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Last Updated: November 15, 2019

Espresso Games

Introduction


Espresso Games is looking to deliver this bolt of energy to your online gambling experience with their slate of betting titles. A division of Talenta International, Espresso Games has been in operation since 2002, delivering slot machines, table games, keno titles, and more.

Espresso has offices in many regulated markets, including Italy, the UK, Colombia, Malta, the United States, Hong Kong, and Spain. This allows the company to provide their games to big-name operators as well as licensed platform aggregates. This has led to the group’s games being offered at the likes of Melbet, Karl Casino, 22 Bet Casino, and more.

In our opinion, the graphics and interface of Espresso games are rather dated, based on this review in late 2019. Their game library is decent, with plenty of slots, video poker, and four types of table games. The video poker pay tables are quite stingy compared to most of their competitors. Some credit should be given in creativity a couple of unique games, Color Champion video poker and Six Card Charlie blackjack.

Espresso Games CasinosExpand

Name Wizards Seal VA Friendly Play
Happy Luke Casino
NO NO Visit Casino >
Merkur Win
YES NO Visit Casino >
Betmotion
NO NO Visit Casino >
Megapari Casino
NO YES Visit Casino >
1XBET Casino
NO YES Visit Casino >
22Bet Casino
NO YES Visit Casino >

Table Games

Tables games offered are blackjack, baccarat, roulette, and Texas Hold 'Em Bonus (which they refer to as just "Texas Hold 'Em"). Special mention should be made about their single-deck blackjack game, with a house edge of a nice low 0.15%.

Powerballs


Powerballs
 

Power Balls is a keno/lottery kind of game. Six out of 38 balls are numbered (1 to 36, 0, and 00). There are 12 each of red, blue, and yellow balls, and two green ones. There are a host of ways to bet on the outcome. I've analyzed similar games before, so forgive me if I don't analyze every single bet. To get an idea of the return, I looked only at the bets where the player picks a color (red, blue, or yellow) and how many balls of that color will appear. The following table shows what each bet pays, probability of winning, and expected return. As you can see they all pay very close to 95%, except for all six balls matching the chosen color.

Power Balls

Match Pays Combinations Probability Return
0 11.39 230230 0.08339609 0.94988146
1 3.32 789360 0.28592945 0.949285774
2 2.65 986700 0.357411813 0.947141303
3 4.58 572000 0.207195254 0.948954262
4 16.3 160875 0.058273665 0.949860741
5 127.36 20592 0.007459029 0.94998195
6 2128.77 924 0.0003347 0.712499372
Total 0 2760681 1.000000

Baccarat


Baccarat
 

The baccarat game is very standard with the three major bets only.

Blackjack


Blackjack

Single Deck Blackjack

Lucky 7 Blackjack

Six Card Charlie

All three blackjack games have the same layout, in which the player may bet one to three hands. All three warn the player upon mistakes, based on the basic strategy shown in the "guide" help file. Surprisingly, for an Internet casino, the advice given is actually correct. In fact, the strategy even takes under advisement the number of cards in the player hand in playing a 16 vs. 10 (an extremely borderline play, where the odds favor hitting with two cards and standing with three or more).

According to my house edge calculator, the single deck has a nice low house edge of 0.15%. The help file claims it's 0.14%, so close enough.

On just "blackjack" and Lucky 7 Blackjack, where the rules are the same, I get a house edge of 0.49%, while the help file indicates 0.43%. You'll have to decide yourself who to believe.

The Lucky 7 game offers a side bet based on the consecutive number of sevens the player gets. The rules aren't clear, but I assume if the player splits sevens, the next card counts towards getting three consecutive sevens. I also assume if the player has two sevens and the dealer has a blackjack, then the player is not given an opportunity at a third seven. All that said, my return table below shows a house edge of 7.83%. The help file indicates it is 6.75%. Again, you'll have to decide who to believe (I suggest me).

Lucky 7 Side Bet

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
7-7-7 suited 3000 108,839,808 0.000018 0.053697
7-7-7 unsuited 500 2,301,184,512 0.000378 0.189218
7-7 suited 150 7,345,594,368 0.001208 0.181200
7-7 suited 50 25,184,894,976 0.004142 0.207086
7 3 432,811,524,096 0.071177 0.213531
Loser -1 5,613,024,453,120 0.923077 -0.923077
Total 6,080,776,490,880 1.000000 -0.078344

Finally, Six Card Charlie Blackjack offers a rule I've never seen before, where a non-busted player hand of six cards automatically wins and pays 3 to 2. I've seen the automatic win rule lots of times, but paying 3 to 2 is a new one. I had to do some analysis to find the effect of this one, for which I get a reduction in house edge of 0.31%, with proper strategy. Without this rule, the house edge would be 0.70%, so with the 0.31% reduction, I get a house edge of 0.39%.

Following are some strategy adjustments to make in the Six Card Charlie game:

With four cards:
  • Always hit hard 12
  • Hit hard 13 against a 2 to 4.
  • Hit any soft 18.
  • Hit soft 19 against a 9, 10, or ace.
With five cards:
  • Hit any hard 16 or less.
  • Hit hard 17 against an 8, 9, 10, or ace.
  • Hit any soft total.

The following table shows the Blackjack games available in alphabetical order.

