TUTORIALS

These brief tutorials are not intended to replace professional instruction. However,if you're new to casino gambling, or just want to brush up on the rules and basic strategy, they will help you learn to gamble with intelligence. There is no point in gambling your money without full knowledge of the rules of the game and ways to minimize the casino advantage. Just click the desired button to select a game.

Here are some valuable sources for additional learning material:

Gambling Instruction..... Casino Game Simulators..... Instructional videos,books,ebooks

BLACKJACK

1. Overview

Blackjack is a fast and exciting game with relatively simple betting rules. However, skill and knowledge in playing the hands and in betting strategy is required to maximize the player's chance to win. Casino Coach Blackjack allows you to practice all of the various bets and try different strategies. For the beginner, it allows learning the game at your own pace without the distraction of the high-speed action in the casino. For the experienced player, it allows you to test strategies and develop your skills without risking real money.

2. Basic Rules of Blackjack

In the game of 21, or Blackjack, both the player and the dealer attempt to get a point value as close to 21 as possible without going over 21. Card suits have no significance. The point value of the cards is the only factor that counts. The cards 2-9 have a point value equal to their face value. Tens and picture cards have a point value of 10. Aces may be optionally counted as 1 or 11.

Each hand begins with two cards dealt to each player and the dealer. The dealer's first card is face up and the second card is face down. The dealer then asks the first player (at the right of the table) whether he/she wants to hit (draw another card) or stick with the existing cards. The player may hit as many times as desired, but if the resulting point count (with aces counted as one) goes over 21, the hand is "busted" and immediately loses. Play proceeds with each player in turn.

When all players have either busted or decided to stand, the dealer turns over the face down card. If the dealer has 17 or more (with Aces counted as either 1 or 11) the dealer hand must stand. (In some casinos the dealer is required to hit "soft" 17, that is, when at least one Ace is counted as 11.) If the dealer has less than 17, the dealer hand must hit. Dealer play continues until the dealer hand reaches 17 to 21 or goes bust (over 21). If the dealer busts, all player hands which did not bust win. Otherwise the hand with the highest point count wins. If the point counts are equal the hand ties. The payoff is even money for wins. In case of a tie, the player's bet is returned.

Blackjack occurs when the first two cards dealt are an Ace and a 10-value card. If the player has Blackjack and the dealer doesn't, the player wins a 3-2 payoff. If the dealer has Blackjack and the player doesn't, the player loses. If both have Blackjack the hand is a tie.

If the dealer's face up card is an Ace, players are given the opportunity to make an insurance bet equal to half the original bet. If the dealer has Blackjack the insurance bet wins and pays 2-1; the original bets lose unless the player also has Blackjack. If the dealer doesn't have Blackjack insurance bets lose. If the player has Blackjack, taking insurance guarantees a profit. For example, a bet of $10 pays off $15 with Blackjack. If you take insurance and the dealer has Blackjack, your $5 insurance bet wins $10 but you tie on your original bet; your net profit is $10. If the dealer doesn't have Blackjack you lose your $5 insurance bet but win $15 on the original bet. In either case you win $10, however, you give up the chance of winning $15.

Depending on the specific casino rules, player's may have the opportunity to double down their bets. Usually this is allowed when the first two cards have a point value of 9 to 11. If the player elects to double down, only one hit is allowed.

If the first two cards have equal point value, the player may split into two hands. Each hand has the same bet as the original bet, so the bet is effectively doubled. Each split hand receives one more card, then the hands are played out in the normal way. If Aces are split, most more card to each hand. If a split hand has an Ace and a 10-point card it is not counted as Blackjack; it is counted as a total of 21 and pays even money if it wins. Most casinos allow split hands to be doubled.

3. Basic Strategy

There is no universal agreement on the optimum basic strategies for Blackjack. Here is one well-known strategy table.

Basic Strategy should be used for a newly shuffled shoe, when card counting is not being used, or when the count is not significant. The principle in all strategies is to balance the probability of the player going over 21 against the probability of the dealer having a "pat" hand (count between 17 and 21). The player's decision in hitting or standing is based on the dealer's face up card, which determines the probability of the dealer's final point count.

Insurance should never be taken unless the player has been counting cards. This bet has a large casino advantage unless the deck is rich in high cards.

4. Card Counting

Card counting is the most effective and proven strategy for playing Blackjack. If used skillfully, it can reduce or eliminate the casino advantage. A complete discussion of card counting theory is beyond the scope of this manual. The following is a brief discussion of the basic concepts. The John Patrick videos and related instruction books are a good source of detailed information and ideas on card counting.

