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Poker Blog established in 2003 as the first stop for poker news, poker stories, and bad poker advice.

February 20, 2007

Poker in the Pit

by Luckbox

Since the Wicked Chops guys seem to love alliteration so much, I decided to let the staff intern write the headline for this post. The post is inspired by a short trip to the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, LA. To be honest, there ain't much to see. Most importantly, there's no poker room. However, that doesn't mean there wasn't "poker" being played...

With the explosion of casino poker rooms in America, there's been a huge push to make a little extra money off the game. That means the introduction of table games with an element of poker. First, it may actually attract your average poker player who's either waiting for a table or steaming from a bad session. Second, it will attract those people who are still afraid of sitting down at a real poker table.

You've probably seen one of these games popping up in casinos in Las Vegas. It's called Texas Hold'em Bonus. The other one was new to me, and I've only seen it at this little casino in Kenenr. It's called Flop Poker. As most of you should know, there's no way these games could possibly be a good bet. The question, however, is just how much of an edge does the casino have? Thanks to the Wizard of Odds, I can answer that question for you.

Flop Poker

Here's how it's played: Each player at the table bets the "Ante" and the "Pot." The dealer then deals each player three cards. After looking at your cards you can either fold (and lose your Ante bet) or bet the "Flop" (an equal bet to your Ante). The dealer then reveals the three community cards (for a total of six cards). You use all three of your cards and two of the community cards to make a five cards poker hand.

If you have a pair of Jacks or better, your Ante bet pays 1-1 and your Flop bet pays according to the strength of your hand (Jacks 1-1 up to Royal Flush 1000-1). Finally, the player at the table with the best hand wins the "Pot" (if there are six players who each put $5 in the pot, the player with the best hand wins $30).

Sounds simple, right? But can you win? The short answer is NO. In fact, apart from counting cards in Blackjack, you can't win at any table game. So let's take the bets one at a time.

The "Pot" bet has a zero edge. You put the money in and have an equal chance of winning the "Pot" as every other player. Theoretically, you should win the hand as often as everyone else.

The "Ante" bet is obviously a terrible bet. It pays 1-1 no matter how good of a hand you end up having.

The "Flop" bet is just a bad bet because the payout never approaches the actual probability of the hand hitting.

The Wizard of Odds tells us the house edge on your initial bet is 5.42%. However, because multiple bets are being made, the element of risk is only 2.91%. (The element of risk is defined as the ratio of expected loss to the total amount wagered.) For comparison, the house edge for Roulette is 5.26% (Roulette is one of the worst games in the casino).

Texas Hold'em Bonus

This game is a player vs. dealer game. You start by making an "Ante" bet and an optional "Bonus" bet (the Bonus bet is ALWAYS a sucker bet, in fact, the Wizard of Odds tells us the house edge on that bet is a whopping 8.54%). Each player and the dealer is then dealt two cards. After looking at the cards, you have option of making a "Flop" bet which is twice your "Ante" bet or folding.

Then the dealer lays out the flop. From there, the player can either do nothing or make a "Turn" bet equal to the "Ante." Then a turn card is dealt and the player can again do nothing or make a "River" bet equal to the "Ante." Finally, the river card is dealt and it's time for the showdown, using any 5-card combination from the seven cards available.

If the player beats the dealer, the "Flop," "Turn" and "River" bets pay 1-1. If the player's hand is a straight or better, the "Ante" bet also plays 1-1. If the player and dealer hands are equal, it's a push.

The Wizard of Odds tells us the house edge on the game is 2.037%. However, because the average bet on the hand is 3.81 units, the element of risk is a tiny 0.5335%. That's not so bad. For comparison, the house edge on Pai Gow Poker is 2.73%.

So if you're dying to hit the table games after leaving the poker tables, you may want to give Texas Hold'em Bonus a try. Just don't bet the Bonus!!!

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