Casino War: The Fight for High Payouts

December 13th, 2009  |  Published in Inrodution

Casino War is arguably the simplest card game you will find in any casino.  The ease of the game has attracted many players, as savvy skills and an intellectual gambling mind are not required to win.  In fact, if you have ever played War or simple card games based on the highest value as a child, you can master Casino War in no time.  However, this simplicity does not subtract from the excitement of the game in any way.

Casino War is widely available in online casinos.  This is the one game that can truly captivate players and keep them entertained for days upon days.  The best thing about competing online is that you will never run short of other people with whom to play.  This section of the lobby tends to stay filled with players who relish in the excitement of going to war.

Objective of the Game

The game of Casino War is played with six standard decks of cards – with all jokers are removed.  Hands are ranked according to poker value, with the ace being the highest card, the king outranking the queen, and so forth.  It is important to note that all card suits have an equal ranking.

The objective of the game is as straightforward as it can be.  Both the player and dealer receive one card each, with the player aiming to draw a card that is higher than the dealer’s.  If the draw results in a tie, the player can then surrender and give up half of their initial wager or go to “War,” which is when the real excitement begins.  Now that we have covered the basics, let’s jump into the rules.

Casino War Rules

If the player decides to go to war, they must raise the bet to match their original wager.  The dealer then matches the bet and places it next to the player’s wager, which is basically done for show.

At this point, the dealer burns or discards three face down cards, deals the next card to the player, burns three more cards, and deals the next themselves.  If the player’s card ranks higher than the dealer’s, the player wins the war, but only the equal money on the raised bet.  The initial bet results in a push, meaning the player neither wins nor loses their wager.  However, if the dealer’s card has a higher value than the player’s card, then player loses both bets.

Also known as the side bet, the tie bet is another important aspect of Casino War.  A tie bet can be played with the initial bet, but not played alone.

The House Edge

Casino War is ideal for players who do not want to put too much thought or number crunching into the gambling process.  Being that War is relatively easy for the player to win in comparison to other casino games, you may be wondering: what’s in it for the casino?  While minimal, there is a house edge that gives the casino an advantage.  That edge is as follows:

  • Go to war on ties: 2.88%
  • Surrender on ties: 3.7%
  • Bet on ties: 18.65%

The most notable disadvantage you have to worry about comes from the “spoil of war,” a situation where the player either loses one unit or wins two.  For example, if you previously bet $10, you must double the wager, essentially risking $20 only to get $10 in return.

Casino War Strategy

Despite the simplicity, there are some strategies that can be applied when playing Casino War.  When you have the opportunity to go to war, you should always do so.  By surrendering, you are not only losing half of your original bet, but also giving the house better odds, thus giving the dealer more power.  Simply put, going to war with the dealer gives you the best chance of winning.

Just think about all the wars that have been fought throughout history.  Those who surrendered to the enemy were mistreated and ultimately conquered, while the ones who chose to fight for their freedom either came out victorious or died for a worthy cause.  If at all possible, don’t waive the white flag.  Go to war and show your patriotism and love for the game!

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Sic Bo: The Other Dice Game

December 10th, 2009  |  Published in Inrodution

Sic Bo: The Other Dice Game

Sic Bo, with its origins in ancient China, utilizes dice to create a game of chance.  The name actually means “dice pair” or “two dice,” but the game utilizes three six-sided dice, creating a variety of betting options – all of which are based on what the throw of the dice reveals.

Sic Bo tables are typically elegantly lighted and can often be found in a separate section of the casino designated for games with Asian origins.

Objective of the Sic Bo Game

Sic Bo is a very easy game to play.  The object is to either bet on the individual numbers or combination of numbers that will be yielded after the dice are rolled.  Betting options and their corresponding payout amounts are displayed on the table layout, which shows the dice and the numerous combinations.  For example, there are single numbers, two of a kind, three of kind, and combinations that can be formed from any two or all three of the dice.

