Jan 18

How to play Fast Poker online (even though you shouldn’t.)

Learn How to Play Fast Poker Online, Even Though You Probably Shouldn’t

New casino games are, well… nothing new. They come along all the time. Game inventors are constantly looking for the next big thing. Most games never even make it to the casino floor. Of those that do earn a trial run, most of them fail. Some new games skip the land-based option altogether, earning their stripes in the digital realm. Such is the potential fate of Fast Poker, a new online card game from SmartSoft Gaming.

How to Play Fast Poker Online

The first thing you need to know is that Fast Poker is a house-banked casino game, not a player-versus-player poker game. You won’t be competing against the dealer, either. In fact, Fast Poker is more like a video poker game, where players win for achieving a high enough hand rank. The difference is that you get to choose which cards to place in your hand, rather than being randomly dealt cards from the top of a shuffled deck.

Here’s what you need to know…

The game is dealt from a 20-card deck, consisting of four of each 10, J, Q, K and Ace. This set up increases the chances of being dealt high ranking hands – especially the highest paying a Royal Flush. All 20 cards are dealt face down at the top of the screen. The object of the game is to achieve a hand rank worth of a payout (see Fast Poker Pay Table below)

Fast Poker Rules & Game Play

  1. The game begins when you choose a bet size (0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, or 20) and press the Play button.
  2. From the 20 face down cards, you will select five cards to build you hand. Your chosen cards will turn face up and move to the bottom section of the screen, labeled Your Cards.
  3. Once all five cards are selected, they will automatically settle in the highest ranking hand position. If the hand ranks high enough for a payout, you win the corresponding amount displayed on the pay table. If not, you lose your bet.
Learn How to Play Fast Poker Online

How to Win – Fast Poker Pay Table

There are only five winning hands in Fast Poker, with payouts ranging from 2x to 100x the bet. Winning hands, values, and the probability you’ll receive them, are as follows:

5-Card Hand RankPayoutProbability
Royal Flush100:10.026%
4 of a Kind20:10.516%
Full House10:13.096%
Straight3:16.579%
3 of a Kind2:112.38%
Anything ElseLose77.40%
House Edge = 11.64%

The Good – The Bad – The Ugly

What’s good about this game is the overall entertainment value. I think allowing players to choose their own cards gives them a sense of control, increasing the overall enjoyment. It doesn’t change the odds in any way, mind you, but it does make players feel better. A happy player is a repeat player.

What’s bad about this game is the probability of actually winning. As you can see from the pay table above, odds are that 77.4% of your hands will be losers. That’s more than 3/4 of all games that will end in either a pair or two pair, both of which are losing hands. Only 12.6% will result in a 3 of a kind or anything better, worthy of a win.

Last but not least, the ugly part – the house edge of 11.64%. Players can only expect to win back 89.36% of their wagers. That’s as bad as most Las Vegas slot machines, and the reason we say you probably shouldn’t play Fast Poker online at all.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , ,

Mar 26

Play Games Online: It’s good for your mental and physical health!

Play Games Online – It’s Good for Your Mental and Physical Health

I don’t think I have to explain the “physical” side of that statement right now. The world is currently in the grips of a global pandemic as the novel coronavirus – COVID-19 – bears down upon us. Everything from public schools to non-essential life-sustaining businesses are closed. Millions of people are going online to file for unemployment, and at the same time, looking for ways to entertain and amuse themselves and their families without leaving their home.

There’s not a parent today that hasn’t heard it’s vital we “limit screen time” for our children. Some advise no more than 30 minutes a day looking at a screen. I think we can all agree that everyone, no matter the age, is using screens far more than 30 minutes a day, and we have been since long before the term “social distancing” became a household phrase. Now, screen time may be the best thing for us – not all of the time, but a generous portion of it.

Play Games Online – It’s Good For Your Health!

As it turns out, online gaming can be extremely good for your physical and psychological well being. Yes, the physical aspect is that you can play games on a computer, smartphone or tablet while practicing social distancing. You don’t have to interact physically with anyone, or even leave your home, to do it. But what are the psychological benefits?

