Discount Gambling

Baccarat Dragon-7 Tracking Sheet

Posted in +EV, baccarat, dragon-7 by stephenhow on October 4, 2011

Dragon7Update: See the tracking sheet in action with my Dragon-7 shoe-by-shoe simulator. Also, check out the much easier-to-use unbalanced Dragon-7 count.

I tested out Eliot Jacobson’s true count system for the 40-to-1 baccarat dragon-7 bet (banker wins with 3 card 7), and got excellent results with the following tracking sheet:

The sheet helps you track the running count (RC) for each hand in the shoe. You just compare the running count (RC) to the minimum betting threshold for the next hand. When the RC is greater or equal to the number printed in next box, bet the dragon.

The tracking sheet simulates at an average profit of about $53 per shoe, for $100 dragon bets. On average, you’ll make about 5.2 dragon bets per shoe.

I put together this tracking sheet because I know no one is going to read the WoO post and implement the true count correctly at the table. Half the people around the baccarat table write down something complicated every hand, so this will be my craziness.


Use the following count values for each card:

Dragon-7 Count Values
Card Count Value
Ace 0 (ignore)
Deuce 0 (ignore)
Trey 0 (ignore)
Four -1
Five -1
Six -1
Seven -1
Eight 2
Nine 2
Face/Ten 0 (ignore)

The dealer pulls the first card out of the shoe, and turns it face up. Start the running count with the count value of the card. The following unseen burn cards do not affect the RC or the bet thresholds.

For each hand dealt, add up the count values of each card to get the count for the hand. Notice that 8’s and 9’s are +2, and 4-thru-7’s are -1. Ignore all other cards. Write down the count for the hand in the sub-box, and add it to the running count (RC). Write the new RC value in the box.

If the new RC is greater or equal to the number printed in the next hand’s box, then bet the dragon. That’s it.


You’re at the start of the shoe. The dealer pulls out a 7, and burns seven cards. Start the running count at -1.

The first hand dealt is player (10,9) and banker (4,5). The count value of this hand is 2-1-1 = 0. The RC doesn’t change, so write the RC of -1 in the box. The RC of -1 is less than the minimum 40 required to bet the dragon on the next hand.

The next hand dealt is player (1,2) and banker (8,10). The count value of the hand is +2. Write the new running count of +1 in the box. Again, the RC of +1 is too low to bet the dragon on the next hand (need at least 40).

Keep filling in the hand boxes, from left to right, and down the page. There are about 80.9 hands/shoe on average. There’s room for 88 hands, which occurs very infrequently. You can track two shoes per sheet. You’ll see as you get deeper into the shoe, the minimum RC for betting the dragon decreases. This follows from true count = RC/(decks remaining).

22 Responses

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  1. Paul Zak said, on October 11, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Do u bet anything at all while waiting to reach the minimum required to bet the dragon?

    • stephenhow said, on October 11, 2011 at 9:43 am

      I wouldn’t bet anything other than +EV dragons. If no one else is at the table, then you need to bet minimum $10 banker bets to move the game along. That’s about $8.15 house edge per shoe. If you’re betting $100 dragons ($53 profit/shoe), I guess it’s okay. But I’d just sit and count, and let other people bet.

  2. Eliot Jacobson said, on October 11, 2011 at 2:21 pm


    You are getting double the return I get. You show an average edge of about 10% making 5.2 dragons per shoe at $100 and averaging $53 profit per shoe. I can’t see how that’s possible. Can you give more details about your work? Or feel free to contact me directly.



    • stephenhow said, on October 11, 2011 at 2:58 pm

      I’ll email you.

  3. Eliot Jacobson said, on October 13, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Great getting to know you and working with you Stephen. You were exceedingly generous in helping me update and confirm the results I obtained for the Dragon side bet for EZ Baccarat.

    • stephenhow said, on October 13, 2011 at 9:35 am

      That’s the scientific method! One of us should win the Nobel Prize in Gambling this year. You for your work in the EZ Baccarat Dragon, or me for my work in card craps.

  4. stephen said, on November 7, 2011 at 6:53 am

    sorry stephenhow,
    i post the wrong question on dragon bonus . my question is for dragon-7
    is it work to buy banker and player at the same time with same bet when the count is high negative in order to run the game faster?

    • stephenhow said, on November 7, 2011 at 9:56 am

      I prefer to just make a minimum $10 bet on banker to keep the shoe moving, since it’ll average out to about a cost of $8/shoe. If you bet both banker and player, the costs more than double to $18/shoe, since you end up paying $10 for every dragon. But you have the right idea – get heads up with a dealer, and move the shoe as fast as possible. When no one else is around, you can probably play 2 shoes per hour, for a profit rate of (2 shoes/hr)($53 – $8) = $90/hr at a $10 table betting $100 dragons.

