Stravaganza is a card game which can be found in many online casinos such as Ladbrokes and Casino.com. It is played using five standard decks of cards and the object of the game is to have a point total that is higher than the dealer’s.
Card values are similar to Blackjack: number cards count at face value and picture are worth 10 points but with Stravaganza the Ace is only worth 1 point. Unlike Blackjack, a player cannot bust. it is simply the more points a hand totals, the better chance it stands of winning.
How to Play Stravaganza
- Click on the chip value you wish to wager. The selected amount will appear on the table in the circle marked PLAY.
- Click the DEAL button. You will be dealt two cards face up, and the dealer will be dealt three cards which are face down.
- Depending on the point total of your two cards, you have the following options:
- If the two cards total 5 points or less, you can either choose MONEY BACK or PLAY ON. Money back means your wager is returned and the hand is over. Play on means you bet the same amount again as your original wager – this is placed in the PLAY ON circle – and you receive one further card.
- If the two cards total between 6 and 9 points, you have the option of RESCUE BET or PLAY ON. The rescue bet returns half of your wager and the hand is then over.
- If the two cards total is above 10, you have the option of SIT or PLAY ON. Sit means you play your two cards against the dealer’s three but you do not place the extra play on wager.
- If you have chosen to SIT or PLAY ON, the dealer then reveals his hand.
- If your point total is higher than the dealer’s point total you win the hand. This is paid at 1:1
- If your point total is lower – you lose. (who would have guessed)
- If the dealer’s hand includes a red ace as the first card, you lose the PLAY bet but the second bet (if placed) is returned. The points total is irrelevant.
- If the dealer’s hand includes a red ace as either the second or third card, you lose both bets. again point total is irrelevant.
Stravaganza Bonus Payouts
When viewing the Stravaganza playing table, you will notice the BONUS PAYTABLE.
- If your hand makes three of a kind (3 cards of the same value/rank), you get paid 3x the amount of your PLAY bet.
- If your hand contains three picture/face cards (of any kind), you get paid 1.5x the amount of your PLAY bet.
Note: the bonus payouts are only paid on the first bet – not both bets – although you have to bet a second time (the PLAY ON bet) to receive the third card.
Stravaganza Progressive Jackpot Sidebet
For those who are feeling lucky, then the progressive jackpot on this game might be right up your street. To place the sidebet, click on the coin slot above the PLAY ON circle.
The image below details the payout for Stravaganza’s Progressive Jackpot:
There is not too much strategy information available for this game but Michael Shackleford, who is known for his expertise in most card games, believes this to be the optimal one:
- Invoke the “Money Back” option with five or less points.
- Invoke the “Rescue” option with 6 to 9 points.
- Sit with 10 points, except with two fives.
- Play on with 11 or more points or with two fives.
My advice to fold a pair of fours or less holds even if the three of a kind bonus pays on any three of a kind. In other words, the rule contradiction about whether the bonus pays on three aces to fours does not matter, as the player should fold with hope for these low three of a kinds anyway.
Return to Player
The theoretical percentage return to player (RTP) is 97.46% on the main game and the RTP for the side bet is 72.26%
Gamblers Pro Verdict
The positives of this game are that it is very easy to learn and simple to play, plus having a progressive jackpot attached is always a lure for those who fancy their chances. The downside is the house edge (or RTP) is worse than most forms of Blackjack, plus after a few hands it becomes quite boring due to it not having much depth strategy wise. It was not my cup of tea – I’d prefer to play Blackjack or Poker but it could well be yours. Give it a try and let us know what you think.