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Summary of Blackjack Side Bets: 2 Decks

This post gives an overview of the relative vulnerability of the blackjack side bets I've written about in this blog. Some of these side bets have been spectacular one-time opportunities for APs. Others are ongoing income earners: moderately vulnerable, but not so weak as to be burnt out. And some are both popular and safe. The article covers blackjack side bets for a double-deck game, with the cut card at 75 cards (with one exception). I assume the AP does not wager on the side bet unless the system indicates he has the edge, and in this case he wagers $100.

By
Eliot Jacobson Ph.D.
April 30, 2013

Beating Loss Rebate Programs: The Biggest Advantage Play

When I heard Don Johnson (DJ) speak at the World Game Protection Conference in 2013, it became clear that DJ was an advantage player playing at the highest level. In performing his act of “social engineering,” DJ negotiated a number of perks that moved the game in his direction, until he had a substantial edge.

By
Eliot Jacobson Ph.D.
April 1, 2013

Fact-Checking an Article on Donald Johnson in CHANCE Magazine

This post concerns significant errors in the article “Examining a Gambler’s Claims: Probabilistic Fact-Checking and Don Johnson’s Extraordinary Blackjack Winning Streak,” written by W.J. Hurley, Jack Brimberg and Richard Kohar [HBK]. This article appeared in the February, 2014 issue of CHANCE magazine, Vol. 27, No. 1, pages 31-37. Two of the authors, Hurley and Brimberg, are professors in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at the Royal Military College of Canada.

By
Eliot Jacobson Ph.D.
March 25, 2014

Card Counting the Super Sevens Blackjack Side Bet

One of my first outings as a novice blackjack card counter was to Laughlin, Nevada, in the Spring of 1997. I recall seeing a wager on a six-deck shoe game called the Super Sevens (SUP7) side bet. It paid whenever the first card dealt was a seven, with higher payouts for two or three sevens and suited hands. This was my first experience with advantage play against a side bet. I did some scratch mathematics and determined that if twenty non-7’s came out at the start of the shoe, then I had the edge. That “special” shoe finally arrived and I started making SUP7 wagers.

By
Eliot Jacobson Ph.D.
September 14, 2013

Mississippi Stud Poker Hole-Card Play

Many APs preach that the book “Beyond Counting” by James Grosjean contains everything you need if you just know how to find it.  They say that you must simply “read everything.” Mississippi Stud (MS) is a good example.  The most common hole-card to see in MS is the flop card, yet at first this strategy appears missing from Beyond Counting. After giving hole-card strategy for seeing the turn card, Grosjean states the following about flop-hole-card strategy: “This [turn] strategy is way off for the [flop] game, so you’ll have to work out your own there.” I did.

By
Eliot Jacobson Ph.D.
August 8, 2012

Ultimate Texas Hold’em Hole-Card Play: One Dealer Card, One Turn/River Card

When an AP finds a dealer on Ultimate Texas Hold'em (UTH) who is vulnerable to hole-carding, it is not unusual for her to expose the bottom card of every packet of cards she delivers. This includes exposing one of her two hole-cards as well as one of the common cards. Depending on how the common cards are spread and turned over, the exposed common card will then either be a Flop card or it will be a Turn/River card. This post considers the situation when the AP sees one dealer hole-card and one Turn/River card.

By
Eliot Jacobson Ph.D.
May 11, 2015

Escaping the Expensive Legacy of Edward Thorp

“The advantage in two-handed blackjack, long supposed to lie with the dealer or the house, was converted recently to the profit by Edward O. Thorp, a young assistant professor in the mathematics department of New Mexico State University.”

The Atlantic Monthly, June, 1962

By
Eliot Jacobson Ph.D.
June 16, 2015

Beating the Lucky Pairs Baccarat Side Bet

Lucky Pairs (LP) is one of the names given to the non-proprietary baccarat side bet that simply pays 11-to-1 for a dealt pair. The player can wager on either or both of the Player or Banker side to be dealt a pair. This wager is also available for blackjack (player only), with varying payouts depending on the number of decks used. Shuffle tracking may provide a viable way for the AP to attack this wager in a hand-shuffled blackjack shoe game. But, as a practical matter, the blackjack version can’t be exploited using a counting system.

By
Eliot Jacobson Ph.D.
November 1, 2012