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Last Updated: August 12, 2001

Review of Transnet Casino

My experience with Transnet began in July, 2001. They advertised a 40% promotion to new players in my July 6 newsletter. I purchased $500 in chips and the bonus was added to my balance immediately. After the newsletter ran several readers expressed the opinion that they do no play a fair game so I took notes as I played.

As usual I played blackjack at first. Their rules are 8 decks, dealer stands on soft 17, player may double on any two cards and after splitting, player may draw to split aces, and the dealer does not peek with a ten or ace showing. The house edge under these rules is 0.40%, drawing to split aces roughly negating the effect of the European hole card rule.

Over 716 hand of blackjack played I was down 80 units. The expected loss was only 2.9 units. This is 2.46 standard deviations south of expectations. In other words the probability of a result this bad or worse is about 1 in 145. I had planned to continue playing to get a larger sample of data but Wednesday evening I thought I would examine the rules in their other games. I was blown away when I saw the following pay table for joker poker.

Joker Wild at Transnet Casino

Hand Pays
Royal flush 200
5 of a kind 100
Straight flush 50
4 of a kind 25
Full house 10
Flush 7
Straight 5
3 of a kind 3
2 pair 2
Jacks or better 1

It is no typo that the lowest paying hand is jacks or better, normally the lowest paying hand is either a pair of kings or a two pair. The expected return of this game is an incredible 148.25%! Although I was already suspicious of the fairness of their blackjack game but I was eager to try this one. Perhaps even if it was rigged it would still not be enough to overcome this incredible player advantage. It wasn't long before I realized that I was never getting any hand greater than a flush. It was only after I moved down to the lowest bet of 25 cents that I got a full house and a four of a kind, each once over 100 hands.

Of the 700 hands played at the $1-$2 the probability of never receiving more than a flush is about 1 in 50 million. Even if we mix in the 100 hands played at 25 cents the probability of only two or less hands more than a flush are about 1 in 2.7 million. I use the word "about" because I didn't have an exact strategy available for this very unusual set of rules, but did the best I could with the Video Poker Strategy Master based on kings or better and making adjustments according to my best judgement.

Since my results were better at the 25 cent level I tried playing 4 quarters as opposed to one or two coins at the dollar level. Here I played 60 hands and never received so much as a high pair. The odds of this are about 1 in 27,340,882,022,515,300,000. This number should speak for itself.

I presented these findings to customer support at Transnet, asking for an explanation and requesting a refund. A few days later someone with Transnet named Bart Torino called was quite upset with my implication that they were cheating. He had already studied my play and his defense was that my rate of return was within the normal range for the industry. In particular I wagered $1122.50 in joker poker and won $931, for a return of 82.94%. In blackjack I wagered $3908 and won $3493.50, for a return of 89.39%. He also emphasized that they were in the gambling business since "before I was born" making electronic gambling games, primarily in South America. He also said that Gaming Labs approved their physical games and their online casinos use the same technology as was approved by Gaming Labs. The return percentages they quoted I do not dispute. I also do not wish to imply that there is any deliberate cheating going on. What I think happened is they incorrectly used a jacks or better pay table on a joker poker game. This mistake should result in a game with a 148.25%, as I stated above. There is something that is causing this not to happen. What this is I do not know. It may just be a programming error. I do not state there is anything wrong with the blackjack game. My experience is simply added as corroborating evidence.

Transnet uses software by MGM Gaming Systems. Other casinos that use this software are Master Blackjack, Lazarus Casino, Vino Casino, Video Lottery Online and the Moon Palace Casino. I would like to thank GameMaster for the names of some of the other casinos and a probability table for this game.