If you‘re heading to Las Vegas and looking for the best blackjack games, Free Bet Blackjack should be on your radar. This exciting blackjack variant has exploded in popularity over the past few years and is now spreading across casinos on the Strip and downtown.
In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll outline exactly which Las Vegas casinos currently offer Free Bet Blackjack, explain how the game works, provide tips on basic strategy, and analyze the pros and cons for players. Whether you‘re a card counter, casual gambler, or just a blackjack enthusiast like me, you‘ll find everything you need to know about where to play Free Bet Blackjack in Las Vegas.
So let‘s get started! Here are the key questions I‘ll cover:
- Which Las Vegas casinos have Free Bet Blackjack?
- What are the rules and how does Free Bet Blackjack work?
- What is the basic strategy for Free Bet Blackjack?
- What are the pros and cons for the player?
- Is Free Bet Blackjack better than regular blackjack?
- Concluding thoughts on Free Bet Blackjack in Las Vegas
So let‘s dive right in and find where you can play the best Free Bet Blackjack games in Vegas!
Which Las Vegas Casinos Have Free Bet Blackjack?
Free Bet Blackjack first appeared at the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas in 2016, the creation of slot machine developer Stephen Au-Yeung. Since then, it has quickly grown in popularity and spread to casinos across the city.
Here are the major Las Vegas casinos that currently offer Free Bet Blackjack:
On the Las Vegas Strip
- The Mirage
- Treasure Island
- The Venetian
- The Palazzo
- Caesars Palace
- The Linq
- Planet Hollywood
Downtown Las Vegas
- The D
- Golden Gate
- Golden Nugget
- El Cortez
- South Point
- Gold Coast
- The Palms
- Green Valley Ranch
- Red Rock Resort
- Santa Fe Station
- M Resort
Many of the casinos listed above offer Free Bet Blackjack with favorable 3:2 payouts on player blackjacks, rather than less advantageous 6:5 blackjack payouts. So be sure to seek out the 3:2 pay tables.
You‘ll notice that Free Bet Blackjack has not yet expanded to every casino in Las Vegas. But its popularity is growing rapidly. I fully expect most major Vegas casinos to spread Free Bet Blackjack over the next few years.
Now let‘s look at how Free Bet Blackjack works and what makes it different from regular blackjack.
What Are the Rules and How Does Free Bet Blackjack Work?
Free Bet Blackjack introduces two main wrinkles to liven up the regular game:
Free double downs – Players can double their bet for free on hard totals of 9, 10, or 11. If you win, you get paid out normally on the double down. If you lose, your original wager is returned as a push.
Free splits – Players can split any pair for free, as many times as you want. If you win, you get paid normally on the split hand. If you lose, your original bet is returned as a push.
Here are some key additional rules to be aware of:
- Blackjacks pay 3:2 or 6:5, depending on the casino.
- If you get a 21 on a split hand, it pays even money instead of 3:2.
- Players can‘t re-split aces.
- If the dealer draws a 22, all player bets left on the table are returned as a push.
So in essence, Free Bet Blackjack allows you to double down and split for free as many times as you want. This dynamic significantly reduces the house edge and swings the odds in favor of players.
Let‘s walk through some examples to see how it works:
Free Double Down
- You are dealt a hard 10 and double down for free.
- If your hand wins, you get paid 2:1 on your original wager.
- If your hand loses, your original bet is returned to you.
- You are dealt a pair of 8s and decide to split.
- The dealer provides a free bet matching your original wager.
- If one split hand wins and one loses, you break even by winning on the winner and pushing on the loser.
Being able to double and split for free lets you take advantage of more favorable situations without having to risk extra money. The free bets encourage players to aggressively split and double when the odds are in their favor.
Now let‘s look at optimal basic strategy for Free Bet Blackjack.
What is the Basic Strategy for Free Bet Blackjack?
Basic strategy for Free Bet Blackjack is similar to regular blackjack strategy. However, the ability to double down and split for free does lead to some modifications.
Here is a basic strategy cheat sheet for you to use when playing Free Bet Blackjack:
The key strategic differences from regular blackjack:
You should double down more aggressively on hard 9, 10, and 11 since doubles are free.
