Discussion in 'Blackjack Events (Online Casinos)' started by London Colin, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. London Colin

    London Colin Top Member

    I've stumbled across a new site. It looks like they are offering something similar to an idea I had a while ago - https://www.blackjacktournaments.com/threads/7325. But they are basing it on blackjack, rather than pontoon, so the only novelty is that the dealer gets to play their hand however they choose, rather than following set rules. And the deal rotates every hand, which is not the case in pontoon.

    I was a little put off by the apparent falsehood of the opening line of their press release -

    But it looks like it might be interesting, and I suppose you can stretch a point and say that it is indeed the only game of this particular kind. There are apparently just cash games available now, with tournaments due to be added.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2013
  2. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    The founders of this site have posted over on Norm's site asking for feedback. There's been some discussion, but no mention that the game is actually live other than on offer to start up a demo version. but that was about a month ago. If it's legitimate, it could represent an opportunity for skilled players, even without the tournaments.
  3. London Colin

    London Colin Top Member

    I get the impression that it is live, looking at the site. There is a discussion forum there, with players giving feedback. There's a .net site for freeplay in addition to the .com site.

    Indeed. It might be that the cash games would actually offer the better opportunity, in terms of getting in lots of action for small amounts, hand by hand, rather than buying into occasional tournaments which could each take a long time to complete.
  4. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    New Tournament Twist?

    I was thinking about what the tournaments might be like. It would be interesting if the rotating dealer concept was part of the tournaments. That would add a whole new dimension to the end game. Just off the top of my head:
    • One would have to be aware of who the dealer would be on the final hands.
    • One's own betting would affect how much the dealer could win or lose on a given hand.
    • The dealer would choose which player(s) he wanted to beat on a given hand differently than in cash play.
    There would certainly be more twists. Anyone have some more ideas?
  5. London Colin

    London Colin Top Member

    Your third point is certainly true, but the other two don't apply to this type of game at all. There is a helpful graphic to explain how the game works -

    The betting is flat; you can't size your bets to achieve any particular goal.

    In the tournaments there will be no final hand to anticipate. You will play, as in poker, until someone has won all the chips. (At least that is my assumption.)

    And, as in poker tournaments, there will presumably be a series of levels, with increasing bet sizes as the tournament progresses.

    One tournament-specific issue I can think of with regard to being the dealer is what should happen if you reach the stage where you can't cover all the players' bets. In a cash game you would have to either leave the table or buy in for more. In a tournament, you will either have to be eliminated (even though you still have some chips), or some mechanism will have to be found to allow you to continue.
    [Edit: It looks like you actually just have to skip your turn as dealer and continue to play, which would work the same in tournaments as in cash games.]
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2012
  6. London Colin

    London Colin Top Member

    Actually, having read up a little more on this, the above is currently true but may change in the future. So your point about influencing how much the dealer can win/lose may come into play.

    They seem to still be evolving the rules of the game, considering ideas such as hiding cards. It seems to me they may end up reinventing the British game of pontoon which I mentioned previously!
  7. leilahay

    leilahay Member

    While I can't speak for the site being discussed, I have played live tournaments where the dealer button rotates. If you are the dealer, all of your chips are up for grabs should you happen to lose the hand. Here (Reno) they pay the hands in order from the button. If the dealer is out of chips before they get to you, you are out of luck and the dealer is out of the game. They do have a set number of hands and you can vary your bet. I really don't care for it. In a recent tournament, it was all over several hands before the end because the players who would have the button didn't have enough chips left for there to be any hope of catching the leaders.
  8. London Colin

    London Colin Top Member

    Interesting. I hadn't reaslised anything like this was still being run on a regular basis. The only example I had in my head was a 'bounty' tournament that was discussed some time ago. The first attempt apparently took forever to complete, so escalating min bets (analagous to poker levels) were added -

    I think I was blithely assuming that any 'you be the dealer' tournament format would have to run along similar lines, but I suppose there are lots of ways it could be structured.

    Not sure if this breaks the rules about posting links to online casinos, but here is a link to a vsJack forum discussion about future tournaments, asking for suggestions about how they should work -
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2013
  9. PlayHunter

    PlayHunter Active Member

    Strategy for VSJack ?

    I just throwed a look at their games. First off, I really do not like their sounds, but the "mute" option is wellcome. I like their graphics, are quite well designed.

