Discount Gambling

Rabbit Hunter ™ Stud @ Pala Casino

Posted in rabbit hunter stud by stephenhow on January 13, 2011

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).

Tens Up Paytable
Hand Return
Royal Flush 300
Straight Flush 100
Four-of-a-Kind 50
Full House 30
Flush 10
Straight 7
Three-of-a-Kind 5
Two Pairs 2
Pair Tens thru Aces 1
nothing -1

Layout for ShuffleMaster ™'s Rabbit Hunter ™ Stud Game.

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  1. Zen_Master_Flash said, on January 13, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    I do not know this game in the slightest BUT I’m a bit confused.
    Among other things which are missing from this description are:

    · The relative size of the play and bonus bets
    · Whether the -2.25% return includes the positive return from the bonus bet
    · Whether Rabbit Hunting (costing the ante) happens in addition to or instead of calling
    · What it means to “draw” – is that “rabbit hunting?” must a card be discarded to do it (limiting straight options)? Can the player take more than one card?


    • stephenhow said, on January 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm

      Thanks, I’ll expand the description a bit. I tend to be a bit terse 🙂

  2. Hunterhill said, on January 14, 2011 at 7:16 am

    They have Rabbit Hunter at Jackson Rancheria,but I don`t know if it is the same pay table.

    Stephen, if you could know one of the dealers cards could you have an advantage?

    • stephenhow said, on January 14, 2011 at 11:05 am

      Even if the dealer exposes one card, that upcard information won’t help you much. At best, you’d have to combine it with other player info (i.e., how many copies of the upcard a full table holds, and Aces) to tell you when you can call with King-high. For example, if you’re holding King-high, and the upcard is less than a King, and the table holds all remaining 3 copies of the upcard, then you can call with your King-high with an expected return of -1.90 Antes. That’s better than folding (-2 Antes), but this opportunity only comes along 0.9% of the hands 😦 So this one modification will only improve the EV by 0.0009. I’d guess that other modifications using full table information will only help your return by around 0.005.

      Also, when I looked at possible collusion strategies to the game, I found that even with full table information, if you’re holding only a gutshot draw with only 1 out remaining in the deck, you should still draw for it. The game is pretty insensitive to additional information.

  3. seand said, on January 17, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Stopped by Pala this evening. Watched play for dozen hands then sat down. Played for about an hour. The other two players said they’d been there 3 – 4 hours already. After third time dealer had pocket aces, watched his hands. No shuffling of the cards. Hands get stacked on top of unused block, split in half, top half rotated 180 degrees then placed back on top. Don’t know how much internal shuffling takes place inside the box but certainly not enough. From chatting with the other two players, one of them drew to a straight draw one time. Neither had hit trips or a flush or higher (in 3 – 4 hours of play). During the time I was sitting there, amongst the three of us, twice saw a second pair get caught. Asked the dealer about not shuffling and he said he was told not to.

  4. jaime said, on October 3, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    I played this game for the first time last Friday and I gotta say its a good game with the odds in the players favor. I started with 100 just to pass time while I waited for a spot at the paid gown table. My uncle also played for the first time and another buddy of ours (3 players against the dealer) I really didn’t count the hands but in about 2 hrs or so and the dealer beat all 3 of us on 2 ocasiones . In those 2 hrs or so I was up about 400 hitting 2 full houses about 5 three of a kinds 10 flush/straights betting the minimum. My uncle on the other hand got roughly the same bonus hands except he was betting a lot more so he was up around 2800 from 100 aswell. Our friend on the other hand was a bit more fortunate cause he started with 50 and left the table with around 600 and thanks to a 4 of a kind. So next weekend I will mostlikely be playing that game again. And I recomendar it to everyone its simple.

  5. sam said, on December 24, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    I played rabbit hunter for first time last evening, dropping a hundred in a hour or so wagering nickels. Not once but twice I hunted while holding high pairs like an idiot as I was overthinking things in my mind. In this KC North casino, the 10’s UP pay table has two differences. While the RF pays 500-1(rather than 300-1), the Trips payout is a mere 4-1. All else is equal. Just how worse are the % odds of this game with this common 3 of a kind payout sized down coupled with the 500-1 RF. As for the Royal, hah that’s a long long shot that I am guessing being due on average ohh about once in every 50 thou hands or so when including the draw card, yes ?

    • stephenhow said, on December 25, 2011 at 9:52 am


      With the Ten’s Up paytable you have (500:1 for Royal, 4:1 for Trips), the house edge is 5.0%. That’s a little too steep for me, and I won’t play games with more than 3% house edge, as a matter of principle 🙂

      • tmdeee said, on April 30, 2012 at 7:36 am

        Is that higher 5% house edge (500:1Royal, 4:1 Trips) for the Ten’s Up bet only, or the combined Ante/Ten’s Up? What is the individual house edge on each bet?

      • tmdeee said, on April 30, 2012 at 2:54 pm

        I found yet another different Ten’s Up paytable at Motor City Casino in Detroit, who installed Rabbit Hunter a few weeks ago. The two payouts that are changed from the original paytable above are 500:1 Royal instead of 300:1, and 9:1 on the Flush instead of 10:1. It keeps the trips at the original 5:1.
        So I am also wondering what the individual and combined house edge is as a result.

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