Discount Gambling

Bust Me Blackjack @ Valley View Casino, CA

Posted in blackjack sidebets by stephenhow on October 28, 2012

The new bust me blackjack sidebet is bad, but at least it’s countable. It’s a blackjack side bet you make after seeing your hand, on whether you’ll bust on the next hit. You get different odds, depending on your total. They’ll let you bet table limits on the side bet, regardless of the size of your main bet. So its pretty obvious that the house edge has to be horrendous to avoid it being countable. And it is. (It’s both horrendous, and countable.)

I’m pretty sure anyone can tell just by looking at the paytable, but here’s the numbers anyways.

Total Payout For Bust House Edge
16 1:2 7.692%
15 1:2 19.23%
14 1:1 7.692%
13 3:2 3.846%
12 2:1 7.692%

Yep, it’s that bad. A true sucker bet. You might be able to fool some of the players some of the time, but you won’t be able to fool them for long. Everyone will catch on to how bad this bet is sooner or later.

Of course it has to be bad, since the first thing everyone thinks about is counting for 10’s and 9’s, and waiting until the end of the shoe to whoop out the $500 and $1000 Bust Me bets on hard-13. (The rack cards make it clear you can bet the table limits at any time, regardless of the size of your main bet.) I thought there might be frequent +EV opportunities, so I plotted the distribution of EV’s for the hard-13 bet throughout the shoe:

The Bust Me 13 sidebet gets very good rather frequently. Of course, you must have hard-13 to bet, so this +EV opportunity only occurs on about 2.6% of your hands, with an average edge of +5.4%/bet. That’s not great, but you can make a huge $500 or $1000 table limit bet, until they stop you. So you’ll get about 1.2 betting opportunities per shoe, and even if you bet $1000, you’ll only average about a $65 profit per shoe.

(Thanks to reader fivespot for pointing out my error in the first version of the post; I had one of those one-line bugs, and was shuffling after every hand. Aiyah!)

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