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Last Updated: November 16, 2020

Upcard Luck

Introduction

Upcard Luck is a blackjack side bet found on Dynasty blackjack games by IGT. The premise is that it wins if the player is in a good situation after the initial cards are dealt. To win, the dealer must have a 2 to 7 showing and the player a blackjack or total of 9 to 11 or 18 to 20.

Rules

To win, the dealer must have an up-card of 2 to 7. In addition, the player must have one of the hands below.

• Jacks of spades and ace of spades — pays 78 to 1.
• Any other blackjack — pays 7 to 1.
• Total of 9 to 11 — pays 3 to 1.
• Total of 18 to 20 — pays 3 to 1.

Following is a picture of the rules screen, if my explanation wasn't clear.

I presume the game is played with eight decks and the cards are shuffled after every hand, but I am not sure.

Analysis

The following table shows my analysis based on eight decks of cards. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 14.36%.

Upcard Luck — Eight Decks

Event Win Combinations Probability Return
Ace of spaces and jack of spades 78 12,288 0.000344 0.026820
Other blackjack 7 774,144 0.021663 0.151638
Total of 9 to 11 3 2,042,912 0.057166 0.171498
Total of 18 to 20 3 3,817,472 0.106823 0.320468
All other -1 29,089,664 0.814005 -0.814005
Total   35,736,480 1.000000 -0.143580

The next table shows the house edge for other numbers of decks.

Decks House Edge
8 14.36%
6 14.29%
4 14.16%
2 13.76%
1 12.94%

Card Counting

It is easy to see that this side bet would be very vulnerable to card counters. I presume IGT shuffles the deck after every hand to defend against this.

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