Lucky Lucky Side Bet: Countable?

Discussion in 'General' started by clouds, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. clouds

    clouds Member

    Hello again,

    Thank you so much for the help to my previous question. :)

    Has any research been done on the "Lucky Lucky" side bet in BJ? For those that have never heard of it, it is a side bet anywhere from $1-25 and these are the payouts:

    Suited 777: 200 to 1
    Suited 678: 100 to 1
    777: 50 to 1
    678: 30 to 1
    Suited 21: 15 to 1
    21 Total: 3 to 1
    20 Total: 2 to 1
    19 Total: 2 to 1
    18 Total or less: Loss

    I see a lot of sheep players betting "Lucky Lucky", and for some I realize that they are winning more at their side bet than their regular BJ bet. Others consistently lose hopeful of getting even the lowest payout.

    Just a few days ago I hit a suited 777 and was the talk of the house. Of course, I didn't bet, but it got me thinking.... could this little side bet be beatable? I use Hi-Lo, at what count, if any, could I have an edge on this game? Any information on this side bet would be great!

    I have done some research but haven't got many results on the forum and search engines, but I am very curious to know at what count this could make some extra $$ and just any insight on this at all would be greatly appreciated.

    Or is this side bet really just based on luck? :p

  2. It is probably beatable due to its low initial house edge, but I haven't analyzed it because I don't know of any place to play it. (Hint.)

    If I had to guess, I would guess it is exactly as it appears, and the 6,7,8 are the desirable cards to have remaining.
  3. SystemsTrader

    SystemsTrader Well-Known Member

    I briefly looked at this game once because I had a trip planned to casinos with this game but the trip never happened so I abandoned it. The game is different from Lucky Ladies because you require the addition of 3 cards, your two first dealt cards and the dealers up card for your results. This makes it much more difficult to beat than Lucky Ladies where you can just focus on the tens for a two card 20 in your hand. With Lucky Ladies you can use your regular blackjack count to beat the game but in Lucky Lucky you need a specialized count which should probably like AM says to focus on the 6,7, and 8 cards. I don't know if it would be worth it.
  4. callipygian

    callipygian Well-Known Member

    One thing that people sometimes overlook (less likely with this crowd I'll admit and this is probably what you meant but I'm posting it anyway) is that even if the EV is positive with some specialized count, it often needs to be significantly positive before the risk-adjusted Kelly bet reaches the minimum bet. Because of the scaled nature of the side bets, there's generally very high variance associated with betting - such that you might need a 5-10% edge on the bet before Bankroll*EV/variance = $1.

    Lucky Ladies (wrong thread but just as an example) becomes positive EV around Hi-Lo TC+6. But you really need TC+7-8 before it's worth making a $1 bet, depending on how deeply rolled you are. If you're talking about TC+8 levels of rarity, it's fine if your normal count is also your side bet count, but if you need to make a special side count, it may not be worth the effort.
  5. cardplay

    cardplay New Member


    Im kind of confused. Do you get to use your cards for this or the dealers up card and your card? does it matter how many cards you use to make your hand?

    I think systmestraders post is what messed me up.
  6. SystemsTrader

    SystemsTrader Well-Known Member

    It's a combination of three cards dealt to you and the dealer. But its done on the first two dealt to you and the dealers up card, not on any additional cards dealt. So if you are holding a pair of sevens and the dealer's up card is a seven then you win the 50-1 bet.
  7. cardplay

    cardplay New Member

    now that I know how it works it seems that this would be kind of hard to get a good advantage on. A high count wouldn't be good because of the high cards floating around you would most likely bust. Probably a close to 0 count would be best??
  8. UncrownedKing

