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Ask the Wizard #108

Are there any basic strategy exceptions for doubling and splitting on the Internet when cash back applies to the total amount bet (thus giving the player an extra incentive to double or split). Please assume a cash back rate of 0.1%.


I could not find any hand where an extra 0.1% would cause a change in strategy. The closest case I could find, based on six decks and the dealer standing on soft 17, is A,4 against a dealer 4. In that hand doubling costs the player just under 0.3% in expected value compared to hitting. So if you can get 0.3% or more then double that hand. Other borderline hands I examined cost the player at least 1% to double or split, and I have never seen cash back that high in blackjack.

In Washington State there are a few clubs with a variation of the payouts for Fortune Paigow. They offer the lower pay-outs (Royal Flush 125-1 instead of 150-1) but they also push on three pair. How does this affect the house advantage on the side bet?


The player loses 0.42% because of the lower royal flush pay-out. However I show the probability of a three pair to be 1.88%. So overall these changes decrease the house edge by 1.46%.

Hello Wizard, great site with a wealth of information! My question is this: How much does the house advantage increase when they change the rule from double after split allowed on anything, into Double after split allowed except on aces? I wanted to make sure this wasn’t a huge house advantage increase like the 6-5 blackjack payout change.


Thanks for the kind words. I think I answered this before somewhere but being allowed to double on split aces gives the player an extra 0.08% in expected value. Nowhere near the 1.39% that the player loses by the 6 to 5 on a blackjack.

I am retained by a group to build an online casino. I have some questions and you seem like the person in the know. If I may...

  1. How much start up cash should be on hand
  2. How much would one expect to pay to build a first class casino
  3. Where is the best place to host with sufficient bandwidth a space
  4. Is there one company programming the backend, that you could reccommend as one of the best?


    Between the cost of building the casino, cash reserves, and first year losses, you will need a minimum of $1,000,000 for a respectable Internet casino. The best place to host is outside my area of expertise. Since I have a relationship with almost all the major software providers I don’t want to be guilty of favoritism by mentioning a particular company. I know who I think I would go with but I won’t say who.

I was at the Luxor this week and I noticed a blackjack machine that looked much like a video poker machine. Do these things use random generators like online, or do they work like slot machines?


Using a random number generator _is_ the same as working like a slot machine. Online blackjack, slot machines, and video blackjack all use random number generators.

It is a Nevada state law that an electronic game with representations of cards or dice must be based on fair odds. So the game should be fair with odds the same as in a hand dealt game having the same rules.