bustamove
bustamove
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MrCasinoGames
November 5th, 2021 at 8:23:05 PM permalink
So online casinos are now offering an interesting variant of Live Blackjack called Lightning Blackjack. The RTP is pretty decent at 99.56%.

I am puzzled as to what optimal strategy to use. For example, if I have a high multiplier going and then I get a 10 against a dealer 8, normally I would double down. However, as a win would achieve the multiplied payout, would it not be safer to just hit, so if I got a 2 (say) making 12, I could then hit again?

I would love to know how to play this game perfectly so as to minimize the house edge, but surely a sophisticated calculator would be required.

Additionally, I wonder if the advertised 99.56% RTP applies to just playing basic strategy or with perfect play.

Any insights would be appreciated.
ssho88
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November 5th, 2021 at 9:47:53 PM permalink
Quote: bustamove

So online casinos are now offering an interesting variant of Live Blackjack called Lightning Blackjack. The RTP is pretty decent at 99.56%.

I am puzzled as to what optimal strategy to use. For example, if I have a high multiplier going and then I get a 10 against a dealer 8, normally I would double down. However, as a win would achieve the multiplied payout, would it not be safer to just hit, so if I got a 2 (say) making 12, I could then hit again?

I would love to know how to play this game perfectly so as to minimize the house edge, but surely a sophisticated calculator would be required.

Additionally, I wonder if the advertised 99.56% RTP applies to just playing basic strategy or with perfect play.

Any insights would be appreciated.
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I guess you should find the win/tie/loss probability for DOUBLE and HIT, from there you can calculate either DOUBLE or HIT will give higher return.
charliepatrick
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MrCasinoGames
November 6th, 2021 at 7:32:39 AM permalink
I'm not exactly sure what the multiplier rule is but I have seen a promotion that pays 2 to 1 on any wins (only on first hand doubles but not splits), alternatively think the strategy on free-bet where you can win twice without risking more money. In the latter you free-bet double 9 vs A, split all 4-4, etc! I think if you're being paid 2 to 1 then you double things like 13 vs 6!

You can create a(n infinite) spreadsheet using 2 to 1 instead of 1 to 1 using EVs which are Pr(Win) * 2 - Pr(Lose) * 1 without worrying about the ties too much, by and large why wouldn't you pile more money on if you're being paid great odds. If you're only being paid tasty odds on the original bet then sometimes you'll play safe (split more, double less, stand earlier) and other times hit more (e.g. 17 vs 7) c.f. freebet.
Mission146
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bustamoveOnceDear
November 6th, 2021 at 8:50:10 AM permalink
Quote: bustamove

So online casinos are now offering an interesting variant of Live Blackjack called Lightning Blackjack. The RTP is pretty decent at 99.56%.

I am puzzled as to what optimal strategy to use. For example, if I have a high multiplier going and then I get a 10 against a dealer 8, normally I would double down. However, as a win would achieve the multiplied payout, would it not be safer to just hit, so if I got a 2 (say) making 12, I could then hit again?

I would love to know how to play this game perfectly so as to minimize the house edge, but surely a sophisticated calculator would be required.

Additionally, I wonder if the advertised 99.56% RTP applies to just playing basic strategy or with perfect play.

Any insights would be appreciated.
link to original post



The good news is that the game has a decent RTP and the bad news is that, "Perfect Strategy," is going to be very difficult to come by.

The way that I understand the rules is this:

1.) The player will make a bet on an ordinary Blackjack hand (base bet) and then will pay a, "Lightning Fee," equivalent to that bet.

2.)The Lightning Fee will enable a player to generate multipliers for reaching certain hand totals which are somewhat randomly assigned before the player takes any action.

3.) If the player wins the current hand, then the player will get the multiplier corresponding to the player's hand total for the following hand. If the player wins the following hand, then the player will be paid the Lightning Fee amount from the previous hand multiplied by the multiplier.

