I'll be the first to say that I'm no expert in Blackjack but together with the help from players and lots of reading, I'm trying to perfect this game. I've come to learn that it's not quite as simple as I thought when I was a kid playing it. Lets quickly go over Blackjack on our game, to show that there is nothing to hide, there is no fixing and where we want to take this game feature in the future.
Currently the rules are pretty basic:
- We use four decks of cards each game. The shoe is not kept until it runs out or anything like that, it's a new fresh set of four cards each game.
- Cards are dealt, of course, at random (this is a simulation of a deck being shuffled and then cards dealt out as usual). No same card can be dealt more than four times (once per deck).
- The dealer always hits on less than 17 and stands on 17 or more.
- The player can either hit or stand.
These things, such as having four decks re-shuffled per game, are mostly an advantage to families. The trouble is that families have been setting their maximum bets at unsustainable amounts and as such losing a lot of money. A clever man named Capra said in chat yesterday that Blackjack is a game designed to only make the house a profit over the long term and even then, it's minimal. Well on Gangster Nation, due to the way the game is setup, it's actually a lot easier for families to make a profit - at the moment - but by setting maximum bets too high etc, it isn't always happening. We have lowered the "maximum max bet" to 25% of the family's bank balance - this is to help both players and families, to generally improve Blackjack.
In future we plan to maintain the shoe between games in the same location with the same player (up until a certain amount of cards are left) and let the user know when it's being swapped out for a new one. We plan to allow users to choose options such as splitting. We even plan, in the far future, to make Blackjack multi-player (if people wish to play it this way), where lots of people can sit at the one virtual table playing together.
Whilst no major bugs have been found so far, there were some strange statistics noticed for earlier in the week. These statistics will have related to a bug back then which has since been found and squashed. In addition to this, a bug was found today were players would keep their money if the dealer got 21/"Blackjack" - the family would get nothing. It is believed that the game is now bug-free however things can creep in sometimes and things do get missed, no matter how much we test internally. As always, if you feel that there is a bug in the game, please get in touch with us. We may not be able to locate it or do anything about such a bug at first (even if it does exist) but you're still helping us, if possible do also provide as much information as possible.
So as it stands Blackjack is running pretty much as it always has done here, although there is no profit tax for families right now whilst we try to help them actually make some profit. From today, things seem to be running smoothly.
Introducing the new statistics...
|The new and improved statistics for Blackjack|
To prove that nothing is going on, that there is no fixing and that things are running as they should, we now provide more detailed statistics on Blackjack. These show what kind of profits the tables and players are making, the ratio / percentage of wins for the house vs players. It's actually quite a simple page still but the statistics themselves are more detailed and as such provide a better insight as to how Blackjack is running, they can also do a good job of pointing out anything which is going wrong - for both us and you guys.
No doubt we'll have a new breed of player come along and say that the statistics themselves are fake but this just simply isn't the case. They are cached for 5 minutes at a time, so whilst not live, they're almost live. This is purely for performance reasons because it takes a bit out of our database to pull up the statistics which are available in each location for different time periods.
Over the coming days, these statistics will be carried into the personal stats page. This will allow people who bet on Blackjack to see exactly how they are performing themselves against each table and in total - just like the global statistics show for every player together. The period selection will also default to "24 Hours" and stick to what it is set to between page loads, instead of working how it does now.
"It's not important"
Blackjack isn't really the "main part" of Gangster Nation, gambling is just an extra fun thing to do when your timers are all in place. That's my personal view anyway. However, it's clear that others thoroughly enjoy gambling more than anything else. As such, it may have taken days out of our time fiddling with Blackjack, searching for bugs, thinking of how to improve it, talking to players about it etc but we see this as being as important as anything else on the game. It needs developing properly, it needs to be working properly. If Blackjack makes players happy (or unhappy), it's certainly an important part and requires the right attention.
We're going to continue to monitor Blackjack and see how things go. The improvements mentioned towards the top of this post will come into place at some point, it's just about making time for it. The improved personal statistics are coming in the next few days.
Hopefully these "simple but detailed" statistics, plus this blog post, give the element of transparency to this part of the game which was needed. We have no interest in fixing anything with gambling, the house always wins anyway (or should do)! If we're doing anything which isn't normal, we will tell you, it will be written somewhere. There is nothing to cover up and I hope people begin to see this.
In other news
Family payout will be functioning soon and a payout will be made to cover today's where it was missed. We've also decided to replace Armed Robbery (the single player one) with Staged Crimes, thanks to Tripwire's suggestion. The ladies of the night can perhaps find their way into the game another time, in the future.
Thanks for reading, if you got this far you must really be into Blackjack because my fingers are hurting.