Lucky Lucky Blackjack Sidebet (+EV)
Well, here’s another massively countable side bet that some people might be interested in (advantage players, casino floor supervisors, and the game publisher), but that I’ll never play. I think after this one, designers will know to check their games for vulnerabilities, especially when there’s oversized items in the paytable. And we’ll remember, “It’s not a sucker bet if the count is good.”
Again, Eliot Jacobson pointed this one out to me. (But, if Barona had this side bet, I’d have already looked at it.)
The Lucky Lucky blackjack side bet is played with your first two dealt cards, and the dealer upcard. On these three cards, you get paid for various ways to make 21, and for any 20 and 19 total. The most countable version of this side bet is for the double-deck version with the paytable below. The game is also countable for the 6 deck shoe game, but it’s only 60% as profitable.
As usual, I program a function that tells me the EV for any given shoe composition. Then I simulate millions of hands, calculating the ideal EV of the side bet at the beginning of each hand. I sum up the times when the side bet is +EV, and find the average +EV bet and +EV frequency. For the double-deck Lucky Lucky, I got
double-deck, cut card @ 75th card ideal +EV frequency: 0.2769, ideal EV/bet: +0.0591
which is not a practical counting scheme, but the theoretical limit if you used a computer that took into account all info (suits, etc.).
Then I calculated the Effect-of-Removal (EORs) of a given card on the EV, in order to make counting tags. (Outside the gambling world, people would call “EORs” sensitivities, and “tags” coefficients.)
So, setting the trueCount threshold to 2.4 (bet Lucky Lucky when the trueCount is >= 2.4), you get the practical results in double deck:
practical frequency: 0.2640, average EV/bet: +0.0561
6 Deck Shoe Version
The 6 deck shoe paytable is better than the double deck version, as it pays 200:1 for a suited 777. The EORs are similar, and I came up with the same count tags as the double deck game. Using a trueCount threshold of 2.1, the practical counting scheme yields:
ideal +EV frequency: 0.2311, ideal average EV/bet: +0.0432 practical frequency: 0.2217, practical average EV/bet: +0.0409
which is only 61% of the profit rate as the double-deck game.