Dragon Bonus Baccarat

Dragon Bonus or Longbao is a Live Baccarat game by Asia Gaming. The main difference between regular Baccarat is in the side bet thanks to which players can win up to 30:1. Just like the classic version of. Dragon Bonus Baccarat plays much like the standard game, with a shoe consisting of eight 52-card decks (without jokers). The paytable and game rules are very helpful and give players a wealth of information at their fingertips. In terms of the return to player percentages, expect: Player bet 98.76%.

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Dragon Bonus Live Baccarat

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I don't like to accept articles by other writers. Few writers out there freelance at the kinds of standards I expect of myself for this site. Until now, I believe the only outside page I have accepted is the one on Flip It, by Michael Bluejay.

However, when Eliot Jacobson mentioned he had found the Dragon Bet in EZ Baccarat easily countable I was eager to cover it. As far as I know this topic has never been covered before. So I was quite happy when Eliot agreed to share the results of his analysis with my readers. Enjoy! — Wizard

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Card Counting the Dragon Side Bet in EZ Baccarat

By Eliot Jacobson Ph.D., © 2011

The Dragon Side Bet for EZ Baccarat is simple to describe. This side bet pays 40-to-1 if the dealer’s three-card total of 7 beats the player, otherwise the bet loses. Analysis of the wager consists of a straight forward cycle through all possible hands. Table 1 gives the analysis for eight decks, with the house edge of 7.611% appearing in the lower right cell.

Table 1

EZ Baccarat Dragon Side Bet

Winning Dragon40112,633,011,329,0240.0225300.901350
Losing Dragon-14,885,765,264,174,3300.977470-0.977470

I first considered if the Dragon Side Bet was susceptible to a card counting methodology several months back. Intuitively, it seemed as though the wager was more probable to hit if there was an excess of 7 and 10 valued cards in the deck. In this case, the dealer would be more likely to draw 10-10 and hit to a 10-10-7 = 7. Later, as I read several Internet discussion boards, it became clear that others thought as I did. The conclusions were that if there was any vulnerability at all, it would come when 7’s and 10’s were in excess in the remainder of the shoe. It turns out this is not the case. The Dragon Side Bet is vulnerable to a card counting methodology, but the answer is surprising.

The key is that in order for the player to win the Dragon bet, the dealer has to draw a third card. This requirement trumps everything else. The cards that keep the dealer from drawing that third card most often are the 8 and the 9. As these cards are removed from the shoe, the edge moves quickly towards the counter’s favor. An excess of smaller cards is also helpful. The cards 1-7 are each cards that can move the dealer’s final total to 7 if he draws. Determining which of these low cards result in a final total of 7 most often is the key.

The methodology used in this study is familiar. The overall house edge for the game dealt from eight decks is 7.611%. By removing each card in turn from an eight-deck shoe, its effect on the house edge can be determined. This allows card counting systems to be developed. After arriving at candidate systems, computer simulations are run to see if these systems can generate an edge in practice. If there is an edge, the question then becomes if this is significant enough to become an opportunity for the advantage player.


Table 2 shows the number of winning and losing hands that result from removing one card from an eight-deck shoe, along with the house edge after removing that card.

Table 2

House Edge by Card Removed

Card RemovedWinning DragonLosing DragonTotalHouse Adv.

Table 2 allows us to compute the effect on the house edge for the Dragon bet by removing each card. Table 3 gives these results. The middle column (EOR) shows the change in house edge when the indicated card is removed. The final column (EOR x 1000) indicates potential card-counting tags to use in an optimal system.

Table 3

Effect of Removal

Card RemovedEOREOR x 1000

Table 3 indicates the extreme importance of ridding the shoe of 8’s and 9’s. Also, the 7 is the most important card, as expected, to remain in the shoe. The other cards diminish in value as their pips go down, presumably because they are used in fewer and fewer situations to draw to a dealer total of 7. Working against intuition, the counter’s situation improves as zero-valued cards are removed from the deck.