With that, I have a question:

Since the Lightning Fee is paid the prior hand, do you have to make the same bet amount (and Lightning Fee) for the following hand? I'm sure if you bet more, then that just means that you would pay a greater Lightning Fee, but any win on the multiplier will be based on the previous hand---so no need to do that. My theory with betting less (if the pay will be based on the amount bet the previous hand) is that it will lessen the impact (base game) of making strategy deviations in an effort to just win the hand.

For now, I will assume the bet amount is the same, so let's look at our variables on this thing:

1.) What would normally be the best decision?

2.) What are the potential multipliers to be earned for the following hand?

3.) What, if any, is the multiplier active on the current hand?

With that, let's use your example of a 10 against a dealer 8 and compare the two, for this, we will say you already have a multiplier active:

Decks: 8
Dealer Peeks: Yes
Soft 17: Stand
Double Down: Any First Two
Split: Yes
Hit Split Aces: No
Blackjack: 3:2

Okay, so normally with a player ten v. a dealer showing 8 (I made it 6-4 for the player) we would have the following:

Surrender: -.5
Stand: -0.513156
Hit: +0.199206
Double: +0.290356

https://wizardofodds.com/games/blackjack/hand-calculator/

Personally, I don't think this hand is going to be particularly close in terms of changing the decision to double. For that reason, I'm going to change your example hand to something a little closer, a hand total of ten v. a dealer nine:

Surrender: -.5
Stand: -0.543320
Hit: +0.116689
Double: +0.146896

With that, we are going to go to this calculator:

https://www.beatblackjack.org/en/strategy/dealer-probabilities/

What that calculator does is it tells us final hand probabilities for the dealer based on what's left in the shoe and the dealer's upcard. What we see is the following for a dealer starting with 9 and a 6 and 4 also gone from the shoe:

Bust: .229
21: .061
20: .12
19: .354
18: .116
17: .121

SUM: 1.001 (Rounding, I assume)

Okay, so we can break this down into win probability and loss probability conditions with doubling somewhat easily. With your total of ten, there are five ranks (2,3,4,5,6) that would result in a hard total on a double that cannot compete with a made dealer hand. For those, we can just use the probabilities above. We have already removed a 4 and a 6 from the deck, and the dealer's nine is also gone, so there are 413 cards remaining of which 158 are the applicable ranks.

If the dealer busts, you win...if the dealer doesn't bust, then you lose. We are not concerned with overall EV at this time as that has already been calculated for us, so we are only concerned with the probability of winning the hand:

(158/413) * .229 = 0.08760774818---NOTE, Effect-of-Removal would still play a factor, but we can't know what we are removing ahead of time and it's negligible anyway.

With that, you will double and make a hand total of 12-16 8.760774818% of the time and still win due to the dealer busting.

Our next concern is doubling to a hand total of 17 and winning, pushes lose for the purpose of the Lightning Fee, so the only thing we care about for win probability is getting to 17 and the dealer busting:

(32/413) * .229 = 0.0177433414

With that, you will double to 17 and produce a winning hand roughly 1.77433414% of the time.

The next possibility is that you receive an 8, which will beat either a bust or a dealer total of 17 as follows:

(32/413) * (.229 + .121) = 0.02711864406

With that, that result will come to pass 2.711864406% of the time.

The next possibility is that you receive a 9, which will beat Dealer Bust, Dealer 17 and Dealer 18

(31/413) * (.229 + .121 + .116) = 0.03497820823

With that, we will see such a result 3.497820823% of the time.

The next possibility is that you receive a ten, which will beat everything except a dealer twenty or dealer twenty-one:

(128/413) * (.229 + .121 + .116 + .354) = 0.25414043583

With that, we see that this result will happen about 25.414043583% of the time. It's actually slightly less because you have removed a ten from the deck, which makes a dealer total of 19 slightly less likely, but I'm not trying to be perfect here and it's negligible to illustrate the point.