    UncrownedKing Well-Known Member

    A high count would be good due to the higher probability of getting a 20 or 21 (BJ).
  9. cardplay

    cardplay New Member

    But he said that it counts the players 2 hole cards and the dealers up card which would make it very hard to get 21. seems like a lot of possible 30's.
    Am I misunderstanding something?
  10. jimbob

    jimbob New Member

    No, you are not missing anything, this is a common fallacy for this side bet, a higher count does NOT help this bet. A 3 card 20 or 21 is more difficult to make with a high count. You can't use a bj count for this game. You can easily prove to yourself why this is. Take excel and set up every possible two card hand for the player and every possible upcard for the dealer in a spreadsheet. The order of the cards does not matter. Then, using 6 decks, calculate the odds of receiving each of those two card hands. Then calculate the odds of each possible dealer upcard to each of those hands. This gives you the basis for determining EOR for every denomination. This will tell you what the most powerful cards are and what the least powerful cards are. This exercise shouldn't take very long. The 7 is the most powerful card in the game, obviously. After that the 6 and 8. After that the A. Also, how powerful a card is depends sometimes on what other cards are remaining. The 6 and 8 are more powerful if the deck is rich in 7s, if the deck is poor in 7s the 6 and 8 are less powerful. The A is more powerful if the deck is rich in 10s. It is less powerful if the deck is poor in 10s.

    I came up with a system for this bet. It is not a counting system the way you think of a +- with indices system like HiLo. You have to track denominations and the suits and what a particular card is worth depends on what other cards are present. You need two players to play the system, one counting the regular blackjack game and one tracking for the side bet. Only, there are three different side trackings/counts, one for the 6s, 7s, and 8s along with their suits. A second for the 21 suited any way you can make it. And a third for the 19, 20, or 21 any way you can make it. In the first two you have to track both the denominations and the suits.

    Now you have another problem. You and your partner need to be playing heads up against the dealer. If you are not playing heads up against the dealer when the side bet count is advantageous you both need to spread to 2 hands if possible. I can't tell you how many times we went to $25 on the side bet only to have the drunk at first base win the side bet while we got crushed. I think the problem here is that the advantage only appears for a short time and once its gone, its gone. So the cards dealt to one player can make the advantage disappear. The regular blackjack count is not that way. Let's say that you have the advantage right now because the remaining cards are rich in the 7 of diamonds. So you place that $25 side bet. The advantage you have might be quite high. but, if the player at first base gets a 7 of diamonds you just lost your advantage. And for some reason, it happens more often than not that another player not part of your team will get the cards you wanted.

    This side bet is definitely beatable, however there are some limitations to it. First, the variance is extreme. Second, most everywhere I have seen this bet there was a $25 max on it. Third, the blackjack bet had to be >= to the side bet, so if you had $25 on the side bet you also needed $25 on the blackjack bet. When the side bet is advantageous the blackjack bet usually is not advantageous, not always, there are subsets of the remaining cards that are heavy in 6,7, and 8 which are slightly advantageous for the blackjack bet.

    Developing a playing system for this bet is pretty straightforward. I did it using excel.

    Is it worthwhile to play? If you and your partner can play heads up, then yes. If the table is full, then, no. The reason that I say this is when I was playing this with a partner, everytime the count was advantageous it was always the other players who won the side bet while we got bupkis.

    Also, the times when the 6,7,8 and 7,7,7 are more likely to appear happen pretty seldom, so you have to sit there through lots of shoes before this advantage appears. There are other advantages besides 6,7,8 that appear more frequently but they don't pay very much so the advantage in terms of EV is not that great.

    Oh, the system for exploiting the side bet requires three very different approaches. One is keeping track of the 6s, 7s, and 8s BY SUIT. Second, is using a system which seeks to exploit the make a 19, 20, or 21 any way you can. Third, is also a tracking system for the 21 suited but unless you can get a bridge player who has years of practice tracking denominations and suits at the same time to be your partner, it is tough to do. So, to really have a good counting system you have to count three different ways at the same time and two of those ways require knowing both the suit and the denomination. I found some bridge players who can do this in their sleep but learning this myself required many hours of practice.

