Ask the Wizard #65
Kara from Castaic, California
I’ve seen it there too, and fortunately took some notes. It is similar to Three Way Action as used to be found at the Las Vegas Club. In Triple Shot the player may make any combination of three bets. The first is a regular blackjack wager. The second is a poker hand. The third is a war bet. I don’t remember if the poker bet is based on the player’s or dealer’s hand but the best five out of six cards are used. If the blackjack hand doesn’t contain six cards then more are added to make six. The following odds table for the poker bet shows the house edge is 3.20%.
|Royal flush||376||0.000018||100 to 1||0.001847|
|Straight flush||1468||0.000072||30 to 1||0.002163|
|Four of a kind||14664||0.000720||15 to 1||0.010804|
|Full house||165984||0.008153||7 to 1||0.057071|
|Flush||205792||0.010108||5 to 1||0.050542|
|Straight||361620||0.017763||4 to 1||0.071050|
|Three of a kind||732160||0.035963||3 to 1||0.107890|
|Two pair||2532816||0.124411||2 to 1||0.248821|
|Pair||2252472||0.110640||1 to 1||0.110640|
|Nothing||14091168||0.692151||-1 to 1||-0.692151|
Finally there is a war game, the player’s first card against the dealer’s up card, highest card win. In the event of a tie the player loses half. The house edge in the war game is 2.94%. I don’t know of any other casinos that have the game. It is probably in trial period and only at the Treasure Island.
Mario from Troy, New York
In general the higher the coinage the better the rate of return is. However in my own research I have seen plenty of exceptions, notably dollar machines that paid less than quarters.
Joe from Ramona, USA
If only blackjack were excluded I would say craps. However many Internet casinos exclude craps to prevent players from betting on the pass and don’t pass at the same time, thus earning the bonus without risking much. Next I would consider video poker. Casino Grand Bay is a Microgaming casino which offers Jacks or Better video poker. Following the optimal strategy the return is 99.54%. If you use my intermediate strategy, which has a return of 99.54%. So I would go with that. Had this been another casino with stingy video poker I would have played baccarat, always betting on the banker.
Joe from Las Vegas, USA
They are predetermined. Once you hit "deal" the first time both the deal and the draw cards are chosen.
Barabbas from Las Vegas, USA
It depends on the number of decks. I have only seen this rule in single decks games, so we’ll assume one deck. The probability of a blackjack in a single deck game is 2*(4/52)*(16/51)=0.0483. The probability of the dealer not having a blackjack, give that the player does have one, is 1-2*(3/50)*(15/49) = 0.963265. So the probability the player has a blackjack and the dealer doesn’t is 0.046492. The casinos keeps an extra 0.3 units every time this happens to the increase in the house edge is 0.3*0.046492 = 0.013948, or about 1.39%. This is a huge increase, making this game the worst blackjack game in Vegas.
Mike from Toronto, Canada
Thanks for the compliment. First of all the standard deviation on any even money bet is 0.998614 and on a single number is 5.762617. The probability of coming out ahead by flat betting even money bets over 1, 100, and 10000 spins is 0.473684, 0.265023, and 0.00000007 respectively. The probability of coming out ahead by flat betting single number bets over 1, 100, and 10000 spins is 0.0263158, 0.491567, and 0.18053280 respectively. It seems you are trying to argue that single number bets are better because of the higher probability of finishing ahead over multiple bets. This is true, however the probability of a substantial loss is also much greater. Over a session the expected results always fall somewhere on a bell curve. With low volatility bets like red or black that bell curve is sharp and doesn’t stray far from a small loss. With high volatility bets like single numbers the bell curve is wide, allowing for a much wider range of net results, both good and bad.