This week I was in London for a family vacation and as luck would have it we stayed a couple of blocks from the Hippodrome casino near Leicester Square. I have played blackjack in 11 U.S. states and really wanted to add a new country to my list.
Since it was a family vacation I didn’t exactly have casino time built into the schedule. I managed to carve off 30 minutes while the family was shopping for my 2nd day and drop by for a quick session.
The casino was very nice, not huge by Vegas standards, but 5 stories full of cozy table games, bars, and a poker room. The staff was friendly, the crowd was decent but not hectic, and overall it had a nice vibe.
I found a $25 blackjack table on the main floor and took a seat. Immediately 2 other people joined and we played a couple of shoes. I played my standard style and stayed near even for most of the time and when I had to go meet the family I ended the session up $45.
There were a few similarities and differences I noticed from U.S. games. The game was 6 deck shoe, hand-shuffle, 3:2 blackjack, dealer stays on soft 17 so generally a good game. Some interesting things of note were the amount of side action including 3 different side bets for pairs, high-hands, and 21s. You are also able to play behind other players with designated slots on each position. Also, when the cards are dealt each player gets 2 cards, plays out their hand and the dealer only has one card face-up. Once all the players act the dealer gets her 2nd card. Otherwise, most of the play was what I expected. One other minor item of note was a $10 chip which I hadn’t seen anywhere else.
I enjoyed my session and was able to get back for another hour my last night where I won another $70. So my first European gambling effort was a success with a minor win. Hopefully, I can keep these winning ways going for my U.S. trips which continue again this week in Vegas and one day I hope to get to play in more countries.