gospeedgo11
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nvr55xx
June 10th, 2022 at 10:39:07 PM permalink
Hello All,

I just got off a cruise from Carnival. They offered a blackjack game that is called "Fun 21" which is a spinoff of Spanish 21 with some rule variations. I used the Spanish 21 basic strategy but the rules are different than traditional Spanish 21. There is only one other thread I found that briefly discusses this game, and if somebody can create a house edge and strategy chart that would be wonderful. Below are all of the rules, I hope I did not miss any.

Rules:

8 decks with all King cards removed.
Dealer hits soft 17.
21 always wins, BJ pays 3 to 2 and instantly even if dealer has blackjack.
Double on any number of cards and after splits, no redoubling.
Double down rescue (surrender after doubling).
Split up to 4 times for a total of 5 hands including Aces. Aces also can be hit and doubled.
6-7-8, 7-7-7, and 5-card or more hand of 21 pay 3 to 2. No additional bonuses for these suited 21s.
Early surrender if dealer is showing Ace or 10 card, late surrender on first two cards for all other hands.

Extras:

Side bets include Lucky Ladies with pay table 1000-125-19-9-4 and Bust Bonus, both explained on the Wizard of Odds site.
Shoe penetration is about 75%
gordonm888
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June 11th, 2022 at 8:45:55 AM permalink
Interesting. the changes from standard Spanish 21 that I noted (so far) are:

Early Surrender (vs Late Surrender in Sp21)
-worth a little less than in BJ because the Kings are missing
No suited 21 bonuses
No '6-card 21' or '7-card 21' bonuses

The split up to 4 times for up to 5 hands (including on Aces) is a nice variant given 8 decks and one missing rank (Kings).

I'm guessing it has a lower house advantage than standard Sp21.
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DogHand
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June 11th, 2022 at 9:06:11 AM permalink
I first saw a version of this game over 10 years ago on a Carnival cruise. At the time, I estimated that Fun21’s house edge is quite low.

From Katarina’s book, an 8D H17 No Redouble Sp21 game has a house edge of 0.79%. Losing the 2:1, 3:1, and Super Bonus payouts costs the player a bit, but not very much, as they are quite rare: not counting the Super Bonus and using the 6-deck frequencies given by Katarina shows that paying ALL bonuses as 3:2 costs 0.086%. Thus, so far we have a house edge of about 0.9%.

The most attractive feature of the game is the ES. Katarina mentions that if ES is offered, “milk it for all it’s worth." If this were BJ, according to Don Schlesinger’s book full ES would be worth +0.717% to the BS player (and of course much more to the counter). ES is less valuable in Sp21, though, for two reasons: (1) the dearth of X’s makes the dealer’s A less threatening (conversely, it makes the X upcard MORE likely to conceal an A), and (2) the autowin on a player 21 makes playing out the hands more attractive. Thus, ES is probably worth roughly +0.7% at UF21.

Combining these gives a house edge of approximately 0.2%, which rivals the HE for a good DD BJ game.

Hope this helps!

Dog Hand
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March 20th, 2023 at 7:33:40 AM permalink
Here is another thread on the same topic.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NIV)
Wizard
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March 22nd, 2023 at 9:06:37 AM permalink
Here is my new page on Fun 21. I welcome all comments.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NIV)
nvr55xx
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March 23rd, 2023 at 7:18:51 AM permalink
Just curious: does the dealer deal a hole card? What if you double down and the dealer has BJ?
DogHand
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March 23rd, 2023 at 7:19:51 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Here is my new page on Fun 21. I welcome all comments.
link to original post


Wiz,

Nice job on your new page! I'm sure many players will find the information useful. One addition you might make is to give the double-down rescue strategy.

Would you re-run your analysis but without any surrender, early or late, and let us know the house edge? I would like to know how much ES is worth in this game. As you can see by my post above, I estimated +0.7%, but apparently I was way off.

Thanks!

Dog Hand
Wizard
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March 23rd, 2023 at 9:11:56 AM permalink
Quote: DogHand

Nice job on your new page! I'm sure many players will find the information useful. One addition you might make is to give the double-down rescue strategy.

Would you re-run your analysis but without any surrender, early or late, and let us know the house edge? I would like to know how much ES is worth in this game. As you can see by my post above, I estimated +0.7%, but apparently I was way off.

Thanks!

Dog Hand
link to original post



Thanks you!

I just added the double down rescue strategy to my page.