As cards are played, the composition of the remaining cards in the shoe changes. If the player knows the the proportion of high and low cards remaining, betting and playing strategy can be optimized. Effective use of card counting requires concentration and practice. The player must keep mental track of the high and low cards played, and must also memorize the proper betting and playing decisions.

A larger proportion of high cards remaining in the shoe favors the player. High cards increase the probability of getting Blackjack and also improve the chance of drawing a high card on Doubles. In addition, since the dealer must hit on 12 to 16, the chance of the dealer busting is greater. The advantage goes to the player because he/she can stand on 12 to 16. On the other hand, a high proportion of low cards favors the dealer. Doubles are less favorable and the dealer's chance of drawing a low card on 12 to 16 are improved.

CRAPS

1. Overview

Craps is a fast and exciting game with many different types of bets. Although the betting and payoff rules are fairly complex, when played skillfully it offers one of the lowest house advantages in the casino . It is well worth your while to learn how to Craps correctly. There are basically four types of bets:

"Right" Bets: You bet with the shooter. You win if 7 or 11 are rolled on the first dice roll (the come-out roll) and lose if 2, 3, or 12 are rolled. If any other value is rolled, this value becomes the "point". If the point is rolled before a 7, you win. If 7 is rolled before the point, the you lose. Right bets include Pass, Come, and Odds on these bets.

"Wrong"Bets: You bet against the shooter. You win if 2 or 3 are rolled on the come-out roll and win if 7 or 11 are rolled. If any other value is rolled, this value becomes the "point". If 7 is rolled before the point, you lose. If the point is rolled before a 7 is rolled, you win. Wrong bets include Don't Pass, Don't Come, and Odds on these bets. In the special case of a 12 rolled on a Don't Pass or Don't Come bet, the wrong bettor does not win; the bet is carried over to the next roll.

Proposition Bets: You bet on specific dice values or combinations independent of whether the shooter wins or loses. Proposition bets include Big 6, Big 8, Hardway, Place, Buy, and Lay. The last two are special forms of right and wrong bets.

Single Roll Bets: You bet on the results of the next roll. Single Roll bets include Field, Horn, Any Craps, 2, 3, 7, 11, and 12.

2. Betting Rules and Payoffs

2.1 Pass, Don't Pass, Come, Don't Come - All of these bets pay even money, or 2 for 1. Pass and Don't Pass can be bet only on the Comeout Roll. A new Comeout Roll occurs when the game starts and after existing Pass or Don't Pass bets have been decided.

The Pass bet wins if 7 or 11 are rolled on the Comeout Roll and loses if 2, 3, or 12 (Craps) are rolled on the Comeout Roll. If any other number is rolled on the Comeout Roll a "point" is established. The bet is a "Carryover" and is left on the table until it is decided. On following rolls, the bet wins if the point is rolled and loses if 7 is rolled.

Don't Pass is the opposite of Pass, with one exception. The bet wins if 2 or 3 are rolled on the ComeOut Roll and loses if 7 or 11 are rolled on the Come-Out Roll. If 12 is rolled the bet is a "push" and is left on the table as a carrover for the next roll. If any other number is rolled, a point is established. On following rolls, the Don't Pass bet wins if a 7 is rolled and loses if the point is rolled.

Some casinos do not permit both Pass and Don't Pass bets to be made at the same time. Since many do permit this, the program allows both bets on the same Comeout Roll.

Once a point has been established Pass bets cannot be changed or cancelled. Don't Pass bets can be cancelled or reduced (not increased). If there is an active Odds bet on the Don't Pass bet, it must be cancelled before the Don't Pass bet can be cancelled. If a Don't Pass bet is cancelled while a point is in progress, Don't Pass cannot be bet again until the next Comeout roll.

Come and Don't Come have the same rules as Pass and Don't Pass. However, they can be bet only after a Comeout Roll has occurred and a point is established. After a Come or Don't Come point is established, you can make unlimited additional Come or Don't come bets. Come bets cannot be cancelled or changed after a point is established. Don't Come bets can be if there is no Odds bet active on the same number.

All of these bets have a low house advantage of about 1.4%. Taking Odds further reduces the house advantage.

