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Last Updated: February 8, 2019

Lucky Cat Blackjack

Introduction

Lucky Cat Blackjack is a game by game inventor Geoff Hall. This one plays like conventional blackjack, except if the dealer gets a 22, then special Lucky Cat dice are rolled to determine the outcome.

Rules

  1. Lucky Cat blackjack follows conventional blackjack rules, including all major rule variations, except as follows.
  2. If the dealer draws to a total of 22, then four special Lucky Cat dice will be rolled.
  3. Each Lucky Cat die has a picture of the Lucky Cat on one side and are blank on the other five.
  4. Any player hands still standing, including after splitting, will pay according to the number of Lucky Cats appearing on the roll of the dice, according to one of the pay tables below.
  5. As in conventional blackjack, if the player gets a blackjack, then he shall win immediately at the posted table odds and not be subject to the Lucky Cat roll if the dealer gets to 22.

According to the math report, there are two pay tables available the casino for outcome of a throw of the Lucky Cat dice.

Dealer 22 Pay Table

Hand Pay Table 1 Pay Table 2
4 100 to 1 50 to 1
3 10 to 1 10 to 1
2 3 to 1 2 to 1
1 1 to 1 1 to 1
0 Push Push

If these rules were confusing, perhaps this rack card will help. Click on it for a larger version.

Lucky Cat Blackjack Rack Card

Strategy

Following is the basic strategy for Lucky Cat Blackjack, assuming six or eight decks.

Lucky cat blackjack basic strategy

It should be noted the only differences compared to conventional blackjack are:

  • Hit 11 against an aces, as opposed to doubling.
  • Hit 3,3 against a 2, as opposed to splitting, assuming double after a split is allowed.

This basic strategy is for pay table 2. The only difference with pay table 1 is to stand on soft 19 against a 6, as opposed to doubling.

Analysis

The following table shows the probability of 0 to 4 Lucky Cats per roll under Pay Table 1. The lower right cell shows an expected win of 0.964506 to 1. Compare to this the 1 to 1 win in conventional blackjack.

Expected Lucky Cat Win — Pay Table 1

Lucky
Cats
Pays Probability Expected
Cats
4 100 0.000772 0.077160
3 10 0.015432 0.154321
2 3 0.115741 0.347222
1 1 0.385802 0.385802
0 0 0.482253 0.000000
Total 1.000000 0.964506

The following table shows the probability of 0 to 4 Lucky Cats per roll under Pay Table 2. The lower right cell shows an expected win of 0.810185.

Expected Lucky Cat Win — Pay Table 2

Lucky
Cats
Pays Probability Return
4 50 0.000772 0.038580
3 10 0.015432 0.154321
2 2 0.115741 0.231481
1 1 0.385802 0.385802
0 0 0.482253 0.000000
Total 1.000000 0.810185

All things considered, for the same set of blackjack rules, I show the effect on the expected return of the Lucky Cat rule on a dealer 22 to be as follows. A negative number means a lower return for the player, thus a higher house edge.

  • Pay Table 1: -0.34%.
  • Pay Table 2: -1.44%.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Geoff Hall for sharing the BMI math report, which I agree with.

— Discussion in my forum at Wizard of Vegas.


Written by: Michael Shackleford

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