Discount Gambling

Ultimate Casino War

Posted in Uncategorized by stephenhow on July 24, 2015

UCW_table cardI saw this new variant of Casino War at Barona Casino, where they player gets an option to swap his card and make a 1x Raise bet. Of course, the catch is the dealer gets two cards, and gets to use the highest one. I wanted to see what the strategy and house edge were, and to check if it was at all countable out of the One-2-Six CSM they use.

The rules are pretty simple. You’re dealt one card face up, and the dealer is dealt two cards face down. The dealer will use his highest card. You have the option to replace your card with the next card out of the shoe (CSM), but you must wager an additional 1x bet to do make this swap. Finally, you may wager an optional 1x Raise on your final hand.

The dealer reveals his hand, and all your bets receive action against the dealer high card. Wins win a Six or lower pay 2:1, else it pays even-money. Ties push, and there’s no “going to War”.

For a 6-deck CSM game, the house edge is a fair 2.56%.

The basic strategy is pretty simple. You should swap an Eight or lower card. You should Raise a Jack or higher final card.

I checked the countability in a CSM by assuming perfect play given 16 known cards before every hand. The EV barely changes by +/- 0.3%, and thus is never +EV.

Ultimate Casino War Optimal Outcomes (6 Decks)
Outcome Combinations Frequency Net Return
Win 3x bet with drawn A 165,477,312 0.035607 3 0.106820
Win 3x bet with drawn K 138,914,496 0.029891 3 0.089673
Win 3x bet with drawn Q 114,674,112 0.024675 3 0.074026
Win 3x bet with drawn J 92,756,160 0.019959 3 0.059877
Lose 3x bet with drawn card 163,441,152 0.035169 -3 -0.105506
Tie 3x bet with drawn card 97,187,328 0.020912 0 0.000000
Win 2x bet with drawn T 73,160,640 0.015742 2 0.031485
Win 2x bet with drawn 9 55,887,552 0.012026 2 0.024051
Win 2x bet with drawn 8 40,772,160 0.008773 2 0.017546
Win 2x bet with drawn 7 28,274,400 0.006084 2 0.012168
Win 2x bet with drawn 6 18,057,600 0.003886 4 0.015542
Win 2x bet with drawn 5 10,121,760 0.002178 4 0.008712
Win 2x bet with drawn 4 4,466,880 0.000961 4 0.003845
Win 2x bet with drawn 3 1,092,960 0.000235 4 0.000941
Lose 2x bet with drawn card 1,409,976,288 0.303394 -2 -0.606788
Tie 2x bet with drawn card 88,157,160 0.018969 0 0.000000
Win 2x bet with original A 306,488,448 0.065949 2 0.131898
Win 2x bet with original K 257,453,856 0.055398 2 0.110796
Win 2x bet with original Q 212,690,880 0.045766 2 0.091532
Win 2x bet with original J 172,199,520 0.037053 2 0.074107
Lose 2x bet with original card 301,682,880 0.064915 -2 -0.129830
Tie 2x bet with original card 179,437,536 0.038611 0 0.000000
Win 1x bet with original T 135,979,776 0.029260 1 0.029260
Win 1x bet with original 9 104,031,648 0.022385 1 0.022385
Lose 1x bet with original card 409,808,160 0.088181 -1 -0.088181
Tie 1x bet with original card 65,156,976 0.014020 0 0.000000
Total 4,647,347,640 1.000000 -0.0256406
Expected 4,647,347,640

According to Dan Lubin, there’s a version that pays 2:1 for a win with a Six, 3:1 for a win with a Five, 5:1 for a win with a Four, and 8:1 for a win with a Trey. For a 6-deck game, these payouts reduce the house edge to 1.27%. The basic strategy remains the same. Still, the game never gets +EV with only 16 known cards.

Ultimate Casino War Optimal Outcomes (6 Decks, 2-3-5-8 Pay Table)
Outcome Combinations Frequency Net Return
Win 3x bet with drawn A 165,477,312 0.035607 3 0.106820
Win 3x bet with drawn K 138,914,496 0.029891 3 0.089673
Win 3x bet with drawn Q 114,674,112 0.024675 3 0.074026
Win 3x bet with drawn J 92,756,160 0.019959 3 0.059877
Lose 3x bet with drawn card 163,441,152 0.035169 -3 -0.105506
Tie 3x bet with drawn card 97,187,328 0.020912 0 0.000000
Win 2x bet with drawn T 73,160,640 0.015742 2 0.031485
Win 2x bet with drawn 9 55,887,552 0.012026 2 0.024051
Win 2x bet with drawn 8 40,772,160 0.008773 2 0.017546
Win 2x bet with drawn 7 28,274,400 0.006084 2 0.012168
Win 2x bet with drawn 6 18,057,600 0.003886 4 0.015542
Win 2x bet with drawn 5 10,121,760 0.002178 6 0.013068
Win 2x bet with drawn 4 4,466,880 0.000961 10 0.009612
Win 2x bet with drawn 3 1,092,960 0.000235 16 0.003763
Lose 2x bet with drawn card 1,409,976,288 0.303394 -2 -0.606788
Tie 2x bet with drawn card 88,157,160 0.018969 0 0.000000
Win 2x bet with original A 306,488,448 0.065949 2 0.131898
Win 2x bet with original K 257,453,856 0.055398 2 0.110796
Win 2x bet with original Q 212,690,880 0.045766 2 0.091532
Win 2x bet with original J 172,199,520 0.037053 2 0.074107
Lose 2x bet with original card 301,682,880 0.064915 -2 -0.129830
Tie 2x bet with original card 179,437,536 0.038611 0 0.000000
Win 1x bet with original T 135,979,776 0.029260 1 0.029260
Win 1x bet with original 9 104,031,648 0.022385 1 0.022385
Lose 1x bet with original card 409,808,160 0.088181 -1 -0.088181
Tie 1x bet with original card 65,156,976 0.014020 0 0.000000
Total 4,647,347,640 1.000000 -0.0126955
Expected 4,647,347,640

12 Responses

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  1. Opercon said, on July 24, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Wasn’t this “One for the Money”?

  2. stephenhow said, on July 25, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Nice find. I love how they deal the next hand before the players clear their bets in the video 🙂

  3. Dan Lubin said, on July 25, 2015 at 8:44 am

    The new casino war variant is based on work by Barbara Walton; also note but not mentioned are that there are additional bonuses for low-hand wins (with a 6 or less, players win 2:1 on their wagers, about 2.4% HE); there’s even an 2-3-5-8 bonus paytable for winning with a 6, 5, 4, or 3 at about 0.8% HE.

    • stephenhow said, on July 25, 2015 at 10:07 pm

      Did SHFL pick it up? Isn’t “Ultimate” their trademark?

      • Dan Lubin said, on July 26, 2015 at 3:27 am

        Yes, The Shuffle Master Division of Scientific Games signed her up. They made her a distinguished offer, and she joined the family.

  4. Barbara Walton said, on July 27, 2015 at 12:24 am

    Hi, Stephen! Thanks for the write-up on Ultimate Casino War! The Shipwreck Gold video is from when we were preparing to market the game. That variation had a player who wanted a trade “stealing/pirating” their choice of the dealer’s two cards; it had a little attitude to it that most of us enjoyed which was faithful to the spirit of our family poker version. One For the Money is the base version of SG, and of Ultimate Casino War, and a couple other versions not currently on the market. It might be worth mentioning that the player also has the choice of two cards (not just one as in War); they just have to make the choice whether to trade without knowing the rank of the second card. The dealer (in this version) always chooses the higher of two, which is, of course, where the HE comes from.

    The Low Odds Win Paytable is a feature that was part of the IP sold to SHFL, along with other variations and mechanisms that allow the casino to adjust to just about any HE they want to offer, though all are below 4%. The 6 deck game without the paytable HE is 3.823%; with 2:1, it’s 2.564%. Single deck HE is 2.925% without the paytable; with the 2:1 it’s 1.673%. Single deck versions can also support shared progressives and other poker sidebets, so we thought that might be an attractive option to some operators. There’s a 2/3/5/8 paytable, and a 2/2/5/10, and really quite a few others possible.

    I appreciate your validating the non-vulnerability of the penetration; CRM did that study for us and showed no issues into more than 90% penetration. I do have a photo of the table card, which contains the logo, if you’d like to have it. Thanks again for taking the time to review it!

    • stephenhow said, on July 27, 2015 at 9:41 am

      Congrats on all the success with your game. The kids love it at Barona, where it seems to have quite a following. The player decisions make it a nice step up from the one-card War game.

      If you send me the logo, I’ll use it for this post:
      https://discountgambling.net/contact-me/

      And yes, even if dealing out of a 6-deck shoe with one deck cutoff (83% penetration), perfect knowledge of the shoe (i.e., using a computer) would almost never yield any +EV betting opportunities.

  5. Barbara Walton said, on July 27, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    I’m thrilled to hear it’s so popular with the kids. It was designed to be exactly that; a step-up game, where you understood what you were doing within a couple of hands, it has the trade/raise/stand decision point, everything was very simple, yet had all the basic poker concepts. I hope it continues to grow a fan base and becomes in demand at more places.

    I’m not sure how to send an attachment or picture in the contact-me info; could you please help with that?

  6. George said, on August 5, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Is the player able to make any kind of raise without swapping his initial card (if he receives an Ace, for example)?

    • stephenhow said, on August 5, 2015 at 9:06 am

      Yes, the player can raise with a pat card, like an Ace.

  7. George said, on August 7, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Has the game been placed anywhere aside from Barona?


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