Looking at the values in the last column of Table 3, and adjusting slightly to make it balanced, we get card counting “system 1” with tags (0.5, -0.9, -1.1, -2.7, -2.7, -3.3, -3.6, 5.4, 4.8, 0.9). The reader will most likely consider it daunting to use system 1 in practice. However, as a baseline counting system, it is worthwhile to see how it performs. In an effort to simplify this unwieldy system as much as possible, I also considered the card counting system with tags (0, 0, 0, -1, -1, -1, -1, 2, 2, 0). I’ll refer to this as “system 2.” This latter system is easily implemented by a counter of average skill level.

To gauge the effectiveness of each, I wrote a computer program to simulate using these two systems in live play. The game I simulated has the following shuffling and cut card rules:

  • The game is dealt from a shoe with 8 decks.
  • At the start of each shoe, a card is burned. Based on the value of the burn card, an additional number of cards are burned, equal to the value of the card.
  • The cut card is placed 14 cards from the end of the shoe.
  • After the cut card is dealt, one more round is dealt before shuffling.

Table 4 gives the results of a simulation of two hundred million (200,000,000) shoes.

Table 4

Simulation Results: 200M Shoes

ItemSystem 1System 2
Target Count104
Expected Value7.315%8.032%
Standard Deviation6.4566.567
Frequency of Bet10.698%9.163%
Units Won per Shoe0.63610.5967

Update: 10/14/2011. Shortly after this article was published, I realized that I had made an error that caused me to significantly underestimate the player advantage. This error was caused by using single-deck estimations for the remaining cards in the shoe, rather than determining the exact true count based on the fractional decks remaining. I revised my simulation program and confirmed my updated results with Steve How of discountgambling.net. I apologize for any inconvenience I may have caused the reader.

It is clear from the last row of Table 4 that system 2, with tags (0, 0, 0, -1, -1, -1, -1, 2, 2, 0), performs remarkably well in comparison to its optimal cousin.

The person who uses system 2 should make the Dragon bet whenever the true count is +4 or higher. If he does so, then on average he will have an 8.03% edge over the house each time he makes the bet. This counter will have the opportunity to make the Dragon bet at or above the target true count on 9.16% of his hands. Given that the average shoe yields about 80 hands, the counter should be able to make, on average, about seven Dragon bets per shoe with the edge.

In dollar terms, if the house allows a Dragon bet up to $100 (say), then on a per-shoe basis the counter will average about $59.67 profit. The counter will earn about $8.03 per $100 wagered on the Dragon bet.

It is worthwhile to check that the simulated results for system 2 make sense combinatorially. One way to get a +4 true count off the top is to remove eight 8’s and eight 9’s from the deck. This will leave 400 cards remaining in the eight-deck shoe, with a running count of +32, for a true count of 4.16. In this case, combinatorial analysis gives a player edge of 1.0227%. Using a single deck, one way to get a +4 true count is to remove one 8 and one 9 from the deck. This leaves 50 cards with a +4 running count, giving a true count of 4.16. In this case, combinatorial analysis gives a player edge of 1.3114%. Because the player is making the Dragon bet at a true count of +4 and above, not just at +4, these computations represent a secondary confirmation of the simulated results.

What Is The Dragon Bonus Baccarat

Cut card placement varies by casino, so it is worthwhile to investigate how the edge changes with the placement of the cut card. Table 5 gives statistics for all cut card placements from 14 cards to 52 cards, and then by half-deck increments up to four decks. A cut card placement at one deck, instead of at 14 cards, decreases the potential profit to the player by about 50%.

Table 5

Card Counting Statistics by Cut Card DepthExpand

Cut Card DepthTrigger CountHands per ShoeExpected ValueStandard DeviationBet FrequencyPercent of Shoes PlayedProfit per Shoe (units)Profit per Hour (60 hands)
1.5 decks468.324.79%6.4705.37%36.51%0.1760.154
2 decks463.064.16%6.4514.20%28.71%0.1100.105
2.5 decks457.793.64%6.4363.19%22.09%0.0670.070
3 decks452.533.22%6.4232.34%16.44%0.0390.045
3.5 decks447.273.13%6.4201.62%11.70%0.0240.030
4 decks442.002.74%6.4091.05%7.79%0.0120.017

This analysis shows that in theory the Dragon Side Bet in EZ Baccarat is an advantage play opportunity using a card counting methodology. In my opinion, however, given the high variance and low return, card counting is not a practical threat to the game.

