If you’re a table games player, surely there have been times when you have traveled to Atlantic City or another casino resort area on a weekend or holiday, hoping to play blackjack, only to find no open tables for the stakes you want to play. Even with Live Dealer games, full tables are a very real possibility. However, Golden Nugget Online Casino has a new Live Dealer Blackjack game called Unlimited Blackjack where you won’t ever have to face this problem again. You can play Live Dealer Blackjack anytime you want, for the stakes, you want, with no waiting!
How Unlimited Blackjack Works
Unlimited Blackjack uses an innovative feature called Common Draw, which allows you to join a game at any time with an unlimited number of other players. Although it sounds impossible, all of the players are in the same game simultaneously with the same dealer. However, instead of each player being dealt different cards, each player starts with the same hand, but gets to make his or her own decision on how to play the hand.
Since you don’t get to see how the other players choose to play their hand, nor do they get to see how you play yours, all players are on their own. No one can unfairly accuse you of misplaying your hand and thereby causing them to lose.
Actually, one is just as likely to win as to lose after another player has misplayed a hand. However, when the latter occurs, the person who played the hand incorrectly often receives all of the blame from the other players. Playing at a table with that going on is no fun for anyone, but in Unlimited Blackjack you avoid that kind of unpleasantness completely. If you’re not sure about how to play a particular hand, you can look at a basic strategy chart or ask the dealer for advice, but no one will come down on you for less than optimal play.
Another important difference between Unlimited Blackjack and regular blackjack is that Unlimited Blackjack includes an Auto Split feature. In order to speed up the game, Unlimited Blackjack eliminates the option to decide which pairs you want to split and instead makes those decisions for you depending on what the pair happens to be.
If your first two cards are any of the following, your pair will be split automatically:
Thereafter, your only decision is not whether to split the pair, but how to play each of the two resulting hands. Assuming you want to proceed with both hands, it will cost you double your original bet. Otherwise, you can play just the first hand and avoid making the additional wager.
On the other hand, if your first two cards are any of the following pairs, splitting the pair is not allowed:
Instead, you decide which of the standard plays you wish to make: double, hit, or stand.
Other Rules of Unlimited Blackjack
Unlimited Blackjack uses eight decks of cards dealt from a shoe with the cut card placed in the middle. All players’ cards are dealt face up, while the dealer’s two starting cards include one card face up and the other face down. Cards are dealt until the cut card is reached, at which point the dealer reshuffles the cards.
In addition to the above-mentioned Auto-Split rule, these are the other important rules of the game:
- Dealer hits soft 17.
- You are allowed to double down on any two cards.
- Doubling down after splits is also allowed.
- Blackjack pays 3-2.
- Insurance is allowed and pays 2-1.
- Side bets automatically lose to a dealer blackjack.
- No late surrender.
According to the GoldenNuggetCasino.com website, this game (excluding optional side bets) has a return to player (RTP) of 99.56%. That would make the house edge .44%
Permitted Side Bets
In addition to the main bet, before each hand begins, you have the option to make either or both of the following side bets: Perfect Pairs and 21+3. Neither is recommended, as the casino lists the house edge as 4.09 and 6.28, respectively. If you make these plays at all, you should do so only occasionally and for very small stakes.
You win this bet if your first two cards are a pair. The payouts vary, depending on which of the three types of pairs it is:
- Perfect Pair: two identical cards
- Colored Pair: two cards of the same rank and color but different suits (e.g., 2 of Diamonds and 2 of Hearts)
- Mixed Pair: two cards of the same rank, but the color and suit are both different
- (e.g., 2 of Diamonds and 2 of Clubs)
The payouts are 25-1, 12-1, and 6-1, respectively.
This bet wins if your first two cards plus the dealer’s up-card produce any of the following, which are also good poker hands.
- Suited trips: 3 identical cards (pays 100-1)
- Straight flush (e.g., 10, Jack, and Queen of Hearts) (pays 40-1)
- Three of a Kind: three cards of the same value, but not all the same suit (pays 25-1)
- Straight: three consecutive cards, not all the same suit (pays 10-1)
- Flush: three nonconsecutive suited cards (pays 5-1)
Unlimited Blackjack Minimum and Maximum Bets
Unlimited Blackjack can accommodate players at any level from the smallest to the highest. The minimum standard bet is only $1, while the maximum standard bet is $1,000. The minimum side bet (which is in addition to, not in place of the main bet), is also $1, while the maximum is $100.
Hours of Operation
You will find Unlimited Blackjack in the Live Dealer games area of the GoldenNuggetCasino.com website. Unlimited Blackjack tables are open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m.
Unlimited Blackjack Pros and Cons
Unlimited Blackjack is available not quite 24/7, but close to it. However, it is especially recommended for busy times when there might be a long wait for a seat at a blackjack table otherwise.
Great choice for small stakes players and beginners
This game is ideal for small stakes players, since low minimum blackjack tables are ordinarily the first to fill up. Therefore, at a casino or even online at a peak time like a Friday or Saturday night, you could be waiting for a seat for a very long time. But there is always room for more Unlimited Blackjack players, even if all you want to bet is a dollar per hand.
If you are new to the game of blackjack, Unlimited Blackjack is also an excellent choice. For starters, you can make very small bets while you are learning so even if you make mistakes, the cost to you will be minimal. In addition, one of the most difficult components of basic strategy is correct playing of pairs. Since the casino makes the decision of whether or not to split a pair for you, it simplifies the game and may keep you from making what could be costly mistakes otherwise.
Not a great choice for skilled higher stakes players
Although the RTP for this game is listed as 99.56%, I have my doubts whether this figure is accurate. For starters, the game uses eight decks and the dealer hits soft 17, both rules that favor the house rather than the player. In addition, in multiple instances, the rules on which pairs you are allowed to split go against basic strategy. For example, 7-7, which you must spit, is correct to split only if the dealer shows a 2-7. On the other hand, 9-9, which you are not allowed to split, should in fact be split when the dealer shows a 2-6 or 8 or 9.
Therefore, even though you can bet as much as $1,000 per hand in this game, I advise against it. If you want to play blackjack for high stakes, stick to a game with standard pair splitting rules. Also look for games with fewer decks and where the dealer stands on soft 17.
Unlimited Blackjack is a fun game for small stakes players and beginners in particular. But otherwise, both in the casino and online, better blackjack games exist.