Espresso Games Blackjack Alphabetic OrderExpand

Game BJ Pays Soft 17 Double After Split Double Splits Number Re split aces Draw to split aces Peek Surr-ender Return Total Decks Live Game
Blackjack 1.5 Stand Yes Any 2 1 No No Yes No 99.51% 8 No
Lucky 7 Blackjack 1.5 Stand Yes Any 2 1 No No No Yes 99.51% 8 No
Single Deck Blackjack 1.5 Stand No 9 to 11 1 No No Yes No 99.85% 1 No
Six Card Charlie 1.5 Stand No 9 to 11 1 No No Yes No 99.61% 8 No


Here is the same list in returns range, choose your game wisely.

Espresso Games Blackjack Return OrderExpand

Game BJ Pays Soft 17 Double After Split Double Splits Number Re split aces Draw to split aces Peek Surr-ender Return Total Decks Live Game
Single Deck Blackjack 1.5 Stand No 9 to 11 1 No No Yes No 99.85% 1 No
Six Card Charlie 1.5 Stand No 9 to 11 1 No No Yes No 99.61% 8 No
Blackjack 1.5 Stand Yes Any 2 1 No No Yes No 99.51% 8 No
Lucky 7 Blackjack 1.5 Stand Yes Any 2 1 No No No Yes 99.51% 8 No


Roulette


12 Number Roulette

American Roulette

European Roulette

Espresso offers three roulette games -- European, American, and "12 Number." Here are more details on each:

  • European Roulette — This is what I call "French Roulette," where even money bets lose half when the ball lands in zero. This results in a house edge of 1.35% on even money bets and 2.70% on all others. Roulette doesn't get better than this and Espresso is one of the few places to offer these liberal rules.
  • American Roulette — The wheel has two zeros and even money bets lose half when the ball lands in zero. This is what I call "Atlantic City Roulette." The house edge is 2.63%, 7.89% on the "five number" bet (0-00-1-2-3), and 5.26% on all others.
  • 12 Number Roulette — This game actually has 13 numbers, 0 to 12. Bets would pay fair odds if there were no zero. Even money bets lose half if the ball lands in zero. House edge is 3.85% on even money bets and 7.69% on all others.

As you can see, the house edge ranges from 1.35% to 7.69%. My advice is to play the European roulette only and stick to even money bets.

Slots


Boobies & Booties

Bullets for Money

Escape from Mars

Good and Evil

Leprechaun Rama

Mad 4 Easter

Sex on the Beach

Espresso has some interesting themes for their slots. Who can resist at least trying Boobies & Booties? The graphics and animation were several years out of date. The bonuses were pretty simple, usually picking one of a few items to determine your prize. The bonus frequency was too high and the average wins too low. However, there is still a kind of originality to these slots in the way the play.

I do give all due credit for disclosing the returns of their games. They vary a lot, so be careful what which game you play. Below is just a sampling:

  • Mermaid — 96.49%
  • Boobies & Booties — 97.34%
  • Good & Evil — 91.52%
  • Escape from Mars — 92.15%
  • Texas Hold 'Em Bonus


    Texas Hold 'Em
     

    Espresso refers to their Texas Hold 'Em Bonus game as just "Texas Hold 'Em. They kindly follow the liberal Las Vegas rules, where wins on the Ante start at a straight. The element of risk of this game, defined as the ratio of expected loss to total amount bet, is a low 0.53%.

    Video Poker


    All American 1 play

    All American 4 play

    Color Champion

    Deuces Wild 1 play

    Deuces Wild 4 play

    Jacks or Better 1 play

    Joker Poker 1 play

    Jacks or Better 4 play

    The Espresso video poker games are rather slow and dated. With a house edge ranging from 1.58% to 2.92%, the odds are rather lousy for video poker too.

    The auto-hold feature in all games is TERRIBLE. With advice such as holding three to a flush, you would be well advised to ignore it.

    The only positive remark I can make is on the creativity of their game Color Champion. This is a rather bizarre game that I assumed is their own creation. The rules are too involved to explain here. At a high house edge of 2.92%, I won't pay too much attention to it. However, players looking for something different in the video poker world should have a look.

    The following table shows the Video Poker games available in alphabetical order.

    Espresso Games Video Poker Alphabetic Order

    Game Power Poker Pay Table Return Live Game
    All American Yes 1-2-3-7-8-9-35-90-800 97.39% No
    Color Champion Yes 1-2-2-4-4-7-10-20-200-800 97.08% No
    Deuces Wild Yes 1-2-3-4-4-9-15-20-200-800 97.97% No
    Jacks or Better Yes 1-2-3-5-6-8-20-40-800 98.42% No
    Joker Poker (kings or better) Yes 1-1-2-3-5-8-15-50-100-200-800 97.95% No

    Here is the same list in returns range, choose your game wisely.

    Espresso Games Video Poker Return Order

    Game Power Poker Pay Table Return Live Game
    Jacks or Better Yes 1-2-3-5-6-8-20-40-800 98.42% No
    Deuces Wild Yes 1-2-3-4-4-9-15-20-200-800 97.97% No
    Joker Poker (kings or better) Yes 1-1-2-3-5-8-15-50-100-200-800 97.95% No
    All American Yes 1-2-3-7-8-9-35-90-800 97.39% No
    Color Champion Yes 1-2-2-4-4-7-10-20-200-800 97.08% No

    Corporate web site: www.espressogames.com.