Stravaganza is a unique card game offered – as far as we are aware – only online and Playtech casinos. Stravaganza uses 5 standard decks of playing cards.
Initially the player places a ‘Play’ wager and the dealer will deal out 2 cards to the player face up. The player then adds up the point value of their two cards using the following rules;
· Pip cards are counted at their pip value
· Aces are counted as 1
· Face cards count as 10
After adding up the hand the player then has the choice to ‘Play On’, ‘Sit’, ‘Money Back’ or ‘Rescue Bet’. Which of these options is available depends on your point total. Play On is always available, Money Back is only available if you have a point total of 5 or less, Rescue Bet appears when you have a point total between 6 and 9 and Sit appears whenever you have a point value of 10 or more. The effects of the different options are listed below;
· Money Back – This option allows you to retrieve your entire bet and ends the hand
· Rescue Bet – This option allows you to recover half of your bet, losing the other half, and ends the hand.
· Sit – This options allows you to continue the hand without placing any additional wagers
· Play On – This option allows you to continue the hand and places an additional wager equal to the Play wager.
Once the player has made their decision a third hand will be dealt to the player and 3 cards will be dealt to the dealer. Both hands will then be totalled up and the hand with the highest total is the winner.
Two exceptions to the above rule exist – if the dealer receives a red Ace as their first card, the player automatically loses their Ante bet and any Play On bets are returned and if the dealer receives a red Ace as either their second or third card the player loses all wagers.
If the player wins there can be several possible payouts depending on the hand the player holds;
|3 of a Kind 5-Ks||3 to 1
|3 face cards||1.5 to 1
|All other winning hands||1 to 1
The above bonus payments are only made on the Play bet. Play On bets are paid at 1 to 1.
Stravaganza offers an optional side bet to win an Progressive Jackpot.
|Hand||Odds||Hand Probabilities ||Playtech
|3 Kings of Hearts||1 in 289562||0.000003453||100% of Jackpot
|3 of the same Face Card||1 in 14478.1||0.000069069||10% of Jackpot
|3 of a Kind J-K||1 in 846.67||0.001181094||100
|3 of a Kind 5-T||1 in 423.34||0.002362188||50
|Any 3 ten value cards||1 in 35.24||0.028373888||10
|Break Even Value||$43249
Calculating the House Edge and value for the Jackpot Bet
It is possible calculate the House Edge and break even value for any jackpot value for the Stravaganza progressive simply by using the Hand Probability figures.
To calculate the House Edge we multiply the Paytable values by the probabilities, sum the results and subtract the remaining possibilities. So if we have a Jackpot value of 14000 the calculation would be as follows;
14000×0.000003453 + 1400×0.000069069 + 100×0.001181094 + 50×0.002362188 + 10×0.028373888 – (1-(0.000003453+0.000069069+0.001181094+0.002362188+0.028373888))
0.048342 + 0.0966966 + 0.1181094 + 0.1181094 + 0.2837388 – (1-0.031989692)
So the House Edge for this Jackpot size is 30.30%
The House Edge of Stravaganza across the full round of wagering (Play and Play On bet) and assuming that the player plays using the optimal strategy discussed below is 2.54%. If the player does not play optimally this figure will rise.
The House Edge of the Jackpot bet is 3.46%.
Optimal strategy for Stravaganza is fairly straightforward and is detailed below.
· With a two card total of 9 or less take the Money Back or Recover Bet option
· With a two card total of 10, take the Play On option if you hold a pair of 5s otherwise take the Sit option
· With a two card total of 11 or more always Play On
Below you can find a calculator to allow you to check the fairness of your wins/losses when playing Stravaganza. Please note that this calculator is only accurate if you’ve been playing using the optimum strategy described above.
As far as we’re aware Stravaganza is not available offline.
There are several methods of legitimately gaining an advantage playing online Stravaganza games. By and large these involve the use of promotions, bonuses and comp point systems as the games by themselves – assuming the game is functioning in a correct fashion and there are no errors in the paytable – will not provide any additional information about the cards and shuffles after every hand.
It should be noted that online advantage play is not specific to Stravaganza and in recent years the wagering requirements for player’s choosing to play any table game has inflated to the point that Stravaganza is now often a sub-optimal choice for the player. For more information on beating online casinos see BeatingBonuses.com.
* All ‘House Edge’ figures in this article are based on the ‘loss per unit wagered’ rather than ‘loss per initial bet’.