2.2 Odds Bets

Odds bets can be made on Pass, Don't Pass, Come, and Don't Come bets, only after a point has been established. An Odds bet on Pass or Come is a bet that the point will be made before a 7 is rolled. An Odds bet on Don't Pass or Don't Come is a bet that 7 will be rolled before the point. The Odds bets are in addition to the "base" bet that was made on the original bet. These bets have no house advantage; the payoff is exactly equal to the odds of winning. It is very important to practice and understand these bets, as they provide the smallest house advantage. Taking Full Odds reduces the house advantage to about 0.8%. If Double Odds is offered the house advantage is reduced to about 0.6%. These are the lowest house advantages available in most casinos.

The Odds payoff rules are complex, because the payoff depends upon the point that was established on the base bet. Unless you are an experienced Craps player, repeated practice is necessary to become familiar with these bets and take full advantage of their potential. For Odds bets on Pass or Come the payoff rules are:

If the point is:Payoff is:
4 or 102-1
5 or 93-2
6 or 86-5

For Odds bets on Don't Pass or Don't Come, the chances of winning are higher, therefore the payoffs are lower:

If the point is:Payoff is:
4 or 101-2
5 or 92-3
6 or 85-6

Some casinos require that ODDS bets are "off" on the Come-Out Roll, that is, they cannot win or lose. This situation occurs when there are Odds bets on Come or Don't Come and the original Pass or Don't Pass point is rolled.

ODDS Bet Limits:

Casinos limit the amount on Odds bets because there is no house advantage. Two types of limits are generally used, depending upon the particular casino. Single Full Odds (sometimes called Free Odds) is the most common, but Double Full Odds are used at some casinos. All of the limits are related to the amount of the base bet on which you are taking odds.

Full Odds - For Pass and Come bets, the Odds bet can be larger than the base bet, but only up to the next higher amount that produces a correct payoff (without fractional dollars). For example, if $5 is bet on Pass and the pass point is 5, you can bet up to $6 on the Odds bet. This is OK because the payoff is 3-2. However, if the pass point is 6, you are limited to $5 on the Odds bet (6-5 payoff). For Don't Pass and Don't Come bets, Single Full Odds also allows the Odds bet to be higher than the base bet, up to the next higher bet that produces both an even payoff and a payoff which is at least equal to the base bet. Double Full Odds - Odds bets can be twice as large as allowed in Single Full Odds. As noted above, casinos which offer this option provide the lowest overall house advantage if full use is taken of Odds bets.

2.3 Place Bets - A Place bet is a bet that a specific number will be rolled before a 7 is rolled. Bets can be made on the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. Place bets can be made anytime except during the Comeout Roll. The bet wins if the number you selected is rolled and loses if a 7 is rolled. Otherwise the bet is carried over to the next roll. In some casinos, Place bets are "off" on the Comeout Roll and cannot win or lose. Except during the Comeout Roll, you can leave the bets in place, change them,cancel them, or set them "off". As in the case of Odds bets, the payoff is determined by the value of the point. However, the payoff is adjusted to create a house advantage. You must bet the correct amount to get maximum payoff.

If the point is:Payoff is:
4 or 109-5
5 or 97-5
6 or 87-6

The house advantage in Place bets varies with the numbers placed. For 6 and 8 it is about 1.5%, which is very close to Pass and Don't Pass. However, the house advantage increases to 4% for 5 and 9 and almost 7% for 4 and 10. Many experienced Craps players like to use Place bets on 6 and 8 and avoid Place bets on the other numbers.

2.4 Hardway Bets - Hardway bets may be made at any time. All of them have the same basic rules. If the "hard" combination of the selected number (for example, 3 and 3 for a hard 6) is rolled the bet wins. If either 7 or an "easy" combination of the number is rolled (5 and 1 or 4 and 2), the bet loses. If none of these are rolled, the bet is carried over. The payoffs for Hard 6 and Hard 8 are larger than Hard 4 or Hard 10 because there are more easy combinations of 6 and 8.

Bet:Payoff:
Hard 4 or 107 to 1
Hard 6 or 89 to 1

The house advantages for these bets are high, about 9% for 6 and 8 and 11% for 4 and 10. These bets should generally be avoided.

2.5 Big 6, Big 8 - The bet wins if 6 or 8 is rolled and loses if 7 is rolled, otherwise the bet is a "push" (treated as a carryover). Payoff is even money. These bets have a house advantage of about 9% and should generally be avoided.

