Vista Gaming Blackjack
Having launched in 1996, Vista Gaming is one of the oldest online gaming providers in the industry. They also own a piece of gaming history, having opened CyberBingo - the world's first real money bingo site.
As a testament to Vista Gaming, CyberBingo is still running strong. And Vista also powers three other sites in Vegas Crest Casino, BingoFest, and BingoSKY.
Obviously this company is skilled at creating bingo products. But what we want to know is how good their blackjack games are.
That being said, let's discuss what you can expect from Vista Gaming blackjack in terms of their games, graphics, table layout, music, sound effects, betting, game play, rules, and strategy. We'll also cover Vista Gaming closer and offer a recommendation on whether or not you should play their blackjack games.
General Aspects of Vista Gaming Blackjack
Vista Gaming only features two blackjack games, including a multi-hand variation and Blackjack Bare All.
The bad news is that this is one of the most-limited varieties we've seen in the industry. The good news is that Vista's blackjack variations are very different from each other.
The multi-hand game lets you play up to 5 hands per turn, and it features basics rules.
Blackjack Bare All is just a different name for double exposure, where you can see the dealer's first two cards, rather than an up card and a face-down hole card.
The differences don't make up for the limited amount of variety. But at least Vista Gaming doesn't have a classic and multi-hand version, then try to pass them off as two separate games.
Vista Gaming blackjack tables feature an 8-card Charlie rule, where you automatically win if you're dealt eight cards without busting.
8-card Charlie is an ultra-rare rule, and the chances of you being dealt eight cards without busting are slim to none.
Given that 7-card Charlie only reduces the house edge by 0.1%, the 8-card rule's impact is almost nonexistent. Still, it's interesting that Vista Gaming included this rule in their games.
These blackjack games don't have the most-authentic graphics that we've seen, but they do offer bold and bright colors.
This makes Vista Gaming blackjack feel like a video game, rather than a realistic experience. But the rich colors still make the tables look good.
The felt offers a clean look, with clearly legible rules and strong colors.
The wooden rim around the table is the most-realistic aspect, offering nice detail in the woodgrain. It also features club, diamond, heart, and spade decorations going around the outside.
The only bad-looking parts of the tables include the chips in the back, and cards in the shuffling machine. The chips look like multi-colored blobs, making them one of the ugliest background decorations that we've seen.
The lower part of the table features five spaces where you can place bets and play hands. The chip denominations that you use to put in these circles are located at the bottom of the screen.
The middle of the table displays rules on natural blackjack payouts, insurance, and the dealer standing on a soft 17.
One other notable aspect is the placard at the top, which shows that minimum bets are $1 and max wagers are $10.00.
At the very bottom of the screen, outside the table area, you'll see displays for your balance, winnings, and current bet size. Also note that the wager size is listed above the betting circles too.
Overall, Vista Gaming does a good job of offering a user-friendly table that requires little learning time.
Vista Gaming blackjack features both music and a female voice that announces wins and losses.
As for the music, this is a classical jazz tune that makes you feel like you're in an elegant casino. If not for the video game-like table, both blackjack games would offer an authentic casino experience.
The classic blackjack table allows you to use $1 and $5 chip denominations. The double exposure table offers $1, $5, $25, $100, and $500 chips.
Given that the minimum bet on both tables is $10, we have no idea why there are $25, $100, and $500 chips available on the Bare All table.
After selecting a chip, you click one of the 5 betting circles to place your wager. You can make the max wager in all 5 circles.
One thing that we're disappointed with regarding the options is the lack of a rules page. We had to figure out the rules by playing and doing research.
Vista Gaming does offer some nice gameplay options, which you can access by clicking the Settings button in the lower left-hand corner. Here's a look at the different settings:
- Sound Settings
Adjust volume on the music, sound effects, and voice.
- Game Settings
Change the game speed, and zoom in on the table.
- Table Color
Adjust the felt colors to blue, green, or red.
This shows you the hotkeys/shortcuts that you use to do the following: start the game, stand, repeat bet, split, double down, and collect cards.
While the absence of rules still disappoints us, we do like how you can control multiple options with both the sounds and table colors.
Regarding the latter, most blackjack providers don't offer more than one felt color - let alone give you the option to change them.
Vista Gaming is really guarded about letting you play their games for free.
We initially visited their website and found low and high limit versions of both blackjack games. Upon clicking each one, a pop-up window would appear.
We kept waiting for the games to appear, but all we saw was a blank, black screen. After ensuring that we had the latest version of Flash, we confirmed that the games indeed don't work.
At first, we just thought that Vista Gaming doesn't do a good job ensuring that their samples work. But we began to suspect that they don't want people playing their games for free after signing up at BingoSKY.
You must create an account to play at BingoSKY before you're eligible to play any games.
This isn't uncommon, but we were shocked at the limited free play we received. After playing the game for a little while and exhausting our chips, the Vista Gaming software didn't reload them.
We even exited the game, logged out, and returned to see if our chips were available again. Much to our surprise, there still weren't any chips.
For this reason, we were only able to figure out some of the rules on our own. The rest required researching what other sites discussed regarding the rules.
In an age when online casinos let you play as much free blackjack as you want, it's bizarre that the Vista Gaming software is so restrictive. Most players will just move on to the next casino if they're not ready to make a deposit, rather than deposit because they're out of free chips.
RTP is another murky area for Vista Gaming blackjack.
Michael Shackleford (a.k.a. Wizard of Odds) estimates that, based on rules, the standard blackjack game's RTP is 99.22%. This is incredibly low for online blackjack since most providers don't offer anything below 99.3%.
We searched for Blackjack Bare All's RTP, but couldn't find anything. Considering the 0.78% house edge on the regular version, we don't have much confidence in Bare All either.
Information on Vista Gaming's website is rather limited. But under the Services section, we see that they offer fraud prevention and risk controls through their B2B operation.
Vista Gaming Blackjack Games
As discussed earlier, Vista Gaming only offers two games in Blackjack Bare All and a standard version.
We use the word standard lightly because Vista Gaming's multi-hand blackjack features some odd rules. The same is true of Blackjack Bare All, which offers strange rules along with a double exposure format.
Below you can see the rules, RTP, strategy, and how to play for each version.
We can't begin to describe how weird the rules are for this game.
First off, the table states that the dealer stays on a soft 17, although they actually hit. This is not only misleading, but also a huge mistake by Vista Gaming because their tables say the wrong rule.
Next, the dealer usually peeks for blackjack on ace and 10 - not just one or the other.
It's also odd that you can surrender early against everything but an ace. In fact, we've never seen the late/early surrender rules used in combination before at online casinos.
One last strange rule is that you can double down on 8 to 11. When casinos use a double down restriction, they normally only let you double down on 9 to 11.
All this brings us back to an earlier complaint about how Vista Gaming doesn't list rules for their games. If they're going to create such an odd set of rules, they should at least give you the option to see them.
Below you can see the rules for this standard blackjack variation:
- 3:2 natural blackjack (21 on first two cards) payouts.
- Dealer hits a soft 17.
- 8 decks.
- Dealer peeks for blackjack with ace up card, but not a 10.
- Double down on 8 to 11.
- No doubling after a split.
- You can only split once.
- Late surrender against ace, and early surrender against 2 to 10.
- 8-card Charlie
The RTP is only 99.22%, which is really low for an internet blackjack game. If you value your long-term chances of winning, then you'll want to avoid Vista Gaming blackjack.
Several of the rules are disadvantageous to players, including the dealer hitting on a soft 17, double down restrictions, no doubling down after splitting, only being able to split once, and 8 decks.
The split options for early surrender (2-10) and late surrender (ace) go in your favor. But this isn't enough to offer you a solid chance of winning.