About the Author

For more information on Eliot, or to contact him, visit http://ijmp.org/ .

Related Pages

Please also see my own card counter vulnerability study of the Panda 8 side bet in EZ Baccarat.
Written by:Michael Shackleford

One of the reasons people like playing Baccarat is the lack of complexity you’d find in other card games. It’s a chance-based game, requiring no more thought and strategizing put into it than a simple heads or tails decision. Without any critical thinking or maneuvering, however, things can get a bit bland. No worries, though, if there’s one thing that’s surely infinite besides the universe, it’s the game developers’ ability to come up with new ideas to diversify their products. Side bets add a nice flair to the otherwise simplistic gameplay and are offered at both land-based and online casinos. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular ones.

  • Bellagio Match: A side bet on three-of-a-kind in the multi-player game hosted by an animated dealer. The payout is 75:1 for a Player three-of-a-kind with a 5.27% house edge and 68:1 for a Banker’s at a 8.57% house edge.
  • Super 6: You can place this bet at UK land-based casinos and some live casinos online. It pays 12:1 if the winning Banker hand is a total of six. This is the side bet with the biggest house edge – a whopping 29.98%.
  • 3-Card Six: Again a side bet offered at the Pala Casino. You get a 100:1 payout if both the Player and Banker get a 3-card 6 hand and an 8:1 if only one hand does. The house edge is 13.37%.
  • 4-5-6: resumably, a side bet played in Atlantic City. There are 3 bets available on the total value for each hand. 4 pays 3:2, 5 and 6 pays 2:1.
  • Lucky Bonus: The lucky bonus is a side bet offered at the commission-free Baccarat tables in the Pala Casino in California. It’s a wager on the Banker hand being a winning six. The side bet gives a Player advantage of 2.34% and because of that, you can’t place a wager that’s more than 10 percent of the Banker bet. It’s one of the side bets with the most player-friendly RTP as the house edge between it and the Banker bet is 1.11%. The payout is 18:1.
  • Royal Match: A side bet rumored to be offered at London casinos. It can be wagered on either the Player or Banker drawing a King and Queen in the first two dealt cards. The house edge is very player-friendly at 2.13% The payout is 75:1 for a suited King & Queen and 30:1 for non-suited.

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Dragon 7: This side bet is offered in EZ Baccarat – a game extremely popular with Chinese customers. A Dragon 7 appears when the Banker gets a winning 3-card 7 and pays 40:1. The side bet increases the house edge to 7.61% but the game doesn’t feature a commission on the Banker.
Dragon Bonus: The Dragon Bonus is not exactly a baccarat casino bonus, but rather a side bet that pays out if you win with a natural 9 or 8 or if you win by a large margin – at least four points. The highest baccarat payout is 30 to 1 for a non-natural winning hand that wins by nine points. Keep in mind that the Dragon Bonus bet has to be made before you make a standard baccarat bet and on the same side – player or banker. These are the Dragon Baccarat Bonus payouts that apply to both the banker and the player.

  • Natural win (two-card 8 or 9) pays 1:1
  • Natural tie (two-card 8/8 or 9/9) is a push
  • Win by 9 pays 30:1
  • Win by 8 pays 10:1
  • Win by 7 pays 6:1
  • Win by 6 pays 4:1
  • Win by 5 pays 2:1
  • Win by 4 pays 1:1
  • All other results are a loss

If both hands are natural and the result is a tie, the Dragon Bonus bet is a push. The side bet affects the house edge, making it 2.65% for player (the standard is 1.24%) and 9.37% for banker against the standard 1.01%. Although immensely popular in Asian casinos, the Dragon bonus version can be found in casinos all around the world, and in many online baccarat casinos as well.