Let’s take a look…

  • Entertainment: The most obvious benefit to your psyche is the entertainment value. No one likes to be bored – especially children! Online games give us something fun and interesting to do while we wait for answers to the coronavirus crisis.
  • Interaction: Being locked up inside all day – and all night – has left billions of people all over the world craving for human interaction. We can call our friends and loved ones, and video chat with them on Facetime or some other video-conferencing app, but there’s only so much to be said in a basic conversation. Playing online games with each other enhances the interactive experience ten-fold.
  • Stimulating Brain Function: There are many games out there that are specifically designed to enhance brain function and motor skills. Other games do this naturally. A match-3 jewel game trains our brains to recognize patterns. Crossword puzzles keep our eyes, and our vocabulary, sharp. Online casino games like blackjack, video poker and Texas Hold’em, give us the opportunity to invoke mathematically and probability driven strategies. Even something as seemingly ineffectual as Angry Birds puts our cognitive mentality to work, considering the best trajectory for one-shot success. Many of these games can be played socially against other players, providing the same interactive entertainment mentioned above.
  • Stress Reduction: These are strange times we live in. There’s no denying an elevated rate of stress and anxiety among the global population. Games have forever been a go-to for stress relief. Recent studies have shown that those who play games online – particularly video games – are able to combat stress. If it can work for a 15 minute break during the work day, it can work at home during these unprecedented times.
  • Quality Family Time: I think we can all agree that quality time with the family doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should. COVID-19 has certainly changed that. Families are digging out dusty board games, shuffling up decks of cards, and downloading digital PC and console video games more than ever. Fortnite’s 4-man squads aren’t just made up of school mates these days, but families. I can personally attest to that!

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , ,

Feb 14

How It’s Played: A detailed review of Evolution Gaming’s new and lightning-quick Live Dealer Speed Blackjack games.

How It’s Played: Evolution Gaming’s New Live Dealer Speed Blackjack

Evolution Gaming is universally recognized as the most innovative pioneer of the live casino gaming industry. It is more decorated than any other live studio supplier, by-far, and has published a host of the industry’s most beloved live dealer games; falling into the categories of both class-style table games (Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat, etc), as well as some more unique, game show-style varieties (Dream Catcher, Lightning Dice, Monopoly Live, etc.)

A few weeks ago, the company announced the launch of a brand new game they call Speed Blackjack Live. It is, for all intents and purposes, the fastest live dealer blackjack game on the world wide web to date. In order to ensure the quickest game speed, this new title breaks the most traditional rules of etiquette. It’s not the seating arrangement, but rather speed that determines who’s hand is played first.

How It’s Played: Live Dealer Speed Blackjack

For the most part, this is your standard variety blackjack game. The usual rules of classic blackjack are employed, including the following:

  • Up to 7 players
  • 8 decks of cards
  • Dealer stands on all 17s
  • Double on any first two cards
  • Split up to two hands
  • No double after split
  • No drawing to split aces
  • Dealer peeks for blackjack
  • Blackjack pays 3:2

What sets this game apart from all the others are these more unique rules, designed specifically to promote faster game play.

Faster Timer: Once all hands have received their first two cards, a single timer starts with 7 seconds fewer than Evolution’s standard tables.

First Come, First Serve: additional cards are dealt to players on a first-to-act basis. For example, the first player to press the Hit, Double or Split button will be dealt cards accordingly. The next fastest to act will get the next card, and so on, until all player hands have been completed (Stand or Bust).

Auto-Hit: Any player who fails to act before the timer runs out with a hand total of 11 or less, will automatically take a Hit.

Auto-Stand: Any player who fails to act before the timer runs out with a hand total of 12 or more, will automatically stand on the current total.

Overall Game Speed: Evolution attests – and typical game play confirms – the overall speed of Live Speed Blackjack is approximately 30% faster than a standard, 7-seat live dealer game.

Experience Review and Recommendations

As a long-time blackjack player and stead-fast strategist, I found this game quite interesting, but not necessarily my cup of tea.

The speed of the game is only a plus if you’re a good strategy player looking to increase your rate of hands-per-hour; or, if you play for entertainment purposes only and like the heart-pounding challenge of trying to beat your fellow players to the punch.

Personally, I like a slower paced game with a higher RTP. The house edge here, according to its creators, is 0.71% (RTP 99.29%). There are far better paying games, both online and on land. As for the entertainment factor, I find that making rushed decisions can easily result in strategic mistakes. So again, unless you’re an extremely experienced strategist, or a recreational, gut-instinct type of player who loves an adrenaline rush, Evolution’s new Live Dealer Speed Blackjack may not be the game for you.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Jul 05

Caribbean Stud Poker tips & logical lines of defense.

Fundamental Gambling: Caribbean Stud Poker Tips & Logical Lines of Defense

The fundamentals of gambling teach us that the rules of a game are imperative knowledge. Not knowing how to play will require far more luck than skill to win. Thus, the rules are the first thing any smart gambler will learn before attempting to place a wager on any new game. But those who are familiar with the stochastic nature of casino games will strive to attain a greater understanding of the logistics behind them.

If you count yourself among that group, you’ll enjoy today’s lesson in Caribbean Stud Poker statistics and probabilities. We’ll delve much deeper than the ordinary theoretical RTP to see just how likely you are to hit specific payouts when implementing a perfect strategy.