Each round begins with you selecting a chip denomination from the bottom of the screen, then placing it in one of the available betting circles. If you'd like to take your wager(s) back, click Clear to start over.
In the multi-hand variation, you can play between 1 and 5 hands per round.
When you're finished making bets, click Deal to receive your first two cards and see the dealer's up card. If the dealer has an ace, they'll check for blackjack before the round continues.
You'll have the following options for your hand: hit, stand, split (pairs), and double down (totals 8 to 11).
After the hand is finished, you can make a new bet(s) or Rebet, which sees you use the exact same bets and number of hands.
Given the unusual rules covered before, strategy for Vista Gaming's standard blackjack game differs from other online versions. We consulted Shackleford's page again to see his recommended strategy card.
Here's a look at the strategy that'll help you achieve the optimal 99.22% payback:
- Your total is 5 to 8: always hit.
- Your total is 9: double down when dealer's up card is 3 to 6. Hit when their card is 2 and 7 to A.
- Your total is 10: double down when dealer's up card is 2 to 9. Hit when their card is 10 to A.
- Your total is 11: always double down.
- Your total is 12: hit when dealer's up card is 2 to 3 and 7 to A. Stand when dealer's card is 4 to 6.
- Your total is 13 to 14: hit when their card is 7 to A. Stand when their card is 2 to 6.
- Your total is 15: hit when dealer's up card is 7 to 9 and ace. Stand when their card is 2 to 6. Early surrender when their card is 10.
- Your total is 16: hit when dealer's up card is 7 to 8. Stand when their card is 2 to 6. Early surrender when their card is 9 to A.
- Your total is 17: stand when their card is 2 to 10. Late surrender when their card is ace.
- Your total is 18 to 21: always stand.
- Your cards are A2 to A6: always hit.
- Your cards are A7: stand when dealer's up card is 2 to 8 and A. Hit when their card is 9 to 10.
- Your cards are A8+: always stand.
- You have a pair of 2's or 3's: split when dealer's up card is 4 to 7. Hit when their card is 2 to 3 and 8 to A.
- You have a pair of 4's: split when dealer's up card is 5 to 6. Hit when their card is 2 to 4 and 7 to A.
- You have a pair of 5's: double down when dealer's up card is 2 to 9. Hit when their card is 10 to A.
- You have a pair of 6's: split when the dealer's up card is 3 to 6. Hit when their card is 2 and 7 to A.
- You have a pair of 7's: split when the dealer's up card is 2 to 7. Hit when their card is 8 to 9 and A. Surrender when their card is 10.
- You have a pair of 8's: split when dealer's up card is 2 to 9. Surrender when their card is 10 to A.
- You have a pair of 9's: split when the dealer's up card is 2 to 6 and 8 to 9. Stand when their card is 7 and 10 to A.
- You have a pair of 10's: always stand.
- You have a pair of aces: always split.
Vista Gaming's Bare All is just a term for double exposure blackjack.
Double exposure is unique in that you get to see the dealer's first two cards, rather than just one. This creates for interesting strategy and decisions, given that you have more information.
Again, we stress how disappointing it is that Vista Gaming doesn't list the rules for their blackjack games. Going further, we haven't seen a full list of rules for their games on other sites.
This forced us to play and figure out what we could, until the free play ran out and wasn't replenished. Here's what we found, combined with other standard rules for a double exposure game:
- Natural blackjack pays 1:1 on your bet.
- The dealer hits on a soft 17. 8 decks.
- Dealer peeks for blackjack with ace, but not 10.
- Double down on 8 to 11.
- No doubling down after split.
- You can only split hands once.
- No surrender.
- 8-card Charlie.
RTP isn't listed for Blackjack Bare All, nor is it found online anywhere. Given that we can't even confirm all the rules for Vista Gaming's specific double exposure variation, it's hard to get a definite RTP.