    I know that there will be a lots of factors to take into consideration when playing at VSJack, such as position, outcome of the other players, and basic strategy deviations but lets start with simple things: head to head section of their games. So I have two questions to start with:

    1. When you are the dealer - when you should accept a push by standing and when it is correct to hit for the win ?

    2. When you are the player - Do basic strategy call for a change ? (ie. still double a soft 15 vs dealer 6 ? - still split a pair of 8s vs anything ? - still double a 10 vs dealer 9 ?) How we can find correct strategy we should apply for this game or where to look for such a thing ?
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012
  10. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    I'm approaching this in my usual way. Software modifications are underway to handle this game. It may take a while because I have a couple of other sim projects underway, including the one for the game you described in http://www.blackjacktournaments.com/bb/showthread.php?t=7867

    The strategy for the dealer will be easy to specify because all the other players will have finished acting. The strategy, as a player will be more difficult to quantify since, as is the case in tournament play, it will depend on the skill level of the dealer and his response to your actions.
    PlayHunter likes this.
  11. London Colin

    London Colin Top Member

    I know PlayHunter is only asking about head to head games at the moment, but if you are considering the more general case of multiple players, then you also have to consider the hand outcomes you (and hence the dealer) have seen from any players on your right, plus what is likely to happen to the hands of any players on your left (which again partly depends on their skill levels).

    I'm not sure if the head to head format will be viable as a rake-beating proposition, since it should be almost completely deterministic (i.e. a basic strategy for both player and dealer could be arrived at). It comes down to whether or not the average player is aware of this strategy, and if not then how wildly they diverge from it.

    If you assume perfect play by the dealer (whose only opportunity to make a mistake when playing head to head is to get the answer to PlayHunter's first question wrong), then the strategy for the player can be derived from the expected response of the dealer to every possible outcome of the player's hand.

    But on top of all this there is the card counting element, since a single deck is used. That might provide an opportunity to beat the rake (assuming not everybody is doing it).

    I know it goes slightly against our ethos of sharing in this forum, but I'm wondering if it might be wise not to publish your results too widely! :D
  12. PlayHunter

    PlayHunter Active Member

    Well, I think I can come out with a tip, even might not be very strong, but I am sure, that for the moment it may improve player basic strategy:

    I am thinking at the most known variant of blackjack close to this VSJack game offered - and there is "Extreme21" - the main difference between this two blackjack variants is that in Extreme21 the dealer is forced to hit until he beat the player of busts out. For example if the player stand on 15, the dealer will stand on 16 and win, but if the player stand on 20, then the dealer will hit until 21 or bust. The dealer can not take a push as in VSJack is possible and in case the player will split a hand, the dealer will have to try and beat players highest hand. Also in that game the dealer plays only vs one player at a time. (h2h)

    The other difference is that blackjack pays 1 to 1 and the house edge is between 0.63% up to 1.16% depending on specific rules.

    The link to more info about that game and its basic strategy is: http://wizardofodds.com/games/extreme-21/

    And another tip, I believe that the player has a nice edge at VSJack versus the dealer mainly because a natural blackjack pays out at 3 to 2, and the dealer also have to play his hand against all the other players in case it is not in the head to head section of their games.

    So one person might want to skip being in the dealer position at VSJack.. is there a possibility to do this having enough bankroll at the table ?
  13. London Colin

    London Colin Top Member

    I doubt the player has the edge in the head to head variant. It seems to me this is like regular blackjack, only much worse because the dealer is allowed to stand or hit at will, until he either pushes wins or busts.

    One of the benefits for players in a multiplayer game is that they might still push, even after busting, if the dealer busts too. This will never happen head to head because the dealer has already won just by standing on any first two cards. To bust is to lose in this case, just like in regular blackjack.

    Even in the multiplayer case, I would have thought the dealer would have the edge due to playing after seeing all the hand outcomes, but I could be wrong.
  14. PlayHunter

    PlayHunter Active Member

    I think that many players will not be aware of the correct strategy, and will play with approximately the same basic strategy for traditional blackjack, even in head to head.. so might likely overcome the rakes ? - I am thinking that many players when at a blackjack table in a casino do not even play correct traditional blackjack basic strategy leaving ~2% to HE instead of ~0.5% as normal ! So in an online game where the player plays from comfort of his home..

    Card counting at VSJack, I really do not see it worthy even if only one deck is used and there are 6 players at the table because the penetration will not even reach 50%. (if I am correct most, of the time will be between 25-30%) It may slightly help a bit telling when to stand on a hard 16 for example, but this will be most likely overcomed by what other players are likely to have.. As for counting in head to head section it does not help at all counting 3-5 cards at a time..

