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AB21
AB21
Joined: Dec 2, 2012
  • Threads: 3
  • Posts: 50
December 6th, 2015 at 11:57:38 AM permalink
A couple of years ago I decided to take on a new AP strategy by counting the lucky lucky side bet in blackjack. It didn't take long to figure out most of what I needed to know after searching Eliot's website.

At first I was hoping to figure out a way to beat the side bet as well as the main game (I use hi lo) simultaneously. Keeping a side count of 6,7,8,A was ideal but too difficult so I concentrated on the 2 most valuable cards - 7 & 8. I found tracking these with the clock/chip method to be quite doable. I would then make the lucky lucky bet when the shoe was rich in 7's and/or 8's. The problem was I wasn't smart enough to figure out at what richness level to start making the bet. Obviously I should have the advantage when the shoe was very rich, but what about when the 8's were rich and 7's neutral or various other combinations? What about the 6's and A's I wasn't tracking? I may have bet at times without an advantage but most likely I was probably missing 80% of the opportunities. So after about 20 hours fooling around with these side counts I decided to learn a new count.

Interestingly, this would be the first time I tried a new count (and a level 2 count at that) in my 30 year love affair with the game.

Count is as follow:
2,3,10 - plus 1,
6,A - minus 1
7,8 - minus 2
4,5,9 - zero

I was quite surprised how quickly I picked it up. I stood behind a table and practiced for an hour before jumping in. The first few hours were mentally taxing, but after a while you begin to memorize the groupings and off setting pairs/groups that makes counting so much easier than non counters think it is.

The game is decent - 6 decks, blackjack pays 3 to 2 (isn't it a sad state of affairs that I even have to mention that?) H17, DAS, ES10, re split aces, and good pen. Unfortunately most of the games in my area have a $25 max on the lucky lucky ($5 min on the regular game) that will limit my EV to about $20 /hr (at 100 hands/hr). Certainly not going to get rich on this, but for the last decade or so I have been playing mainly for fun at relatively low stakes - something to do while my wife is out of town on business.

My betting strategy is to bet 5 or 10 bucks at a true count of plus 2 and bet the max on higher counts. At plus 5 or higher I will try to get more money on the table by betting multiple spots or by betting on other player's squares. Betting on other player's squares certainly has its pitfalls which I won't get into here. I also employ shuffle tracking techniques to increase betting frequency - again, I'm not smart enough to figure out how much extra EV this provides.

If I feel up to it, for the first few rounds after a shuffle I will keep both the hi lo count and the lucky lucky count (this is kind of similar to back counting 2 tables at once) if one of the counts quickly goes negative or positive I will abandon one for the other. If nothing extreme happens after a few rounds I drop the hi lo, as keeping 2 counts for an extended period is too hard on the head.

I quickly discovered that this game has huge variance, but after 32 years of playing blackjack, variance is no stranger to me. After the first 10 hours I am down almost a thousand bucks. But the positive variance in this game is absolutely thrilling as I discovered after hitting a suited 678 on a $25 bet for a $2500 payout.

So how am I doing?
After 162 hours of play I am up $4535 which should be close to my expected win (not sure of my actual EV due to the shuffle tracking effect and not tracking the extra money I try to put in play at higher counts)

Big hits:
1) I have hit the suited 678 that pays 100 to 1 five times - 3 times with a max bet, 1 time with 5 bucks, and thankfully only once without a bet. At 100 hands/hr you should make this hit every 58 hours or so, so I guess you could say I have been lucky lucky :).
2) I hit three unsuited 7's (pays 50 to 1) twice, once with 5 bucks bet and once with $0. Still waiting for the elusive suited sevens that pays 200 to 1, but have seen it hit at my table twice. Once was a sweet elderly lady who had a whopping $1 on the bet. I went on to befriend her and now bet on her square when the opportunity presents itself
3) unsuited 678 (pays 30 to 1) - I didn't keep track, but I hit it many times with and without money on it. In the long run this should come up every 4 hours or so.

What I love about this game:
1) the huge variance on the positive side!