Sic Bo Betting Options and Payouts

There are a number of different bets that can be made in Sic Bo.  Below are your options and their resulting payouts:

  • Dice Face: Players can make bets on any one of the six sides of the dice from the numbers 1 through 6.  If your number is rolled, the wager is paid out at 1 to 1.  If two dice yield the same number you predicted, the bet is paid out at 2 to 1.  If you get the same number on all three dice, you are paid out at 3 to 1.  The house edge on the latter bet is about 8%.
  • Two Faces: Players can make bets on combinations of two particular numbers.  If the numbers you predicted are yielded on any two of the dice, the wager is paid out at 5 to 1. The house edge on this bet is approximately 17%.
  • Totals: Players can make bets on the total yielded by the roll of all three dice.  They have the option to wager on any total from the numbers 4 to 17.  Take note that the payout for this bet varies from 6 to 1 to 50 to 1, which all depends on the total wager.
  • Small or Big: Players can also bet on “small” or “big.”  The small bet wins if the total of all three dice ranges between the numbers 4 and 10.  The big bet wins if the total of the three dice is between 11 and 17.
  • Triplet: Players can bet on a specific triplet and receive a payout of 150 to 1 if their prediction is correct.
  • Any Triplet – Players can bet on any triplet and receive a payout of 24 to 1.
  • Any Pair – Players can be bet on any pair of numbers and receive a payout of 8 to 1.

Playing the Game

Sic Bo begins when players position their chips on the designated areas of their choice.  In land-based casinos, all players are responsible for making sure their bets are placed on the table correctly.  This is the case whether the chips are positioned the player or the dealer.  After all bets have been put up, the dealer shakes up the dice in the “shaker” and then places the container on the table.   The dealer announces the value of each individual die and inputs the values into a special electronic device.  All winning Sic Bo combinations are displayed on the table layout, and the dealer pays out the players accordingly.

Sic Bo Strategy

Just like craps, Sic Bo is purely a game of chance.  Hence, there is no surefire strategy to make you a winning player.  However, the simple strategy would be stay true to the favorable odds.  Take a look at the numbers, and you will notice that the house edge on small and big bets is only 3%, which is decent compared to your other betting options.  If you choose to play it safe and smart, these are the wagers to choose.  On the other hand, if you feel that Lady Luck is riding on your side, go for the glory – the table is yours for the taking.

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Introduction to Red Dog

December 5th, 2009  |  Published in Inrodution

Sometimes called Red Dog Poker, Red Dog is a fun card game that is becoming increasingly popular in online casinos.  This is true despite the fact that its popularity in land-based casinos has declined over the years.

Red Dog Poker is played on a blackjack-sized table with a standard 52-deck of playing cards.  It can actually be played with up to eight decks of cards and the house edge decreases with each deck.  For example, the house edge with one deck is 3.155%, but drops to 2.751% when playing with the full eight.  This is unlike blackjack and other card games in which the higher the deck, the greater the house edge.

If Red Dog is foreign to you, do not worry because the game is very simple to play and can be learned fairly quickly.  In fact, if you can remember the number “seven” and know simple subtraction, you can play this game just about as well as anyone else.

How to Play Red Dog Poker

The game of Red Dog is played with three cards, and a player’s hand is ranked as it would be in traditional poker.  Aces are high and suits are irrelevant.  Bets are made and then two cards are dealt face up.  When the game begins, there are essentially three possible outcomes:

If the cards are in sequential order, such as a two and three, or a queen and king, the hand is considered a push and no winner is produced.  When this is the case, the player gets their original wager back.

If the two cards have an equal value, the players receive a third card.  If the third card is of equal value, the player is paid out at 11 to 1.  If not, the hand results in a push.

For example, should the cards be a value of two and seven, then a spread is announced to determine the payout, and a third card is dealt.  A player can choose to double their wager before receiving a third card.  If the value of the third card falls somewhere between the first two, the player is then paid out according to the spread.  If not, their wager is lost.

