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Best of John Grochowski

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Real blackjack versus video blackjack

20 July 2017

QUESTION: My friend used to insist that he got a better deal on video blackjack than on tables. I showed him where the games he was playing paid even money on blackjacks and was a terrible game. He still insists some of the machines are better than tables. Have you ever seen a machine game that was better than the tables at the same casino?

ANSWER: I have seen machines that offered better rules than blackjack tables in the same casino, but it has been some time.

Back in the early 2000s, WMS Gaming offered a single-player blackjack game that was dealt from a single electronic deck, paid 3-2 on blackjacks and offered early surrender. It was a positive expectation game for basic strategy players – about as good a deal as you’ll ever find. I played it for months in the Chicago area as well as Las Vegas, and showed it to Henry Tamburin and Frank Scoblete when we all were speaking at the same event near Chicago.

That game was withdrawn years ago. Since then, there have occasionally been multi-player electronic blackjack consoles with good rules, including some beatable games.

If you’re going to play video blackjack, you should keep in mind that it moves much faster than table blackjack. The dealer doesn’t have to take time to settle bets, collect cards or, at hand-shuffled games, shuffle the cards. There is no stoppage of play for disputes or mistaken payoffs.
If you bet $5 a hand on an electronic game, you risk more money per hour than you do if you bet $5 a hand on a table game. That should be factored into your decision on which game to play.

Also, all single-player games that I’ve seen and most multi-player video games give a fresh shuffle with a complete deck for every hand. That leaves no advantage for counting cards.


QUESTION: I used to play Caribbean Stud Poker, although not in a while. There are fewer tables now, but it was pretty hot for a while.

Even back when I was playing, I used to think it would be a pretty cool video poker game. Why do you think that never happened? Was it ever talked about?

ANSWER: There were Caribbean Stud Video Poker machines in the late 1990s from Casino Data Systems. Like the table version, they featured a big progressive jackpot.

Caribbean Stud never caught on with video poker players. The two-part betting structure of the game was an obstacle. Video poker players are used to making one bet, then playing out the hand. Caribbean Stud requires making a second bet if you like their cards.

Successful video poker games are draw poker, and Caribbean Stud is stud poker. That restricts strategy and interactivity. And the house edge of 5.22 percent of the ante or 2.6 percent of total action, given optimal play, is higher than on the best video poker games. In the late 1990s, it was easy to find video poker games that paid more than 99 percent with expert play – a house edge of less than 1 percent. Las Vegas was a video poker player’s dream, awash with full-pay Deuces Wild, 10-7-5 Double Bonus Poker and other games that paid 100 percent to experts.

Casino Data Systems tried hard to break into the video poker market. Another of its games was Reel Deal, with a small set of slot reels above the poker cards. When players got four of a kind, they’d also get a reel spin for a bonus.

CDS is no more, and Aristocrat owns its catalog.
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

The Craps Answer Book

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> More Books By John Grochowski