To answer your question, I show early surrender in this game is worth 0.3047%. It's easy to see that surrender is not as valuable with Spanish decks, however the degree it drops is more than I would have guessed.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NIV)
OregonGambler
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April 16th, 2023 at 4:38:04 PM permalink
Great info. Some thoughts/questions:

1. Shouldn’t the strategy for a player’s 11 against the dealer’s 10 or Ace be Dh4 rather than Sh4 as is shown in the chart? If Sh4 is correct, can you please explain how that can be?

2. A small error where you provide the full explanation for each of your abbreviations: The box that should only contain an “H” instead erroneously contains the word “Hit.”

3. I am currently on an MSC cruise where they offer the game (under a slightly different name) but, unfortunately, Blackjack only pays 6:5. What is the house edge with this change?

Thanks!
Wizard
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April 16th, 2023 at 7:07:19 PM permalink
Quote: OregonGambler

Great info. Some thoughts/questions:

1. Shouldn’t the strategy for a player’s 11 against the dealer’s 10 or Ace be Dh4 rather than Sh4 as is shown in the chart? If Sh4 is correct, can you please explain how that can be?

2. A small error where you provide the full explanation for each of your abbreviations: The box that should only contain an “H” instead erroneously contains the word “Hit.”

3. I am currently on an MSC cruise where they offer the game (under a slightly different name) but, unfortunately, Blackjack only pays 6:5. What is the house edge with this change?

Thanks!
link to original post



Thank you. I got your Email about this too.

1. Yes, you're right. Typo. I just fixed it.
2. See #1
3. That increases the house edge to 1.83%

What did they call the game on your ship?
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NIV)
OregonGambler
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April 16th, 2023 at 7:32:36 PM permalink
Thanks — and, yup, I figured the dreaded 6:5 blackjack payout would drastically increase the house edge and make it not worth playing. Anecdotally, one of the dealers told me it was 3:2 “a few years ago.” On this ship, they call the game “Dream 21.” (Btw, I first emailed you because I wasn’t sure how to make comments here, but then figured out I needed to join the forum to do so! Sorry about the double messaging.)
Last edited by: OregonGambler on Apr 17, 2023
OregonGambler
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April 16th, 2023 at 7:32:37 PM permalink
*****
gospeedgo11
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April 21st, 2023 at 1:40:07 PM permalink
Quote: nvr55xx

Just curious: does the dealer deal a hole card? What if you double down and the dealer has BJ?
link to original post



Yes, the dealer deals a hole card and offers early surrender if there is an Ace or 10-card showing then reveals a blackjack if there is any, so you can only lose your original bet on a dealer blackjack.
paul5795
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April 29th, 2023 at 3:37:33 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Here is my new page on Fun 21. I welcome all comments.
link to original post



Thank you for publishing a basic strategy specific to this Ultimate Fun21 Blackjack game! This Fun21 game is found on the major Carnival Corporation cruise lines (i.e., Carnival, Holland America, and Princess). I cruise a lot, and am an avid player of Fun21.

I have some questions and comments.

One Fun21 rule not specifically enumerated in your analysis is that the 3:2 bonus on hands totaling 21 is NOT payable on split hands. Is this rule used in your analysis?

My current early surrender strategy is a bit more aggressive than what you have published. Against a dealer Ace I will also surrender my hands totaling 6 or 7. Is this incorrect?

Some Princess ships use a six deck Fun21 shoe and not an eight deck shoe. Which way does this push the house advantage? Will it make any significant changes to the basic strategy?

Finally, I notice that some correct plays depend on the number of cards dealt to the player. For example, when the player has a nine against the dealer’s upcard 6, the player should double unless the nine consists of three or more cards, in which case the player should hit. Since your analysis was done with an infinite number of decks, the only reason that I can think of for this distinction is the increased possibility that the player may get a five-card-plus 21 when the player already has multiple cards. Is there some reason other than potential bonus payouts why there is a difference in what the player should do based on the number of cards the player has received?

Again, thank you for doing this analysis!!
Wizard
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April 29th, 2023 at 4:20:07 PM permalink
Quote: paul5795

Quote: Wizard

Here is my new page on Fun 21. I welcome all comments.
link to original post



Thank you for publishing a basic strategy specific to this Ultimate Fun21 Blackjack game! This Fun21 game is found on the major Carnival Corporation cruise lines (i.e., Carnival, Holland America, and Princess). I cruise a lot, and am an avid player of Fun21.



I didn't know for sure Carnival owned those other companies. Are there any they don't own?

Quote:

Finally, I notice that some correct plays depend on the number of cards dealt to the player. For example, when the player has a nine against the dealer’s upcard 6, the player should double unless the nine consists of three or more cards, in which case the player should hit. Since your analysis was done with an infinite number of decks, the only reason that I can think of for this distinction is the increased possibility that the player may get a five-card-plus 21 when the player already has multiple cards. Is there some reason other than potential bonus payouts why there is a difference in what the player should do based on the number of cards the player has received?