    As regarding who has the edge, I may be wrong, but then this means that VSJack variant is very much different than Extreme21 variant, and I do not feel that dealer option to take a tie at times makes such a huge difference to cover a 3 to 2 blackjack payout which in Extreme21 is 1 to 1 ? I may be wrong, we`ll see..
  15. London Colin

    London Colin Top Member

    That is likely; at least to begin with.

    Counting will help on numerous strategy decisions, just as it would in a single-deck regular blackjack game.

    If I'm reading the rules on the Wizard's page right, you can hit after doubling in every variation of Extreme 21. That's a big factor in favour of the player that is not present in vsJack.

    Regular blackjack is the game to compare vsJack with. For head to head play it is just like regular single-deck blackjack (including the 3:2 payout for player blackjack), except that the dealer has the huge additional advanatge of not having to hit to 17 or stop hitting once 17 has been reached. The game must necessarily favour the dealer a lot more than a regular blackjack game with all the same rules apart from that one.
    PlayHunter likes this.
  16. PlayHunter

    PlayHunter Active Member

    Thanks Colin, you are right, seems I misread the point number 8 in the Extreme21 rules. "Player can double on any number of hands, and they are also allowed to hit after double" - I totally skiped that part !

    But for counting.. on VSJack website says that ther is one deck of cards used and that the deck is shuffled each hand. So, if there are 6 players at the table, the first player to act will be able to count 13 cards before to act, and the last player will be able to see ~17 cards before to act, considering an average of 2.7 cards for each person per deal. This means the first base is able to see count on a 20% penetration, and the last base will be able to count on a 30% penetration. I think that for the last base is more important the totals of the other players comparing to his hand in many times. For example let say that the first 2 players got a total of 19, and the others 3 a total of 20, and the dealer have an 8 showing. Well, if I am the last player to act, I would stand on any not busting hand including 12 ! - That is because I believe the dealer will try to beat the other five players. - So I can not see how count may help that much ?
  17. London Colin

    London Colin Top Member

    It's not a question of doing one thing or the other. The composition of the remaining deck can be a factor in deciding whether to hit or stand (or double or split), along with all the other factors that affect that decision. It might be difficult to come up with a practical way of utilizing the information in all circumstances, but the information is there and would on occasion change the optimal decision.

    And it applies when you are playing as dealer as well as player.

    Clearly if you knew that there were no tens left in the deck then you would hit your 12. Your example of three 20s and two 19s suggests perhaps half of the sixteen tens in the deck have been seen. Whether that should be enough to change your decision to stand I can't say without the aid of software.

    N.B. I think you actually can't face more than four other players, plus the dealer. That is, the max is six players in total, one of whom is currently being the dealer.
    PlayHunter likes this.
  18. PlayHunter

    PlayHunter Active Member

    "Hello. We want to thank you for playing at vsJack. We are closing down real money play for the time being and would like to cash out your balance.

    The only supported method for withdrawal is Skrill (Moneybookers). If you don't have a Skrill account you can sign up for free. You have until March 15th to get back to us with your Skrill (Moneybookers) account details and withdraw request. After that the company will be closed down. Thanks for being part of vsJack.

    That was the email I have got today. It seems that if you did used any other method different than Skrill to deposit, and if you do not have a Skrill account, then you have no choice but to sign up for Skrill and go thru a relatively tedious verification process with them in order to cash out you vsJack balance remainder.

    I believe that if anyone is still working on resolving the correct strategy for this promising new blackjack variant, should cancel/(put on hold) all the efforts.
    gronbog likes this.
  19. gronbog

    gronbog Top Member

    Thanks. I had started with the software modifications for this, but got side tracked by other projects.

    Out of interest, how did you do? I'm not looking to invade your privacy, so exact figures are not what I'm after. Just a general idea of whether you found it to be worthwhile.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
  20. PlayHunter

    PlayHunter Active Member

    I can give out exact details, no biggie. The minimum room stake was 0.2 units per hand and the maximum 5 units per hand.

    I played mainly in the 0.5 units room, but the most action (if I can say so, because there hardly was any action at all - this is the reason I believe they are closing down) was at 0.2 units room, lowest stake. Been down 10 units, then up 24 units, then back to my initial deposit minus 1 unit. Played about 5 days.

    I never played in a tournament of theirs. I wanted to, but the place was empty each time I tried. So I certainly did not played enough to have any idea about.

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