Red Dog Payout

Opening bets in winning Red Dog hands are always paid out at even money.  Raise bets are paid according to the spread, which is structured as follows:

Spread    Payout

1-card     5 to 1

2-card     4 to 1

3-card     2 to 1

4-11-card  1 to 1

The odds are set by house and based on the simple principle of the narrower the spread, the higher the potential payout.

Object of the Game

In the game of Red Dog, players make an opening bet and receive two cards from the dealer.  The object of the game is wagering on the probability that the rank of a third card will fall between the first two.  If the third card falls between them, the player wins.  If not, they lose.

Of course the players have the option to raise the bet, and this is where the spread factors in.  The spread is simply the number of card values between the first two cards.   Cards from 2 to 10 have face value, while a jack as valued at 11, a queen at 12, king at 13, and aces at 14.  The spread is the most intriguing aspect of Red Dog.  It is essentially an optional bonus wager that allows the player to go after an additional payout.

Red Dog Strategy

Even when eight decks of cards are used, Red Dog does not offer the favorable odds in comparison to other casino games.  In fact, this is purely a game of chance that requires little strategy to be employed.  Perhaps the most important factor to keep in mind is that a player should only raise when the spread is statistically in their favor, which is seven or more cards regardless of the number of decks.

With a “spread 7,” seven cards will give the player a winning hand.  Because there are a total of 13 cards from the two to ace, only six cards would cause the players to lose.  This is about the only edge a player has to work with.

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What You Need to Know About Sit n Go Tournaments

December 2nd, 2009  |  Published in Inrodution

Sit n Go tournaments are essentially mini poker tournaments played online.  These games are labeled as such because when everyone sits down, the tournament begins.  While they can also be a part of multi-table games, they are mainly of the single-table variety and feature nine to ten players.

Sit n Go tournaments have become incredibly popular online and are even growing more widespread in live poker rooms.  Perhaps the best aspect about these tournaments is that you typically only have to beat six or seven other people, as most pay the last three remaining players.

Sit n Go Tournament Basics

Because Sit n Gos essentially begin when the table is full, there is no schedule to conform to.  With these tournaments, it is all about finding yourself a seat, waiting for the tournament to start, and trying to outlast your opponents.

Each player buys into the tournament for the same amount and begins with the same number of chips.   As the stages progress, the blinds go up until there is only one player left.  The payouts are determined before the tournament begins and are usually displayed when the player buys in to the game.

These tournaments are fun and offer a great way to get experience for scheduled tournaments.  While there is often a lot of loose play in the early goings, you must take a do-or-die mentality when starting out at the final table.

Duration

A ten player Sit n Go table usually runs about 30 to 60 minutes.  In turbo and shorthanded games, the blinds shoot up faster and these tournaments tend to go much quicker.  In a heads up match where only two players are involved, the game can be over in a matter of minutes.  Keep in mind that No Limit Hold’em Sit and Gos are typically faster than Limit variations.  This is mainly because players have the option to go all in and really speed things up.

Multi-table Sit n Go

Multi-table Sit n Go tournaments may cover up to five tables and 45 players.  Blinds generally increase depending on the type of tournament.  For example, in some tournaments, blinds increase at 10 minute intervals, while other tournaments have blinds that increase at five minute intervals.

The payouts for multi-table Sit n Go tournaments range based on the number of participating players.  However, because Sit and Gos normally pay out to the first, second and third place players, the prize pool usually follows this structure:

First Place – 50% of the prize pool

Second Place – 30% of the prize pool

Third Place – 20% of the prize pool

Sit n Go Strategy

The key to winning a Sit n Go Strategy is patience.  Some individuals who enter these tournaments tend to play too many hands, which is something you do not want to do in the early stages.

The best strategy you can employ is to sit back and let all the loose players eliminate themselves.  In no time, there will only be about four or five players left, which means you only have to outlast two or three of them to win some money.  Take note that you will need to adjust your strategy according to the number of players remaining at the table.

