Discount Gambling

Dragon-7 Shoe Simulator

Posted in +EV, baccarat, dragon-7 by stephenhow on November 13, 2011

Click on the screenshot below to run my shoe-by-shoe simulator for counting the EZ-Baccarat Dragon-7 side bet:

I’ve been playing the EZ-Baccarat lately, because it’s really easy to count for the 40-to-1 Dragon-7 side bet, and it gets pretty exciting when you’re betting for big payouts at the end of a shoe (each $10 pays out $400). I’m still a baccarat newbie, but I’m starting to appreciate the drama of the game. Most people record notation of the hands, and they all study the hand history displayed on the monitor. They’re looking for long runs of Banker or Player wins. On a Banker run, they increase their bets, and everyone makes a lot of money, and all are happy. When the Player is on a winning run, they wait until they think it’s impossible for the Player to win yet another hand. Then they bet big on the Banker. If the Player wins again, everyone is outraged, and they bet even more to win back their money. It gets pretty dramatic, especially when the Player wins yet again. People don’t think like this on blackjack, probably because there’s no hand history display, and because you can’t bet on the dealer. Baccarat is a very dangerous game that feeds off of people’s natural instincts to see patterns in nature.

Anyways, I don’t care at all about Player/Banker, I’m just tracking the Dragon-7 count, and waiting for the opportunity to bet it. Mostly, this comes at the end of the shoe, so I make minimum Player or Banker bets just to feel a part of the table. Overall, betting $10 Banker/Player every hand will cost an average $8/shoe. I make $10+ dragon bets when the count is good, so I’ll win back at least $5.30/shoe of that on average. Overall, it’s very cheap entertainment.

I use the baccarat recording cards provided by the casino to track the dragon. Everyone uses the cards in Landscape orientation, and draws red and blue circles. I turn the card 90° and write down the +/- running count for each hand. I use the unbalanced Dragon-7 count, starting the RC at -32, and updating it for every card seen, including the burn. When the RC is greater than 0, I bet the dragon on the next hand.

My Flash game simulates one shoe at a time, showing the unbalanced running count (RC) that I record on the baccarat cards. I indicate the outcome of +EV dragon bets with green for wins, and red for losses. When a dragon occurs while not betting, I note the “miss” in yellow. For example, in the screenshot above, 83 hands were played in the shoe, and 3 dragons hit (hands #41, #67, and #69). The count wasn’t good enough to bet on the first dragon, which we missed (yellow). The RC was > 0 for almost all of the hands from #61 – #75. We hit the dragon on hand #67 when the count was +7, and on hand #69 when the count was +8.

Play around with the simulator if you’re thinking about trying to make a profit at the bet. While it’s probably the best +EV game you’ll ever find (easiest to implement, and most average profit per shoe), the game is very slow at a full table. In order to try to make money, you’d need to get heads up with a dealer, which can yield up to 3 shoes an hour (optimal). Needless to say, the swings are huge, due to the nature of the 40-to-1 payout. However, (2 shoes/hr)($100 dragon bets)(0.53 profit/shoe) = $100 profit/hr looks pretty attractive.

7 Responses

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  1. James said, on December 2, 2011 at 3:36 am

    With proper card counting, the player’s EV and betting frequency for game Dragon 7 is about 3 times and 2 times respectively compare to the EV and betting frequency for the game of Dragon Bonus(on player). However, the variance for Dragon 7 is about 6 times the variance of Dragon Bonus !

    Due to the huge variance( high edge and higher betting frequency as well !), do you think that Dragon 7 is “better” than Dragon Bonus ?


  2. john said, on January 10, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Hi Steve,

    I was wondering how much the + E.V. % would change if players ONLY bet on shoes when the burn card was small – say 1,2,3,4. I know @ the table we were wishing for a small card so just wondering how much of a difference it makes. For example take the average + E.V. counting the dragon 7 w/ burn cards of 1,2 or 3 compared to the average + E.V. w/ a 10 burn card.

    Also, I found out (I know you already know) that 4 and 7 in the shoes are the most valuable to getting a dragon 7. The 5 and 6 are good but not as much as the 4 and 7. What if somebody modified their counting technique to be a little more accurate. Would that increase the E.V. much? That might not even be practical but I was just wondering.

    I enjoy the entertainment @ Barona onces or twice a month and this will help make my entertainment less costly :))

    Thank you for your time. This question is a lot of work so pass on it if look to time consuming.

    • stephenhow said, on January 13, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      Hi John,

      I’m with you, and when I sit down to count the dragon, I almost feel like walking away from the game if the burn card is a 10/face. Since the average hand is a little under 5 cards, that’s like losing two key hands at the end of a shoe. But overall, any small difference in the shoe EV vs. burn card is pretty small, especially relative to the whole variance of the EV/shoe. So, if you’re going to count the shoe, might as well play it, no matter what the burn card is.

      The simple +2 (8,9) and -1 (4,5,6,7) count is pretty effective at getting most of the value out of the shoe (+0.53 units/shoe). (I think the theoretical limit is around +0.66 units/shoe.) A higher resolution count will definitely get you closer to this value. If someone is really interested in doing this to grind out profit, then it might be worthwhile designing a better count. Otherwise, I love the simplicity of the +2/-1 count. (Also, if you really wanted to extract out all the value of the shoe, you should count the Panda-8 as well.)

      See you at Barona soon. I’ll be there tonight.


  3. john said, on January 10, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Hi again – If the + E.V. does change even a tiny bit better depending if the burn card is small I’ll use that info to my advantage. Some places have 3,4,5 even 6 tables. So I’ll just walk around and sit at a table w/ a low burn card.

  4. Nathan said, on September 26, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Hello, could you share the variance of this method? Namely, I would like to figure out how many starting units I would need to have a risk of ruin of under 10%. I played around a bit with the simulator myself and after 1000 trials my largest downswing was -145 units. I don’t know how uncommon such a stretch would be, but I think I would be safe starting with 300 units? Could I get by with 200 units and only go broke less than 10% of the time? Or did I just run good with the simulator and such downswings are common? Thank you for sharing this play and best of luck to you.

  5. jR said, on September 15, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    When Zero 0 or + is hit bet next 10 for Dragon

  6. Mark said, on January 7, 2023 at 3:12 am

    is there a way you could update the dragon shoe simulator? adobe doesnt run anymore

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