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Leperflesh
May 17, 2007






Traditional poker, blackjack, and craps all have their own threads, but there's a bunch of other table games you might run into at any casino. Some examples I can find:
  • Roulette, and various roulette variants, such as Stadium Roulette
  • Blackjack variants, such as Stadium Blackjack
  • Bacharach, and its variants
  • Pai Gow Poker (note: original Pai Gow is a dominoes game; the card game is Pai Gow Poker, loosely based on Pai Gow)
  • Three Card Poker
  • Crazy “4” Poker or 4-card Poker
  • Let It Ride
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’em
  • Casino War (lol)
  • Big 6
  • High Card Flush
  • Mississippi Stud
  • Spanish 21

There's undoubtedly many more. Most of these games have rules specific to the casino or casino chain you're in. Many have a multi-casino progressive jackpot side-bet you can make in addition to main bets. Many of them heavily favor the house, or at least have sucker bets that heavily favor the house.

Do you play any of these games? Want to talk about one in particular? Want to discuss the rules, odds, or best strategy? Last time I was in a casino, I found the handful of low limit blackjack tables to be packed and couldn't get a seat, but there were plenty of seats available at the other table games... if there's one or two with decent odds or a fun mechanic, why not give them a try?

The answer is because you'll lose all your money, of course, but that's mostly true of all casino games! So no shaming people for their gambling degeneracy, let's just talk about table games yup.

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Leperflesh
May 17, 2007






Last weekend I was at South Lake Tahoe Harrah's and played some Ultimate Texas Hold'Em with my buddy.

Ultimate Texas Hold'Em is a table game in which players play only against the dealer, as in blackjack. A single 52-card poker deck is used, and the whole deck is shuffled after each game.

The advertised minimum bet (say, $10) is the minimum for the each of the blind and ante bet circles; your ante is returned if the dealer fails to make at least a pair (called "opening"), but otherwise it's treated like part of your whole bet mostly, so it's better to think of it as a game with a minimum equal to twice what is advertised which sometimes results in a refund of half your bet.

After initial bets are placed, the dealer deals five community cards face down, two cards to each player, and two cards to himself face down. Players may show their cards to one another. Players will have three opportunities to increase their bets:
  • Before any community cards are shown, players have an option to increase their ante bet by 3x to 4x (only those two options)
  • If they haven't already increased their bet, after the flop is turned over, players may increase their ante bet by 2x exactly
  • If they haven't already increased their bet, the turn and river cards are both flipped and players have one more chance to increase their bet, now by only 1x; if they don't want to bet, they must fold.

The dealer then shows his cards. Everyone makes their best five-card poker hand. Payouts vary but your goal is to make a good hand and also to beat the dealer, to get maximum payout.

In addition to the ante and blind bet (which must be for the same amount of chips), there's one or two additional side-bets you can make:
  • A "Trips" circle, which pays out on a scale if you make at least trips (irrespective of whether you beat the dealer). At the table I played, trips bet seems to always be the same size as the blind and ante; but I'm not sure if that was a rule, or just player convention.
  • A progressive jackpot side-bet, typically of one chip (so for a $10 table, it's a $5 chip). This pays out various fixed or progressive jackpots if you hit a very big hand, and also pays out an "envy" prize if someone else at your table hits one of the main jackpots.
The ante bet pays out 1:1 if you win vs. the dealer, is returned if the dealer doesn't open (regardless of whether you win or not), and is lost if you fold or the dealer beats you.
Your blind bet pays out if you win vs. the dealer, but the scale it pays out at is shown at the table. For example,
pre:
PLAYER HAND	PAYS
Royal flush	500 to 1
Straight flush	50 to 1
Four of a kind	10 to 1
Full house	3 to 1
Flush		3 to 2
Straight	1 to 1
All other	Push
The blind bet is always lost if the dealer wins, even if the dealer doesn't open (e.g. doesn't make at least a pair). The trips and progressive side-bets are lost unless you make at least trips or win a progressive jackpot.

Wizard of Odds has a page analyzing the odds of winning for Ultimate Texas Hold'Em.

