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Thread: 21 Blitz app -- is there a way to AP this thing?

  1. #1
    I kept seeing ads for a mobile game called "21 Blitz", where you can supposedly win real money. I downloaded it this morning out of curiosity, and then I read the reviews on the App Store.

    Before I begin, I need to explain how the game works.

    21 Blitz is sort of a cross between blackjack and solitaire.

    You have four "lanes" of cards, which you stack upon one another (like solitaire). However, unlike solitaire, there is no order the cards need to be stacked, and instead you're just totaling the values. The goal is to make exactly 21 in each lane. If you bust, you get a "strike". If the total is under 21, then nothing happens, and the cards stay there until you add more to it. If you make 21, then you get 400 points. At that point, the lane "clears" and you start that lane over. You play with one 52-card deck, and are on a timer. Usually you will finish before the timer expires, but you get bonus points for time remaining. Obviously the goal is to make as many 21s as possible, and to constantly clear lanes. Also, apparently the jack of clubs is a "wild" card and will automatically clear any lane as soon as it's dropped, and will earn 200 points (600 if it also makes 21). If you get three strikes from busting, the game ends prematurely.



    You can download it for free on your smartphone, and play practice rounds. It's very easy to learn and get a hang of.

    After a few practice rounds, I very quickly learned some strategy.

    First, look if the current card can make a 21. So if you have a 5 to place, and one lane has 16, obviously put it there.

    Next, if you can't make 21, see if you can make 11. Why? Because there are 16 tens in the deck (T/J/Q/K), so it's easy to make 21 with those.

    If you can't make either 11 or 21, then you should first fill open lanes. Once open lanes are filled, you should seek to avoid having the same hard totals over 10 out there. So let's say you have a 5 and the four lanes are: 8, 14, 13, 7. You should put it on the 7, to make 12. You wouldn't want to put it on the 8, because then you'll have two 13s, BOTH of which will need 8 to make 21. You want to open up as many possibilities to make 21, so the next card is more likely to make 21.

    You should also avoid making high totals (especially 20), because those are a lot harder to convert to 21. For example, 20 can only become 21 via an ace.

    Furthermore, an ace is valuable because of its 1/11 flexibility, so you should avoid putting an ace on an lane with a total of 11-19, because you want to be able to use it for 1 or 11.

    You also want to avoid having four lanes all over 11, because then if you draw a ten, you will bust one of them.

    You also get bonuses for "streaks" (21 made multiple times in a row). So 2 in a row, you get 250, 3 in a row gets 500, 4 in a row gets 750, etc.

    If you make 5 cards in one lane, you automatically clear it (even if it's not 21) and get 600 points. If you also make 21, then you get 1000 points.

    You always play this game in "match" mode. You have an opponent with the exact same cards dealt as you (a random deck shuffled beforehand, and you both get the cards from it in the exact same order), and then you compete to see who gets the most points. This makes the game entirely skill-based, as the "luck" of the deck is completely taken out of it, since your opponent uses the identical cards as you. (More on that later.)

    Anyway, that's how the game works and the basic strategy. Now time to talk about the real money element to it.

    You are allowed to play for free, but you can also deposit real money and play other (supposedly) human players in real money matches.

    The company makes money by taking a substantial (20-40%) rake off each match.

    Still, despite such a brutal rake, could you make decent money by simply getting really good at it and crushing ploppies, perhaps by mathematically solving the game?

    The answer is no.

    Why?

    Because the game "matches you based upon skill", meaning that if it observes you're very good, they will place you with other very good players. If you suck, they will place you against crappy players.

    The question:

    I wonder if it's possible to trick the game by playing really badly in the practice rounds, and even in the lowest real money rounds, and then playing the highest ($20) rounds and suddenly playing better?

    Like, if you throw the match against five $1 opponents, will you get placed with a bad $20 opponent?

    In case you're wondering, the reason for matching similar skill levels is to basically make it to where everyone loses over time to the rake. The ideal for the company is that everyone wins exactly half the time, which would leave everyone with less money than they started with. This is similar to how online poker sites don't like pro players, because they prefer everyone is at the same skill level, and keeps the same money on there with the rake dwindling away everyone's bankroll until they redeposit.

    My first question: Is this game solvable? I think it probably is, and at that point, it becomes a matter of who plays perfectly in the shortest time.

    Second, I wonder if there's a way to game the skill-matching algorithm, either through intentional poor play in low money (or practice) matches, or through multi-accounting.
    Check out my poker forum, and weekly internet radio show at http://pokerfraudalert.com

  2. #2
    Is this legal?

    Yes.

    Why?

    Because there's no element of chance, so it is not considered gambling.

    Regular blackjack, or even skill games like poker still have an element of luck, so they are illegal to play online, unless legalized and regulated by the government of your jurisdiction.
    Check out my poker forum, and weekly internet radio show at http://pokerfraudalert.com

  3. #3
    I dont know about the money portion, but the game itself is just "Turbo 21" that's been on Pogo.com for years.

    https://www.pogo.com/games/turbo-21

    Before I got into AP, I played the hell out of that game and "Buckaroo Blackjack" on that site until they got rid of it.

  4. #4
    Interesting sounding game.

    Yes it’s absolutely solvable, but one tricky part would be the combos (although that’s probably not too important).

    How do you deposit money? You can most likely just keep reinstalling and grind it out. Unfortunately the vig is super high, but if you’re playing against trash players, it shouldn’t be much of an issue.
    #FreeTyde

  5. #5
    If you want to play games and make money... Download "Blast"

  6. #6
    Originally Posted by BadBeet View Post
    If you want to play games and make money... Download "Blast"
    Link.

    Perhaps an explanation.


    As far as games that are solvable, where you are playing for real money VS other players, whats to keep people from using computer programs?

    Even if they have a rating system, it seems like people can sandbag until significant money is involve. Then you have multiple account that can be used, put in ringers, so on, and so on.

    Sites claim they keep an eyes out for the use of computers, however, if done right I doubt they would catch it. And of course, they have no real incentive to boot people off the site. It seems like they will only take action if its blatant and obvious just to protect their reputation. We have seen this type of stuff going on for years in online poker.

  7. #7
    "Blast" is an app where you get a list of games to download and play and each game has a set goal to reach to receive a payout. They range from $0.25 to $1.25. There is a weekly leaderboard and the winner gets $1K. I mean its free so it is 100% EV right?

  8. #8
    Originally Posted by AxelWolf View Post
    Originally Posted by BadBeet View Post
    If you want to play games and make money... Download "Blast"
    Link.

    Perhaps an explanation.


    As far as games that are solvable, where you are playing for real money VS other players, whats to keep people from using computer programs?

    Even if they have a rating system, it seems like people can sandbag until significant money is involve. Then you have multiple account that can be used, put in ringers, so on, and so on.

    Sites claim they keep an eyes out for the use of computers, however, if done right I doubt they would catch it. And of course, they have no real incentive to boot people off the site. It seems like they will only take action if its blatant and obvious just to protect their reputation. We have seen this type of stuff going on for years in online poker.
    These are mobile games, so it's harder to use a computer to solve them. Not impossible, but a lot tougher.

    The company behind this game (Skillz) is actually worse than a poker site, because they really want to keep EVERYONE from winning at 21 Blitz. The goal is to make everyone win 50% of their real money matches, and lose to the rake.
    Check out my poker forum, and weekly internet radio show at http://pokerfraudalert.com

  9. #9
    Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Originally Posted by AxelWolf View Post
    Originally Posted by BadBeet View Post
    If you want to play games and make money... Download "Blast"
    Link.

    Perhaps an explanation.


    As far as games that are solvable, where you are playing for real money VS other players, whats to keep people from using computer programs?

    Even if they have a rating system, it seems like people can sandbag until significant money is involve. Then you have multiple account that can be used, put in ringers, so on, and so on.

    Sites claim they keep an eyes out for the use of computers, however, if done right I doubt they would catch it. And of course, they have no real incentive to boot people off the site. It seems like they will only take action if its blatant and obvious just to protect their reputation. We have seen this type of stuff going on for years in online poker.
    These are mobile games, so it's harder to use a computer to solve them. Not impossible, but a lot tougher.

    The company behind this game (Skillz) is actually worse than a poker site, because they really want to keep EVERYONE from winning at 21 Blitz. The goal is to make everyone win 50% of their real money matches, and lose to the rake.
    Do you think people are using programs to win? If so, do you think they are making good money? If not, why not?

    I know they used to have chess online you could play people for money. I thought, my god, this can't be good.
    I never played that site. Occasionally I play chess online there have been a few times that I received a notification that says, you lost to a cheater. So they can obviously tell computer play VS human play. However, what if someone plays part of the match normally and part of the match with computer assistance? I don't know how they could pick up on that.

  10. #10
    IMHO "Pay to Play" "Casino Type" games should be banned... It is so messed up one can purchase "coin" packages for up to $199 to get a Billion or Two Billion coins to have absolutely no chance of winning anything. Yet online "gambling" can not be done legally...

  11. #11
    Originally Posted by BadBeet View Post
    IMHO "Pay to Play" "Casino Type" games should be banned... It is so messed up one can purchase "coin" packages for up to $199 to get a Billion or Two Billion coins to have absolutely no chance of winning anything. Yet online "gambling" can not be done legally...
    https://www.casino.org/news/big-fish...-gambling-rule

  12. #12
    Originally Posted by AxelWolf View Post
    Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Originally Posted by AxelWolf View Post
    Link.

    Perhaps an explanation.


    As far as games that are solvable, where you are playing for real money VS other players, whats to keep people from using computer programs?

    Even if they have a rating system, it seems like people can sandbag until significant money is involve. Then you have multiple account that can be used, put in ringers, so on, and so on.

    Sites claim they keep an eyes out for the use of computers, however, if done right I doubt they would catch it. And of course, they have no real incentive to boot people off the site. It seems like they will only take action if its blatant and obvious just to protect their reputation. We have seen this type of stuff going on for years in online poker.
    These are mobile games, so it's harder to use a computer to solve them. Not impossible, but a lot tougher.

    The company behind this game (Skillz) is actually worse than a poker site, because they really want to keep EVERYONE from winning at 21 Blitz. The goal is to make everyone win 50% of their real money matches, and lose to the rake.
    Do you think people are using programs to win? If so, do you think they are making good money? If not, why not?

    I know they used to have chess online you could play people for money. I thought, my god, this can't be good.
    I never played that site. Occasionally I play chess online there have been a few times that I received a notification that says, you lost to a cheater. So they can obviously tell computer play VS human play. However, what if someone plays part of the match normally and part of the match with computer assistance? I don't know how they could pick up on that.
    Chess would be much easier to cheat, because it's slow-moving.

    You could run a chess program on another machine, put it on the most difficult setting, and then enter in your opponent's moves as "yours" and then make the same moves as the program did against you.

    This one would be harder to use programs because it's timed, though you can pause the game. If you were willing to pause after each card is dealt, you could use a program to show you what to do.
    Check out my poker forum, and weekly internet radio show at http://pokerfraudalert.com

  13. #13
    Originally Posted by BadBeet View Post
    IMHO "Pay to Play" "Casino Type" games should be banned... It is so messed up one can purchase "coin" packages for up to $199 to get a Billion or Two Billion coins to have absolutely no chance of winning anything. Yet online "gambling" can not be done legally...
    I agree. Most of these games with in-app purchases are run by very shady companies, and many have a gambling or pseudo-gambling element to them, and are often aimed at kids or teenagers!

    Except it's worse than gambling, because at least with gambling you walk away with money when you win. Here you are gambling as to what in-game reward you get!

    They also do a lot of shady crap, such as having people try for a reward which is valuable today, but then they introduce other things you can win which makes the stuff people won last month far less valuable in the game. Shit like that.

    These should be made illegal.
    Check out my poker forum, and weekly internet radio show at http://pokerfraudalert.com

  14. #14
    Originally Posted by jbjb View Post
    Originally Posted by BadBeet View Post
    IMHO "Pay to Play" "Casino Type" games should be banned... It is so messed up one can purchase "coin" packages for up to $199 to get a Billion or Two Billion coins to have absolutely no chance of winning anything. Yet online "gambling" can not be done legally...
    https://www.casino.org/news/big-fish...-gambling-rule
    Yes it is only in Washington State where these games are not allowed. That isn't a big piece of the US population at all...

  15. #15
    Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Originally Posted by BadBeet View Post
    IMHO "Pay to Play" "Casino Type" games should be banned... It is so messed up one can purchase "coin" packages for up to $199 to get a Billion or Two Billion coins to have absolutely no chance of winning anything. Yet online "gambling" can not be done legally...
    I agree. Most of these games with in-app purchases are run by very shady companies, and many have a gambling or pseudo-gambling element to them, and are often aimed at kids or teenagers!

    Except it's worse than gambling, because at least with gambling you walk away with money when you win. Here you are gambling as to what in-game reward you get!

    They also do a lot of shady crap, such as having people try for a reward which is valuable today, but then they introduce other things you can win which makes the stuff people won last month far less valuable in the game. Shit like that.

    These should be made illegal.
    Exactly. They are far worse than real gambling...

  16. #16
    Originally Posted by BadBeet View Post
    IMHO "Pay to Play" "Casino Type" games should be banned... It is so messed up one can purchase "coin" packages for up to $199 to get a Billion or Two Billion coins to have absolutely no chance of winning anything. Yet online "gambling" can not be done legally...
    You could also spend that much on a home video game system and have absolute no chance at winning money also.

    I will say though, anyone that actually purchases these coin/chip packages is just plain stupid. But I see it as no different then paying to play any other kind of game.

  17. #17
    Originally Posted by jbjb View Post
    Originally Posted by BadBeet View Post
    IMHO "Pay to Play" "Casino Type" games should be banned... It is so messed up one can purchase "coin" packages for up to $199 to get a Billion or Two Billion coins to have absolutely no chance of winning anything. Yet online "gambling" can not be done legally...
    You could also spend that much on a home video game system and have absolute no chance at winning money also.

    I will say though, anyone that actually purchases these coin/chip packages is just plain stupid. But I see it as no different then paying to play any other kind of game.
    No, a home gaming system is very different.

    You know exactly what you're buying when you get it, and the cost is fixed.

    Do you want a new game for $50? Okay, you know the game costs $50, and that's it (well, unless the game also has in-app purchases!)

    But games offering in-app purchases are unethical in so many ways.

    The true cost is hidden. Only as you gain experience with the game (and invest significant time, effort, and emotional attachment to it) do you realize that you need to buy the power-ups in order to have a chance to succeed in the game. So your choice at that point is either to continue losing, quit, or invest money in the time you already spent.

    But it gets much worse. The power-ups you buy often suffer from inflation. That is, something very valuable and powerful today will be far less effective a month from now. Then you feel pressured to buy new power-ups, basically throwing good money after bad.

    Then there's the gambling factor. You aren't even necessarily getting what you're trying to pay for. You're literally gambling as to whether or not you're actually going to get the power-up you're buying. And it's often teenagers making these decisions.

    Some people spend 5 figures on these games. Not even exaggerating. Spending 4 figures is quite common.

    Despite the lavish spending that some users engage in, the customer service is horrendous and often downright hostile. For example, if you make an accidental purchase and want to get it reversed, you will often be refused, even if you have been one of their best customers. They know an addict when they see one.

    Imagine going to a restaurant, ordering a prime steak for $50, but then they spin a wheel where you can get either a prime steak, a lower-grade cut of meat, an appetizer of sliders, or a hamburger. Then if you get anything but the prime steak, you pay another $50 to spin again, and keep repeating until you finally get that steak. That's what these games are doing.
    Check out my poker forum, and weekly internet radio show at http://pokerfraudalert.com

  18. #18
    BUMP

    So I've been playing this sometimes in my spare time, especially shortly before going to sleep.

    Unfortunately, I think there's some kind of cheating or other shadiness going on at the real money mode, even at the lowest level. I'll explain shortly.

    At the free level, it seems pretty legit. Once you get good at the game, it's pretty easy to own heads at the free games and rise to near the top of the leaderboard.

    However, I got bored of this after some time, and wanted to see if I could really make money from it.

    I wasn't dumb enough to risk real money on this shady thing. After you win 20 free matches (at any level), you earn a one-time $2 infusion of real cash into your account. I assume there's some playthrough requirement. Obviously I wasn't looking to just withdraw the $2.

    You will earn another $1 after playing like 5 real money games at any level.

    So that's basically $3 free.

    If you bust your account, you can delete the app, reload it, and sign up for a new one. You'll earn the free money all over again. However, this does take time, as you have to play 20 free matches to get there.

    I found an incredibly consistent pattern to the whole thing:

    1) I earn free $2

    2) I start owning people at the lowest level (60 cent buyin to win 40 cents, all you can afford to enter with $2 in your account)

    3) I get awarded another $1 after playing about 5 matches

    4) I keep winning, and peak somewhere around $5.40.

    5) I start getting killed and lose just about every match. Maybe I'll win one or two, but between the brutal 20% rake and the persistent losing, my account busts very quickly.

    6) Create new account, and earn $2 again. Rinse and repeat.

    The first time this happened, I figured it was just them matching me with tougher opponents after I'd start winning. After all, they admit they do that.

    However, after several iterations of this, I noticed I absolutely could never reach $6. I'd almost always reach $5, but never $6. Why did I go on such a tremendous losing streak every time at that exact point? And if they were matching me with better opponents, why wasn't I lucking into beating them more often (there's some luck element to the game, in that one move can completely change the way the board is laying out, and even a wrong move can put you in position to do really well.)

    I tried to look up the people who were beating me. They weren't high on the leaderboard. They seemed like ordinary chumps like me.

    So how were they destroying me? And how come I was destroying the people at the beginning in the same fashion?

    I also noticed something else. On my way up to $5, I was winning my fair share of close matches. So I'd be taking down some big wins, as well as some where I take it 7162 points to 7056. However, once I start on my downswing, it's the opposite. When it's a super close score, it always falls in the other person's favor. Hmm...

    Then I made a realization which, I think, blows the lid off the entire thing. Read on next post for info...
    Check out my poker forum, and weekly internet radio show at http://pokerfraudalert.com

  19. #19
    My "a-ha" moment came from the timing of the matches.

    In order for the game to be legal, you need to be playing the exact same deck of cards as your opponent, thus removing the "luck of random cards" element from winning. (There's still a different luck factor, as explained in the last post, but we'll ignore that here.)

    So let's say I want to play the 60 cent game.

    I enter that game, and it finds an opponent for me.

    Usually it will find an opponent. Sometimes it will admit it couldn't find an opponent, and will let me play anyway, where I have to wait for someone else to be matched with me in order to get my results.

    However, I noticed something very interesting. In most cases, my opponent was already finished before I was! That is, as soon as my 3-minute game was over, the app presented me with their score versus mine, and crowned a winner.

    This definitely wasn't because I'm a super slow player. So what does this mean?

    Well, recall that you can play without it having found you an opponent.

    So how does it match you?

    It is now my theory that they are matching you based upon your opponents' RESULTS in the match, rather than their SKILL LEVEL.

    So let's say I start a game, and they have the following ALREADY COMPLETED games in the queue:

    Mark: 7483
    James: 8022
    Bill: 3411
    Michelle: 9613
    Lydia: 5065

    If they really want me to lose, they will match me with Michelle, regardless of whether Michelle is a great player or just got lucky on that one game.

    If they want me to have a close game, they'll match me with Mark or James.

    If they want me to win, they'll match me with Lydia.

    If they REALLY want me to win, they'll match me with Bill.

    Now, I'm not so vain to believe it's all about me. They also have to contend with whether they want Lydia, Bill, Mark, Bill, and James to win. After all, in each match there's a winner and a loser.

    But this could be shuffled around perfectly to where it combines what they want to see happen AND what matches are already complete.

    So let's say Michelle just re-deposited real money after losing. They want her to feel like it's not hopeless. Well, lucky for them, Michelle happens to score really high on this game. So they have someone who scored high AND they want to see win. They match her with a good player who they want to see lose, and voila, almost guaranteed result they want.

    Conversely, let's say Bill isn't a bad player, but just had a bad game to score only 3411. But they also want him to lose. He's a perfect one to match with a mediocre player they want to see win at the moment.

    And what if nobody with a completed game matches what they want to put you against at the moment? Well, that's where the "Searching for opponent..." thing comes in. This way, they simply put YOU in the pool of players with existing results, and match you with someone which would accomplish their goal.

    For example, say they want to see me lose, but nobody has scored high in that queue. They just place ME in the queue, wait for someone else to score higher than me with the "Searchng for opponent..." message as well, and pair us together after a short intentional delay.

    Of course, this is all just theory. But there's definitely something to the fact that, most of the time, I'm matched with people who seem to have already completed their game.

    Alternately, they can simply match you on delay. When someone is halfway through and doing well, they match you with that person if they want to see you lose, and they match you with a person halfway through and doing poorly if they want to see you win.

    And aside from matching you with a person only after both of your scores are known (which they may or may not be doing), this is probably all legal. They can hide behind "We're trying to match people based upon skill level" if challenged.

    In short, I don't trust this app at all.

    It also wouldn't surprise me that they reason they don't care if people multi-account (for the free $3) is because they know i's just about impossible to turn that initial $3 into a win of more than a few bucks before they make you lose.
    Check out my poker forum, and weekly internet radio show at http://pokerfraudalert.com

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