I end up playing a lot of this game at my local Viejas Casino, mostly because it’s a really cheap game if you stick to the just Ante bet (~1.5% house edge). Of course, everyone else plays the Aces Up and Two-Way Bad Beat Bonuses, and you pretty much get ostracised from the table for not betting them. The other players just shake their head at you, and g-d forbid you should lose with a bad beat without betting the bonus. I don’t know where else you’ll ever experience such negative communal disapproval. It’s about as bad when you hit your 12-15 against a dealer 6 upcard in Spanish 21 (you should). On 3rd base. Every hand.
Anyway, everyone just loves the Two-Way Bad Beat Bonus. They don’t care what the house edge is. That’s why they’re there. They just want to hit a 35:1 or higher payout. And it happens frequently enough, especially when you play it every day. It’s the crack cocaine of bonus bets.
I saw the WOO’s numbers for the Two-Way Bad Beat were a little different than mine, but they’re pretty close. The 11.1% house edge is more than I’m usually willing to pay. I’ll bet it once or twice an hour, and consider it an occasional treat. But, unless I made a mistake, it’s not impossible for your straight flush to get beat (1 in 100 million). So you’re telling me there’s a chance …
I’ve been playing a lot of Six Card Poker at my local Viejas Casino, which gave me the chance to think about a better collusion strategy. When I first posted about this game, I was disappointed that the theoretical limit for collusion would yield only around +1.2% on the Ante bet. So I didn’t try too hard to make a good collusion strategy.
But it’s a pretty fun game, since the dealer shows half his hand, and with a full table, you’ll know 39 of the 52 cards. You can get the rules of the game from the WoOs.
After thinking it through, I boiled down the 6-way collusion strategy to the following three rules:
- fold any hand already beat by dealer
- fold any qualifying hand when there are 4 or more remaining single-card outs that beat you
- fold any non-qualifying hand when a kicker out remains that beats you, or there are 3 or more remaining pair outs for the dealer
This collusion strategy simulates at +0.43%, which isn’t bad. It’s pretty easy to count remaining dealer outs among the confederates. People just have to chime-in on how many copies of the dealer cards they have. The strategy is extremely simple, and the variance is pretty low given the 1x call, and the help in folding -EV hands.
On my trip to Vegas last month, I saw this new game at the Venetian, and all I could think of was collusion. I figured it had to be beatable, since the dealer shows half his hand (3 upcards), which should exploitable given confederate card information. Well, I finally got around to looking at it, and of course, its not as exploitable as I hoped.
The game is pretty simple, where both dealer and player get 6 cards to make a 5-card poker hand. There’s only an Ante, and a 1x Play bet. The dealer shows 3 upcards, and you decide to either 1x Play or fold your hand. If the dealer doesn’t qualify with Ace-King, then the Ante pushes regardless of the player hand. The 1x Play bet always receives even-money action against the dealer hand. The Wizard of Odds provides a basic strategy, and lists the house edge at 1.27%.
I figured 6-player collusion would help you know when to play Ace-high, and maybe help you fold a pair when a lot of dealer outs remain that beat you. But first, I simulated a bunch of hands finding the optimal decision given confederate card info. This gave me a very close approximation to the ideal edge obtained by perfect collusion. This 6-player edge amounted to only +1.17%. This isn’t much, especially since any actual collusion strategy approaching this limit would be impractically complex.
At this point, I only made a half-hearted attempt at finding a practical collusion strategy. There’s so many cards involved, its difficult to come up with a workable signalling system. Also, I looked over the collusion decision points, and it wasn’t simple to identify the conditions for making a counter decision to basic strategy. For what it’s worth, I came up with the following “simple” 6-player collusion strategy that simulates at +0.15%:
- Call two pairs or better, else
- Call one pair unless there are 7 or more dealer one-card outs remaining that beat you, else
- Call Ace-high when 2 or more Aces and Kings seen with 9 upcard copies, else
- Call Ace-high with 4 or more Aces and Kings seen with 8 upcard copies, else
- Call Ace-high with 6 or more Aces and Kings seen with 7 upcard copies,
- else fold
Update: I worked out an improved 6-way collusion strategy that yields a +0.43% return with only a couple simple rules.