I found the game to be entertaining and sort of a relaxed poker-ish experience. I only ever played the blind and ante bets, $20 a hand, and lost $125 over the course of a couple of hours' play. My friend next to me always played blind, ante, and trips ($10 each) plus the progressive, so $35 a hand. He had a long string of bad luck, winning no pots for at least 15 hands, and blew through something close to a grand in about two hours. I kept suggesting to him to stop dumping cash into the sucker bet circles but he was hoping to win $100k so whatever, he's hopeless lol.

One fun aspect was showing each other our hands, which sometimes mattered. E.g., knowing another player had one of my "outs" prior to seeing the community cards, lowered the value of my hand and sometimes led me to not raise when I otherwise might have. Another was the tendency of the whole table to win when the dealer's just trying to flip a superior kicker and fails to; in situations where that's likely, players all encouraged each other to stay in the hand - $10 to not fold, hoping the dealer won't flip a card higher than your highest card. The sense of camaraderie at the table as we all root against the dealer was quite similar to blackjack, but there's no hitting so no cases where another player is mad at you for "taking his card" or "taking a card that would have busted the dealer" or whatever.

I would have preferred a game with a lower minimum, for sure. I sat down with $500 and was down about $300 at one point, could easily have wound up down a lot more with a little worse luck, so at least at that Harrah's on a thursday evening it was not very beginner-friendly.

Anyone else played this game?

Leperflesh fucked around with this message at 00:10 on Jul 22, 2021

mfcrocker
Jan 31, 2004





Hot Rope Guy

If I'm gonna play a table game at the local casino, it'll usually be Ultimate Texas Hold'em (or blackjack). It's a bunch of fun and not the worst way to spend some time in there whilst waiting for a cash game table or the end of a tournament break

Strong Sauce
Jul 2, 2003

You know I am not really your father.




I've played Ultimate Hold'em... felt like folding gives up too much money. sunken cost fallacy and all that...

Pretty much the only table game I'll play is PaiGow Poker.

1. its slow, so it takes longer to bust
2. you usually push
3. it's fun?

obviously one of the most common decisions you have to make is whether or not you split pairs. generally speaking, split pairs if one is JJ+, keep 22-TT pairs together, if you have an ace put two pair in the back if the pairs are smaller than jacks. keeps pairs if they're smaller than 7s in the back if you have a King...

the first couple times i played i hadn't learned many of the rules yet and I had TT/99 with Axx left over. I think I wanted to go 99/TTAxx... splitting 9/10 here is borderline but house way is Ax/99TTx.. and basically she gave me an, "哎呀. 不對"... and told me house way was A high up front. so i kinda shrugged.. and set it to house way.

she gets dealt 3 baby pairs. lol.. i was kinda annoyed that i listened to her... also she made fun of me for the rest of the session

but yeah playing paigow is a nice way to not lose too much money when i don't feel like playing poker.. then i get mad when i lose money because i probably should've been playing poker.

Leperflesh
May 17, 2007






I played pai gow poker once but it's been so drat long I can't remember how the game is played. I do recall you are supposed to make a high and low hand, and you have to beat both of the dealer's hands to win, but lose to both of them to lose, so you frequently push, yup. I also recall liking that you can play with your cards face-up and can ask the dealer for advice, although of course the dealer's advice is... well, suspect, given where their loyalties lie, lol. But at least they can show you how to construct a high and low hand from what you got.


Strong Sauce posted:

I've played Ultimate Hold'em... felt like folding gives up too much money. sunken cost fallacy and all that...

At the table I was playing at, I think I was the most-folding player. I was definitely the only player who was strictly sticking to the minimum starting bet ($10 + $10), although not everyone did the progressive bet. Seemed like pretty much everyone liked the trips bet.

When we first sat down there was a severely drunk lady to my left who could not remember the basic procedure from one hand to the next (like, every time she'd try to raise preflop she had to be reminded that this was a 3x or 4x raise only); eventually someone sat down who looked young, got ID'd, and the drunk lady said she didn't even have her ID (nobody would ever ID her lol) and the dealer told her she was required to have her ID with her at the table, so she drunkely wandered off to go find her purse, which she had supposedly left at one of the casino bars.

Lol.

Anyway that lady aside, the other people we played seemed to be familiar with the game already, and I think they tended to throw in the minbet on the river unless they truly had garbage and only had hope to win by the dealer drawing worse than them.

