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Last Updated: September 13, 2016

Bust Bonus

Introduction



I first noticed the Bust Bonus side bet at the Silver Dollar casino in Seatac Washington on August 21, 2015. The bet pays when the dealer busts. Unlike other bets based on the dealer busting, this one lets the player make the decision after seeing the dealer's up card. Wins pay based on the up card, whether all the dealer cards are suited, with premium wins for a dealer 8-8-8.

The bet is by Galaxy Gaming.

Rules



The side bet is based on standard blackjack rules. Where I saw the game, at the Silver Dollar casino, eight decks were used and the dealer hit a soft 17. When the dealer has a 10 or ace up, he will peek for a blackjack before offering the Bust Bonus bet. The pay table used at the Silver Dollar is as follows.

Bust Bonus — Pay Table

Up Card Non-suited Suited
Ace 3 50
2 1 25
3 1 15
4 1 10
5 1 5
6 1 3
7 2 15
8 2 10
8-8-8 25 75
9 2 20
10 2 20


All wins are on a "to one" basis, meaning the player keeps his original bet if he wins. I assume that 8-8-8 wins are in lieu of the lower wins based on just an 8 up card.

Analysis



The following return tables are based on the Silver Dollar rules, namely eight decks and the dealer hits a soft 17 and peeks for a blackjack before the Bust Bonus bet is made.

Ace Up

Event Pays Probability Return
Suited bust 50 0.002238 0.111920
Bust 3 0.198886 0.596659
All other -1 0.798875 -0.798875
Total 1.000000 -0.090297


2 Up

Event Pays Probability Return
Suited bust 25 0.008834 0.220850
Bust 1 0.347843 0.347843
All other -1 0.643323 -0.643323
Total 1.000000 -0.074630


3 Up

Event Pays Probability Return
Suited bust 15 0.011606 0.174090
Bust 1 0.365285 0.365285
All other -1 0.623109 -0.623109
Total 1.000000 -0.083734


4 Up

Event Pays Probability Return
Suited bust 10 0.014647 0.146470
Bust 1 0.383472 0.383472
All other -1 0.601881 -0.601881
Total 1.000000 -0.071939


5 Up

Event Pays Probability Return
Suited bust 5 0.017942 0.089710
Bust 1 0.401194 0.401194
All other -1 0.580864 -0.580864
Total 1.000000 -0.089960


6 Up

Event Pays Probability Return
Suited bust 3 0.021036 0.063108
Bust 1 0.418278 0.418278
All other -1 0.560686 -0.560686
Total 1.000000 -0.079300


7 Up

Event Pays Probability Return
Suited bust 15 0.011857 0.177855
Bust 2 0.250174 0.500348
All other -1 0.737969 -0.737969
Total 1.000000 -0.059766


8 Up

Event Pays Probability Return
Suited 888 75 0.000244 0.018334
888 25 0.005169 0.129213
Suited bust 10 0.011271 0.112705
Bust 2 0.227270 0.454541
All other -1 0.756046 -0.756046
Total 1.000000 -0.041253


9 Up

Event Pays Probability Return
Suited bust 20 0.011658 0.233160
Bust 2 0.217379 0.434758
All other -1 0.770963 -0.770963
Total 1.000000 -0.103045


10 Up

Event Pays Probability Return
Suited bust 20 0.012341 0.246811
Bust 2 0.217785 0.435570
All other -1 0.769874 -0.769874
Total 1.000000 -0.087493


Summary



The next table summarizes the house edge under the Silver Dollar pay table and the dealer hitting a soft 17, according to the dealer up card and the number of decks.

House Edge Summary — Dealer Hits Soft 17

Up Card 1 Deck 2 Decks 4 Decks 5 Decks 6 Decks 8 Decks
Ace 9.23% 9.15% 9.08% 9.06% 9.05% 9.03%
2 11.74% 9.29% 8.07% 7.83% 7.67% 7.46%
3 10.62% 9.31% 8.68% 8.56% 8.47% 8.37%
4 7.06% 7.15% 7.18% 7.19% 7.19% 7.19%
5 7.33% 8.30% 8.77% 8.86% 8.92% 9.00%
6 9.09% 8.39% 8.08% 8.02% 7.98% 7.93%
7 10.64% 7.92% 6.61% 6.36% 6.19% 5.98%
8 16.41% 10.31% 6.33% 5.47% 4.88% 4.13%
9 11.22% 10.68% 10.43% 10.38% 10.34% 10.30%
10 11.11% 9.72% 9.07% 8.94% 8.85% 8.75%


Note that for the dealer hits a soft 17 rules above the best bet is on a dealer 8 for four or more decks, and on a dealer 4 for one or two decks.

The next table shows the same information except the dealer stands on a soft 17.

House Edge Summary — Dealer Stands on Soft 17

Up Card 1 Deck 2 Decks 4 Decks 5 Decks 6 Decks 8 Decks
Ace 24.44% 24.43% 24.37% 24.36% 24.35% 24.33%
2 12.44% 9.96% 8.73% 8.48% 8.32% 8.11%
3 11.11% 9.84% 9.24% 9.12% 9.04% 8.94%
4 7.67% 7.71% 7.73% 7.73% 7.73% 7.73%
5 7.54% 8.54% 9.01% 9.11% 9.17% 9.24%
6 12.51% 11.76% 11.42% 11.35% 11.31% 11.25%
7 10.64% 7.92% 6.61% 6.36% 6.19% 5.98%
8 16.41% 10.31% 6.33% 5.47% 4.88% 4.13%
9 11.22% 10.68% 10.43% 10.38% 10.34% 10.30%
10 11.11% 9.72% 9.07% 8.94% 8.85% 8.75%


Note the house edge is equal or higher when the dealer stands on a soft 17. This is simply because the dealer busts less. I do not know if Galaxy Gaming, the game maker, has a separate pay table under this rule.

Strategy



Above all the math above, remember commandment number 9 of my Ten Commandments of Gambling, "Thou shalt not make side bets." However, if you must, the best odds with four or more decks, whether or not the dealer hits or stands on a soft 17, is against a dealer 8.

Finally, it isn't difficult to see this side bet would be very vulnerable to card counters. I'll leave the details of how to do that up to the reader (don't you hate it when I say that).



There is a very similar side bet called Bet the Bust.


Written by: Michael Shackleford

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