Double Attack Blackjack

I was speaking at a software development conference in Las Vegas recently. The event was at Bally’s Hotel on the Strip. I noticed a table game there called Double Attack Blackjack that I haven’t seen at any other casino on the Strip.


The idea is very simple. The game is exactly like regular Blackjack but with one difference. Players place a bet, say $10, as usual. Then the dealer deals her first card up (so players can see it) as usual. But then before players get their two cards, they have the option to double their bet (by adding another $10).


For example, you start by betting $10. The dealer deals her up card and you see it’s a 6 — the worst card for the dealer. So, at this point you can immediately add another $10 to your bet. Then the dealer deals all the players’ cards and deals her own second card face down. Then players hit or stand or split or double down as usual.

You’d think that these rules would give a big edge to the player, but obviously (because the game is there) this is not the case. According to the well-known “Wizard of Odds” Web site, the house still has a 0.62% edge, which is small but still a nice edge for the house.

Anyway, there was just a single Double Attack Blackjack table at Bally’s and it was always packed with players.

Las Vegas is just an incredibly fascinating place for anyone who likes mathematics and human behavior.

This entry was posted in Machine Learning. Bookmark the permalink.