Another thing I think almost nobody was doing was using the opportunity of shared information (we can show eachother our hole cards) to calculate the dealer's odds. One lady on the far left didn't even routinely show her cards. There's no disadvantage to doing so, and yet people can be superstitious I guess? I was even saying stuff to the guy who replaced drunk lady on my left, like "oh OK he's got an ace, other dude's got an ace, dealer has 12 outs now, you're like 70% to win here" and he'd nod but the table wasn't picking up on this. I wonder if we all flagrantly did that enough, the floor would get mad about it? Dealer didn't seem to give a poo poo.

RapturesoftheDeep
Jan 6, 2013


I am a huge fan of Pai Gow Poker-- I enjoy hanging out with crusty old Asian people, it has an illusion of strategy, and the combination of higher table limits and pushes mean you can feel like a high roller without many big losses. Not to mention that it seems to get me better free offers from casinos than anything else I play except for maybe big money video poker. After I got tired of serious holdem a few years back, it has probably been my biggest game.

Mathematically, roulette is a complete sucker game, but if I am with friends I will throw down 10 dollars or whatever on a straight-up number just for the hell of it. I hit it twice in row once, too! It is the gambling equivalent of one of those blue Long Island Iced Teas.

I have played three-card poker exactly once and won like $400 at 2 AM on a Tuesday. My one gambling superstition is to immediately start betting like a degenerate whenever some obscure new wave/punk song comes on the sound system. "Love Will Tear Us Apart" came on when I was heading up to my room, I sat down at three-card poker, immediately hit a bunch of straights with increasingly big bets and got up 10 minutes later. I'm pretty sure the three older Southern women sitting with me were nuns, or at least very devoted Catholics.

Strong Sauce
Jul 2, 2003

You know I am not really your father.




Leperflesh posted:

I played pai gow poker once but it's been so drat long I can't remember how the game is played. I do recall you are supposed to make a high and low hand, and you have to beat both of the dealer's hands to win, but lose to both of them to lose, so you frequently push, yup. I also recall liking that you can play with your cards face-up and can ask the dealer for advice, although of course the dealer's advice is... well, suspect, given where their loyalties lie, lol. But at least they can show you how to construct a high and low hand from what you got.

At the table I was playing at, I think I was the most-folding player. I was definitely the only player who was strictly sticking to the minimum starting bet ($10 + $10), although not everyone did the progressive bet. Seemed like pretty much everyone liked the trips bet.

When we first sat down there was a severely drunk lady to my left who could not remember the basic procedure from one hand to the next (like, every time she'd try to raise preflop she had to be reminded that this was a 3x or 4x raise only); eventually someone sat down who looked young, got ID'd, and the drunk lady said she didn't even have her ID (nobody would ever ID her lol) and the dealer told her she was required to have her ID with her at the table, so she drunkely wandered off to go find her purse, which she had supposedly left at one of the casino bars.

Lol.

Anyway that lady aside, the other people we played seemed to be familiar with the game already, and I think they tended to throw in the minbet on the river unless they truly had garbage and only had hope to win by the dealer drawing worse than them.

you're right about paigow.. but the dealer has no need to "cheat"you since they will win over the long run. they set your cards the house way, which is just a set of rules almost all casinos follow. when she told me to pair the 9/Ts with the Ax in the front it's because that's how she has to set her hand if she got that. two pair and A-high wins very often... but splitting 99/TT is also very strong. like in the end you're not gaining too much with that hand set either way.

also i miswrote and said 3 baby pairs, it was 2 baby pairs and i think like Jacks or something. Would have pushed with 99/TTAxx.

another thing is rules for the game vary between vegas and california, with additional variation between norcal/socal and the regular casinos vs indian casinos.

vegas: A2345 2nd highest straight after A-high
california: uhhh wtf? follow the rules vegas.

vegas: 5% juice per winning hand
california: $1 every hand win or lose. i think if the min bet is $5, the juice is $0.50

vegas: jokers, if we even put any in the deck anymore, are bugs and can only fill straights/flushes. otherwise it's just A-high
california: jokers are wild babyyyy

california also has strange rules about banking because in california you can't play card games against the house... you can also co-bank with the casino. and they allow your hand to be taken away if someone places a higher bet than you. meaning you place a $10 bet. someone comes and puts $20 next to yours. that person is now allowed to set the hand for both of you...

