You know what we all need, besides a +EV game, or some ridiculously countable side-bet? We need more fun at a blackjack table. We also sometimes need a miracle just to get even at a blackjack table. Both of these are offered by the new Multiplier Blackjack game at my local Jamul Casino, in Jamul, CA.
I did the math for the game inventors about 6 years ago. I understand the game won the Best-in-Show award at the table games conference, and is growing in casino placements around the country. It’s finally available in San Diego county, and I checked it out last night. Woo-hoo, it’s fun, and I actually won at a blackjack table for once!
The idea behind the game is simple. All the rules are the same as Blackjack, but when you win against a dealer bust, you’re paid odds based on the dealer bust card. The payouts are higher for a low bust card, and decrease to 1-to-2 for a picture card. When the dealer busts with a 10-spot card (Ten), your winning wager just pushes. Of course, the game excitement comes when you’re hoping for a dealer bust with a Six (pays 4-to-1), or any other non-10 valued card.
Why It’s Fun
Regular blackjack is boring for a lot of people. I almost never play it, because I just don’t care about even-money games. I walk by all the blackjack tables. I’ll look at some of the odds-paying side bets, but it’s still not worth the effort of playing the main blackjack game.
The potential 4-to-1 payout of Multiplier Blackjack makes the game fun. I really don’t care if I sometimes win 1-to-2 on a dealer bust with a picture, because it’s still a win. It’s all part of the build-up towards a 4-to-1, or 3-to-1 win. And, if that win comes on a multiply split hand with a double or two, that’s really exciting. (In fact, that happened during my first short session, where I re-split Deuces to three hands, had a double-after-split, and the dealer busted with an Eight.)
I also like the way the table layout has betting spots for both regular blackjack, and Multiplier Blackjack. That way, the player has the option of either standard blackjack, or the multiplier version. This makes it easy for the casino to introduce the game to the player, pretty much at no floor-space cost. This layout itself is a new innovation, where the player can choose between different blackjack versions on-the-fly, or weight wagers differently for the same hand.
As I mentioned before, there are sometimes during a session when an odds payout becomes attractive (or necessary).
The house edge for a six-deck shoe game with Late Surrender (LS), double after split (DAS), re-split up to 4 hands (SP4) including Aces (SPA4) is 1.92%. So, pretty much for the cost of a 6-to-5 blackjack game, you get a lot of fun, and up to a 4-to-1 payout on wins.
I generated a basic strategy table for the Multiplier Blackjack rules, a six-deck shoe, and the above pay table. There are a few differences from standard blackjack, notably the hits with hard-12 against a dealer 2-4 upcard. There are a few more doubles with hard 9 and even hard 8 against a dealer 6 upcard. Overall, the play is a little more aggressive, including splitting 4-4 against a dealer 5 or 6 upcard.
I checked the sensitivity of the house edge to the removal of a single card from the 6-deck shoe, to see if the game was somehow especially vulnerable to card-counting, because of the odds payout. The sensitivity numbers (the effect-of-removal, or EORs) were of pretty standard magnitude. And, because of the high initial house edge, it takes a much more distorted shoe to attain any +EV opportunities. So, it looks like the game is fairly uncountable.
|Single Removed Card Rank||EOR|