May 2009
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Tending towards expectation

Gala’s weekly casino bonuses are still going strong.  I’ve now played their free £10 on roulette three times, and £10 for blackjack the same.

I also checked out their Three Card Poker game when I received an email alerting me to a £10 bonus for £100 in action.  That’s half as much as you need to play on Blackjack or Roulette, and while you’d except the house edge to be higher on that kind of carnival game it would have to be higher than 10% to make this bonus a dud.

There are other weekly bonuses I’ve not participated in for slots and a scratchcard game, because there’s a very good chance that these do pay back less than 90%, and there’s just no way of knowing for sure.

However The Wizard of Odds clocks Gala’s Three Card Poker paytable at a very playable 3.7% for the main bet (the perfect strategy is ridiculously easy: bet if you have Q64 or better, otherwise fold) and 2.32% on the “Pair Plus” prop bet.  I played them both, and I’m glad I took the side bet because I hit a super hot streak of straights (each paying 6-1) to give me a total profit of £36, plus the £10 donation from Gala for showing up.

I must have been owed something good though after a brutal blackjack session earlier in the week which cost me £30.  That’s after offsetting the free £10, so it was a pretty severe £40 loss from 200 hands, playing £1 per hand.  The effect of the bonus money makes it twice as easy to win £30 (as I did the first time I played) than to lose £30.

While the expectation of these quickie bonuses is good, the swings can be wild.  Fortunately, with so many of them to play (now at least 3 per week that I know are profitable), things should start to even out fairly quickly.

Here’s the story so far.  I am working on a house edge of 1% for blackjack, 1.35% for European roulette on even money bets only (but 2.7% the first week, when I didn’t know about this rule) and 3.7% for Three Card Poker.

Date Game Expected Actual
1-May Blackjack 8.00 32.50
2-May Euro Roulette 5.60 8.00
8-May Blackjack 8.00 -30.00
9-May Euro Roulette 7.30 3.00
11-May Three Card Poker 6.30 46.00
15-May Blackjack 8.00 -3.50
16-May Euro Roulette 7.30 -7.00
  TOTAL 50.50 49.00

Not too far off then.  Keep ’em coming!