i think indian casinos will follow more closely with vegas rules.

quote:

Another thing I think almost nobody was doing was using the opportunity of shared information (we can show eachother our hole cards) to calculate the dealer's odds. One lady on the far left didn't even routinely show her cards. There's no disadvantage to doing so, and yet people can be superstitious I guess? I was even saying stuff to the guy who replaced drunk lady on my left, like "oh OK he's got an ace, other dude's got an ace, dealer has 12 outs now, you're like 70% to win here" and he'd nod but the table wasn't picking up on this. I wonder if we all flagrantly did that enough, the floor would get mad about it? Dealer didn't seem to give a poo poo.
i'm pretty sure the dealers don't give a poo poo if its legal to do. they just don't wanna get hit by anything from the eye in the sky. you're also giving too much credit to gambling tourists... for the most part you just pray that the person knows how to not gently caress poo poo up for the rest of the group, like playing well as the anchor in Blackjack.


speaking of Blackjack one of the biggest hands I lost was when some of the old PITR group was in Vegas for the WSOP back in... 2008? A small group of us went to South Point and we started playing some BJ. while the dealer was shuffling I thought I would "ball it up" and threw like $120 at the next hand. Well I get dealt 88. so I pay another 120 to split, got another 8 split that.. okay next 2 cards not an 8, but after that.. another 8, i ended up having to take money out of my wallet to pay for the bets.... the last 2 cards aren't 8s...

but now two of the hands are prime double down hands so of course i place another 2 bets of 120 on them.

basically ended up losing all but like one hand... that pushed. so i lost something like $600..

[forgive me if i gently caress up the ordering/set up. all i knew is i placed a big initial bet down, ended up having to grab more money from my wallet, and somehow ended up losing almost $600]

Leperflesh
May 17, 2007






That's one of those textbook cases of bankroll management; effectively, you played a $120 hand which meant you needed to have like five grand or something in your bankroll for blackjack, to cover not just variance but the rare case where correct (max EV) play is to get several hundred bucks onto the table.

When we sat down to play Ultimate Poker, I had $500 to risk and held myself to $20 per hand and still felt short-stacked the whole time.

CellBlock
Oct 6, 2005

It just don't stop.





I had a blackjack hand like that once, but I only started with a $15 bet, so at the end, I ended up with $90 on the table.

Pai Gow Poker is often my jam for the same reasons posted earlier - lots of pushes, an interesting game, and a nice pace to it. Also, the extra pushes/time at the table make it feel less stupid to put money on the side bets. (Putting an extra $5 or whatever on the side for a hand of blackjack can add up really quick; the extra $5 fortune bet on Pai Gow doesn't come up as often, and even when you lose, pushing your $25 main bet and losing $5 on the side feels like a small win.) Also, the fortune bets with the Envy bonus are great. Now, you're not just rooting for good cards, but you want the person next to you to have a straight flush, too.

Sometimes, if I have a lucky streak at another game, that'll become "my" game for a bit, much to my detriment. Let It Ride feels like it should be entertaining, but rarely is. I played a bunch of Mississippi Stud for a bit, too, as I had made a few hands in a row so I was gambling it up with house money.

Three Card Poker is probably my substitute for blackjack (in that it's a really simple yes/no game that basically plays itself) that is slightly more entertaining, and gives that feeling of potentially getting a "big score". My favorite way to play 3 card is to look at the cards one at a time, and stop when I see something that is good enough to play. At least once, I had a 3 of a kind that I didn't know about because I stopped looking once I saw a pair.

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RapturesoftheDeep
Jan 6, 2013


CellBlock posted:

My favorite way to play 3 card is to look at the cards one at a time

Yeah, I love squeezing the cards out one by one in Pai Gow. Most Pai Gow tables in Atlantic City are $25 a hand, and if I am gonna gamble that much per hand I want to get all the excitement out of it I can.

Is players banking Pai Gow a thing anymore? A guy was doing it the last time I played (which is like 2 years ago now), but before that I hadn't seen anyone do it for years. I know that it's mathematically better, but it seems to ruin the "all of us against the dealer" thing that makes table games so much fun.

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