The Blackjack Wheel of Madness

Posted on: May 6, 2012, by :

Here’s a side bet that bears some similarities to bonus spin, but with different overall odds and rules. It’s called Wheel of Madness (I did not make that up), and as with Bonus Spin, the bet is a set $1 per hand. In this one, if the player wins his hand, he wins the ability to spin the wheel for a prize. The “prizes” are multiples of the bet, not actual, tangible prizes. Also worth noting, some casinos allow you to bet more than $1, but it’s the exception.

What sets Wheel of Madness apart from Bonus Spin, and any other side bet in blackjack online for that matter, is that it opens the door to card counting as a tactical advantage for the player. Since you’re basically adding another bet on top of your normal bet to win the hand (and not subject to certain random pairings of cards), then the player can pick and choose the spots where the true count is beneficial. Of course, nothing sends up a card-counting red flag than selectively playing a side bet, but it’s worth mentioning nevertheless.

Here are the basic odds and percentages for the game.

For a one-deck game, like the ones you will find at The Mirage, the probability of a player winning any single hand is 4.83%, with an overall house edge at 22.8%. For a two-deck game, the odds for you drop to 4.78%, while the house edge creeps up to 23.5%. Three decks is 4.76% and 23.77%. Four decks is 4.76% and 23.9%. Five and six decks are both about 4.75% and 24%. And eight decks is 4.75 and 24.1%.

So, as you can see, once you get passed two decks, it doesn’t really matter, although none of these blackjack online tournaments offer what you’d call a favorable house edge, even compared to other side bets. So you’re only real chance of making any money off this gamble in the first place is to implement counting. And as you’d do with a regular bet, you have to shield your play carefully so as not to alert the casino to your plan. I’m not sure exactly why you’d play this, though, since you’d be counting a regular bet anway, and the side bet is certainly going to be more restrictive. Nevertheless, the novelty of playing a side bet that allows you to spin a wheel for a prize is going to attract plenty of amateur players just out to enjoy themselves. At least now, if you’re in that group, you can arm yourself with some helpful statistics.

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