Discount Gambling

Field of Gold (+EV)

Posted in +EV, blackjack sidebets by stephenhow on June 12, 2012

Everybody thank Eliot Jacobson for working for you. He emailed me this morning telling me the Field of Gold blackjack side bet was crushable. And it is. For real. The count is simple, and for a 6-deck shoe game, you’ll be able to bet 19% of the time, with an average edge of +6.5%/bet. That’s a profit of ($25 bet)(19% bet/hand)(+6.5% EV/bet) = $0.31/hand. For double-deck, the numbers are even better, yielding 27% betting opportunities with an average edge of +8.2%/bet. For $25 bets, that yields a profit of $0.55 per hand dealt. That adds up pretty quickly. It’s more than $100/hr.

This is about as good as it gets, as it’s a fast blackjack game. Oh, by the way, Eliot also brought you the equally crushable Lucky Lucky bet, which I probably understated in my post. These are probably the best two countable side bets out there, and nobody but Eliot has noticed them. Oh, and he’s the one that pointed out the Dragon-7 vulnerability.

Anyway, here’s what you’re looking for:

Use the following count:

Field of Gold Count
Card Value
Ace -3
Deuce -1
Nine, Ten, Queen, King +1
others 0

Bet when the true count (= runningCount/decksRemaining) is 2.2 or better. You can see from the graph below that the EV is strongly correlated with the true count.

This side bet becomes highly profitable when the shoe is rich in aces and deuces, and lean in high cards. During some shoes, the deck can easily get really good, or really bad for the Field of Gold bet. The distribution of the side bet EV is plotted below over the course of the 6-deck shoe and the double-deck game. Note the peak of the distribution is centered about the nominal -5.66% return of the bet right after the shuffle. Then, especially towards the end of the shoe, the side bet return can vary wildly. Note all the area under the long tail of the distributions to the right of the y-axis (EV>0). This is why the game is crushable.

(5 deck penetration of 6-deck shoe; 29 cards behind cut card in double-deck.)

8 Responses

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  1. Agatha said, on June 13, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Stephen, Have you looked at Shortie Blackjack? It looks similar to this and could be beatable too.

    • stephenhow said, on June 13, 2012 at 9:47 am

      Well, just by looking at it, I’d guess it’s countable to some degree. I’d think that you’d want Aces and low cards in the deck/shoe, and 9’s and 10’s removed. It’d take a few hours to work out the details. It gets a little messy, because they pay the shortie proceeds 2-to-1 if the main hand wins, so I’d have to run my blackjack software with the altered rules, then see what the max Shortie bet is (relative to the main bet), etc. Is this thing widespread?

      • Agatha said, on June 13, 2012 at 10:27 am

        I saw it in some casinos and a couple of gaming trade shows – Raving’s Cutting Edge Table Games Conference, NIGA, just to name a couple. I was told Boyd Gaming was getting it a couple of months ago.

      • stephenhow said, on June 13, 2012 at 11:10 am

        Ok, thanks. I’ll probably write it up in the next couple of posts. I’ll assume the counter plays min bet on the main hand, and max bet on the Shortie side bet when the count is good.

  2. Royal_Hunter said, on June 23, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Great post. Is Field of Gold offered anywhere in San Diego? I haven’t seen it at Viejas, Barona or Pala. Thanks.

    • stephenhow said, on June 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      Yep, they have it at Pala. I can’t count for more than one hand (if that), but I was guessing, and I hit 678d on a $5 bet. Woohoo, $500 is about my biggest win ever!

  3. Brock said, on July 18, 2012 at 12:05 am

    Are you getting 200 hands per hour? $100/hr seems optomistic, and there may be the cost of the blackjack play to consider. Interesting info, enjoying the site. Thanks.

  4. mcallister3200 said, on August 17, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Any idea about what the variance or standard deviation for this sidebet would be?

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