62% return to player.
Since the goal of the game is coming as close as possible to 21, but not going over, the player's best course is to stand on 17 +, soft 20 hands and Tens. Hand with the total of 11 should be doubled since there is a good chance that the additional card will lead to 21. While some pairs should always be split (Aces for example), 5s should be hit if the upcard is 10 or an Ace. Otherwise, the player should double down. Soft totals should in most cases be hit or doubled, except with the Ace and 8 pair, when the player should stand or double on dealer's 6 upcard.
Vegas Downtown has straightforward and clear rules that will be highly appreciated by those who enjoy a classic game of blackjack. Add that to the advantage of a pretty low house edge, great graphics and $1 minimum bet and you get an old school card game with more than a decent profit turnover.