  5. Swanson said, on February 15, 2012 at 3:38 am

    Dear Stephenhow,
    Thank you for your tracking sheet, it’s really a great idea. According to Dr. Eliot Jacobson’s article about the Dragon 7, the +EV bet requires true count of +4 or above..However, the numbers (RC) in your tracking sheet are all higher than that Dr. Eliot Jacobson mentions when they are transferred to TC.. Is that your min. requirement is higher than +4? Or there are other reasons?

    Thank you very much!!

    • stephenhow said, on February 15, 2012 at 9:46 am


      I define true count (TC) as a real (floating-point) number = RC/decksRemaining, where decksRemaining is also a floating-point number. When the TC is >= 5.0, you should bet the dragon. I remember that Eliot used slightly different definitions, which resulted in differences in our descriptions. However, we both attained the same results: you could extract around +0.53 of a fixed dragon bet per shoe.


      • Jack said, on August 4, 2012 at 8:56 pm

        Dear Stephenhow,
        use TC>4 or TC>5; get the same result.
        can you tell me which variance is low ? and if i bet 100 usd, how much money i have to prepare?


  6. Swanson said, on February 17, 2012 at 3:33 am

    Dear Steve,

    Am I right concerning the calculations below?
    Assume the average number of cards per hand is 5 cards and the min. requirement for betting the dragon is TC5. The decks remaining = (416-hand number×average number of cards per hand)/52. For example, the hand number is 40 now.

    So the min. required RC = (416-hand number×average number of cards per hand)/52×5 = (416-40×5)/52×5=20.77 but why it’s slightly different from 22 which is in your tracking sheet? Is that Eliot used the same method?

    Thank you!

    • stephenhow said, on February 17, 2012 at 9:36 am


      In my code, I use decksRemaining(handNumber) = (416 – 4.94*handNumber)/52.0, where handNumber starts at 0. So, for your example on the 40th hand, decksRemaining = (416 – 4.94(39))/52.0 = 4.295, and the minimum RC would be ceil(5*4.295) = ceil(21.475) = 22. I used the ceiling function as a conservative method to limit bets to +EV counts. You might be able to make an argument to use the round() function instead of ceil(), but its not going to make much of a difference.

      I worked with Eliot extensively over these simulations, until our results matched up exactly. He had a different definition of decks remaining (he used an integer, rounded or something), which made his true count threshold different than the 5.0 I use. However, he obtained the same profit per shoe as I did (+0.53) in his simulations.

      Are you looking into seriously playing the dragon-7? I can send you source code if it’ll help.


  7. Swanson said, on February 18, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Dear Steve,

    I’ll be very appreciated if you could send me the source code and maybe some research… 🙂

    Thank you!

  8. alan said, on June 8, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    He guys, I am a very interesting in play baccarrat game and sometime I do play the dragon. My question to you is, is there a good stratedy on playing banker/player side? I’ve been playing bacc. for many years but I am trying to master this / win on this game. any help would be appreciated.



  9. patrick said, on November 4, 2012 at 2:32 am

    Interesting to RC.

  10. pali said, on March 8, 2014 at 2:39 am

    Hi is there anbody can actual show how to write or track those numbers( -1or+2) how to track them cse i dont get it at all. I was trying from last few days & i lost big chunk of amount by tracking this system so if there is any system really exist please show me with some pics or some charts how to count cards

  11. Archimedes said, on February 13, 2015 at 6:53 am

    Have you ever had any difficulty from Casino personnel when using this tracking sheet? Where I play Bacc. is a largely ignored by the pit, but who knows about the eye in the sky. The casino provides cards that players often use but a quick glance and this sheet and it’s obviously for counting.

  12. HC said, on July 27, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    If I use the following balanced tags, what will the true count need to be in order to make it a profitable bet?
    A: 0
    2: -2
    3: -2
    4: -5
    5: -5
    6: -7
    7: -7
    8: 10
    9: 10
    10, J, Q, K: 2

    If I use the following unbalanced tags, what will the running count need to be in order to make it a profitable bet?
    A: 0
    2: -2
    3: -3
    4: -4
    5: -5
    6: -6
    7: -7
    8: 10
    9: 10
    10, J, Q, K: 2

    Thank you!

  13. Garrett Jones said, on October 31, 2021 at 1:18 am

    Would you say the balanced count using this sheet is more effective? Or the unbalanced count using +1 for Ace instead of 0? I would like to try this myself on paper and wondering which has a higher EV?

  14. JAWS said, on March 28, 2023 at 4:26 am

    Is there any information on the approximate hourly EV let say on betting $100 on the side bet every time you have a +4 or higher?

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