Finally, the player might receive an Ace for a total of 21. That beats all dealer hands and only pushes if the dealer finishes with 21, as well:

(32/413) * (1-.061) = 0.07275544794

With that, we get a win probability of 7.275544794%.

We will now sum up our win probabilities:

8.760774818%+1.77433414%+2.711864406%+3.497820823%+25.414043583%+7.275544794% = 49.434382564%

You might be wondering why we double if that is not at least 50%, but remember, we did not do any math for pushes as they have already been factored into the EV calculations to begin with.

The next thing that we have to do is calculate the probabilities for the player's total on the assumption that the player does not double to get a win probability. While that might sound difficult, it's actually going to be pretty easy because the player will effectively follow the same rules that the dealer does for the remainder of the hand---hit until he reaches a total of 17, or greater. With that, the work is already done for us as we can use the chart that has the probabilities of final hand totals for a dealer starting showing a ten:

Bust: .212
21: .035 + .077
20: .339
19: .112
18: .112
17: .112

(For simplicity, I only removed a ten from the deck for this)

For the 21, the dealer chart has 7.7% for Blackjack, so I had to add that back in as if the player draws an ace to a total of ten.

Okay, so now we do the same thing. Seventeen only wins if the dealer busts:

(.112) * .229 = 0.025648

Player 18 Beats Dealer 17 and Bust:

(.112) * (.229 + .121) = 0.0392

Player 19 Beats Dealer Bust and 17-18:

(.112) * (.229 + .121 + .116) = 0.052192

Player 20 Beats Dealer Bust and 17-19

(.339) * (.229 + .121 + .116 + .354) = 0.27798

Player 21 Beats All Except Dealer 21:

(.112) * (1-.061) = 0.105168

With that, we sum up our win probabilities:

0.105168+0.27798+0.052192+0.0392+0.025648 = 0.500188

BRINGING IT HOME

Okay, so the example that we ended up using was that of a player total of 10 v. a dealer showing 9 because that is a much closer decision to hit or double on an EV basis.

DISCLAIMER: I know I have already said it, but I want to make very clear that the probabilities above should be taken as a ROUGH ESTIMATION as I did not account for Effect-of-Removal as it would have required me to account for every possible series of player hits (to hand totals) and dealer results individually...and, while I'm capable of doing it, I'm not really inclined to do it for free. Someone could probably write a program to do it much faster, anyway.

The first thing that we will do is go back to our base EV:

Surrender: -.5
Stand: -0.543320
Hit: +0.116689
Double: +0.146896

With that, we will next look at the win rates:

Double: .49434382564

Hit: 0.500188

Even then, it's a bit convoluted for three reasons:

1.) We need to win in order to get the value from the current hand multiplier.

2.) We need to win in order to get a multiplier for the hand after this one.

3.) We have made the Lightning Fee bet again, so we will lose that if we do not win this hand.

For that reason, we must now treat the two bets separately, in terms of EV. We already have our EV for the base game, so now we have to figure out our EV for the Lightning Bet...but we are going to ignore the second point (the multiplier for the following hand) for simplicity---this is mainly because these multipliers offered are not only random, but are also higher based on the higher the hand total is. Going the route of hitting, as opposed to doubling, we are slightly more likely to finish with higher hand totals.

Based on just winning the hand:

Hit: 0.500188
Double: .49434382564

The inverse of these will represent the probability of losing or pushing the hand, which will cause our current Lightning Fee to be lost as well as the Lightning Fee that we paid the previous hand for the current multiplier. That will be a loss of two units, so these must be multiplied accordingly:

((1-.500188) * -2) = -0.999624

((1-.49434382564)*-2) = -1.01131234872

Both of those numbers represent our -EV from Losing the hand as it will cause both the previous Lightning Fee and the current one to be lost as the player would receive zero return on either.