We've seen double exposure payback as high as 99.69%. But when considering that the standard blackjack variation only offers 99.22% RTP, we doubt that Vista Gaming's Bare All pays any better.
The biggest problem with Vista Gaming blackjack variations is that they include the weird rules that we discussed before - most of which favor the house.
Even without knowing the RTP for Blackjack Bare All, we're certain that you'll find higher-paying games through other providers.
Blackjack Bare All plays the same as Vista Gaming's standard blackjack.
The big difference is that you can see the dealer's first two cards after clicking Deal. This doesn't make the rules any different, but it will impact the strategy you use.
Another difference is that you have more chip denominations to choose from. In addition to the $1 and $5 denominations, you can also use $25, $100, and $500.
The standard and Bare All versions that we played have a maximum $10 bet, so it makes no sense why any chips above $10 are included.
We can't find specific strategy anywhere for Vista Gaming's Blackjack Bare All. And it would take numerous calculations to figure out what moves you should make based on Vista Gaming's unusual rules.
If you play this game, we recommend using standard double exposure strategy. This won't get you to optimal RTP for Vista Gaming's version, but it'll get you close:
- Your total is 5 to 8: always hit.
- Your total is 9: double down when dealer's score is 4 to 6 and 12 to 6. Hit when their score is 7 to 11; 17+; and AA to A6.
- Your total is 10: double down when dealer's score is 4 to 9; 12 to 16; and A2 to A5. Hit when their score is 10 to 11; 17+; AA; and A6.
- Your total is 11: double down when dealer's score is 4 to 9; 12 to 16; and AA to A5. Hit when their score is 10 to 11; 17+; and A6.
- Your total is 12: stand when dealer's score is 4 to 6 and 12 to 16. Hit when their score is 7 to 11; 17+; and AA to A6.
- Your total is 13: stand when dealer's score is 4 to 6; 12 to 16; and A5. Hit when their score is 7 to 11; 17+; AA to A4; and A6.
- Your total is 14: stand when dealer's score is 4 to 6; 12 to 16; and A3 to A5. Hit when their score is 7 to 11; 17+; AA to A2; and A6.
- Your total is 15: stand when dealer's score is 4 to 6; 12 to 16; and A2 to A5. Hit when their score is 7 to 11; 17+; AA; and A6.
- Your total is 16: stand when dealer's score is 4 to 6; 11 to 16; and AA to A5. Hit when their score is 7 to 10; 17+; and A6.
- Your total is 17: stand when dealer's score is 4 to 17 and AA to A6. Hit when their score is 18+.
- Your total is 18: stand when dealer's score is 4 to 18 and AA to A6. Hit when their score is 19+.
- Your total is 19: stand when dealer's score is 4 to 19 and AA to A6. Hit when their score is 20.
- Your total is 20: always stand (natural 21 is automatic stand).
- Your cards are A2 to A6: always hit.
- Your cards are A7: stand when dealer's score is 4 to 8; 11 to 17; and AA to A6.
- Your cards are A8: stand when dealer's score is 4 to 19 and AA to A6.
- Your cards are A9 to A10: always stand.
- You have a pair of 2's: split when dealer's score is 4 to 7; 12 to 18; and A5 to A6. Hit when their score is 8 to 11; 19+; and A5 to A6.
- You have a pair of 3's: split when dealer's score is 4 to 7; 12 to 18; and A6. Hit when their score is 8 to 11; 19+; and A6.
- You have a pair of 4's: hit when dealer's score is 4; 7 to 11; 17+; and AA to A6. Stand when their score is 5 to 6 and 12 to 16.
- You have a pair of 5's: double down when dealer's score is 2 to 9; 12 to 16; and A2 to A6. Hit when their score is 10 to 11; 17+; AA; and A6.
- You have a pair of 6's: split when dealer's score is 4 to 6; 12 to 17; and A5 to A6. Hit when their score is 7 to 11; 18+; and AA to A4.
