Fatherís Day Bonanza
By Kenneth R. Smith
The Imperial Palace in Biloxi was a busy place on Fatherís Day June 15th. The casino had widely publicized a promotion available for that Sunday. Blackjacks would be paid at 2:1 instead of the normal 3:2 odds for 24 hours starting at 12:01 AM Sunday. The promotion applied to all 6-deck tables of blackjack in the casino, and the promotion was good up to the normal table limits.
Paying an extra half-bet for blackjack may sound like nothing special, but it makes a big difference in the game. Blackjack is nearly a breakeven proposition at the outset, so anything that increases the payback can create a lucrative player opportunity. Players get a blackjack once every 21 hands or so on average. By receiving an extra half-bet every 21 hands, the player gets the benefit of an extra 2.3% return. The normal Imperial Palace six-deck game allows resplitting of Aces, and a basic strategy player will average a loss of about 0.4% of his bets. But subtract our 2.3% extra return from that 0.4% house edge, and we end up with a very attractive 1.9% player advantage for a basic strategy player.
Thatís a pretty tempting deal. Play basic strategy, and you can expect to win 1.9% of your total action. Figuring a leisurely pace of 60 hands per hour, each player stands to make more than one bet an hour in expected profit. I put my family on notice that I would be absent on Fatherís Day. I planned to spend as much time as I could stand at the tables at the Imperial Palace, and I hoped to win a nice Fatherís Day profit for my efforts.
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