Let it Ride (LIR) and Mississippi Stud (MS) have a lot of design elements in common. Both games involve no competition against the dealer. Both games pay based on the final poker-value of the player’s five-card poker hand. Both games have a minimum hand that pays (a pair of Tens for LIR and a pair of Jacks for MS). They both involve an Ante bet, and raises after cards are exposed. They both involve cards that are face down on the table, making hole-carding and edge sorting potential methods of advantage play. But there are big differences when it comes to their vulnerability. Continue reading
The facts surrounding Phil Ivey’s remarkable win at baccarat at Mayfair Casino, Crockfords, and the subsequent refusal of Mayfair to pay his winnings, has been an open secret in the game protection community over the last 8 months. Finally, the secret is out and we can talk about it: Phil Ivey did, in fact, use edge sorting to beat their baccarat. Here is the story in the U.K. Daily Mail: Continue reading
Advanced Advantage Play: Safeguarding the New Generation of Proprietary Table Games and Side Bets
Presented by Eliot Jacobson, Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Biloxi, MS, 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM.
The MIT blackjack card counting team is no longer the big kid on the block. In fact, very few of today’s advantage players are blackjack card counters at all. In this era of proprietary games and side bets, modern advantage players are finding innovative and potent ways to beat the house. This unique seminar starts where seminars on blackjack card counting leave off. You will learn new ways advantage players are beating the house by exploiting proprietary games and side bets. And you will learn what you need to know to defend your games against the next generation of threats. Continue reading
When Don Johnson (DJ) beat several East Coast casinos in late 2011 through early 2012 by exploiting their loss rebate programs, few understood the scope of his triumph. After his success, there were a number of articles (for example, this article in Atlantic Magazine) that tried to explain his success as a mix of luck and experience. Several other articles produced mathematical analyses that did not directly address the main questions. As I described in this post, DJ succeeded because there was an off-the-top profit to be made simply by playing within the constraints he negotiated and strategically choosing quit points. The question I pose in this post is if DJ could have done even better? Continue reading
When I heard Don Johnson (DJ) speak at the World Game Protection Conference last Tuesday, I expected him to dismiss his blackjack winnings as the result of a little bit of advantage play and a lot of luck. That’s how he portrayed events in this article in Atlantic Magazine. However, after his explanation of how he beat horse racing (see this post), there was little doubt about his skill as one of the world’s top advantage players. When DJ smoothly quoted the exact house advantage of one of the blackjack games he played (0.263%), he removed all doubt. Continue reading
Last Tuesday, I heard Don Johnson (DJ) speak at the World Game Protection Conference in Las Vegas. In case you don’t know who he is, DJ is the guy who beat several Atlantic City casinos out of over 15 million dollars in late 2011 and early 2012 by exploiting their loss-rebate programs. Here is a great article about DJ’s exploits in “Atlantic Magazine.” But that wasn’t his only trick. Indeed, by the end of his talk, DJ’s blackjack exploits sounded like an after-thought. It was clear early on that DJ’s real passion was horse racing. By the time 30 minutes had passed and DJ was still talking horses, I observed some in the audience squirming: DJ was supposed to talk about blackjack, right? Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Posted in Side Bets
In this post, I discussed card counting the Buster Blackjack (BBJ) side bet in the six-deck case. The player wins the BBJ side bet if the dealer busts. The payout is based on the number of cards in the dealer’s busted hand, with a top payout for an 8+ card dealer busted hand. There are at least eight different pay tables offered with BBJ. I developed card counting systems for two distinct groups of these pay tables. I found that BBJ has moderate vulnerability in the six-deck case for one group of pay tables, but low vulnerability for the rest. This article covers BBJ as a side bet for the two-deck game. I will digress at the end of this post into an obscure issue called the “cut card effect” that impacts the house edge for BBJ if a cut card is used. In my opinion, this effect is the most interesting feature of the analysis of BBJ. Continue reading
One of the most common blackjack side bets in California card rooms is known as Buster Blackjack (BBJ). I found this documentation online. The player who makes the BBJ wager wins if the dealer busts. The payout is then based on the total number of cards in the dealer’s busted hand. There are a lot of details to share, so I’ve decided to break up the discussion into the six-deck case and the two-deck case. This article covers card counting BBJ in a six-deck shoe game. Continue reading
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