Chinese Blackjack

The Symmetry of the Game

Chinese blackjack, also called "Ban-Luck" in Singapore is a very interesting game because it is practically symmetric between the dealer and the players. This can be attributed to the identical scoring rules and payouts for the dealer and players, which helps in keeping the game simple. As a matter of fact, if a dealer decides to play differently by hitting cards prior to revealing the hands of the player; the game becomes even more symmetric overall.

On the other hand, the house edge of the dealer only comes from the ability to selectively show several players' hands prior to hitting. This means that the dealer gets another edge because he can beat the weaker hands first and by building up hands even more to confront the stronger hands.

Do Strategies Exist?

Unfortunately, the majority of player strategies out there usually have minimal impacts because of the game's limited inherent strategic nature. See, Chinese blackjack coerces players to draw until they get 16, which statistically means it wouldn't be smart to keep drawing. There is only one exception here: when soft hands exist, it would be best to hit. Although there are small chances of getting a better hand, the main problem would lie in confounding the dealer's model by making him think your hand busted.

Now, dealers have much more leeway when it comes to strategic analysis as they can compute the chances of 4s through the extended simulation of Monte Carlo. Plus, with pre-computed tables or with computing power, they can get precise odds about when player hands will be more superior, or when drawing a card will improve their hands, depending on the hands already shown. Still, the feasibility regarding these implementations is doubtful.

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