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Best of John G. Brokopp

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These 'Lucky Ladies' Are High Maintenance at Blackjack

8 August 2007

Blackjack optional side bets have been around for a long time in various forms, but they are created only to siphon chips from players' stacks by offering the possibility of winning a little or a lot even if your hand doesn't beat the dealer's.

Playing blackjack using the principles of basic strategy is one of the best bets in the casino. Why allow an ill-advised side wager to encroach on the already low house advantage that serious players enjoy?

One such variety of predatory bet that's been around for a while is Lucky Ladies. A visit to the Website of Galaxy Gaming (www.galaxygaming.com), the company which created and licenses the game, tells the story in a promotional nutshell that's targeted for casino owners who are thinking of adding the option:

Click on the Lucky Ladies link and you'll read: "More gaming operators have discovered that the easiest way to increase their table game win is to convert all of their standard blackjack tables to Lucky Ladies enhanced blackjack".

The object of the bet is simple. Any total of 20 on your first two dealt cards is a winner and you are paid 4 to 1, but the price is a budget-crippling 24.71 percent house edge when these other payoffs are factored in: If it's a suited 20, the payoff is 9 to 1; a matched 20, 19 to 1; a pair of Queen of Hearts, 125 to 1; and a pair of Queen of Hearts with a dealer blackjack, 1,000 to 1.

The above figures are from the worst pay table option using a 6-deck shoe. There's another pay table that carries a lesser but still staggering house advantage of 17.64 percent that pays 200 to 1 for a pair of Queen of Hearts; 25 to 1 for a matched 20; and 10 to 1 for a suited 20.

Casinos featuring Lucky Ladies aren't twisting your arm to play. Serious gamblers who play regularly tend to ignore it, preferring to stick to the traditional game and value for your wagering dollar it affords. Remember, it's an optional side bet.

This bet and others of its ilk are targeted toward the casual player; people out on the town for an evening of fun enjoying some libation and 'table talk'. The wager adds a degree of intrigue and excitement, albeit for a high cost: the mathematical probability of winning 1,000 to 1 for a pair of Queen of Hearts versus a dealer blackjack occurs once every 68,666.5 hands according to the company Website.

There should be a disclaimer attached to this variety of bet that reads: "Play at Your Own Risk". Wagering a chip every once in a while may not hurt, but making a habit of it on every hand can have devastating effects on your bankroll. You'll give away all the advantages wise blackjack play reaps.

If increasing the hold percentage on blackjack by offering a pie-in-the-sky betting option with your chances of winning the top award as remote as dropping a round basketball through an oval hoop is the goal for casino operators, Lucky Ladies and similar side bets fill the bill quite nicely.

CASINO NEWS: The Marshall Tucker Band is coming to the Grand Ballroom of the Blue Chip Casino for one show on Friday, August 17, starting at 8 pm. Tickets are $30 plus tax and available at the casino gift shop or by credit card by calling 888-879-7711, Ext. 3608.

As part of its 15th Anniversary celebration, Empress Casino in Joliet is having a "15 Year Itch" promotion every Tuesday and Thursday now through August 30. All NOW player's club members who earn at least 15 slot points receive a free scratch card for a chance to win food discounts, promotional bonus entries or cash prizes up to $15,000.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp