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Four Cast is one of the most unusual casino games I have ever seen. Normally I don't write about the really bizarre games, but Four Cast has been played at the Slotland and Win a Day Internet casinos since almost the beginning of Internet gambling.
The thrust of the game is the player has to make a forecast on the rank and suit of each of four playing cards. To make things easier, there are a couple jokers, which always result in a correct prediction and double the player's balance. The game starts with multiplying the player's bet by 100 but incorrect and partially incorrect answers will quickly diminish that balance. Whatever is left after four predictions is what the player gets.
Finally, there is a progressive jackpot that the player should be not be overly tempted by. The odds of hitting it are not determined naturally by the cards, as I explain below.
- A 54-card deck is used, with the usual 52 cards plus two jokers.
- Four cards are dealt to the player.
- Whatever the player bets, the game will multiply that bet by 100.
- The player must make two forecasts about the first card:
- The suit (hearts, diamonds, clubs, or spades)
- Whether it is odd (3, 5, 7, 9), even (2, 4, 6, 8, or 10), or high (jack, queen, king, or ace)
- If the card is a joker, then the balance is doubled.
- If the player gets both forecasts correct, then his balance remains the same.
- If the player gets the suit only correct, then his balance is reduced by 50%.
- Otherwise, the balance is reduced by 90%.
- The player will repeat steps 4 to 8 for three more cards.
- Any reduction will be rounded down to the nearest $0.25.
- If the player bet $20 and gets all four predictions correct and all four suits are represented, then the player will win a progressive jackpot.
- Per the casino's own rules, the jackpot is not triggered by the cards but rather by an internal mechanism. Here is a screenshot of how they explain it:
I have two pieces of advice regarding strategy:
- Always pick even, since it includes five ranks, and both alternatives contain four only.
- Pick the suit with the equal or more remaining cards left than all other suits.
The following table shows the expected return, assuming the player does not bet enough to qualify for the progressive jackpot and ignoring the effect of rounding down. The lower right cell shows an expected return of 89.457%. In other words, a house edge of 10.543%.
Four Cast Return Table
Before considering the jackpot, the house edge of Four Cast is 10.543%. If the game was dealt fairly, then the probability of the jackpot would be 1 in 12,144. This would result in an extra return of 4.11% for each $10,000 in the jackpot meter. At the minimum jackpot of $50,000, the player advantage would be 10.04%. As of this writing, the jackpot is at $53,912, which would result in a player advantage of 11.65%. At a jackpot of $100,000, the player advantage would be 30.63%
However, all that is moot because the jackpot isn't determined fairly by the cards. Since the odds of the jackpot can't be quantified, I can't justify ascribing any value to it, so I can't argue the return is any higher than 89.46%.
I am big on open and honest gambling. Part of that means electronic representations of physical gambling equipment like cards, dice and balls conform to natural probabilities, as if played in real life. By their own admission, Slotland and Win a Day do not trigger the jackpot in card games by the cards themselves. For this reason, Slotland and Win a Day are on my online casino grey list. At least they admit the jackpots are gaffed. If they didn't, they would be on the blacklist.