Again, thank you for doing this analysis!!
link to original post



You're welcome. Thank you for the good post. I show if the player is close to getting a 5+ card bonus, he should be motivated more to hit. In the case of 9 vs. 6, it was a borderline play and having just a 3-card 9 is enough to go for the bonuses.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NIV)
DRich
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April 29th, 2023 at 5:42:59 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard



I didn't know for sure Carnival owned those other companies. Are there any they don't own?



Carnival also owns Seaborn, Costa, and Cunard who you have probably heard of. They also own some less recognizable lines.

They do not own NCL, Celebrity, or Royal Caribbean.

When Carnival hired me they had about 102 ships at that time about five years ago.
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JohnnyQ
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August 4th, 2023 at 10:46:48 AM permalink
Just got back from a Holland America cruise where it was offered.

My questions to the WIZ are ( thanks in advance ):

1) What would the House Advantage be if Basic Strategy was used ?

2) What are the Most Important revisions to Basic Strategy to remember ?

IE, is there a simplified intermediate strategy that could be used without giving too much back to the House ?



Otherwise, I think the other decent games that were offered were 3-2 Blackjack at a $ 25 table, Craps, and 96.87 % Bonus Video Poker (80-40-25-6-5-4-3-2-1).
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Deucekies
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August 4th, 2023 at 11:45:47 AM permalink
Quote: JohnnyQ





$6 minimum? That's an obnoxious table limit.
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Dieter
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August 4th, 2023 at 1:25:08 PM permalink
$6 doesn't need a 50¢ for 3:2.
May the cards fall in your favor.
ChesterDog
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August 4th, 2023 at 2:09:30 PM permalink
Quote: Dieter

$6 doesn't need a 50¢ for 3:2.
link to original post



I heard from a friend who saw the $6 minimum on a cruise that's it's to encourage the players to make the side bet. The players may bet $5 on the main bet and $1 on the side bet, and most do. But my friend would only play the main bet at $6 or more.
Dieter
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August 4th, 2023 at 2:43:50 PM permalink
Quote: ChesterDog

Quote: Dieter

$6 doesn't need a 50¢ for 3:2.
link to original post



I heard from a friend who saw the $6 minimum on a cruise that's it's to encourage the players to make the side bet. The players may bet $5 on the main bet and $1 on the side bet, and most do. But my friend would only play the main bet at $6 or more.
link to original post



That's a sneaky house strategy.
May the cards fall in your favor.
JohnnyQ
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August 4th, 2023 at 3:15:19 PM permalink
Quote: ChesterDog

But my friend would only play the main bet at $6 or more.

Me too ! I didn't play the side bet at all.
There's emptiness behind their eyes There's dust in all their hearts They just want to steal us all and take us all apart
paul5795
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August 4th, 2023 at 10:03:44 PM permalink
Quote: Dieter

Quote: ChesterDog

Quote: Dieter

$6 doesn't need a 50¢ for 3:2.
link to original post



I heard from a friend who saw the $6 minimum on a cruise that's it's to encourage the players to make the side bet. The players may bet $5 on the main bet and $1 on the side bet, and most do. But my friend would only play the main bet at $6 or more.
link to original post



That's a sneaky house strategy.
link to original post



Most recently the Carnival cruise ships have moved to a minimum $10 bet for Fun21, and also changed the minimum bet for the Lucky Ladies side bet to $5. Most concerning, however, is that Carnival is also moving to from a hand shuffled shoe at the Fun 21 table to a continuous shuffle machine. Sad! :-( In the future I will be moving my cruising to Holland America, where ALL the BJ tables are still dealt from a shoe.

In pondering the Wizard's new basic strategy for Fun 21, I am thinking that certain Sh4 combinations (i.e. 13v6, 14v4, 14v5, and 15v2) would also be a hit instead of a stand for combinations that might lead to a three card 3:2 payout, that is, 13v6 when the 13 consists of a 6 and 7, 14v4/5 when the 14 consists of a 6 and 8 (or a 7 and 7), and 15v2 when the 15 consists of a 7 and 8. Am I missing something here?
paul5795
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August 4th, 2023 at 10:13:31 PM permalink
Quote: JohnnyQ

Just got back from a Holland America cruise where it was offered.

