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Summary of Blackjack Side Bets: 2 Decks

This post gives an overview of the relative vulnerability of the blackjack side bets I've written about in this blog. Some of these side bets have been spectacular one-time opportunities for APs. Others are ongoing income earners: moderately vulnerable, but not so weak as to be burnt out. And some are both popular and safe. The article covers blackjack side bets for a double-deck game, with the cut card at 75 cards (with one exception). I assume the AP does not wager on the side bet unless the system indicates he has the edge, and in this case he wagers $100.

By
Eliot Jacobson Ph.D.
April 30, 2013

Card Counting the Red Flex Blackjack Side Bet

Red Flex Bet (RF) is a side bet for the blackjack variant “Pure 21.5 Blackjack” that is played in California card rooms. This side bet can also work as a side bet for ordinary blackjack, though I am not aware of any blackjack placements. I am also not aware of any placement outside of California card rooms.  I was told that RF is fairly common in northern California card rooms, with a maximum wager of $50 to $100. There is no extra collection for RF wagers, and players can play RF on multiple spots if they are available.

By
Eliot Jacobson Ph.D.
April 15, 2013

Safeguarding Baccarat Side Bets

Card counting baccarat side bets is one of the strongest ongoing opportunities for advantage players. These opportunities arise from the intersection of four game protection deficiencies, none of which has a good solution. Consider:

By
Eliot Jacobson Ph.D.
February 10, 2014

Card Counting the Upcard Luck Blackjack Side Bet

The Upcard Luck (UL) blackjack side bet is a bit wacky to describe. Payouts are based on the dealer's up-card together with the two cards the player is dealt. In this sense, it is similar to both Lucky Lucky and 21 + 3. There would certainly be intellectual property issues if this bet made it big. Right now, though, it has very few placements.

By
Eliot Jacobson Ph.D.
April 25, 2015

Card Counting the Total Shot Bonus Baccarat Side Bet

Yet another side bet that can be counted in California card rooms:  the Total Shot Bonus (TSB). Formally, this side bet is for the baccarat variant known as Supreme Baccarat. This variant is simply the commission free version where a Banker winning total of 6 pays 1-to-2.  Like ordinary baccarat, the main game is not vulnerable to card counting. However, TSB suffers from the same flaw as many baccarat side bets that have come before: it is based on final hand totals of 8 and 9.

By
Eliot Jacobson Ph.D.
April 18, 2013

Card Counting the "Bet the Bust" Side Bet: 2D, H17

Side bets that pay out when the dealer busts were a hot area of development a few years back. I was involved with two of these bets as the primary mathematician for the game developers. One of the wagers I analyzed was Dealer Bust 21 (see this post). The other bust-type wager I analyzed was "Bet the Bust" (BTB) for the company Tech Art. BTB is the subject of this post.

By
Eliot Jacobson Ph.D.
October 20, 2016

Computer-Perfect Play against the Over/Under 13 Blackjack Side Bet

My dog told me I have gone off the deep end with this article and I don’t disagree: I decided to investigate computer-perfect play against the Over/Under 13 blackjack side bet (OU13). In other words, I assume an AP is using a computer program. As each card is dealt, the AP enters that card into his program. The program then computes the edge for both the Over 13 bet and Under 13. If the AP has an edge on one of these wagers, he makes that bet. Otherwise, the AP just sits on his hands.

By
Eliot Jacobson Ph.D.
April 28, 2014

Beating the Pair Square (Bet the Set) Blackjack Side Bet

Pair Square (PS) is a simple-minded blackjack side bet that pays if the player’s first two cards are a pair. There is a premium payout if the pair is suited. This bet is also known by the name “Bet the Set,” though I have never understood that name, as a “set” usually refers to Three-of-a-Kind in poker. This side bet has been around as long as the crows, but the question of vulnerability to advantage play has rarely been asked.  There are no references to PS  in Grojean’s “Beyond Counting,” and a Google search also comes up blank.

By
Eliot Jacobson Ph.D.
August 10, 2012