Wizard
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Wizard
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MrCasinoGamesPokerGrindersmoothgrhUP84
May 18th, 2023 at 1:01:51 PM permalink
Somebody recently sent me a file of a copy of Hoyle's Game by Thomas Frere, copyright 1857. The original source was the BYU library.

Here is a copy of the chapter on Vingt-un, which is French for 21 and what the game was usually called.

The rules were quite a bit different. Here is my summary of them:

1. A single deck of cards is used.
2. Cards are scored as in conventional blackjack, which I assume the reader is familiar with.
3. The dealer deals each player and himself one card, all face down.
4. The player bet at this point. I assume the players are not allowed to peek at their own cards.
5. The dealer shall peek at his card.
6. The dealer may choose to force all players to double their bets by saying ďdouble.Ē
7. The dealer deals a second card to all players and himself, all face down.
8. If the dealer has a possible blackjack, he shall peek at his second card.
9. If the dealerís two cards form a blackjack, he should declare it immediately. If the dealer has a blackjack, all players lose double their wager to this point (or four times the initial wager, assuming the dealer doubled, which he probably would have with a 10 or ace as the first card). I believe an exception is a blackjack tie is a push, although this isnít clear from the source rules.
10. Otherwise, with no dealer blackjack, the players go around the table in order. The only options available to the player are hitting, standing and splitting a pair. If the player busts, he must so state and his wager is lost.
11. After all players have acted, the dealer shall do the same, drawing as many cards are desired. The dealer has free will when to stand.
12. A player winning blackjack pays 2 to 1.
13. The dealer wins on ties, except a blackjack-blackjack or 21-21 tie is a push.
14. If the dealer draws to 21, then all players left standing with less than 21 points lose and pay double.
15. Both player and dealer may split a pair. Splitting unlike tens, for example a king and queen, is not allowed.
16. Both player and dealer may re-split, without limit.
17. A blackjack after splitting still counts as a blackjack.

There are other procedural rules about who deals, which I omit. Briefly, it described as a player-banked game, usually with the turn to deal rotating when a player gets a blackjack.

I welcome all to read the PDF file I link to and challenge me if you think my interpretation of anything is wrong. Some things I have my doubts on are:

1. What happens with a blackjack tie.
2. What happens with a 21-21 tie.
3. Can the player look at his first card before wagering?
4. Are hit cards face up or face down? This might matter in that the dealer has free will in drawing.

With the dealer being allowed to double wagers and win on most ties, the house advantage must be huge. That doesn't even consider the free will the dealer has in drawing.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NIV)
rainman
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May 18th, 2023 at 2:10:31 PM permalink
It's pretty clear why the game evolved in order to survive.
Just imagine playing, watching the dealer peak and then order you to double.
I think most ploppies wouldn't feel good about that.

It's pretty neat to see whats believed to be the original rules.
Dieter
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Thanks for this post from:
rainman
May 18th, 2023 at 2:44:56 PM permalink
Quote: rainman

It's pretty clear why the game evolved in order to survive.
Just imagine playing, watching the dealer peak and then order you to double.
I think most ploppies wouldn't feel good about that.

It's pretty neat to see whats believed to be the original rules.
link to original post



Vingt-un seems to be more like poker than what we now call blackjack.

The deal rotates among players, and the house does not bank.
May the cards fall in your favor.
rsactuary
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Thanks for this post from:
rainman
May 18th, 2023 at 2:45:39 PM permalink
Quote: rainman

It's pretty clear why the game evolved in order to survive.
Just imagine playing, watching the dealer peak and then order you to double.
I think most ploppies wouldn't feel good about that.

It's pretty neat to see whats believed to be the original rules.
link to original post



the original rules were not designed as a casino game. Note that everyone has the opportunity to bank, so it ends up being a 50/50 game.
Dieter
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Dieter
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May 19th, 2023 at 8:46:17 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard



3. Can the player look at his first card before wagering?
4. Are hit cards face up or face down? This might matter in that the dealer has free will in drawing.

link to original post



(trimmed)

My read is that hit cards are dealt face up, similar to modern "pitch" blackjack. On an overdraw (bust), the hand is "thrown in" (face up discard); on a stand, I expect they are placed face down.

https://archive.org/download/hoylesgames03hoyl/hoylesgames03hoyl.pdf

Referencing the (significantly) later publication linked above (p373), it seems the evolved custom is to wager the stakes, inspect the first card dealt, then optionally double the stakes, then the dealer could inspect their first card and optionally demand a double. Players not wishing to double could forfeit their wagers.

The Frere (1875?) version seems unclear on this point; I expect a number of house ways existed.

The types of information presented are a bit muddled. Comingling game history, game rules, customs of play, and suggested play strategies makes for a bit of a challenging read.
May the cards fall in your favor.
Wizard
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Wizard
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May 20th, 2023 at 4:42:47 PM permalink
To reply to Dieter's post, I have read the PDF document you quote and a couple others on the 19th century rules of Vingt-Un.

They sometimes conflict with each other, but favoring later versions, I am amending my rules as follows:

  1. Cards are scored as in conventional blackjack, which I assume the reader is familiar with.
  2. The dealer deals each player and himself one card, all face down.
  3. Players may peek at their own cards.
  4. Based on seeing one card, players make a wager.
  5. The dealer shall peek at his card.
  6. Based on seeing one card, the dealer may declare "double," in which case players must either double their bets or fold to the dealer.
  7. The dealer deals a second card to all players and himself, all face down.
  8. If the dealer has a possible blackjack, he shall peek at his second card.
  9. If the dealerís two cards form a blackjack, he should declare it immediately. If the dealer reveals a blackjack, all players should show both their cards. Any blackjack tie shall be a push. Otherwise, the dealer shall win double all stakes to this point. Note that if the dealer doubled, he would win four times the player's initial wager.
  10. Otherwise, with no dealer blackjack, the players go around the table in order. The only options available to the player are hitting, standing and splitting a pair. If the player busts, he must so state and his wager is lost.
  11. After all players have acted, the dealer shall do the same, drawing as many cards are desired. The dealer has free will when to stand.
  12. A player winning blackjack pays 2 to 1.
  13. The dealer wins on ties (except a blackjack tie).
  14. Both player and dealer may split a pair. Splitting unlike tens, for example a king and queen, is not allowed.
  15. An ace and 10-point card after splitting does not count as a blackjack, but as 21 points.
  16. Both player and dealer may re-split, without limit.


Changes since version:

Player may view first card before betting.
Nothing special about drawing to 21 points -- it does not win double.
Blackjack after splitting counts as 21 points.

Dieter, I don't see where you get the rule the player may only double his bet after seeing a first card? The way I see it, only a small minimum bet is required to start and the player may raise as much as he wishes. In analyzing this, I would assume the player will be either zero or the maximum. In thinking about it more, it does make common sense there would be a restriction on the player abusing the right to see a card before betting, as well as other elements of the game are well balanced.

Given the rule the player may see a card before betting, I speculate the odds may now favor the player. The dealer still has a positional advantage, wins on ties, and may double, but I tend to think it won't overcome the player only playing on tens and aces. Maybe aces only.
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:18 (NIV)
Dieter
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May 20th, 2023 at 8:33:40 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard


Dieter, I don't see where you get the rule the player may only double his bet after seeing a first card? The way I see it, only a small minimum bet is required to start and the player may raise as much as he wishes. In analyzing this, I would assume the player will be either zero or the maximum. In thinking about it more, it does make common sense there would be a restriction on the player abusing the right to see a card before betting, as well as other elements of the game are well balanced.

Given the rule the player may see a card before betting, I speculate the odds may now favor the player. The dealer still has a positional advantage, wins on ties, and may double, but I tend to think it won't overcome the player only playing on tens and aces. Maybe aces only.
link to original post



(lead-in left out)

You are correct. The rules (either version) do not explicitly say that the player may double, and only one set of rules seems to suggest that a player may voluntarily increase their wager.

My assumptions about "the custom of the table" are based on three main points:
  • The dealer may call upon the players to double the stakes (or resign)
  • A natural Vingt-un is to be paid at double stakes
  • Not allowing the wealthy fool who blindly wagers the maximum allowed stakes to increase his bet doesn't seem to fit the spirit of the game, but limiting his increase to a double seems likely


Marked cards were a known problem. By allowing players to see the back of the first card before wagering, a sharp could obtain some advantage, even if he were not enjoying the honor of dealing at the moment. Allowing everyone to peek, then raise to table maximum, would negate that advantage - as you concluded.


Based on that procedure being specified as normal in a rule book like this, I'm making a host of assumptions.

As you are right to point out, player double is not what the rules explicitly say, and my assumptions on the custom of the table could be wrong.


Unintended benefit: I did finally find a decent explanation for the Best Bower in the archive.org pdf. I unfortunately don't know of any current jokers being so imprinted, and it annoys me to play with soiled old cards.
May the cards fall in your favor.
MDawg
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May 20th, 2023 at 9:00:19 PM permalink
Quote: MDawg

It was before my time, but the norm used to be 2:1 on BJ no?
link to original post

Quote: Wizard

Somebody recently sent me a file of a copy of Hoyle's Game by Thomas Frere, copyright 1857. The original source was the BYU library.
12. A player winning blackjack pays 2 to 1.
link to original post


So I was right after all, but it was not just before my time but about a century and a half before my time.
I tell you itís wonderful to be here, man. I donít give a damn who wins or loses. Itís just wonderful to be here with you people. https://wizardofvegas.com/forum/gambling/betting-systems/33908-the-adventures-of-mdawg/
gordonm888
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gordonm888
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May 21st, 2023 at 4:22:11 AM permalink
So, what was the house advantage on this version of original blackjack, assuming dealer and player make optimal choices? I guess we need to assume some range of min and max bets.

On which cards should the dealer choose to double? Ace, Ten and Nine?
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
Suited89
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May 22nd, 2023 at 1:42:23 AM permalink
As an anchor-point to gordon888, if the rules of MODERN blackjack are;

6 decks with cut-card
Dealer HITS soft 17
NO split
NO double (since no SPLIT... no DAS)
NO surrender
Dealer peeks 10 or Ace

Blackjack pays 2 to 1 is a near-zero EV.

I think CVData can verify, I can't use my ancient V3 on my linux machine.

Anyways, comparisons to ORIGINAL VINGT et UN are interesting.
I think gordon's right 9-10-A, but a crafty Dealer with these old rules might include a 2.
After all a 2 can lead to many good 2-card hands, some draw once some draw twice...

BTW... if all cards are face-down, that makes counting irrelevant, especially if the Dealer opts to simply discard w/o verite.

Suited89
some people need to reimagine their thinking
Dieter
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May 22nd, 2023 at 8:42:57 AM permalink
https://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/39445/pg39445-images.html#page157

Based on yet another set of rules, the suggested manner of play seems correct for friendly games.

Specifically:
One card dealt to each
Punters may inspect their card
Punters wager their stake
The dealer inspects his card, and may optionally demand double stakes

... and no punter option to double.

(I still have a hunch that less friendly games may use other table customs. I can almost hear faint echoes of "That's not how we play it on the boat out of New Orleans!")
May the cards fall in your favor.
TomG
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May 25th, 2023 at 1:29:02 PM permalink
This reminds me of a '21' game I played from mid 90s through early 00s. Rules changed slightly every time, but I think this is close to the best version
-Everyone at the table puts up a $1 ante and gets two cards dealt face down, then stand or hit as much as they want. Whatever player at the table gets closest to 21 without going over wins. Any ties split the pot.
-But if the player does go over 21 they can still hit. If they do take a fourth or fifth card anyone can call them out and they have to show their cards. If they did take a hit after going over 21 they have to pay $2 to whomever called them. If the last hit was 'legal' whoever called them out has to pay them $2. If someone takes an illegal hit and doesn't get called out, they win a split of the pot.
-If the winnings can't be split evenly, anyone who won by going over 21 gets the short end, otherwise the dealer chooses how to round it off.

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