2.5 Buy and Lay Bets - Buy and Lay bets are bets for (Buy) or against (Lay) a specific number coming up before seven comes up. They can be placed on any of the point numbers 4,5,6,8,9, or 10. The payoffs are identical to those for Odds bets. Since these bets have no house advantage, the casino charges a "commission" or "vigorish". For Buy bets the commission is 5% of the total amount bet. The commission cannot be less than the table minimum, therefore the minimum Buy bet is 20 times the table minimum. Any lesser bet would result in a commission greater than 5%. Bets should only be made in multiples of the table minimum, because the commission is always rounded off to the next higher multiple of the table minimum. With a table minimum of $1, the commission on a bet of $20 would be 1$. The commission on a bet of $30 jumps to $2, which is the same as the commission on a bet of $40.

Lay bets are similar to Buy bets, except you're betting that seven will come up before the number. In this case the 5% commission is based on the amount of the payoff rather than the amount of the bet. Since the minimum commission is still the table minimum, the minimum bets are those which pay off in multiples of 20 times the table minimum. For a $1 table minimum, the minimum bets are $40 on 4 and 10, $30 on 5 and 9, and $24 on 6 and 8 (plus the $1 commission).

The house advantage for Buy bets is actually 4.762%, not 5%, because the average loss is one unit for every 21 units bet. For Lay bets, the house advantage is even less because the commission is a smaller percentage of the bet. Lay bets on 4 or 10 have a house advantage of only 2.44%. Therefore Lay bets are always preferable to Buy bets. Buy and Lay bets can be placed, taken down, or changed any time during the betting cycle.

2.6 Single Roll Bets - All of the following bets can be made at any time. The outcome is determined by the next roll after the bet. All of these bets have very high house advantages and should be avoided unless you're playing hunches.
Field - Pays off even money, except 2-1 if 2 or 12 are rolled. Wins on 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12, otherwise loses.
Any Craps - Pays off 8 for 1. Wins on 2, 3, 12, otherwise loses.
2,3,7,11,12 - Wins if the number is rolled, otherwise loses. 7 pays 4-1,3 and 11 pay 14-1,2 and 12 pay 29-1.
Horn - The Horn bet is a bet on the four surrounding bets; 2, 3, 11, and 12. The payoff is the same as the payoff for 2, 3, 11, and 12 for one-fourth of the Horn bet.

3. Betting Strategy

All bets in casino craps (except ODDS bets), have a house advantage in regard to the probability of winning. As in all casino games, in the long run players will lose more often than they win. There is, however, a significant difference in the house advantage for each of the bets, as listed in the following table.

DON'T PASS1.402%
DON'T COME1.402%
PASS1.414%
COME1.414%
PLACE 6,81.414%
LAY 4,102.439%
LAY 5,93.225%
LAY 6,84.000%
PLACE 5,94.000%
ALL BUY BETS4.762%
FIELD5.556%
PLACE 4,106.667%%
BIG 6,89.091%
HARD 6,89.091%
HARD 4,1011.111%
ANY CRAPS11.111%
2,3,7,11,1216.667%

The higher the house advantage, the harder it is to win. For example, bets on PLACE 5 or PLACE 9 have an advantage of 4.000%. This means that, out of every 100 bets, the most likely outcome is 52 losses and 48 wins. Obviously, players should emphasize the bets having the lowest house advantage - DON'T PASS, DON'T COME, PASS, COME, PLACE 6, and PLACE 8. All other bets should be avoided by serious players except on a "hunch" basis. Of course, no one can predict what will happen on a single roll; sometimes hunches pay off.

The ODDS bets are the only ones that have no house advantage. However, since PASS, COME, or DON'T bets are required before an ODDS bet can be made, there will always be some house advantage. By always taking the maximum allowable ODDS bets, the house advantage can be reduced to as little as 0.84% for Full Odds and 0.6% for Double Odds.

ROULETTE

1. Overview Roulette is fun and easy to learn, although the house advantage is higher than Blackjack and Craps. The basic rules of are straightforward. The table layout consists of areas which represent a number or group of numbers. Bets are made by placing a chip stack on the table. When all bets have been placed, a wheel with the corresponding numbers is spun. The bet wins if the number resulting from the spin matches your bets. The payoff odds vary depending on the type of bet. The following sections cover the details of setup and play. For those who may not be familiar with Roulette, each type of bet is explained in detail.

American and European Games - The standard American Roulette game uses 38 numbers, 1-36 plus 0 and 00. The European version uses 37 numbers, 1-36 plus 0 (no double 00).

