ShuffleMaster Ultimate Draw Poker Machine @ Viejas
There’s a new multi-player video “table” game at Viejas from ShuffleMaster, called Ultimate Draw Poker. (This game is different from the cards and table version of the game, which uses community draw cards.) The new Ultimate Draw machine seats up to five players, who play against a dealer hand. The game is “virtual single deck”, meaning that as far as any one player is concerned, you’re playing heads up against the dealer using a single deck. I’ll explain how they do this below.
The minimum bet (Ante) for this game is $3, and the maximum is $100. The video table is very nice, a single horizontal display for all player and the dealer hands, with nice visual effects (card animations, etc.). A vertical display is used to show a life-size dealer from the waist up, which is close enough to soft-core pornography to make you feel slightly uncomfortable. The dealer is dealt five cards face down, and also 5 replacement cards (not shown) from which she may draw. The remaining 42-card deck is then cloned for each seated player. Each player is dealt a five card hand of out a shuffled, 42-card cloned deck. The player decides what to discard, then draws from his cloned deck.
Once all players have discarded and drawn to their final hand, the dealer turns up her hand. The dealer applies a simple house-way discard policy:
- hold a pair or better, ELSE
- hold a four-card flush draw, ELSE
- hold an open-ended straight draw, ELSE
- hold all high cards (>= Jack), ELSE
- discard everything.
The dealer needs to make a pair or better to qualify. If she doesn’t qualify, you win 70% of your Ante bet. If she qualifies, then your Ante bet plays for even money against her hand.
Fortunately, “house-way” is a little weak, and a better player strategy exists (0.32% better than “house-way” vs. “house-way”):
- hold a pair of 3’s or better, ELSE
- hold a pair of 2’s unless flush draw w/ Jack or better, or unless kicker is King or better, ELSE
- hold a four-card flush draw (unless offsuit kicker better*), ELSE
- hold an open-ended straight (unless kicker better**), ELSE
- hold two highest cards >= Jack, ELSE
- hold JTs, ELSE
- hold highest card >= Ten, ELSE
- discard everything.
*Ace is better than four-card flush draw, unless draw contains Queen or bettter
*King is better than four-card flush draw, unless draw contains Jack or better
**the following table shows kickers better than open-ended straight draws
|draw||min kicker to hold|
The house edge is very small for this game, only 0.61% for the above player strategy. However, the bonus bet is really bad, since it pays something like a Jacks-or-better video poker game, but you’re playing a strategy to beat the dealer hand, not to win a bonus. For the following table, and above player strategy, the bonus bet has about a 14% house edge. If you want to play the bonus bet, go find a video poker machine, it’s faster and pays more.
|Four Of A Kind||25|
|Three of A Kind||3|
There’s a small “collusion” opportunity in this game. Because the game is played with cloned decks, and each player acts in turn, a player acting last gets to see a lot of the 42-card cloned deck. For example, if you look at all the dealt player hands, you can see what’s available in the cloned deck (any card you see is in the cloned deck). And, when you see what’s drawn, you get more info of what’s available. There’s a few cases where this info would help you make a borderline discard decision. There’s probably aren’t enough situations like this to make it worthwhile, but I could be wrong.