- You have a pair of 7's: split when dealer's score is 4 to 7; 12 to 17; and A3 to A6. Hit when their score is 11; 19+; and AA to A2.
- You have a pair of 8's: split when dealer's score is 4 to 7; 12 to 18; and AA to A6. Hit when their score is 10 and 19+. Stand when their score is 11.
- You have a pair of 9's: split when dealer's score is 4 to 6; 7 to 8; 12 to 16; 18 to 19; and A4 to A5. Stand when their score is 7; 10 to 11; 17; AA to A3; and A6. Hit when their score is 20.
- You have a pair of 10's stand when dealer's score is 4 to 12; 17+; and AA to A6.
- You have a pair of aces: split when dealer's score is 4 to 16 and AA to A5. Hit when their score is 17+ and A6.
Where is Vista Gaming Blackjack Found?
Vista Gaming software is found at four gaming sites: BingoFest Casino, BingoSKY Casino, CyberBingo Casino, and Vegas Crest Casino.
BingoFest, BingoSKY, and CyberBingo are all owned by the Vista Gaming Network.
Vegas Crest Casino appears to be owned by another company since it has several seals of approvals along with other software providers. The owner isn't listed, but we've seen PalauGames mentioned on several sites.
Given that VistaGaming's sites and Vegas Crest are different, let's discuss details on both along with how you find Vista Gaming blackjack.
As the names suggests, these three sites are all focused on bingo. And given that they're owned by Vista Gaming, they feature the same navigation style, promotions, and games.
But one notable difference at the time of this review is how BingoFest offers a $25 no-deposit bonus for creating an account.
Another difference is that CyberBingo is a historic casino, having launched in 1996. It's also the largest of the three sites, currently holding a #283,654 global rank on SimilarWeb, versus #1,682,525 for BingoFest and #1,834,698 for BingoSKY.
Regarding games, all of these casinos feature an adequate mix of Vista slots, table games, video poker, and arcade games. The casino selection is nothing impressive, but this is typical from bingo-focused sites.
Considering that the navigation is the same between all three casinos, it's not hard to find the blackjack.
Click the Games drop-down menu, then choose Table Games. From here you can click either Blackjack or Blackjack Bare All to start playing Vista's products.
Vegas Crest features a sleeker site that offers a large number of slots from Betsoft, Rival, Saucify, and Vista Gaming. The variety of providers means that you'll have more options with regard to gameplay and graphical styles.
But Vista Gaming does more than just offer games at Vegas Crest because they're listed more prominently than the other three providers. Furthermore, they're a B2B operation that offers customer service, back-end office software, statistical reporting, and player risk controls.
What's impressive about Vegas Crest is that they have more certification and approval than the three bingo sites we covered. Some of the sites that have given them an approval seal include: 7NoDepositBonus, LCB, USO, OnlineCasinoReports, RTGBonus, and WizardofOdds.
Their games are also tested by both Gaming Labs and Technical Testing Systems (TST). We don't see any certification from Vista Gaming, so the testing must be for the Betsoft, Rival, and/or Saucify games.
As for finding blackjack here, Vegas Crest doesn't offer Vista Gaming's variations. Instead, they offer Saucify's Atlantic City and Vegas Strip blackjack.
You will find some other Vista table games here, including American roulette, European roulette, and Texas Hold'em.
Vista Gaming Reputability
Vista Gaming is one of the oldest software providers in the online casino industry. Microgaming, which launched in 1994, is the only company that's been around longer.
You don't have this kind of longevity in online gaming without offering quality products and services. For this reason, we believe that Vista Gaming is a solid operation.
But we also wouldn't say that Vista is the best operation when it comes to licensing and testing. Here's a look at the finer aspects of their reputability.
While there's no mention of licensing on VistaGaming.com, their bingo sites are all licensed by Curacao.
Opened the same year as Vista in 1996, the Curacao eGaming Authority licenses a lot of US-facing operations.
