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Thursday, April 4, 2002
Caribbean Stud - Let it Ride - Casino War - Big Six
We talked a
lot about the most popular games of the casino, i.e. Craps, Roulette, Baccarat, BlackJack.
There are quite a few other games, that are worth mentioning, that you may want to
try from time to time. They could also be fun, exciting and profitable. This
week I'll mention what you need to know about the games of Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride,
Casino War and Big Six.
This game was first tried on
an experimental basis aboard cruise ships and was so successful that it can now be found
in most casinos. Each player antes, then is dealt five cards from a regular 52-card deck.
The dealer also gets five cards and turns one over. After seeing this card, you must
decide whether you want to stay in the game, or fold. If you fold, you lose your ante. If
you decide to stay, you must double your ante by making a separate wager called a
The dealer then reveals his/her remaining four cards. If the dealer does not
"qualify" by having at least an ace and king, the hand is over and each player
who called wins the amount of his/her ante. If the dealer does qualify , the hand is
played to completion. You win both your ante and your call bet if your hand is higher than
the dealer's. If the dealer's hand is higher, you lose both bets. There is a bonus payout
schedule for winning hands, which makes Caribbean Stud more exciting:
- one pair pays 1 to 1
- two pair pays 2 to 1
- three-of-a-kind pays 3 to 1
- straight pays 4 to 1
- flush pays 5 to 1
- full house pays 7 to 1
- four-of-a-kind pays 20 to 1
- straight flush pays 50 to 1
- royal flush pays 100 to 1
The dealer must qualify and
you must win the hand in order to receive a bonus payout.
The real attraction of Caribbean Stud is the chance to win big by hitting the progressive
jackpot. This bet is purely optional on your part. To be eligible for winning all or part
of this jackpot, you must wager an additional $1. There is a drop slot for this bet
directly in front of your position on the table. The progressive jackpot payoffs are as
- flush pays $50
- full house pays $75
- four-of-a-kind pays $100
- straight flush pays 10% of the progressive jackpot
- royal flush pays 100% of the progressive jackpot.
Jackpots are paid regardless of whether the dealer's hand qualifies. Payoffs on the
straight flush and royal flush are aggregate (if two or more players win on the same hand,
the jackpot is divided proportionately).
Most gaming experts agree that betting the extra $1 for this wager is not a wise idea,
even if the progressive jackpot gets up to $200,000. The odds of drawing a royal flush on
your first five cards are 649,739 to 1. If you play eight hours a day, it would take you
seven years, five months, and two days to play that many hands. But some people win
lotteries. You never know, you could be the next lucky one.
The biggest drawback to
Caribbean Stud is that the dealer must qualify by having at least an ace and a king. You
might have a great hand, but if the dealer doesn't qualify, all you'll win is your
original ante. The house edge at Caribbean Stud is about 5.3% when played with optimum
Don't let the dealer's up card scare you out of the game. Many novice players will fold
when the dealer exposes a good card, but the dealer may flip over four bad cards, and
you've thrown in a winning hand. Also keep in mind that you cannot bluff in Caribbean
Stud. If the dealer does qualify, it means he has a good hand. And he will qualify often
enough that you shouldn't risk the call unless you have a good hand yourself.
The optimum strategy for Caribbean Stud might be the easiest to remember of any game that
requires hand evaluation. You should simply call the dealer if your five-card hand is
ace-king-jack-8-3 or better, and fold otherwise. That's all there is to it.
Let It Ride
This game, introduced in Nevada casinos in 1993, has become such a favorite that it can
now be played in more than 200 casinos throughout the world. What makes Let It Ride unique
is that you can actually take back some of your money as the cards are being dealt.
Invented by a company called Shuffle Master, Let It Ride is based on poker. And there's a
special twist - for an extra $1, you are eligible for a side jackpot, which amounts to
$20,000 for a royal flush. It also gives you a chance to win million-dollar grand prizes
in the Let It Ride tournament. More about that later, but first let's look at how Let It
Ride is played.
Each player makes three equal bets, one in each of three betting circles at each seat at
the table. The dealer then deals three cards to each player face down. He also deals two
" community" cards face down in front of himself.
Now, as the brochure says, it's time to have some fun. Take a look at your three cards. If
you think you have the beginnings of a good hand, or if you're just feeling lucky, then
Let It Ride! If you're not pleased, signal the dealer and you can take back your first
The dealer then turns over the first community card, which becomes the fourth card in your
hand. Again, if you think you have a good hand, Let It Ride! If not, signal the dealer and
take back your second bet. I told you this game was different.
Finally, the dealer turns over the second community card, completing your hand. If you've
pulled back your first two bets, the third bet has to play. If your five-card hand
contains a pair of 10s or better, you win. And you can win big bucks, as you can see by
the payout table:
- pair of 10s or better pays
- two pair pays 2 to 1
- three-of-a-kind pays 3 to 1
- straight pays 5 to 1
- flush pays 8 to 1
- full house pays 11 to 1
- four-of-a-kind pays 50 to 1
- straight flush pays 200 to 1
- royal flush pays 1,000 to 1
Payouts on the royal flush are aggregate (if two or more players win on the same hand, the
jackpot is divided proportionately).
The specially designed Let It Ride layouts feature illuminated betting spots, which allow
you to participate in special payoffs when you make a straight or better. This is called
the tournament spot, and it costs you an extra $1 per hand to play. All payouts are in
addition to the regular Let It Ride awards, and are paid immediately.
- straight pays $20
- flush pays $50
- full house pays $75
- four-of-a-kind pays $200
- straight flush pays $2,000
- royal flush pays $20,000
The shot at the big payoff makes it tempting to bet that extra dollar, and to make it even
more enticing there's an additional incentive. With any royal flush or straight flush, you
earn an entry into the Let It Ride playoffs at a Nevada host casino, where you have a
chance to make some really big money.
All playoff participants receive a round-one buy-in of $2,000 in non-negotiable chips. At
the end of this round, the six finalists get the following cash awards:
Sixth place............. $25,000
Fifth place.............. $50,000
Fourth place........... $75,000
Grand Prize......... $1 million.
The house edge at Let It Ride is 3.5%. Ninety-three percent of the time you will be taking
back your first bet, and 85% of the time you will be taking back your second bet. Your
third bet is locked in. Expect to stay in the game with all three bets only about once
every 16 hands.
When you take down one of your bets, wait for your turn to do so, then signal the dealer
by scratching your cards on the felt like you do to take a hit in blackjack. (Never touch
your money.) If you decide to Let It Ride, tuck your cards face down underneath one of
Staying in the game with all three bets is not advisable if you don't have at least a pair
of 10s. Having three high cards isn't much better, unless you can use them in a straight
flush or a royal.
One big reason for Let It Ride's soaring popularity is the fact that you can win a lot of
money off a small bet. I recently saw a player bet $10 in each of the three betting
circles, along with another $1 in the tournament circle. He was dealt two 9s, and let all
three bets ride (contrary to the proper strategy). The first community card was another 9.
Naturally, the player let all his bets ride again. The second community card was another
9! The player won $1,500 for his four-of-a-kind, plus another $200 for his tournament bet.
So for an investment of $31 the player received a staggering $1,700. Not bad (but, of
course, it doesn't happen very often).
Based on the childhood game of "war" or "battle," casino war is now
being offered in some casinos. There's not much to it, but that's the attraction of the
game. Anybody who knows how to count can play it.
The dealer deals each player one card face up. Then the dealer takes a card face up. If
you beat the dealer, you win your bet. If the dealer beats you, you lose. The cards have
the same rankings as in poker, with the ace being the highest card, followed by the king,
queen, jack, etc.
In the event your card ties the dealer's card, you can either go to war with the dealer
(by matching your original bet), or you can surrender (by forfeiting half your original
bet). If you go to war, the dealer will burn three cards and give you another card. Then
he will burn three more cards and take one for himself.
If your second card is higher than the dealer's second card, you win your original bet. If
the dealer wins, then you lose both your bets. If your second card ties the dealer's
second card, you win. The rub here is the dealer doesn't pay off the second bet you risk
to go to war, which is how the house gets its edge.
There is also a tie bet you can make which pays 10 to 1. (The house edge on that
particular bet is around 18%.) As for going to war with the dealer, do it if you decide to
play this game. The casino's edge is 3.7% if you surrender, and only 2.9% if you go to
Also known as the wheel of fortune or the money wheel, the big six can be found in almost
every casino. It's called the big six because there are six different payoffs.
Bets are made by placing your money on the layout in one of the boxes. These boxes
correspond to the numbers on the wheel and indicate the payoff rates. There are 54 slots
on the wheel:
23 - $1 spots
15 - $2 spots
8 - $5 spots
4 - $10 spots
2 - $20 spots
1 - joker spot
1 - casino spot
Bet $1 on the $1 spot and you get paid even money; bet $1 on the $2 spot and get paid 2 to
1; bet $1 on the $5 spot and get paid 5 to 1; and so on. Bet the joker or casino spots
(separately) and get paid 40 to 1.
The house edge on the big six is 14.8% on the $1 bets, and 24% on the joker or casino
bets. Well, think about it. If there are 54 slots on the wheel, shouldn't a $1 bet on the
joker pay 53 to 1?
It's fun to watch, though. The next time you are suffering from an inferiority complex,
just stand back and watch everyone at a big six wheel throw their money away. Suddenly
you'll have a superiority complex.
Here's a funny story: A down-and-out dealer was hired to run the big six wheel in a
downtown casino. While reviewing his profit-and-loss statement one morning, the casino
manager noticed that the wheel was holding 100%! In other words, no one won anything. This
went on for several weeks. The casino manager decided to watch the game and see why the
casino was having such an incredible winning streak.
The dealer would wait until everyone placed their wagers, then stop the wheel (with his
finger) on a losing number. Aghast, the casino manager called the dealer into his office
and demanded an explanation.
"Well," the dealer replied, "you were nice enough to give me a job when I
needed one. This is just my way of saying thanks."
Wishing you all the best,
Until next week,
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