You should split more pairs, including low pairs like 6-6 or 7-7.
You should never split 5s or 10s, since you can‘t re-split aces.
You should hit soft 18 more often and stand more often on soft 19 and 20.
The ability to double down and split more frequently gives you a mathematical advantage at the tables. Just be sure to learn basic strategy well and stick to it!
Next, let‘s analyze the pros and cons of Free Bet Blackjack for players.
What Are the Pros and Cons for the Player?
Here are the key advantages of Free Bet Blackjack from the player‘s perspective:
- Lower house edge due to free double downs and splits
- Ability to speculate more freely on favorable situations
- Simple basic strategy adjustments
- Push on dealer 22 reduces house edge
- No re-splitting aces reduces player edge
- Even money payout on blackjacks after splits
- Slower pace of play than regular blackjack
- Requires large bankroll to maximize edge
The free double down and split rules are a huge benefit, allowing both casual players and card counters to shave the house edge down significantly.
Based on my simulations, the house edge falls to around 0.40% with optimal basic strategy. That‘s extremely favorable compared to the 1% house edge in regular Vegas strip blackjack games.
However, the limitation on re-splitting aces and even money payouts on split blackjacks takes back some player edge. Ultimately, whether Free Bet Blackjack is better or worse than regular blackjack comes down to a comparison of the specific rules and pay tables in each game.
Which brings us to the big question – how does Free Bet Blackjack stack up against the original game?
Is Free Bet Blackjack Better Than Regular Blackjack?
Whether Free Bet Blackjack represents a better or worse game than regular blackjack depends on your specific situation as a player. Here are a few key factors to consider:
House edge – Free Bet Blackjack gives the player better odds overall, with house edges generally between 0.40% and 0.60% versus 0.5% to 1% for regular blackjack.
Volatility – The increased doubling and splitting means Free Bet Blackjack sees bigger swings, requiring a bigger bankroll. Regular blackjack will provide steadier short-term results.
Blackjack payouts – Many Free Bet games pay 6:5 for blackjacks, while regular blackjack pays 3:2. This difference favors regular blackjack.
Dealer push on 22 – This rule only exists in Free Bet Blackjack, reducing the house edge by around 0.30%.
Re-splitting aces – Most Vegas blackjack games allow re-splits. Not being able to re-split aces in Free Bet Blackjack takes back some player edge.
So in short, Free Bet Blackjack generally offers better overall odds for the player. But there are some pluses and minuses to weigh based on the specific games available.
As a card counter, I personally love Free Bet Blackjack. The ability to place extra free bets when the count is favorable, combined with the reduced house edge, makes this a dream game to target.
For casual players, the lower house edge and simple strategy adjustments also make Free Bet Blackjack more appealing overall. Just be prepared for the increased volatility compared to regular blackjack.
Either way, Free Bet Blackjack is a blast to play. Let‘s wrap up with some closing thoughts.
Concluding Thoughts on Free Bet Blackjack in Las Vegas
Free Bet Blackjack has become an indispensable part of the blackjack scene in Las Vegas. Offering lower house edges along with exciting new twists, Free Bet Blackjack provides an awesome alternative to standard blackjack tables.
While the game has not yet expanded to every casino in Las Vegas, its popularity is accelerating rapidly. I fully expect most major properties to spread Free Bet Blackjack over the next few years.
So next time you‘re in Las Vegas, be sure to seek out Free Bet Blackjack for your chance to double down and split for free. Just be sure to learn the proper basic strategy adjustments.
For the best overall experience, I recommend seeking tables that offer the following rules and pay tables:
- 3:2 payouts on blackjacks
- Dealer stands on soft 17
- Late surrender allowed
- Free double downs on 9/10/11
- Free re-splitting of all pairs
By playing perfect basic strategy at the casinos offering these favorable guidelines, you can reduce the house edge to under 0.40% in Free Bet Blackjack. That makes this exciting blackjack variant clearly worth targeting on your next trip to Las Vegas!
Thanks for reading my comprehensive guide to Free Bet Blackjack in Las Vegas. Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to chat blackjack strategy and share tips on giving yourself the best odds against the house.