Head-to-Head Play

When it comes to Sit and Go, knowing how to approach heads-up play is crucial.  After all, this is what will determine whether you come in second or first place.  Winning a large share of the pot is obviously more appealing so it would be wise to tighten up your game for the final showdown.

In head-to-head play, you must crank up your aggressiveness a notch from the style you employed when more players were at the table.  If you try to play it tight to the vest here, you can still win, but will more than likely get slaughtered by the competition.  Everything is on the line and there are only two of you left, so being more aggressive gives you a better chance of winning first place.

While you are guaranteed to win something, why come in second when you can claim first and win a bigger prize?

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The Ins and Outs of Let it Ride Poker

November 18th, 2009  |  Published in Inrodution

Let it Ride is a popular poker variant that was first introduced to casinos in the early 1990s.  In fact, it was actually created by Shuffle Master Inc., the company best known for manufacturing automatic card shuffling devices.

What makes Let it Ride poker so popular and exiting is the potential for higher payouts.  Since you are playing against the house and not trying to beat other players or the dealer, amity often develops among the table, which can make for a very fun and exciting atmosphere.  Let it Ride poker is relatively easy to play and adopting a good strategy is something that can be accomplished quickly.

Playing Let it Ride Poker

In a casinos, Let it Ride poker is played on blackjack-like tables.  It is essentially a game of man vs. machine.  On the table, there are three circles marked “1,” “2,” and “$.”  To begin, you must make three wagers of equal size in each circle.   The cards are then dealt out three at a time.

Once each player has their cards, the dealer discards one card, which leaves them with two hole cards in front of them.  From there, the machine counts the remaining cards in the discard tray.  Once this occurs, players can then view their hand.

You now have the option to take back the bet you placed in the first circle or “Let it Ride.”   In order to take your bet back, you simply move your cards in towards you or form a brushing motion with your hand.

Once all players at the table have made their decision, the dealer turns over the first of two community cards, which are right front of them.  All players can use this card as the fourth card for their hand.  At this point, you have the option of taking back your second bet or choosing to Let it Ride.  Take note that even if you let your first bet ride, you can still take back the second one.  However, you can’t take away, or put your first bet back up.

When all players have decided whether or not to let their second bet ride, the dealer then turns over the second community card.  This card acts as the fifth and final card that everyone can use.  From here, the dealer pays out winning bets based on the following pay table:

Royal Flush: 1000 to 1
Straight Flush: 200 to 1
Four of a Kind: 50 to 1
Full House: 11 to 1
Flush: 8 to 1
Straight: 5 to 1
Three of a Kind: 3 to 1
Two Pair: 2 to 1
Pair of 10′s or Better: 1 to 1

Unlike other poker variants, there is no exchange of cards in Let it Ride.  The total value you obtain is based solely on your three cards and the two from the dealer.  And because up to 40% of the entire hand is concealed, players are not allowed to openly communicate at the table.  Thus, while there is often a harmony among the players, you are forbidden from knowing what other players are holding as it would create an unfair advantage over the house.

Let it Ride Strategy

When you implement a good strategy, the house edge for a basic game of Let it Ride poker is about 3.5%.  What you need to determine is when to Let it Ride, and when to take your hand down.  Here is a bit of simple strategy that works for many players:

Let Bet #1 Ride if:

You have a winning hand consisting of a pair of tens or better

You have a three-card Royal Flush

You have a three-card Straight Flush.

Let Bet #2 Ride if:

You have a winning hand consisting of a pair of tens or better

You have four-card Royal Flush

You have a four-card Straight Flush

You have four high cards

You have a four-card open ended straight

Conclusion

Let it ride can be a very fun game for the recreational poker player.  It moves along relatively slowly, which should give you the opportunity to learn as you play.  By taking the time out to familiarize yourself with the rules and game play, you can pick up on this one with ease and master it quickly.

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