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Negative house edge during this blackjack promo?

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by danelkes, Nov 3, 2014.

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  1. danelkes

    danelkes Tourist

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    The Mazagan Resort near Casablanca, Morocco celebrated their 5th year anniversary this weekend.
    From 8pm until 10pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday they offered all kind of promos on their table games based on the number 5.

    Some were slightly interesting: 500 dhs (about 55$) if you have a set of 5s at UTH, a stack of 20 chips if you bet and won the number 5 at roulette (pays 55 chips for the first chip you bet).

    However the most incredible one was at the blackjack table: they paid winning blackacks 5 times!

    What is the house edge with this rule? They still offered the same rules as usual (shuffling machine, S17, DAS, double any two, no resplit aces, surrender ).

    I am pretty sure it is negative under proper basic strategy.
     
  2. NickPapageorgio

    NickPapageorgio OG of the Sal Sagev Hotel

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    You are correct..... A big advantage player (Don Johnson) would have wiped them out in one night with those rules, assuming that the remainder of the rules were unchanged. I've played in Morocco, and many of the casinos offer surrender and S17, so they were asking for trouble. Are you sure that BJ paid 5X? I've never heard of such a ridiculous promotion.

    Big promotions like this will increase their bottom line on slots and other games as well with the increase in foot traffic, but blackjack is a game with single digit house advantage. The 5X payout would make it an extremely strong advantage game, albeit temporarily.

    Nick:beer:
     
  3. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Hopefully you hit this hard.

    The rule change helps the player as follows:

    Extra bets won for BJ x player probability of BJ x dealer probability of no BJ

    For a 6-deck game at 5 to 1 the promo value is worth (not including house edge):

    3.5 units x 0.047489488 x 0.9543793715 = 15.86%
     
  4. bardolator

    bardolator Lifelong Low Roller

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    This assumes they didn't do anything else, either, such as remove a few aces from the shoe- perhaps one ace per deck, different suits.
     
  5. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Would hate to think they might do that, but never know. Even if there were only 3 aces left in each deck, it would still be worth 12.5%.
     
  6. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    Since this promotion only ran for two hours a night for three nights I doubt they would have done anything to fix the games - the overall what they would have been giving up isn't that much especially considering the rarity of the hands to their extra payouts (hitting a single number in roulette, getting a blackjack, making a set of 5s in UTH).
     
  7. dankyone

    dankyone VIP Whale

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    Certainly the best blackjack promo I have ever heard of. A few comments: They were only planning to offer this for 6 hours which limits their exposure. The location is very much off the radar of high stakes pros so they would be unlikely to hear about it and get there before it was over. Table limits are probably low in that location, but clearly the correct strategy would be to max bet every hand on as many hands as possible for the entire promo. It wouldn't shock me to hear that they backed off anyone unknown to them who was doing that, though. You would expect about 10 blackjacks in each 2 hour period per space played, and frankly those rules are so advantageous it would be tough to lose if you flat betted through the 200 or so hands.

    The caliber of play at blackjack is often horrible at casinos outside the US, although you would have to be practically suicidal to negate this advantage.

    Even the roulette bonus payout on the 5 is intriguing, but you could easily play for 2 hours and never see a 5!
     
  8. bardolator

    bardolator Lifelong Low Roller

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    Right- for a 6-hour promo they probably wouldn't change out the shoe. Just pardon me if I'm skeptical of non-US gambling venues in general, and even some which are here. They might have 3 aces per deck all the time! Extra 5's and 6's in a shoe help the house, too.
     
  9. dankyone

    dankyone VIP Whale

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    Yes, I would never play that game (or pretty much any game in a developing country) unless I saw the cards fanned out on the felt to make sure all the aces were there
     
  10. NickPapageorgio

    NickPapageorgio OG of the Sal Sagev Hotel

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    Agreed that it is off the radar of high stakes pros, but dont underestimate the play of the Emiratis and Qataris that roll into casinos in the Middle East/ North Africa. I've seen betting in Hughada and Marrakech that surpasses high limit action in many of the strip casinos. At 5X pay, the son of a sheikh could drain the joint dry.

    Nick:beer:
     
  11. Big Tip

    Big Tip VIP Whale

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    Would they pay it an unlimited amount of times? Maybe it was "your first blackjack" or something like that.

    I laughed at the visual of the roulette table with a three foot high stack of multi-colored chips, pardon moi, cheques, on the five each spin. lol
     
  12. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    Yeah, the OP didn't mention it, but there was probably some limit on the bet, like with roulette...

    The roulette is a good example, because there probably wouldn't have been a big stack of chips. As the OP said: "a stack of 20 chips if you bet and won the number 5 at roulette (pays 55 chips for the first chip you bet)" so its only for the first chip that gets the 55 chip payout, the rest of the chips would earn the standard 35 chip payout. Plus then you have to consider minimum bet requirements so if you are playing with $1 chips and minimum inside was $10 you could put all ten on the #5, but only one gets the bonus win if it comes up, or you could spread the $10 around on the inside.
     
  13. danelkes

    danelkes Tourist

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    Hi and thanks for the math.
    I thought it would be a 5% advantage, I was way off.

    A few clarifications:

    - Mazagan is a pretty large and serious casino for non Vegas standards. It is part of the Kerzner group which owns and operates Atlantis in the Bahamas. It has probably about 500 slots and 60 tables on the main floor plus a few in the high limits. If you had the image of a small dark casino in the middle of the jungle, it's very far from it.

    - Roulette: On the main floor they have about 6 running tables with 5$ and 10$ minimum. You have to get color chips so the promo gave 100$ or 200$ if you bet and hit the 5. In the high limits 2 tables with 50$ minimum, so 1.000$ for the promo.

    -Blackjack : there was no limit whatsoever. The main floor has 5 or 6 running tables: 10$min/200$ max and 20$min/500$ max.
    I played one spot at 500$ (the max, table was full) and won around 6.000$ hitting 4 or 5 blackjacks. The highlimit table was 50$min/2000$max. I didn't approach it because I didn't have the bankroll that night to play at that level but I heard someone won big.

    I also made a little mistake, it was from 10pm to midnight, not 8pm to 10pm. It doesn't change anything.
    The two hours went by very quick with great excitement. I am not sure all the players understood the immense advantage we were getting. But it is true that the 2 hours limited their exposure and I am not sure someone would travel just for this. They didn't communicate on it externally either.

    One funny note: I had to convince a couple players not to take insurance (even money) on their blackjacks... One tied and told me angrily "I told you".

    Can't wait for their 10 years anniversary :thumbsup:
     
  14. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    Well even though the numbers are bigger the reality is that most people who play blackjack play it poorly, so that in the end for this promotion the casino likely has little to no loss at all, or despite the extra payouts on blackjack might have even still turned a profit on the games.
     
  15. Big Tip

    Big Tip VIP Whale

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    Might be a cheap promo for them.
    Here we are talking about a casino in Casablanca.
    The promo obviously worked!
     
  16. jerseyguy

    jerseyguy VIP Whale

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    Did anyone say "Come with me to the Casbah" ?
     
  17. dankyone

    dankyone VIP Whale

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    Right, if they were trying to generate publicity, it worked.

    There are definitely US based pros who would have travelled to Morocco to play this game for 6 hours at $2000/hand. This is clearly not the type of play the Mazagan was looking for, so no surprise it was not advertised externally.
     
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