My questions to the WIZ are ( thanks in advance ):


IE, is there a simplified intermediate strategy that could be used without giving too much back to the House ?

g]


link to original post



I have thought about this issue as well. But since I do almost all my blackjack play on cruise ships, and I like the Fun21 so much more than the regular blackjack, my solution has been to memorize the more complex Fun21 basic strategy, and on the rare occasions that I play standard blackjack, simplify from the Fun21 strategy. So I look at it sort of backwards.
DRich
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August 5th, 2023 at 7:55:26 AM permalink
Quote: paul5795

[

Most recently the Carnival cruise ships have moved to a minimum $10 bet for Fun21, and also changed the minimum bet for the Lucky Ladies side bet to $5. Most concerning, however, is that Carnival is also moving to from a hand shuffled shoe at the Fun 21 table to a continuous shuffle machine. Sad! :-( In the future I will be moving my cruising to Holland America, where ALL the BJ tables are still dealt from a shoe.



Move quick, Holland America line is owned by Carnival and will also be switching soon.
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paul5795
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August 5th, 2023 at 10:16:05 AM permalink
Quote: DRich

Quote: paul5795

[

Most recently the Carnival cruise ships have moved to a minimum $10 bet for Fun21, and also changed the minimum bet for the Lucky Ladies side bet to $5. Most concerning, however, is that Carnival is also moving to from a hand shuffled shoe at the Fun 21 table to a continuous shuffle machine. Sad! :-( In the future I will be moving my cruising to Holland America, where ALL the BJ tables are still dealt from a shoe.



Move quick, Holland America line is owned by Carnival and will also be switching soon.
link to original post



Perhaps. But Carnival and Princess have long had the CSMs at their non-Fun21 BJ tables, and so far Holland America has not.
JohnnyQ
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August 5th, 2023 at 10:50:03 AM permalink
Quote: DRich

Move quick, Holland America line is owned by Carnival and will also be switching soon.

I don't see that as a "deal breaker", IF I can figure out (well I am probably not figuring out anything on my own, so more precisely if someone can figure out and share) an intermediate strategy based on Basic Strategy for FUN 21. THANKS IN ADVANCE.

- For example, is the biggest "bang for the buck" to just know the Surrender Situations ?

Anyway, I would much rather enjoy a Table game and the Cameradie at a Table with low hands per hour and a low HA vs Bonus VP at slightly less than 97 % return.
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billryan
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August 5th, 2023 at 11:28:10 AM permalink
Quote: DRich

Quote: paul5795

[

Most recently the Carnival cruise ships have moved to a minimum $10 bet for Fun21, and also changed the minimum bet for the Lucky Ladies side bet to $5. Most concerning, however, is that Carnival is also moving to from a hand shuffled shoe at the Fun 21 table to a continuous shuffle machine. Sad! :-( In the future I will be moving my cruising to Holland America, where ALL the BJ tables are still dealt from a shoe.



Move quick, Holland America line is owned by Carnival and will also be switching soon.
link to original post



Is HA owned by Carnival or are they both owned by a larger company?
My family used to cruise on HA every other year in the 1970s, when cruising was a very different beast.
The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction is supposed to make sense.
Joeman
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August 5th, 2023 at 12:25:42 PM permalink
Quote: billryan

Is HA owned by Carnival or are they both owned by a larger company?
My family used to cruise on HA every other year in the 1970s, when cruising was a very different beast.
link to original post

Carnival Corporation & plc owns Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, and others.
"Dealer has 'rock'... Pay 'paper!'"
Joeman
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August 5th, 2023 at 12:25:42 PM permalink
Duplicate post -- Nothing to see here.
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DRich
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August 5th, 2023 at 1:06:50 PM permalink
Quote: Joeman

Quote: billryan

Is HA owned by Carnival or are they both owned by a larger company?
My family used to cruise on HA every other year in the 1970s, when cruising was a very different beast.
link to original post

Carnival Corporation & plc owns Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, and others.
link to original post



They offered me a job about three years ago to help manager the casinos on the 102 ships they had at the time. I almost accepted it but am happy that I did not as COVID shut everything down right after it. I would have hated moving to Miami and then being out of a job for two years.
At my age, a "Life In Prison" sentence is not much of a deterrent.
billryan
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August 5th, 2023 at 1:47:04 PM permalink
I'd hate to live in Miami, with a job, for more than six weeks or so. Not a fan of South Florida after living there in the 1980s.
The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction is supposed to make sense.
DRich
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August 5th, 2023 at 4:02:39 PM permalink
Quote: billryan

I'd hate to live in Miami, with a job, for more than six weeks or so. Not a fan of South Florida after living there in the 1980s.
link to original post



I don't think I would have loved living in Miami but I also don't think I would hate it. This particular job would have been about six months in Miami and the other six months each year split between Germany, Italy, and Singapore.
At my age, a "Life In Prison" sentence is not much of a deterrent.
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