I’m finally getting to a reader’s request about a triple-down blackjack game at the Texas Station casino in North Las Vegas. Here are the relevant rules:
- triple-down on first two cards totals of 9, 10, 11 (including soft totals)
- blackjack pays even money (1:1)
- blackjack is an automatic winner, if you stay
- normal double-down rules
- no triple after split
The overall house edge for this game is 0.83%. The triple-down rule gives the player a +1.62% boost, but it’s not enough to overcome the even money blackjacks. The basic strategy is the same as double-deck, except that doubles on hard 9, 10, 11 are replaced by triples. Also, 9 vs a 7 upcard, and A-9 vs 4/5/6 are triples.
Interestingly, tripling a blackjack against a dealer 6 upcard isn’t too bad of an option. The EV is .998, instead of the 1.0 automatic winner for staying. It’s worth a gamble, if you feel like it. Tripling a blackjack against a dealer 5 upcard isn’t as good, as the EV here is only .946. That’s giving up 5.4% of your original bet, on average.
Someone should petition Texas Station to allow triple-down on any two cards. This still leaves the house edge at 0.59%, which is about equal to a liberal shoe game.