JPClav
JPClav
Joined: Jan 9, 2018
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January 9th, 2018 at 6:38:09 AM permalink
Hi Wizard

I live in the San Francisco Bay area and I have a few question about a local Blackjack game. I wanted to know if you could tell me the house edge on a game called Hot Action Blackjack offered at California Grand Casino. The reason I did not use the Blackjack house edge calculator is because it has some extra factors. It is also not listed on the Blackjack Variants page.

The rules of the game are as follows:
6 Decks in a continuous shuffler with an additional 18 jokers with a face value of 2
Dealer hits soft 17
Double on any first 2 cards
Split up to 4 hands
Can't resplit aces, Can't hit split aces
No surrender
Blackjack pays 6 to 5
The player must also pay a commission of $0.50 per had at the $10 bet level (commission increases as the bet size increases)

As a long time Blackjack player I realized immediately that this is a terrable game for players. However because this is a card room, every 2 hands the players have a chance to bank the game, meaning you can play the dealers hand, collect the losses from the other players/pay the winners. The table limits are $5-$2000. My second question is how much of a bankroll would you need to consistently bank this game like the third party proposition player services player does to make the EV? Also there is a Buster Bet the players can make. If I have left anything out let me know. Thanks
beachbumbabs
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beachbumbabs
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January 9th, 2018 at 10:59:02 AM permalink
Wow. Not the Wizard, not a card counter, but geez. Skewed -TC with 3 extra 2's per deck, 6:5 and other crap rules, AND 5% commission on ALL hands, not just a win? Damn.

They have a nerve calling that blackjack.

The 2's would skew the buster bet, too. So many more ways for the dealer to not bust. Criminal.
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
FleaStiff
FleaStiff
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January 9th, 2018 at 11:27:53 AM permalink
Quote: beachbumbabs

Wow. Criminal.

Agreed, though I'm not able to figure out the exact degree of criminality. Owning the card room or occasional banking of the game would be profitable but hardly an honorable income. I'd steer clear. And sleep better at nights.
tyler498
tyler498
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January 9th, 2018 at 11:34:31 AM permalink
There's no question on how bad the game is from the player's side. But that makes banking it even better! Can you play minimum with bigger bettors at the table and then bank their plays? Could be some +EV. And I wouldn't feel bad as anybody who is playing this game and betting big obviously hates having money...
Wizard
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Wizard
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January 9th, 2018 at 5:41:28 PM permalink
Before considering the 5% fee to play, I get a house edge of 2.99%. Here is the basic strategy:



After the 5% commission, the house edge is 7.61%, counting the commission as part of the total bet.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
JPClav
JPClav
Joined: Jan 9, 2018
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January 11th, 2018 at 6:45:57 AM permalink
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I did learn a few other things about the game. If your first 2 cards are Jokers you get paid 4 to 1 and if your first 2 cards are suited aces then you get paid 5 to 1. As this dosen't happen very often I'm sure it dosen't change the edge that much.

Why is this game so bad? I believe it is by design so the players can bank when given the chance and can have a firm advantage over the rest of the table. Sadly people rarely do. When I have seen others bank they go all in with a bout $100 or so with a full table and can get wiped out in one hand if the dealer looses then they just go back to playing and don't take the opportunity again.
Romes
Romes
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January 11th, 2018 at 9:38:50 AM permalink
Quote: JPClav

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I did learn a few other things about the game. If your first 2 cards are Jokers you get paid 4 to 1 and if your first 2 cards are suited aces then you get paid 5 to 1. As this dosen't happen very often I'm sure it dosen't change the edge that much.

Well, there's 6 decks (312 cards) then add 18 joker cards for a total of 330 cards. The odds of getting Joker-Joker on a fresh shoe will be: (18/330)*(17/329) = .054545 * .051672 = .002818, or about 1 in 350 hands. Given it's a CSM let's be generous and say you play 100 hands per hour... this will take 3.5 hours to get the bonus 4-1 pay (let's assume the $10 bet you mentioned above). Thus, in about 3.5 hours you'll earn $40 from this rule, making it worth about $11.43/hour.

Next, let's look at the suited aces... on a fresh shoe (with the jokers) the odds of getting suited aces are (any ace * ace of that suit) : (24/330)*(5/329) = .0727 * .0152 = .0011, or about 1 in 900 hands. Again, assuming you're playing 100 hands per hour, this would take 9 hours to get the $50 bonus (assuming $10 base bet). So then this would be worth $5.56/hour.

At $10/hand, 100 hands per hour, and the 7.61% HE (including the commission) the Wizard came up with as the HE... EV(100 hands) = (100*10)*(-.0761) = -$76.10/hour... but with your bonuses, worth a total of $17/hour, that brings this game down to -$59.10/hour.

With some reverse engineering (100*10)*(x) = 59.10... solve for x... I'm showing a house edge (with your bonuses above) of 5.91%.

Quote: JPClav

Why is this game so bad? I believe it is by design so the players can bank when given the chance and can have a firm advantage over the rest of the table. Sadly people rarely do. When I have seen others bank they go all in with a bout $100 or so with a full table and can get wiped out in one hand if the dealer looses then they just go back to playing and don't take the opportunity again.

This game is AWFUL for the players because it's a "blackjack" game, which typically carries UNDER 1% HE, and yet the HE on this game is nearly 6%, including the bonuses. It's LITERALLY 100x worse than what most would consider a "crappy" game of regular blackjack. That is an abomination of a game and should not even be called blackjack. ADDING IN extra "2's" to the game is LITERALLY stacking the deck in the dealers favor. Ever ask yourself why the jokers aren't added "aces" to the game??? Because that would help the player. Look up blackjack Effect of Removal values ( https://wizardofodds.com/games/blackjack/appendix/7/ )...

As far as banking... I assume the house collects the commission and not the banker? Assuming that's the case this game wouldn't be as good as you think to bank either. That would mean the house edge of the game as relative to the players and YOU, the banker, would be about 3%, since you're not getting the commission. Thus, their negative EV would be EV(100 hands @ 3%) = (100*10)*(-.03) = -$30/hour, but with the $17 in bonuses be about -$13 hour for a $10 bettor. So they're really only playing with a -1.3% HE against just you, assuming you're not collecting the commission. Also, in order to bank a game where the players could bet $5-$2,000, you'd need to have a massive bankroll to a) cover all live bets you could receive, and b) cover the swings of natural variance in the game.

The best thing you could do at this game is protest it with a sign and a clever chant.
Playing it correctly means you've already won.
Boz
Boz
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January 11th, 2018 at 9:50:01 AM permalink
And the table is probably packed most of time.
Wizard
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Wizard
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January 11th, 2018 at 11:21:57 AM permalink
Quote: JPClav

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I did learn a few other things about the game. If your first 2 cards are Jokers you get paid 4 to 1 and if your first 2 cards are suited aces then you get paid 5 to 1. As this dosen't happen very often I'm sure it dosen't change the edge that much.



Assuming those are bonuses, as opposed to blackjack-like immediate wins, I show the value of the bonuses is 1.68% of the original wager. That puts the overall house edge at 6.01%.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Romes
Romes
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January 11th, 2018 at 12:26:00 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Assuming those are bonuses, as opposed to blackjack-like immediate wins, I show the value of the bonuses is 1.68% of the original wager. That puts the overall house edge at 6.01%.

Suppose my rounding of the hand is why I got 5.91% above =P. Close enough?
Playing it correctly means you've already won.

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