Under-The-Gun 31 is a game developed and marketed by a pair of brothers who work at my local San Diego casinos. The game was on the floor at Viejas for a year, and it had a test placement at Pala too. The game is something of a cross between Blackjack and Three Card Poker. They designed the Ante bet with a small house advantage, while they pay good odds for the optional Bonus bet. The idea of the game is to make a hand total as high as possible, where only suited cards add together. Aces are always 11, and face cards have a 10 value. Since you can only add cards of the same suit, the maximum hand value is 31. The A-K-Q suited hand is a mini-Royal. The Ante pays a built-in bonus for a straight flush, a 31, or a mini-Royal.
To begin, the player makes an Ante bet. The Bonus bet is optional. The player and dealer both receive 3 cards. The looks at his hand, and decides to either fold, or to play the hand by betting an additional amount equal to the Ante. If the player stays, he also has the option to discard and draw one card. Once the action is complete, the dealer turns up his 3 cards. The dealer automatically takes a hit, and makes a hand from his 3 best cards. The player’s 31 Bonus and Stay-n-Play Bonus pay regardless of the dealer hand. The player’s Ante and Stay-n-Play bet pay even money against the dealer’s hand.
I know the game inventors, and wrote a playable Flash demo for them. They’d love to hear your feedback. Please try it out, and leave a comment about its playabilty, appeal, etc.. They’re working hard to get it out on the floor again. Click on the screenshot below to play:
After finishing the basic strategy for Texas Hold’Em Bonus, I figured it’d be a lot easier to play Casino Hold’Em, since there’s only one decision point (2x raise or fold) in the game. Also, I can play online for $1 Antes instead of waiting for the next Vegas trip to find a Bonus game. So I worked out the basic strategy for Casino Hold’Em as it didn’t exist yet. Fortunately, the set of betting rules isn’t too elaborate. It’s very easy to remember once you play the game a few times.
When you look at the strategy table, you’ll see that Casino Hold’Em plays very loose, betting hands like 6th nut kicker, overcards, gutshots, and runner-runner flush draws. This makes sense because the dealer needs a pair of 4’s or better to qualify, and the Ante pays odds for a flush or better. I really doubt anyone plays the game correctly, since you have to bet some crazy hands. (E.g., you 2x bet 5h4d against a 3d3hTd flop because it’s a runner-runner flush draw against a paired, but unqualified board.) Well, I guess I’d rather play more hands than fold them, since the overall house edge is still only about 2.5%. This is the only kind of game I play anymore: Hold’Em based table games with a house edge in the low 2% range. I guess I like seeing poker hands, and making post-flop decisions.
I’ll try the game out, and tell you how it goes. Most importantly, I want to be able to transfer money around easily (i.e., cash out wins via bank EFT). And I want to be able to quit while I’m ahead. This is the game I’ll probably play:
I’ve seen Texas Hold’Em Bonus all over Las Vegas, but I didn’t know basic post-flop strategy, so I’ve never played it. It seems to be particularly popular Downtown, where the casinos usually have Texas Hold’Em Bonus (“Bonus”) but Ultimate Texas Hold’Em (“Ultimate”) is not to be found. As a rule, I won’t play a game unless the house edge is reasonable, and I know basic strategy. So while I knew the game had a small 2.037% house edge, I had no idea how to play it post-flop. It looked inviting, but I needed to develop basic strategy before playing it.
Well, I finally got around to devising a basic strategy for Texas Hold’Em Bonus. I tried to organize and minimize the betting rules, and though it might look a little daunting at first, it will probably make a lot of sense once you have experience with the game. The rules for betting the flop are very similar to Ultimate Texas Hold’Em, while the decision for betting the turn is a little more conservative then the river bet in Ultimate. This more conservative nature of the game is due to the fact that once you’ve made the 2x pre-flop bet, you may check the hand all the way to showdown.
I’ll definitely play the game the next time I see it at the casino. That might be a while from now, and I’ll probably publish its Flash game before I play it for real.
The collusion angles to this game seem promising, because folding pre-flop could be a lot cheaper than betting another 2x to see the hand, given knowledge of confederates holding your outs. I’ll work out some numbers in an upcoming post.
I’ve stayed out of the casinos for the last few days, and updated the Mississippi Stud practice game using my new Flash libraries. I’m quick posting the new game now, and will complete all the features soon. The new Flash games play so much better than my old basic Java games, that there’s really just no comparison. I know that most people play their own strategies, and just need a playable tool to practice with. Hope this helps.
I’ll link the new game into the other pages, and this game will eventually replace the old Java game.