1.01131234872 -0.999624 = 0.01168834872

From that perspective, hitting is better than doubling by .01168834872 units before you even get into possible win. Let's look again at our EV's for each decision based on a normal Blackjack hand:

Surrender: -.5
Stand: -0.543320
Hit: +0.116689 + 0.01168834872 = 0.12837734872
Double: +0.146896

With that, we see the added EV of hitting (for the Lightning Bet) brings the two closer. Let's see how much of a difference there is between the two:

0.146896-.12837734872 = 0.01851865128

Okay, so per multiple, the difference in the winning rates will also be the difference in per unit EV:

Hit: 0.500188 Double: .49434382564 (.500188-.49434382564) = 0.00584417436

In this case, if we had a 4x multiplier, we would see: 0.00584417436 * 4 = 0.02337669744

That, taken together, hitting and maximizing the probability of winning the hand becomes the better decision when you are looking at both bets total expected outcome. The difference in the EV Loss on the base hand of hitting as opposed to doubling has been overcome by the EV gain of maximizing the probability of winning on this particular hand.

I would say that we can also be pretty sure of that because we didn't even factor in the multiplier value for the following hand, which we would also receive if we won the current hand. Depending on the probability of achieving certain results, and what the multipliers for the following hand might be, this could become the correct decision at a multiple for the current hand of 3x, but I have no idea and it would be ridiculous to even try to figure out.

My advice is not to play this if there is a standard Blackjack game with the same House Edge, or lower. At some point, you'll be put into situations where you must sacrifice the EV of one aspect of the hand in order to satisfy the other aspect for the best overall EV. It would also be crazy difficult to calculate all of them because of all the different situations that can come up with hand results, current multipliers and potential future multipliers...which would all be a factor every time.

In fact, the potential for future multipliers (if they are really high) might even be enough to try to maximize the probability of winning (or even just trying to achieve a particular multiplier) for hands that don't even currently have a multiplier.

For example, if you skip to 17:27 of this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16ok5a-Aoq8

Imagine if the player ended up with a hand total of hard 13 against a dealer two. Base hand EV favors standing, so by necessity, so do the win probabilities...but the difference isn't astronomical and you have potential multipliers for the following hand that could become a consideration.

My conclusion is that this game is a total mess that nobody should play and optimal strategies for the game would require the following charts:

1.) An optimal strategy for hands with no current multiplier available that is based not only on the base EV, but also, on all of the potential multipliers that are available for the following hand. You obviously couldn't really have a chart like that because of how many possible combinations there might be, so you'd probably have to create a calculator that does this.

2.) An optimal strategy based on hands that currently do have a multiplier that either does, or does not, also include the potential multipliers that are available for the next hand.

It doesn't appear that Surrender is available, but if it was, you would never do it. You would be forfeiting 1.5 units as you would lose the Lightning Bet and could not receive a multiplier for the next hand.

ADDED: At a certain point, I think Doubling 10 v. Dealer 8 might change to a hit with a very high multiplier, but I did Player 10 total v. Dealer 9 instead because I was pretty confident there would come such a point.
Last edited by: Mission146 on Nov 6, 2021
https://wizardofvegas.com/forum/off-topic/gripes/11182-pet-peeves/120/#post815219
Wizard
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MrCasinoGamesbustamoveMission146
November 8th, 2021 at 3:13:12 AM permalink
I just found this thread. I think I can analyze this one by modifying a current blackjack spreadsheet. However, first let me let explain the gist of the game. The game is based on conventional blackjack rules. I shall assume the rules posted above are correct. However, if the player pays a non-refundable fee equal to the original bet, then any win shall be multiplied by a posted multiplier. I've been watching Glen's video and have these recorded so far:

Hand 4 to 17 18 19 20 21 BJ
1 2 3 4 5 6 8
2 2 4 5 6 10 15
3 2 3 4 5 6 8
4 2 4 5 6 10 15
5 2 3 4 5 6 8


Note that so far it's been the set of two alternating.