Caribbean Stud Poker Tips & Logistics

I’m going to assume that you already know the basics of how to play Caribbean Stud Poker. It’s a standard Ante/Play betting game with streets (revealing of cards) rather than a draw phase (no in-depth decision making). The only decisions to be made are how much to Ante, and whether to Play the hand with a continuation bet (Raise).

As for strategy, these five rules are all you really need to know.

Easy Perfect Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy

  • When you have any pair or better, Raise.
  • When your hand ranks below dealer’s qualifying hand (Ace+King high), Fold.
  • If you have exactly Ace+King High…
    • Raise if the dealer’s upcard is 2-Queen, and matches one of your cards.
    • Raise if the dealer’s upcard is King or Ace, and you have a Queen or Jack.
    • Raise if the dealer’s upcard is lower than your four highest cards, and you have a Queen.

Caribbean Stud Poker Probabilities

Why do the above tactics work so well? Because the mathematical probabilities of the game state that following these rules will, in theory, diminish the casino’s house edge to the lowest possible risk factor.

By hypothetical standards, Caribbean Stud Poker has a 5.224% house edge (or 94.776% RTP). However, the edge is traditionally calculated as the expected loss on the original wager.

When following the above strategy, player’s will raise 52.23% of all hands, which comes to an average wager of 2.045 bet units per hand. And when raising, the player has a slightly higher probability of winning, or achieving a hand worth a high enough payout to be worth the calculated risk (hence the recommendation to raise in the first place). Therefore the element of risk falls to 2.555%.

With that said, let’s take a quick look at the…

Probabilities of All Possible Outcomes

Result of Hand Ante Pays Raise Pays Probability %
Player wins w/ Royal Flush 1 unit 100 to 1 0.0001%
Player wins w/ Straight Flush 1 unit 50 to 1 0.0008%
Player wins w/ 4 of a Kind 1 unit 20 to 1 0.0142%
Player wins w/ Full House 1 unit 7 to 1 0.0834%
Player wins w/ Flush 1 unit 5 to 1 0.1097%
Player wins w/ Straight 1 unit 4 to 1 0.2198%
Player wins w/ 3 of a Kind 1 unit 3 to 1 1.1751%
Player wins w/ 2 Pair 1 unit 2 to 1 2.4482%
Player wins w/ Pair or Less 1 unit 1 to 1 11.7555%
Dealer doesn’t Qualify 1 unit 0 22.7385%
Push 0 0 0.0016%
Player Folds -1 unit 0 47.7745
Dealer wins -1 unit -2 units 13.6786%

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , ,

May 22

Casino games that require skill to maximize odds of winning.

Casino Games that Require Skill to Increase Your Odds of Winning

Gambling amusements are often categorized by their characteristics. Machines versus tables is the most common. Today, we’re going to divvy them up between skill games and non-skill games; that is to say, those that give a player better odds of winning with skill/strategy applied, as opposed to those that do not.

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of today’s topic, those of you seeking the opposite experience may be interested in reading the following:

Simple Casino Games that are Easy on the Brain

Casino Games that Require Skill to Win

No one has to implement a strategy to win these games. Everyone gets lucky now and again. But if you want to win more often, driving your odds to peak performance, these are the games you’ll want to learn more about. I’ve chosen to list them in order of the best payback percentage, with perfect strategy applied.

Video Poker

These can be the most rewarding games of all. The trick is to find one with the right rules and pay table. At online casinos, Microgaming’s All Aces VP (99.92%) and Jacks or Better with 9/6 Full Pay (99.54%) are about as good as it gets. A few land-based casinos – and I do mean a very rare few – still provide VP games with 100-101% RTPs. Learn more here.

Blackjack

Of course, blackjack will land high on any list of this nature. It is the most strategically driven game in any casino. Just memorizing a basic strategy for the exact rules of the blackjack game you’re going to play can lower the house edge to below 0.5%. The true RTP value depends on the rules in play. For example:

  • Vegas Single Deck 99.69%
  • Double Exposure 99.68%
  • Classic Blackjack 99.60%
  • Spanish 21 99.58%

With these high-RTP variants, players who toss in an astute card counting system at a land-based casino can swing the edge into their favor.

Pai Gow Poker

A unique, 2-handed poker game in which players receive 7 cards to set a traditional 5-card poker hand and a 2-card poker hand. The 5-card hand must be stronger than the 2-card hand. If the player’s 2-card and 5-card hands beat the dealer’s corresponding hands, the player wins. If one beats the dealer, it’s a push. A good strategy will put the RTP at 97.28%.

Caribbean Holdem

This is a house-banked poker game with dual betting rounds, the Ante and Call. It follows the rules of Casino Holdem (based on Texas Holdem), but with a different payout scheme for Ante bets and a progressive jackpot. Using the right strategy here can net you an RTP of 96.91%.

