Disclaimer: Let it be known that I have served as a consultant to Boss Media. While this review was originally written before they engaged my services I do update it from time to time. This review attempts to be unbiased and mostly sticks to the game rules, odds, and strategy. While I feel comfortable there is no conflict of interest I think it is appropriate to disclose the relationship.
Boss Media, based in Sweden, is one of the most professional organizations in the world of online gambling. Members of their staff I have met were very professional. The software of Boss Media is very impressive. The graphics and sound in both their single and multi-player games are the best I have seen. A banking feature is available for players to check their account history for purchases and withdrawals. Upon opening an account with a Boss Media casino a PIN will be sent in the postal mail which takes about 10 days. The PIN is required to make a withdrawal. There are two versions of Boss Media software. Version 1 is single player and version 2 is multi-player. As of July 2001 both versions are still active. Some casinos use one or the other and some offer both. For the player that puts an emphasis on an enjoyable gaming experience a Boss Media casino would make a good choice.
To avoid as much confusion as possible I shall divide this review into two sections for both the single player and multi-player versions. The single player review is first, otherwise click here to jump to the multi-player version.
Single Player Version
Betting limits based on the Kiss Casino are $5-$500 in baccarat, blackjack, Caribbean poker, and pai gow poker. These limits are also applied to roulette and craps based on the total amount bet across the table. The slot and video poker player may play for 25 cents, $1, or $5. The keno player may play for $1, $5, or $10.
One deck is used. Tie pays 8-1. Table limit $5-$500. House edge on banker bet is 1.01%, on player bet is 1.29%, and on tie is 15.75%.
The single player rules are as follows:
Dealer stands on soft 17
Player may double on any first two cards
Player may double after a split
Player may not resplit
One card to split aces
European hole card rule with ace showing and player declines insurance.
Following is the basic strategy for the single player game. To use the basic strategy look up your hand along the left vertical edge and the dealer’s up card along the top. In both cases an A stands for ace.
Key to table:
Double if allowed, otherwise hit
Double if allowed, otherwise stand
Insure, then double
Insure, then sPlit
Normally I advise the wild casino ag player to never take insurance. However the unusual hole card rule in this game necessitates an exception. If the player declines insurance and proceeds to double on 11, or split eights or aces then the player will lose the total amount bet if the dealer has a blackjack. However by taking insurance the player forces the dealer to peek at the hole card.If the player takes insurance and the dealer has a blackjack it will then be exposed immediately, otherwise the player may double or split with the safety of knowing the dealer does not have a blackjack. To make matters even more confusing if the dealer has a 10 up the dealer will not check for blackjack but a guarantee is in place that the player will only lose the original wager if the dealer has a blackjack. Some readers have expressed doubt that taking insurance can ever be the right play. For details on the calculation for the effected hands visit my Boss Media review appendix 1.
The player edge in the single deck game is 0.10%. To increase the player edge by an additional 0.03% see my composition dependent basic strategy exceptions in blackjack appendix 3a.
This is the same game as Caribbean Stud Poker. In the single player software the conventional paytable is used except a royal flush pays 200 to 1, as opposed to the usual 100 to 1. This lowers the house edge from 5.22% to 5.21%. Coincidentally (or not) This is also the pay table used by Cryptologic. There is no side bet in the single player version, which is just as well.
In terms of graphics and feel Boss Media did a fine job with craps. The player is allowed to bet three times a line bet on the odds, both taking and laying odds. Buy and lay bets only charge the 5% commission on winning bets and always based on the amount won. The rare place to lose bets are also offered. These pay 5:11 on the 4 and 10, 5:8 on the 5 and 9, and 4:5 on the 6 and 8. Place to win and proposition bets are offered according to the usual rules. The field bet pays 2:1 on both 2 and 12. Following is the house edge on some of the unique Boss Media bets:
Combined pass/come and taking odds: 0.47%
Combined don’t pass/don’t come and laying odds: 0.45%
Place to lose on 4,10: 3.03%
Place to lose on 5,9: 2.50%
Place to lose on 6,8: 1.82%
Buy on 4,10: 3.33%
Buy on 5,9: 3.00%
Buy on 6,8: 2.73%
Lay on 4,10: 1.67%
Lay on 5,9: 2.00%
Lay on 6,8: 2.27%
Single player offers the better keno game as follows. Note the wide range of returns, from 62.44% to 92.35%.
Boss Media Keno
Pai Gow Poker
In version 1 the dealer is always banker. Cards are not arranged in order and advice is not available.
The usual American double-zero wheel is used. No half back on even money bets if the ball lands in zero.
A nice looking 3-reel, 1-3 coins, single payline machine is available. The maximum win is 5000 coins. I have no information on the theoretical or actual return of Boss Media slots.
Both single player and multi-player offer jacks or better with the same paytable. The following table shows the pay table, probabilities, and the contribution to the return for each hand.
Jacks or Better
Hand Payoff Number Probability Return
Royal flush 1000 553693344 0.000028 0.027777
Straight flush 50 2181883836 0.000109 0.005473
4 of a kind 20 46927098840 0.002354 0.047084
Full house 7 228888423720 0.011483 0.080379
Flush 5 220234644540 0.011049 0.055243
Straight 4 226131938628 0.011344 0.045378
3 of a kind 3 1477703531280 0.074133 0.222398
Two pair 2 2569008096000 0.128881 0.257761
Jacks or better 1 4252431465432 0.213334 0.213334
Nothing 0 10909169741580 0.547286 0.000000
Total 19933230517200 1.000000 0.954828
Most Boss Media casinos with multi-player software offer the same package of games. However an interesting exception is Player’s Club. As of this writing Player’s Club exclusively offered Big Six, European roulette, and Sic Bo.
Based on the Riverboat Casino the limit is $1-$1000 in baccarat, blackjack, and Caribbean poker. The pai gow poker limit is $5-$1000. The roulette limit is also $5-$1000 as a total of all bets on the table. The slot and video poker player may choose to play a 25 cent, 50 cent, $1, or $5 machine. The keno player may choose between $1, $2, and $5.
Standard rules are followed with six decks of cards. House edge on the banker bet is 1.06%, on the player bet is 1.24%, and on the tie bet is 14.44%.
As far as I know Player’s Club is the only casino to offer Big Six, which they call “Money Wheel,” anywhere on the Internet. The usual rules are followed. the best bet is on $1 with a house edge of 11.11%.
There are two versions of blackjack, regular and single deck. Except for the number of decks the rules are the same as follows:
Dealer stands on soft 17
Double on any first two cards
Double after a split
U.S. hole card rule (dealer peeks for blackjack)
No drawing to split aces
In the single deck game the player edge is 0.11%. In the regular six deck game the house edge is house edge is 0.46%. Following is the basic strategy chart for the single deck game. For the multi-player strategy click here.
The standard pay table is used for a house edge of 5.22%. A $1 progressive side bet is also available. The side bet pays $50 for a flush, $100 for a full house, $500 for a four of a kind, 10% of the meter for a straight flush, and 100% of the meter for a royal flush. To have no house edge the meter would need to be $218047.37. On December 13, 2000 the meter at the Cowboy Casino was at $7849, for a house edge of 61.47%. On July 29,2001 the meter at the Riverboat Casino was $9811.20 for a house edge of 60.89%. Clearly not enough money is being pumped into the meter.
The Boss Media programmers did a fine job with craps, which is a difficult game to do well. They offer two times odds on all points. The combined house edge on the pass line and the odds is 0.606%. The don’t odds are correctly relative to the amount the player can win, a rule few software companies get right. The combined house edge on the don’t pass and laying odds is 0.455%.
On the buy bets winnings are calculated based on 95% of the bet made. This is equivalent to paying 57-50 odds on the 6 and 8, for a house edge of 2.73%; 57-40 on the 5 and 9, for a house edge of 3.00%; and 95-50 on the 4 and 10 for a house edge of 3.33%.
On the lay bets 5% is deducated from all winnings. This is equivalent to paying 19-24 odds on the 6 and 8, for a house edge of 2.27%; 19-30 on the 5 and 9, for a house edge of 2.00%; and 19-40 on the 4 and 10 for a house edge of 1.67%.
Boss Media also correctly turns off odds on come bets, buy bets, place bets, and hard ways on a come out roll. This is another rule other sofware companies frequently get wrong. There are no place to lose bets, which are not offered in the U.S. anyway. Why other software companies offer this bet I am not sure.
Winnings are kindly paid to the penny. Finally, the player can choose to throw the dice fast, slow, or crazy. The player may also decline to shoot.
In terms of game play this is easily the bets game of craps I have seen on the Internet. Unfortunatley they only offer double odds.
The multi-player keno payoffs are stingy, as can be seen in the following table.
Boss Media Keno
Mathematically speaking this is the same game as ‘Five Deck Frenzy’ or what Starnet calls ‘King of the Deck.’ In this game there are 5 spinning reels, each with 52 stops, one for each card. The player may hold any given card on the first spin and then respin the discards. On the second spin the player can not get the same card back on the same reel. In other words it is the same thing as video poker with one deck for each card position.
I do not know the return for this game.
Pai Gow Poker
The multi-player version of pai gow poker features player banking. The turn to be banker zigzags between the players and the dealer, the dealer banking every other hand. If a player declines to bank or there is nobody in a seat the banker will revert to the dealer. There are five player positions at the table. In a one on one game the player would bank 1/10 of the time for an average house edge of 2.57%.
Single zero wheel. The house edge is 2.70% on all bets.
Player’s Club casino offers European single zero roulette with the half-back rule if the ball lands in zero. The house edge is 1.35% on even money bets in this game.
Player’s Club casino exclusively offers Sic Bo. The payoffs are better than some and worse than others. See my Sic Bo online section for a comparison to other software brands. Of special note is the 6-1 payoff on a 2-number combination, resulting in a house edge of 2.78%, much better than the usual 5-1 payoff with a 16.67% house edge.
The following table shows the payoff and house edge for all bets.
Boss Media Sic Bo
Bet Pays Prob. Win House Edge
Small, Big 1-1 48.61% 2.78%
4, 17 60-1 1.39% 15.28%
5, 16 30-1 2.78% 13.89%
6, 15 17-1 4.63% 16.67%
7, 14 12-1 6.94% 9.72%
8, 13 8-1 9.72% 12.50%
9, 12 6-1 11.57% 18.98%
10, 11 6-1 12.50% 12.50%
Triple 180-1 0.46% 16.20%
Any triple 30-1 2.78% 13.89%
Double 10-1 7.41% 18.52%
Two die combination 6-1 13.89% 2.78%
Any number (1/2/3)-1 42.13% 7.87%
The lowest house edge bets are on big, small, and any two number combination, all at 2.78%.
There are two standard slot machines as follows:
The River Gold: Single line, 3 reels, 1-3 coin, with a maximum win of 5000 coins.
Gold Pirates: 3 reels, 1-4 coin, with a progressive jackpot and a bonus game. The bonus game is quite clever. There is a three-piece map, one piece for each reel. If the reel stops on a map piece the player keeps it until he either completes the map or a pirate takes it away. If a reel stops on a pirate he will take away any map piece already obtained for that reel. When the player obtains all three pieces of the map the game goes into the bonus round. The bonus round shows a treasure hunter digging in the sand. He will eventually find a prize of a multiple of the amount bet. The possible multiples are 5, 10, 50, and 100. If you do play this game I would recommend against leaving while you have any map pieces but wait until you have none.