Bill Zender’s Newsletter and the Buster Blackjack Side bet

The Bill Zender Newsletter

Bill Zender and Associates

October 29, 2020

Dear Friends and Business Associates,

As the pandemic continues, I have had to change my way of conducting business.  In the last few months, I have gravitated towards conducting more business online.  This includes providing short training session presentations through Internet medias such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, and a high limit winning player analyses over WebEx.  This process works effectively, but I believe that offering my services in person is the best method for providing project quality.  With that said, following are some of the “virtual” services that I am currently providing to my clients and casino operators seeking my help and knowledge:

Sessions on basic table game mathematics; understanding mathematical house advantage of the different table games and side bets, as well as understanding the mechanics behind game hold percentage.  I have taught this topic as a one-hour session. I have found that split sessions of one-hour each with a 15-minute break in between is more productive (total time 2-hours and 15 minutes).

A series of sessions on card counting in blackjack.  These sessions include (1) Basics of card counting, (2) Understanding Basic and common strategy, (3) Detecting card counting from the casino floor, and (4) Confirming card counting from surveillance.  Each session is one-hour and would be accompanied by handouts and informative charts and spreadsheets.

Conducting Winning Player reviews and evaluations.  All I require is the ability to review portions of the player’s video and a PDF of the player’s gaming hand tracking sheet records.  I have found that conducting player reviews over the Internet is quite efficient if I have access to view video and review hand tracking information.  If you have a customer who is continually beating your game, I can provide you with an expert’s “second” opinion.

In addition, I have accurate information on COVID-19 and procedures for the casino.  If handled correctly and consistently, procedures can be established to make the casino a very safe environment for both the customers and employees.   I can provide your organization with a virtual presentation or assist in compiling safe and adequate COVID procedures.

BTW, on November 17th from 1100am to noon EST, I will be giving a one-hour presentations at this year’s BNP Media’s Table Game Cutting Edge (Virtual) Conference (please see the information below).  The topic presented will include the effect rules changes have on the game, procedures, and side bets and how these changes effluence table game hold percentage.  I feel this presentation is a must for any casino executive involved in table games.  This session is more advanced than my standard table game courses.  At this time, I will only have this presentation available through BNP Media. 

If anyone is interested in any of these presentations and/or winning player reviews, please feel free in contacting me at [email protected] or 702-423-5734.  My prices are extremely reasonable at this time.

Email

Interesting Emails

Over the past month I only received one interesting question regarding table games that I wish to pass along to my readers.  The question has to do with protecting the Buster side bet from card counting attack.  A lot of game protection professional try and apply a blackjack count system to all aspects of the game including side bets.  In some situations, the object of the side bet is parallel to the primary game which dictates that higher value cards (specifically ten-value cards) are important to the players successful wager outcome.  However, many of the side bets are NOT designed to follow the object of the main game, and to successfully attack those side bet, a totally different count system needs to be employed.  This is the case with the Buster sidebet.  The following email outlines this exact situation:

Executive’s Email

In the past month or so we’ve experienced a rash of card counters at our property. What makes this all the more intriguing is that three out of the last four have wagered on the Buster Bet side wager upon the count hitting -4 or below. Is this anything you’ve come across recently? The last two using this strategy I asked if they had any information for me, realizing that they didn’t owe me a thing, one of which let me know that it was -5 but he had no mathematical evidence to back this. Only that he had been told to do so.  I read Eliot Jacobson’s two articles in AP HEAT, but this was far more advanced and was hoping to discover something easier to train, if it existed. Any insight would be welcome, as usual. 

My Reply

First off, counting the Buster side bet requires a different count system than the main game of BJ.  If you count using a hi/lo system, you will notice that side bet counters of Buster would bet in a negative hi/lo true count.  The Buster count system usually has the 7,8,9,T labeled as +1 when removed, and cards like A,2,3 labeled as -2 (or greater).  The system used depends on your pay schedule, but the count labels will vary only slightly.  In addition, pay schedules that pay 3:1 for busts with four cards are more likely to get attacked.  With that said, the return for the player counting the Buster is not as good compared to counting the main game.  I would assume the maximum bet limit on the Buster would have to be greater than $25 if it is the primary area of attack.  If the players are professional level counters then they could be attacking the main game using a hi/lo (or similar) count system, and have another person on the table or standing behind, counting the Buster using the Buster count system as mentioned above (signaling to the others).  My two cents on the situation.  I hope that helps.

My reply to this casino executive is based mostly on supposition, since I am not observing the play directly but analyzing it though the executive’s narrative.  As mentioned in the reply, the Buster is only vulnerable when the maximum bet limit exceeds $25, and when the pay schedule indicates a four-card bust pays at least 3:1.  Also, it goes without saying that a double deck Buster game is more attractive than a six or eight deck game under the same limits and pay schedule.  Any comments regarding attacking the Buster side bet are welcomed. Email me at: [email protected]

Scheduled Seminars and Workshop

Bill Zender SpeakingTable Games Cutting Edge Conference (Virtual) November 17th

How rules, procedures, and side bets effect table game hold percentage

Tuesday November 17th online from 11AM – Noon EST
At this year’s BNP Media’s Cutting Edge Table Games Virtual Conference I will be seated comfortably (and safely) in my own home.

Hold percentage is the primary measurement used by upper management to gauge table game performance. Do you know the factors that influence whether your hold percentage is respectable or terrible? In this 60-minute session you will learn how the number of hand decisions and wagering spots influences hold percentage (and win). How changing game rules alters the hold percentage range, and why adding side bets is so important. You will also come away with an understanding of “buy-in churn” (number of times the player’s buy-in is placed in action), and how it has a substantial effect on your hold percentage. This session is a “must” for anyone involved in table game management.  Here are the topics I will be discussing during the 1-hour presentation:

  1. The basics: How hold percentage is calculated based on table win and drop.
  2. Effect of gaining more decisions per hour: More revenue (win) same drop.
  3. Effect of offering “less” betting spots: Hold% goes up, but revenue goes down.
  4. Effect of rule changes: Do minor rule changes effect hold%; what about major rule changes?
  5. Effect of utilizing side bets: Side bets reduce decisions but increase revenue potential.
  6. Effect of buy-in churn: What effect does time on table have on hold% (and revenue).

For more information please go to the website https://www.casinojournal.com/table-games-conference/agenda

On the MoveOn the Move

Since I’m sheltering in place right now, I’m not on the move.  No one’s on the move.  I plan to get back on track sometime after the first of the year (and a successful vaccine!).  Call or email me! 702-423-5734and [email protected].
 
Questions???
 
I am always available to answer your questions. If you have any questions on gaming; do not hesitate to contact me through email.  I answer emails about gaming every day[email protected]I really am here to help.
 
Cheers, good luck, and stay safe!
 
Bill Zender
Bill Zender and Associates
[email protected]
702-423-5734

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