    So, I guess the question is, would this be a worthwhile endeavor to pursue? I would say yes if you have a bankroll that can withstand the huge variance that the side bet has, and if you have the skills to develop the requisite counting/tracking systems. And you can find a partner you can trust who is equally skilled. And you have the patience to sit through shoe after shoe before that deck rich in 7s of one suit presents itself.
  11. ExhibitCAA

    ExhibitCAA Well-Known Member

    Jimbob: "... one tracking for the side bet. Only, there are three different side trackings/counts, one for the 6s, 7s, and 8s along with their suits. A second for the 21 suited any way you can make it. And a third for the 19, 20, or 21 any way you can make it. In the first two you have to track both the denominations and the suits."

    And one person counted this sidebet part of the sytem at a live table? No chance. And if you think you did, then it is obvious why you never made any money off this sidebet.

    After developing many systems--counting and noncounting--to beat a variety of games, one theme that constantly reappears is KISS. The error rate for players on live games is VASTLY higher than you think, and there is no chance that the system as you describe could work in the real world, which makes me wonder ...
  12. WRX

    WRX Well-Known Member

    And yet we usually have to do a lot of work to distill your complex, detailed charts down to a system obeying the KISS principle. That wouldn't be deliberate, would it? ;)
  13. tuppy

    tuppy New Member

    Lucky Lucky is mathamatically beatable.
    Here is the link to my spreadsheet if you want to see the advantage in any given deck composition: Just go to the summary sheet and fill out the number of cards in the appropriate suits.

    (Dead link:

    In terms of a "KISS" counting system: Here it is

    A: -1
    10,J,Q,K: +1

    For an even simpler system: remove the ace and one of the "10" value cards

    Starting count: In a 4 deck shoe -9. In a 6 deck shoe: -12.
    Keep in mind variance in this game is extremely high and total probability of hitting any 777 or 678 or suited 21 is less than 1% even with you have an edge over the house even though that is where your majority of the positive return will come from.

    A brief summary of the Effect of removal for 4 decks:

    6 decks:

    I hope this helps. Personally I believe knowledge should be shared. Donations are appreciated and could be sent via paypal with my email
    P.S. ExhibhitCAA I really admire your work and would love it you would be willing to donate a free copy of your new book.
  14. JulieCA

    JulieCA Well-Known Member

    Heh - interesting information on this side bet. It's offered at several tables at a casino where I frequently play, so the info is appreciated.

    I'll have to check on the info on the side bet v. the blackjack bet. Most people are playing low bets on the side so I haven't had an occasion to see if the casino requires that the BJ bet be =/> to the side bet.

    I have played it and kept my buy in and winnings for the side bet separate. In one trip, I won over $300 on the side bet alone (hit suited 6,7,8 twice in <24 hours). A dealer - who obviously wasn't on board with the new side bet offering - advised me not to play because "the house has the advantage." :confused: That was 10 minutes before I won the second suited 6,7,8.
  15. SleightOfHand

    SleightOfHand Well-Known Member

    If the count didn't merit a bet, then you shouldn't have bet (unless you KNEW that the bonus was coming, but I doubt it :p ). Rationalizing that if you didn't make the bet would have cost you a bonus doesn't make it ok. I am not saying that you are indeed doing this, but beware the pitfalls of hindsight thinking. The LL side bet is indeed beatable, however the advantage (or more specifically, WR) from playing it is not very strong, especially with a $25 max bet, which is usually the case.
  16. JulieCA

    JulieCA Well-Known Member

    Well for me it was sheer gambling. I read up on it at the Wizard's site and occasionally played it, at a profit for that particular trip. I don't always play it.

    What I found funny was the dealer's comment. Like - there are games in the casino where the PLAYER has an advantage??
  17. steve waugh

    steve waugh Member

    Where is this game offered?

    If offered in Vegas,would you name the casino?

    I have CBJN but it does not seem to have the info.

  18. 21forme

    21forme Well-Known Member

    Station casinos
  19. JulieCA

    JulieCA Well-Known Member

    Just an update on this topic in case anyone is interested...

    Just got back from playing at the SoCal casino I go to where this side bet is offered.

    The min/max on the side is $1/$10. If you are playing the $5 min table, you can place a $5 on BJ and $10 on the side bet; the BJ bet doesn't have to be >/= the side bet.

    Because of the min/max, this wouldn't be an issue at higher limit tables.

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