What I hate about this game - several things:
1) the high negative variance.
2) the low maximum
3) a big hit with no money on it
4) ploppies and dealers constantly chastising you for not consistently playing the lucky lucky (it is very popular and most people play it).
5) #4 above after getting a big hit with no money on the lucky lucky. (This is one of the very few times I may get snarky with other players or the dealer)
6) the count skyrockets, the table is painted with 6's, 7's, and 8's, but the cards just don't line up for you, or the guy beside you has a huge hit

So am I going to return to the regular game or continue counting the lucky lucky?

It depends which side of the variance curve I'm on when you ask me.
teliot
teliot
Joined: Oct 19, 2009
  • Threads: 37
  • Posts: 1956
December 6th, 2015 at 12:02:28 PM permalink
Nice account, thanks for sharing.
odiousgambit
odiousgambit
Joined: Nov 9, 2009
  • Threads: 300
  • Posts: 8295
December 6th, 2015 at 12:36:54 PM permalink
I will have a chance to play the Lucky Lucky this month, but the casino alters the paytable. Copying and pasting from what I posted before,

RG altered the paytable for the "suited 21" to 10 to 1. I did the math, hopefully correctly, for the alteration [see the link below].

for that one line:
wizard cited: probability=0.005299, pays 15 to one, = +0.079492
RG variation: probability=0.005299, pays 10 to one, = +0.05299
difference =0.026502

Wizard cited return = -0.026556
So the RG HE = -0.053058 (by my calc.)

If Eliot is still reading, sir, you might confirm this kills the idea of counting it.

http://wizardofodds.com/games/blackjack/appendix/8/
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!” She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
teliot
teliot
Joined: Oct 19, 2009
  • Threads: 37
  • Posts: 1956
December 6th, 2015 at 4:36:25 PM permalink
Quote: odiousgambit

I will have a chance to play the Lucky Lucky this month, but the casino alters the paytable. Copying and pasting from what I posted before,

RG altered the paytable for the "suited 21" to 10 to 1. I did the math, hopefully correctly, for the alteration [see the link below].

for that one line:
wizard cited: probability=0.005299, pays 15 to one, = +0.079492
RG variation: probability=0.005299, pays 10 to one, = +0.05299
difference =0.026502

Wizard cited return = -0.026556
So the RG HE = -0.053058 (by my calc.)

If Eliot is still reading, sir, you might confirm this kills the idea of counting it.

I've known about the 5.3% game for a long time, but not analyzed it on my site (at least, not that I recall.) No, it does not kill counting. The big "kill" is the $25 max bet.
Wino
Wino
Joined: Dec 13, 2014
  • Threads: 45
  • Posts: 177
December 9th, 2015 at 3:50:28 PM permalink
Hi AB21. I loved your report. Do you get any heat playing this way? Do other players or Casino staff ever notice that you get pretty "lucky" fairly often either on Blackjack the main game, LL, or both? How many different Casinos you do this at? I'm asking because I've been playing another side bet and getting some heat and wanted to change the approach.
Wanda Wilcox: “I can’t stand people. I hate them.” Chinaski: “Oh, yeah?” Wanda: “You hate them?” Chinaski: “No, but I seem to feel better when they’re not around.” Barfly, starring Mickey Rourke
AB21
AB21
Joined: Dec 2, 2012
  • Threads: 3
  • Posts: 50
December 11th, 2015 at 3:16:24 PM permalink
Hey Wino,

I haven't received any heat yet although penetration has gotten worse at my favourite casino. I am pretty sure the pit knows what I am up to but they tolerate me due to the relatively low stakes I play at. You would think other players would catch on, but they either don't, or don't want to ask me about it. I spread my play around to 3 different casinos. Only playing a few hours/week could be another reason for an absence of heat.
umbrellaman
umbrellaman
Joined: Dec 6, 2016
  • Threads: 1
  • Posts: 15
December 22nd, 2016 at 3:56:24 AM permalink
Couldn't you double your win rate by simply spreading to two hands whenever you have the advantage?

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