I played Rabbit Hunter Stud all day Sunday @Pala with my friend (2 spots x 8 hours) and we came out even. I received a few mis-pays, totaling about $30, which helped overcome the expected $72 house edge (40 hands/hr * 8 hrs * 2 players * 2.25% house edge/hand * $5 Ante) + tokes. Overall, it was a very enjoyable experience, and everyone had a good time. Several of us discussed how the game is “too easy”, and that they’ll soon figure out the house hold is way too low to keep it around. As I’ve said before, the 2.25% house edge is less than half of comparable poker-based carnival games, because there’s no “optional” bonus bet (additional 2-4% house edge).
The floorman told me the story of how the original version of the game required a 2x Play bet, and there was no dealer qualifier on the Ante. They told ShuffleMaster no one was playing the new game “in this economy”. So they re-designed it to be easier, with a 1x Play bet, and an Ace-high dealer qualifier on the Ante. It only took a few months for the re-design and Gaming Commission approval to put the new version on the floor. It was popular yesterday, and full all day. Newbies watched the game, then joined in and played the simple optimal strategy. There were quite a few full houses (30:1), and a girl playing for the first time made a straight flush (100:1) when nobody held either of her 2 outs.
With only a 1x Play bet and a dealer qualifier on the Ante, the variance is very low. Paying for a 6th card (“rabbit hunting”) is very enjoyable, and you actually look forward to doing it (47% of hands). The only “crying call” in the game is when you have Ace-high and no draw. Folding is obviously no fun, but it only happens 22% of the time.
The players at the table share information about their hands, and occasionally, it’s helpful. At a full table, you can ask for info at the following decision points:
|Hand||Collusion Modification||Frequency||Hand EV
|low pair only||don’t hunt if no trip outs||6.56%||+13%||+0.86%|
|two pair||don’t hunt if no full house outs||0.34%||+100%||+0.34%|
|K-high||call if 4 aces out||0.73%||+27%||+0.20%|
|gutshot w/o high cards||fold if no straight outs||0.51%||+22%||+0.11%|
|high pair w/ gutshot||don’t hunt if 1 or less straight outs||0.22%||+26%||+0.06%|
|KQ-high||call if 3 aces out||0.56%||+4.5%||+0.05%|
This simple collusion reduces the house edge from 2.25% down to 0.63%. Of course, there are probably a whole bunch of other optimal decisions you can make with knowledge of all your outs. However, it’s too awkward to ask for info on more than just one card. Notice that you make modified decisions on almost 9% of your hands. That’s a very high percentage, and requires a lot of info sharing at a table. The game is naturally chatty, but you’ll need to keep it low-key. You’ll need to develop a good rapport with everyone, and minimize your queries.
You have a pair of 2′s with no flush or straight draws. You ask if anyone has any deuces, and the other players tell you they have both of them. You don’t pay to hunt, you just call. If there was still a deuce left, you’d go ahead and pay for your 6th card.
Your hand is King high. You ask if all the Aces are out. The other players have all 4 Aces. You go ahead and Play 1x (call).
Your hand is King-Queen high. You ask if all the Aces are out. The other players have 3 Aces. You go ahead and Play 1x (call).
Your hand is JJKT9. You ask if anyone has a Queen. The other players have two of your Queens, so there are two left. You pay for a 6th card. (If there was only one left, you would not pay to hunt.)
Your hand is 97652. You ask if anyone has an Eight. The other players have three Eights, so there’s one left. You pay for a 6th card. (If there weren’t any Eights left, you’d fold.)
I stopped by Pala Casino last weekend, and I saw a new ShuffleMaster game called Rabbit Hunter ™ Stud. It’s a really simple game, where you bet an Ante, and Tens Up Bonus bet before the hand. (The Bonus bet is technically “optional”, but since it returns 136%, you should always bet an amount here equal to the Ante.) The Tens Up Bonus bet cannot be larger than the Ante Bet. The players and the dealers each receive five cards. After looking at your hand, you may either 1) fold the hand, and lose your Ante and Tens Up bets, or 2) call the hand with a 1x Play bet equal to your Ante, or 3) call the hand with a 1x Play bet AND pay an additional 1x fee to receive one additional card (“rabbit hunt”). When you pay for the additional “rabbit hunt” card, your resulting six-hand card is used for both the Tens Up Bonus bet, and for your showdown hand against the dealer. After everyone acts, the dealer turns up his hand. The player wins the Tens Up Bonus bet for any hand greater than a pair of Tens, according to the paytable below, regardless of the dealer hand. If the dealer doesn’t qualify with Ace-high or better, the Ante bets push (no action). If the dealer qualifies, then the Ante plays for even money against the dealer hand. The Play bet always receives even money action against the dealer hand (no qualifier).
The basic strategy for the game is very simple, according to the following rules:
- Always draw to improve your hand to any straight flush, flush, or straight (includes gutshot straight draws).
- Draw if your hand is Three-Of-A-Kind (do not draw if you already hold a full house)
- Draw if your hand is two pairs.
- Draw if your hand is a low pair (under Tens), but not if your hand is a high pair.
- Play with Ace-high or better, else fold if not drawing.
where “draw” means to pay the 1x (= Ante) amount for the extra (6th) “rabbit hunt” card.
For the following Tens Up Bonus Paytable, the house edge is only -2.25% of an Ante. That’s an especially good deal, since most games with an optional bonus bet usually cost at least 2-3% of the Ante on the main game, AND another 2-3% of the bonus bet. Here, you get to play the Tens Up Bonus Bet and the main game against the dealer hand for a combined cost of -2.25% of an Ante. Furthermore, unlike other ShuffleMaster games like Ultimate Texas Hold’Em and Crazy 4 Poker, you don’t have to make a Blind Bet (or Super Bonus Bet) that only pays a high qualifying hand. So, I’d say the cost is half that of Ultimate Texas Hold’Em, and Crazy 4 Poker (when played with the optional bonus bet).
|Pair Tens thru Aces||1|