Three Card Poker

This house-banked poker game also presents two rounds of betting, based on the strength of a 3-card poker hand. What makes it so unique is the fluctuation in RTP based on your strategic decision. The Ante alone carries an RTP of 96.67%. If making the Call bet (strategy calls for a hand of Q-6-4 or better), the RTP rises to 97.99%. The Pair Plus side bet falls between the two at 97.68%.

Let It Ride

Another house-banked poker game, this one plays opposite of most. Instead of placing progressive bets (Ante, Call, Raise, etc), the player starts with three bets on the table. As the hand progresses, he can chose to pull one or two of his bets down, it ‘let them ride’. With optimal strategy, you can expect an RTP of 96.49%.

Caribbean Stud

This is a basic 5 Card Stud poker game but with the usual house-banking rules, wherein the player competes against the dealer. An Ante bet is made to start, then all cards are dealt with one dealer card exposed. The player must then fold (lose all bets) or raise (bet 2x ante) before all cards are shown. While strategy does play a big role in this game, perfect decisions will only net an RTP of about 94.78%.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , ,

Mar 31

History of Caribbean Stud PokerLike so many gamblers, I’ve always enjoyed a few rounds of Caribbean Stud Poker. It’s not the most lucrative game in the casino (which is why I said “a few rounds”), but its progressive jackpot does have a strong appeal for those dreaming of instant wealth. It’s also quite fun to play, which always helps.

Oddly enough, despite being a relatively new game, the history of Caribbean Stud Poker is often shrouded in a bit of mystery. There are multiple tales of how it came about – who invented it, where it was first played, and why it’s now so popular at land-based and online casinos.

We’ll take a look at three versions of the story, including (at least) one that is most widely believed, due to the range of evidence and detail that backs it up.

History of Caribbean Stud Poker – Vol.1

The first historical recollection of how Caribbean Stud Poker came to be was told by professional poker player and author of multiple gambling strategy books, David Sklansky. How would he know the story? Because Sklansky claims to have invented the game himself in 1982.

Sklansky (left) said he formulated the first banked poker, calling it ‘Casino Poker‘, but that the rules were slightly different, such as the dealer showing two hole cards, not just one. He was told by a lawyer that he could not patent the game,. He then befell numerous hardships in his personal life that led him to give up on the idea for awhile.

Then in 1985, he was approached by another poker player who asked him about the game, having heard of its existence on cruise ships around Aruba. Somehow, it ended up in the hands of Danny Jones, owner of the Aruba casino, The King International (now Excelsior Casino), who patented it in 1987.

Is this true? It’s hard to say. We only have Sklansky’s word to go on, but it is possible that his version could tie directly into the so-called “true” history of the game (see Vol.3 below).

History of Caribbean Stud Poker – Vol.2

The second, and also believable story, goes something like this. Numerous gamblers said they played a game with the same rules on a Caribbean cruise ship. Danny Jones, owner of The King International casino in Aruba, is said to have heard about the game, and how popular it was among passengers. He then purchased it, acquired a patent, and gave it the new title, Caribbean Stud Poker.

History of Caribbean Stud Poker – Vol.3

This last story is generally accepted as the true history of Caribbean Stud Poker, and comes with a lot more details that make much it believable. It dates back to 1987, when a seasoned gambler by the name of James Suttle was playing Texas Holdem at Binion’s Horseshoe in Downtown Las Vegas.

Suttle came upon a poker player who was having a bad run (could this be Skalnsky’s informant from Vol.1?) and was looking to borrow some cash. According to the story, Suttle lent the man $5,000 in exchange for teaching him the rules of a new banked poker game. James was good friends with Danny Jones, a games developer and owner of The King International, and believed he could make a tidy profit selling it to him.

Note that Suttle denies lending the man $5,000, but acknowledges selling the game to his friend, Danny Jones.

The King International Casino ArubaMr. Jones indeed purchased the game from Suttle and began marketing it at his Aruba casino under the company D&D Gaming Patents. He called it Caribbean Stud Poker, hoping to attract cruise line tourists. He had little success early on, until one day when he found himself playing poker at Binion’s Horseshoe with software engineer Michael Titus.

After discussing the game at length, Titus told Jones the casino’s edge was simply too high to attract players. It was his idea to incorporate a progressive jackpot into Caribbean Stud Poker. Jones took his advice, and the result was phenomenal, attracting players like flies to honey.

Caribbean Stud Poker now belongs to SHFL Entertainment (formerly Shuffle Master), a subsidiary of Bally Technologies, following a gross mishandling by Danny’s son, Donald Jones. In 1997, intent on carrying on the family business with his own company, Progressive Games, Inc. Donald had his Nevada gaming licence revoked. He subsequently lost the rights to the game along the away.

You can read about the more recent history of Caribbean Stud Poker, and the publicly documented Jones’s family misfortune, here.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , ,