Discount Gambling

Practical Collusion For Rabbit Hunter Stud

Posted in collusion, rabbit hunter stud by stephenhow on February 14, 2011

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:

6-Player Collusion Modifications for Rabbit Hunter Stud
Hand Collusion Modification Frequency Hand EV
Overall 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%
total 8.92% +1.62%

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.)

3 Responses

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  1. Shumpato said, on February 20, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    I have played this game at Jackson Rancheria in Sacramento. I agree that tracking the cards of other players gives you better insight on whether or not to “rabbit hunt.” Once, I didn’t buy the sixth card even though I had to pair because all four of my outs were gone! Hey, a unit saved is a unit earned. All in all, a good game and I have seen a lot of people hit big hands.

  2. vgMega said, on July 24, 2011 at 3:42 am

    Finally dealt this game today! Some good “hunts” turned a few 2 pairs into full houses, straight and flush. I had one player just play blind and hunt every time. It was pretty interesting to see the payouts, as the full house pays exceptionally well. It’s also interesting to note that not once did I see a plain full house w/o hunting.

  3. vgMega said, on September 11, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    For the record, Pala has removed Rabbit Hunter 😦

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