Matching Dragon: This type of wager encompasses 13 side bets or one for each rank. The payout is based on the number of cards of the chosen rank that will appear in the next hand. All cards dealt count. Here are the payouts:

Dragon Bonus Baccarat

Matching Cards Payout
6 100:1

For example, if the Player hand is Q – 2 – 2 and the Banker is K – Q – 2 and the bet is on a 2, the payout would be 20:1 for the three 2s, 3:1 for the two Qs and 1:1 for the one K. All other bets lose.

Either Pair: A side bet available at online Playtech casinos that pays if the first two dealt cards of either the Player or Banker form a pair. It’s got a 5:1 payout.
Perfect Pair: Like in Blackjack, this is a wager that the first two cards of either the Player or the Banker are a suited pair which pays 25:1. It’s offered in Playtech games.
Rabbit Play: A pair of side bets which are available in Las Vegas. They have an 8.07% house edge for Player and 9.31% house edge for Banker.

Suited 3-of-a-kind 500:1
Unsuited 3-of-a-kind50:1
Suited pair (first two cards only)15:1
Unsuited pair (first two cards only)7:1

Egalite bets: These are side bets on specific ties, for example both totaling 6. Egalites can have different payouts for each tie or be grouped. The payouts for Egalites on specific ties are:

  • Panda 8: Another side bet from EZ Baccarat which pays 25:1 if the Player gets a winning 3-card 8. The house edge with this bet becomes 10.19%.
  • All Red/Black: If you get all red cards, this side bet pays 22:1 and 24:1 if you get all black cards. You can find this bet offered at live casinos.
  • First Two Banker/Player Cards Same Suit: Pretty self-explanatory, this is wager on the first two Player or Banker cards being the same suit. The payout is 2.87:1 for a suited Player hand at a house edge of 4.20% and 28.6:1 for Banker at a house edge of 3.95%. You can find this side bet in some live games online.
  • Total Points Over/Under 9.5: With this side bet, you place a wager on the sum of the final Player and Banker points. The payout is 66:1 if both hands total more than 9.5 points and 1.23% if the total is under 9.5 points. This wager, which is similar to the sports over/under bets, is available at online casinos.
  • Total Points Odd/Even: With this option available at live dealer casinos, you can place a wager on the sum of both Player and Banker hands being either odd or even. It pays 0.92:1 for an odd total number and 0.91:1 for an even total.
  • Lucky 8: The opposite of the Unlucky 8 – a bet that the chosen hand Player or Banker will be a winning with a total of 8 points. The payout is 4:1 with a 13.65% house edge for Player and 16.60% for Banker.
  • Unlucky 8: A side bet that a chosen hand – either Player or Banker will be a losing one with a total of 8 points. The payout is 8:1.
  • Double suited 3-card 8: A wager that both Banker and Player have a suited 3-card 8. The suits can be different for the two hands. The payout is 200:1.
  • Suited 3-card 8: Pays 25:1 if either the Banker or the Player has a suited 3-card 8.
  • Double 8: A wager that both the Banker and Player hands will total 8 points. This side bet pays 15:1.

Quik is a side bet based on the combined total of the Player and Banker points with an 8.155% house edge. If the combined points are:

Dragon Bonus Baccarat Adalah

  • 0 – pays 50:1
  • 18 – pays 25:1
  • 1, 2, 3, 15, 16, 17 – pays 1:1
  • 4 to 14 – loss

Big and Small: Offered at online Playtech casinos, this side bet has the same payouts as the 4-5-6 bet. A ‘Small’ pays 3:2 if the total of the Player and Banker’s hands totals 4. The ‘Big’ pays 2:1 if the total is 5 or 6. The house edge is 5.27% for the ‘Small’ and 4.35% for the ‘Big’.

If you want to find out more about the general rules of Baccarat, have a look at our Guide page where you will also find information on the rules for drawing additional cards and how to use scorecards to trace patterns. Interested in what the different baccarat terms mean? We have compiled a Glossary for your perusal as well.

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