While all liars figure, some figures can lie

Home » Columns » While all liars figure, some figures can lie

I need to settle this argument. I play Pai Gow Poker, and to me, other than a copy hand, I see it as an even game, since there have been many times where I did not have a copy hand all night, or very, very, few of them. So from a dealt hand, I would say it is a 50/50 proposition on who will win.

My buddy, Tom, plays Three Card Poker, with the ante only bet, no pair plus. He says he wins more than loses. Well to me, if he puts down 10 bucks, and has low three cards, he just folds, without knowing what the dealer was holding. That’s 10 bucks gone! Who gets to buy the beer next time at the casino? Myron A.

“Who gets to buy the beer next time at the Casino?” could be construed one of two ways. Who’s making the smarter wager and Who will lose less money on each casino visit? Sound theoretical answers to follow.

Let’s start off with Ton’s play. By making the Ante wager at Three Card Poker, Tom’s simply betting his 3-card hand against the dealer’s hand. Let’s also assume that Tom uses the correct strategy when playing Three Card Poker, that being, anytime he has a Queen-6-4 or higher, he follows his Ante with a bet, and if it’s lower, he folds. Played this way, all he’s giving up to the casino is 2.1%.

With your Pai Gow Poker game, Myron, you win if you defeat the banker on both your front and back hands, lose if the banker beats you on both hands, but can also lose if you  “copy,” or push, since a copy always goes to the banker.

You’re right, Myron, those “copy” hands materialize once in a blue moon, but they DO occur, and that’s where the house gets its 2.5% advantage over your play.

So, you’d think the winner is… ta da …Tom playing the game with the lower casino advantage of  2.1%; but, don’t reach for your wallet, Myron, because I’m not declaring a winner, at least yet.

Pai Gow Poker can be really slow; sometimes no more than 40 hands in an hour are actually played to completion. Compare that to Three Card Poker, which, although it’s a lower house-edge play, is a much faster game where 150 decisions can be made in an hour.

Here’s the math, Myron, on why — IF your beer bet is based on who loses more money per hour — you win.

If you were to play Pai Gow Poker at $10 a hand, 40 hands an hour, giving the house 2.5%, you would lose, over the long run, just $10 per hour.

With Three Card Poker at $10 a hand, and even with a lower house edge of only 2.1%, by Tom seeing 150 decisions per hour, he would have an hourly loss of $31.50.

Here’s a suggestion, Myron. Make those drink wagers based on whether Tom actually “wins more than he loses.”  Against a negative expectation game, which Three Card Poker is, no matter how you play it, it’s more of a sure bet.

We have Full pay “Jacks or Better” machines in the casino where I play. Your previous column showed the difference between 9/6 machines and that of 8/5 and 7/5. I’m wondering if I’m giving up anything when I play a coin or two short? Hal S.

With payoffs beginning at a pair of jacks or better, “Jacks or Better” is the most common variation of video poker available. For those who missed the column you mentioned, Hal, Full pay Jacks or Better is also known as 9/6 Jacks or Better; the 9 refers to the payoff for a full house and the 6 refers to the payoff for a flush. When played with perfect strategy and the maximum coin amount, Full pay Jacks or Better has a theoretical return of 99.54%.

Players who do not play with the maximum number of coins, and by the way, Hal, it doesn’t matter if you were to play one, two, three or four coins/credits, find that the theoretical return is reduced to 98.05%.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Many gamblers are actors. They consider the seat at the table their stage.” –Mike Goodman, How To Win

Top Casino
Latest Casinos
111% Welcome Bonus plus a $111 FREE CHIP

Sign up today get 500 FREE SPINS on Chilli Heat

Exclusive Games with Fast & Secure Payments
Get up to $8000 Bonus + 100 Free Spins on signup
WagerWeb 50% Cash bonus OR 75% Cashback
Sportbet.one 125% signup bonus up to $1000
Slots Animal Casino 5 Free Spins ( No Deposit )
wagerweb sportsbetting
Latest Games
Big Salmon Run

Play the Big Salmon Run slot from Arrows Edge at this Casino.


Play the Bonanza slot from Big time gaming at this Casino

1 Million Megaways BC

Play 1 Million Megaways BC Slot Game from Iron Dog Gaming at this Casino

Aztec Powernudge

Play The Aztec Powernudge Slot from Pragmatic Play at this Casino

Thunderstruck II

Play Thunderstruck II Slot Game from Microgaming at this Casino