Joined: Feb 24, 2011
• Posts: 2225
September 20th, 2011 at 1:22:42 PM permalink
Question for you Buzz/other BJ players:

Is the term "Stiff Hand" one that is widely known in BJ player circles?

I am not an avid BJ player. I did fully understand the term after reviewing the Lucky Stiff wager and I suppose that I would have gotten the definition close to right if someone asked me "What is a Stiff Hand in BJ?", but I wonder if this is a common term understood by the majority of BJ players.

I ask, because if you are trying to explain the wager in 10 seconds and you have to start by explaining what a Stiff Hand is to more than 10%-20% of BJ players, I think that could be problematic.
boymimbo
Joined: Nov 12, 2009
• Posts: 5994
September 20th, 2011 at 4:38:27 PM permalink
My two late cents;

I like the standard version, not the power version so much. The meaning of "stiff hand" is obvious -- you are dealt 12-16.

If you hit to 17-20, you get paid 5:1 and 9:1 if you hit to 21 and the dealer shows a 7 or higher.

If you beat the dealer, you get paid 2:1 and if you tie the dealer you get a push if the dealer shows 2-6.

Splitting creates a push situation.

The rules are very straight forward.

However, since there is a divergence of payouts due to the dealer's hand and your hand based on the dealer's up card, this game will quickly become confusing for dealer, player, and pit alike.

- 1st action: you are not dealt a "stiff hand". The dealer action is to what "push back" the stiff bet at the start of the deal. if the bet remains up, then the dealer will have to calculate whether the hand dealt was stiff at the start of the hand.
-2nd action: determining what the dealer's up card is. Some dealers put the down card to the left of the up card, others to the right. You could find an argument as to what the up card was.
-3rd action: taking away the stiff bet when the player busts. Easy enough, happens on streak.
-4th action: the calculation and payout itself. Lose, Push, 2, 5, or 9 to one. Too many payout values based on the combination of dealer up card and player cards.

What makes royal match, streak, and other side bets successful is that there's one decision point. You either get paid at the beginning or the end of the hand.

You are also running against some counterintuitivity here: you assume that players know basic strategy. What this results is in that players will become better blackjack players by knowing that they should hit the 14-16 on dealer's 7-A. Some players (I bet) will complain that the side bet is a sucker bet not because of the HA but because they can only hit on a hand they believe (wrongly) they can stand on.

I think you might be more successful if simply push the bet if the dealer is showing a 2-6 and increase the payout if they are showing a 7-A and you have the stiff hand. That way, after the deal, the dealer simply pushes back all non-qualifying bets and pays a very simple pay table based on whether the player makes a hand or not and pay it out as soon as the hit is completed or when the hand concludes. A bit better. Still, two decision points, and that slows down the game considerably.
----- You want the truth! You can't handle the truth!
RoyalBJ
Joined: Jul 18, 2011
• Posts: 260
September 20th, 2011 at 4:45:02 PM permalink
Quote: boymimbo

However, since there is a divergence of payouts due to the dealer's hand and your hand based on the dealer's up card, this game will quickly become confusing for dealer, player, and pit alike.

It only takes one confusion to be DOA, end of the story.
Joined: Feb 24, 2011
• Posts: 2225
September 20th, 2011 at 5:41:57 PM permalink
I think you raise a lot of good points boymimbo!

Quote: boymimbo

1st action: you are not dealt a "stiff hand". The dealer action is to what "push back" the stiff bet at the start of the deal. if the bet remains up, then the dealer will have to calculate whether the hand dealt was stiff at the start of the hand.

I think if you aren't dealt a Stiff Hand the bet is immediately collected, so I don't quite understand this comment, but I may be missing something.....the bet won't stay up, it will be collected as a loss unless a Stiff Hand is dealt.

Quote: boymimbo

2nd action: determining what the dealer's up card is. Some dealers put the down card to the left of the up card, others to the right. You could find an argument as to what the up card was.

This is a good point since dealer's don't really need to track which card is their up card. Dealers will have to remember to look at their up card and determine if they are to pay according to the pay table before they play out their hand (i.e. their upcard is a 7-A) or play out their hand (if their upcard is 2-6) and pay the side bet 2 to 1 if the player's hand wins or collect both bets if the player loses. Actually as I write that it isn't that difficult, but it will slow down the pace when they have to pay out the side bet before playing out their hand (on a 7-A) which will be 61% of their hands.

Quote: boymimbo

You are also running against some counterintuitivity here: you assume that players know basic strategy. What this results is in that players will become better blackjack players by knowing that they should hit the 14-16 on dealer's 7-A. Some players (I bet) will complain that the side bet is a sucker bet not because of the HA but because they can only hit on a hand they believe (wrongly) they can stand on.

This could be a problem as boy points out. Player's may wrongly not want to hit in this position but they have to in order to not lose their sidebet.

My guess is if you push back the bet on the dealer upcard of 2-6, you lose a lot of the percentage points in qualification rate and hit rate. It will make it a simpler bet, but also not as much fun once players understand the bet. Ahhhh, the dilemna. It needs to be simple to learn but too simple means once you learn it you get bored really quickly!

I'll say it again, this bet is going to require some education investment by the dealer's to get the players to understand it's benefits. I like it a lot and likely would give it a try. The rack card should advertise the qualification rate and the hit rate in big letters. "Stiff hand is dealt every 2.5 hands" and bet will "Win 1 in 5 hands". If the players don't understand those advantages over Lucky Ladies and other long shot, <10% hit rate side bets, they won't invest the time to learn the bet.
buzzpaff
Joined: Mar 8, 2011
• Posts: 5328
September 20th, 2011 at 8:31:27 PM permalink
" If the players don't understand those advantages over Lucky Ladies and other long shot, <10% hit rate side bets, they won't invest the time to learn the bet."

Let's face facts. 99.9% of the players don't even bother to learn basic strategy. The general attitude is" I am only gonna play a few hours, not a million hands". And that is why BJ is still alive. If 99.9 played basic strategy, the game could not survive.

Good luck with your game, but I would be less than honest if I did not say " You will need it! "
buzzpaff
Joined: Mar 8, 2011
• Posts: 5328
September 20th, 2011 at 8:50:12 PM permalink
" Is the term "Stiff Hand" one that is widely known in BJ player circles? "

Not really and WHOA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just realized a soft 12-16 is not a stiff at all. But layout just says total of 12-16. How does that affect payouts? ???????????????????

Or am I missing something? Hope so !
buzzpaff
Joined: Mar 8, 2011
• Posts: 5328
September 20th, 2011 at 8:52:42 PM permalink
Yep it's me. Says hard total 12 to 17. Now you really have to explain a stiff, difference between hard and soft hand, and the payoffs.
As I said before Good Luck !
buzzpaff
Joined: Mar 8, 2011
• Posts: 5328
September 20th, 2011 at 8:59:16 PM permalink
And your strategy help on your rack card says you can use basic strategy but do not want to split 66 77 or 88 with a lucky stiff bet.
That makes a lot of assumptions and really opens a can of worms. At least I think so. Anybody else got an opinion on that ??
buzzpaff
Joined: Mar 8, 2011
• Posts: 5328
September 20th, 2011 at 9:29:38 PM permalink
What are the odds of the average Lucky Stiff player who splits 2 thru 6's , not trying to put another dollar slug out, to split his Lucky Stiff bet too! I mean it will be his first 2 cards on each hand ? I know I know. But we are talking about your average BJ player, remember.
He sat here because the 6-5 table was too crowded. Did you cover this after telling him what a hard stiff ( pun intended ) was, explained why not to SOMETIMES not split 66, 77, 88, and basic strategy, and off course the Lucky Stiff payoffs???
GEE, Will that take more than 20 seconds ??
buzzpaff
Joined: Mar 8, 2011