Curacao isn't regarded as an elite gaming jurisdiction, and they have very little power when it comes to settling disputes. They also have light licensing requirements compared to more-respected entities like the UK Gambling Commission and Malta Gaming Authority.
This isn't to say that Curacao is the absolute worst, given that Costa Rica and Panama are on the lowest rung. But their licensing doesn't inspire a wealth of trust either.
Nevertheless, you'll still find respected casinos that carry the Curacao shield. Until proven otherwise, all the sites that feature Vista Gaming software have solid reputations.
We haven't seen many complaints regarding the three Vista-owned brands. The only thing that we saw were a couple of negative comments about CyberBingo.
These included a complaint about low daily deposit limits, and customer support not getting back to a player multiple times.
The latter came through AskGamblers, and CyberBingo responded by politely claiming that they responded to every email sent by the player.
We saw more complaints about Vegas Crest, which has a different owner. The complaints were of the common variety, including long waits on cashouts, low withdrawal limits, and excessive ID requirements.
We see nothing on Vista Gaming's site explaining that they've passed laboratory testing.
Many reputable providers have companies like eCOGRA, Gaming Labs, iTech Labs, or TST test their software to ensure randomness and fair gaming.
But this isn't the case with Vista Gaming because we can't find anything about them being tested.
This is disheartening and conjures fears that Vista could be offering faulty and biased games. But again, we feel more assured when looking at their long track record in the business.
Other Vista Gaming Games & Services
We assume that Vegas Crest operates their casino separately, but has a B2B contract with Vista Gaming. Here's a look at what Vista Gaming offers their B2B clients:
- Custom back-end software so that casinos can manage all games and operations in real time.
- Financial and statistical reporting.
- Integration with CRM functionality.
- 24-hour live chat customer service.
Vista offers close to a dozen bingo games that are connected to progressive jackpots of varying sizes. At the time of this writing, jackpot amounts include: $13,709; $11,431; $5,117; and $240.
A few of the bingo games are Diamond Bingo, Nickel Bingo, Pack & Line Bingo, Spring Bingo, and Tourney Bingo.
Vista Gaming isn't like most providers because they don't stake their reputation on slots games. But they still offer a few games that you won't find at casinos beyond Vegas Crest and the three bingo sites.
Some of these games include: Amazon Quest, Cupid's Arrow, Fortune 88, Havana Nights, Honey Money, Lost Vikings, Neon Cowboy, Panda Wilds, Puppy Party, and Wicked Reels.
Aside from the blackjack variations we discussed, you'll find a handful of other table games from Vista. These include: American roulette, baccarat, casino war, European roulette, and Texas hold'em.
In addition to their bingo, another thing that sets Vista Gaming apart from other software companies is their arcade games.
These basically amount to abstract slot formats with tumbling reels, vibrant colors, and plenty of sound effects. While they play like slots, the chain reactors still feel different from your average slot.
Good things about Vista Gaming blackjack include the music, solid graphics, and longevity of the company.
The classical jazz tune is one of the best we've heard in online blackjack. We only wish that the graphics were more traditional to create a truly authentic experience.
We also like how long Vista Gaming has been in business without suffering any major scandals. This gives us confidence in their real money blackjack, even if it doesn't have lab certification.
Unfortunately, there's a laundry list of downsides to this blackjack provider, including limited variety, odd rules, low RTP, and limited free play.
Vista Gaming only offers two games in standard and Bare All blackjack - both of which have unusual rules. The latter wouldn't be a big downside if Vista provided rules sections.
The fact that you can only play the games free for a limited time is archaic. While some providers previously did this to encourage deposits, nearly every gaming company lets you play endless free blackjack these days.
The death knell to Vista Gaming's blackjack operation is the 99.22% RTP for the standard game. We couldn't find RTP for Bare All, but it can't be much better since 99.22% is as bad as we've seen online.
The low RTP alone makes Vista Gaming blackjack unplayable. And it only gets worse when you add in the other drawbacks we covered.