Stay tuned for more information.


Direct: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16ok5a-Aoq8
Last edited by: Wizard on Nov 8, 2021
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Mission146
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November 8th, 2021 at 6:31:56 AM permalink
I wrote an article on this game that can be found here:

https://wizardofvegas.com/articles/ultimate-x-blackjack/

The title is, "Ultimate X Blackjack," just as a play on the concept of the game.

It offers some other theories of where strategy might change and also theorizes about countability. While the shoe penetration of this game sucks, it occurs to me that Naturals and other high hand totals (which correlate to a positive count anyway) have even greater value because of the higher average multiplier associated with them. Therefore, intuitively, the True Count needed to be at an advantage should go down...but I couldn't even begin to know by how much.

For Wizard, I already found all the multipliers from this video for a Natural Blackjack...so I can say that it doesn't go back and forth the entire time. Natural Blackjack went:

Quote: Article

8x, 15x, 8x, 15x, 8x, 6x, 8x, 12x, 6x, 6x, 20x, 15x, 15x, 8x, 6x, 12x, 6x, 12x, 6x

The average for that sample is 10.105x multiplier if the hand is won.



So, unfortunately, getting an average won't be very easy...unless you can E-Mail them and they will just tell you or it is in the game rules. I have access to at least one online casino with this game (I think) so I can check if you want.
https://wizardofvegas.com/forum/off-topic/gripes/11182-pet-peeves/120/#post815219
Wizard
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November 8th, 2021 at 6:49:38 AM permalink
I finished watching Glen's video and recorded 19 hands. Here are the multipliers in each of them. The first column is a time in the video this hand appears.

Hand 4 to 17 18 19 20 21 BJ
0:54 2 3 4 5 6 8
2:15 2 4 5 6 10 15
3:59 2 3 4 5 6 8
5:38 2 4 5 6 10 15
6:36 2 3 4 5 6 8
7:36 2 2 3 4 5 6
9:27 2 3 4 5 6 8
11:11 2 3 4 5 8 12
12:44 2 2 3 4 5 6
15:01 2 2 3 4 5 6
17:20 2 5 6 8 12 20
20:02 2 4 5 6 10 15
21:32 2 4 5 6 10 15
22:33 2 3 4 5 6 8
23:22 2 2 3 4 5 6
27:11 2 3 4 5 8 12
28:48 2 2 3 4 5 6
29:50 2 3 4 5 8 12
31:38 2 2 3 4 5 6
Average 2 3 4 5.05 7.16 10.11
Last edited by: Wizard on Nov 8, 2021
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Mission146
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Dieter
November 8th, 2021 at 6:53:46 AM permalink
Wizard,

I just checked the Unibet app as their Blackjack is powered by Evolution Gaming, but Lightning Blackjack doesn't seem to be on the PA Unibet yet. Waste of five minutes waiting for their app to open and then another ten waiting for Live Tables to load...lol...their app leaves a bit to be desired in loading times, though the stability is great once you finally have loaded a game.
https://wizardofvegas.com/forum/off-topic/gripes/11182-pet-peeves/120/#post815219
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Mission146
November 8th, 2021 at 8:44:39 AM permalink
Quote: Mission146

Wizard,

I just checked the Unibet app as their Blackjack is powered by Evolution Gaming, but Lightning Blackjack doesn't seem to be on the PA Unibet yet. Waste of five minutes waiting for their app to open and then another ten waiting for Live Tables to load...lol...their app leaves a bit to be desired in loading times, though the stability is great once you finally have loaded a game.
link to original post



Thank you.

I was wondering what was to prevent a player from betting small with no multiplier and big with a large one. According to Live Casino Comparer, the multiplier applies only up to the amount bet in the hand it was earned. Anything bet above that is paid at standard odds.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
ChumpChange
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November 8th, 2021 at 9:45:17 AM permalink
This game is like getting a push for two pairs in video poker.

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