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Blackjack

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For the Van Buren character, see Blackjack (character).
 
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Blackjack is a card game in Fallout: New Vegas, playable in any of the six working casinos. Playing 10 hands of Blackjack grants you the Double Down achievement/trophy.

RulesEdit

All casinos in New Vegas use the following rules.

  • The maximum bet is 200 chips.
  • The game is dealt from multiple decks, which are shuffled after every hand.
  • The player may not purchase insurance.
  • Early surrender (i.e., before checking for dealer blackjack) is not offered.
  • Blackjack payouts and surrendered bets are rounded up.
  • The player can double down on any starting hand.
  • The player may only split to two hands.
  • The player may only split identical card values (that is, the player may not split Queen-King).
  • A card is dealt to the second hand of a split before the player is allowed to act on the first.
  • The player may only double the first of two split hands.
  • The player may draw to the second of two split hands before drawing to the first.

House rulesEdit

Each casino has its own rules regarding blackjack payouts and when the dealer must draw. The rules can be seen on the table felts in each casino floor.

Barring variations from Luck, the best odds are found at The Tops, Ultra-Luxe, or Sierra Madre Casino. The worst odds are found at the Atomic Wrangler, thanks to the low blackjack pay out.

House rules explanationEdit

Blackjack payoutEdit

A blackjack is a hand that is an Ace and a 10-point card (it is special since it is a 21 with only two cards). If the dealer gets a blackjack, the player's second card will be revealed to determine if the player also has blackjack. If not, the player instantly loses, without any opportunity to play. If the player gets a blackjack and the dealer does not, the player instantly wins and gets a bonus payout based on the casino. A blackjack payout of 3 to 2 means the player gets back 3 chips for 2 chip they wagered. If both the dealer and the player get blackjack, it is a push and the player keeps his bet.

Given neutral luck (6 or less), a blackjack will occur roughly 5% of the time. A reduced blackjack payout strongly favors the casino.

Dealer must draw to 16, and stand on all 17sEdit

No matter what, if the dealer has a total less than 17, s/he continues to hit. If the dealer has a total of 17 or higher, the dealer stays.

Dealer must hit soft 17Edit

A "soft" hand is a hand that involves an Ace, since an Ace can be either 1 or 11. A soft 17 is any hand where the Ace is used as an 11, since there is still a choice on what the Ace can be. This is contrast to a "hard" 17 that uses an Ace, such as Jack-4-2-Ace. In this case, the Ace has to be a 1 in order to prevent a bust. Under this rule then, the dealer normally stays on 17, unless that 17 was made initially by an Ace being used as 11, at which point the dealer hits again.

On the one hand, this can be seen as increasing the chance of a bust, but because the Ace can be used as a 1 or 11, if the dealer draws a high card, the initial Ace can be used as a 1 instead. Especially since the dealer does not need to play at all if the player busts, the net result of this rule is that the odds increase in favor of the casino. For this reason, Gomorrah and Primm ranks below the Strip casinos in terms of fairness.

Atomic Wrangler (Freeside)Edit

  • Blackjack pays 6 to 5.
  • Dealer must draw to 16, and stand on all 17s.

Gomorrah (The Strip)Edit

  • Blackjack pays 3 to 2.
  • Dealer must hit soft 17.

The Tops (The Strip)Edit

  • Blackjack pays 3 to 2.
  • Dealer must draw to 16, and stand on all 17s.

Ultra-Luxe (The Strip)Edit

  • Blackjack pays 3 to 2.
  • Dealer must draw to 16, and stand on all 17s.

Vikki and Vance Casino (Primm)Edit

  • Blackjack pays 3 to 2.
  • Dealer must hit soft 17.

Sierra Madre Casino (Sierra Madre)Edit

  • Blackjack pays 3 to 2.
  • Dealer must draw to 16, and stand on all 17s.

Playing to WinEdit

As in real life, Blackjack is the closest to being "fair" a casino game can get. That being said, with neutral luck, even with optimal, standard strategy (see wikipedia's entry on strategy which includes a table on when to stay, hit, double-down, and surrender), the odds still favor the house by a margin of a percent or so (though worse at Gomorrah and Primm, even more so at Atomic Wrangler). Essentially, each game becomes a coin flip.

Starting with a Luck of 7, the odds shift in the player's favor given optimal play. With a Luck of 8, a player can play suboptimally (not surrendering or doubling down on certain hands, for example) and still pull ahead. With a Luck of 10, the player pretty much has to try to intentionally lose in order to not make a scad of caps from Blackjack. This influence of above average luck means that optimal strategy in a New Vegas casino can be very different than what an experienced Blackjack player may have learned. In particular, the tendency not to bust when a character has a high luck value makes doubling down effective in many more situations and removes the incentive to surrender when dealt what would otherwise be a weak hand.

With a low level of Luck, the game will be strongly rigged against the player. The dealer will get blackjacks far more often than normal, and the statement "You feel unlucky" will appear whenever the game has rigged the hand against you. Playing to win without a high luck level is suicide unless you resort to save scumming, which the point below addresses.

If you try to cheat the system by loading after a loss, the dealer will take a minute to 'change out the deck' before you can continue playing.

NotesEdit

  • Only the dealer and player hands are shown, even if other gambling non-player characters are present at the table.
  • When the dealer is passing out the cards, his or her first card is dealt from the middle.
  • If textures are not set to high, it can be difficult to tell which cards were dealt.
  • If playing with a fullscreen aspect ratio, the HUD displaying your current bet, chips, and earnings will cover up your cards, making it difficult to determine the value of your hand.
  • The 3 of Hearts in Gomorrah is missing a heart.
  • A higher Luck stat increases the chance of winning.

AppearancesEdit

Blackjack can only be played in Fallout: New Vegas.

Behind the scenesEdit

BugsEdit

  • pcIcon pc ps3Icon ps3 xbox360Icon xbox360 The dealer will hit any 17 containing an ace on tables where they must hit soft 17, even if it is not a soft 17 (for example: a king, a six, and an ace).

ReferencesEdit

  1. James Garcia's portfolio

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