En Prison - The "En Prison" feature, offered by some casinos, returns half the player's bet when the bet is an even money bet and 0 or 00 comes up.

2. Bets and Payoffs

Bet TypePayoffChip Placement
Single Number35-1Directly on the number.
Two Numbers17-1On the line between two adjacent number boxes.
Three Numbers11-1On the line at the bottom of a number column. Also at the intersection of 00/3/2, 00/0/2, and 0/2/1.
Four Numbers8-1On the intersection of four adjacent number boxes.
Five Number Bet6-1On the lower left table corner to bet the combination 0/00/1/2/3.
Six Number Bets5-1On the bottom line of the table, at the intersection of two adjacent columns.
12 Number Bets2-1There are 6 ways to bet 12 numbers. The three boxes labeled 1st 12, 2nd 12, and 3rd 12; and the three boxes at the right of the table labeled "2 to 1". The 1st 12 box covers numbers 1 through 12, the 2nd 12 box covers numbers 13 through 24, and the 3rd 12 box covers numbers 25 through 36. The "2 to 1" boxes cover the 12 numbers in the corresponding row. To make these bets, place your chips inside these boxes.
18 Number Bets1-1These are the 6 "even money" bets shown in the bottom row of boxes. They include Red or Black, Even or Odd, 1-18, and 19-36. To place these bets, place your chips inside the boxes. All of these bets lose on 0 or 00 unless the "En Prison" feature is selected (in which case only half the bet is lost).

3. Betting Strategy

House Advantage - In the American game the house advantage is always 5.26%, except for the 5-number bet. The payoffs are based on 36 numbers while there are actually 38 numbers including 0 and 00. Therefore the player will lose, on the long-term average, 2 out of every 38 bets. For the 5-number bet the payoff is based on 35 numbers, the average loss is 3 out of 38 bets, and the house advantage is 7.89%. There is no reason to play the 5-number unless you have a "hunch". Compared to Blackjack and Craps which have a house advantage around 1% (or less if played skillfully), the Roulette player is working against a much higher chance of losing. Nevertheless, the ease and speed of the game make it one of the most popular games for the average player.

Betting Systems - Mathematicians say that the house advantage in Roulette means that you cannot win, on the average. This is true if you play for an infinitely long time. However, if you play for a reasonable time, set realistic win/loss targets, and use a consistent betting system, you have a chance of reaching your win target before you reach your loss target. Throughout the long history of Roulette, many very good systems have been devised. The scope of this tutorial does not allow covering all of the popular systems in detail. However, there are many books on the subject which go into complete detail.

Most of the systems are progressive; bets are increased, in accordance with wins or losses, in a predetermined manner. If you consistently bet $1 on an even money bet, you can probably play for a long time and your risk is low. You may end up with a small gain, but more likely you’ll end up with a small loss. To win a large amount, you have to take a chance on losing a large amount.

The following sections review the principles of three classic betting systems, to give you a feel for the basic strategies. You can practice these until you understand them and see how they work in operation. Then you can research other systems or make up your own variations. All of these systems are based on even money bets (it doesn’t matter which ones).

D’Alembert - In this system, bets are raised one unit after each loss and lowered one unit after each win. This assures that winning bets are always larger than losing bets. The profit should be about one-half unit for each bet made, provided that wins and losses are about evenly divided. The potential problem is that a long string of losses can quickly wipe out gains made over a long period of time. If your win target is realistic compared to your loss target, say $200 for a $1000 stake, you have a reasonable chance of winning.

Martingale - This is a classic system in which the bet is doubled every time you lose. When you win, you return to your base bet. A typical sequence might be 5,10,20,40,80. Every time you win, your net profit is increased by $5. Unless there is a long sequence of losses, your winnings will accumulate slowly but steadily. The goal is to reach your win target before a long string of losses wipes you out. This is an example of the “up-as-you-lose” type of system. It is conservative in the sense that winnings build up slowly. However, it takes a lot of nerve (when using real money) to continue the sequence as a string of losses continues. >Parlay - Parlay systems are the opposite of Martingale-type systems, in that bets are increased as you win. With a “straight-up” doubling sequence, such as 5,10,20,40,80 you’ll win $160 any time there is a run of 5 consecutive wins. You’ll lose only $5 each time the bet loses. Therefore, losses will mount slowly and you can probably play for a long time before you reach your loss target. The chance of winning is less than for Martingale-type systems, but you do have the chance to win large amounts quickly. A more conservative approach is to increase the bet only after you have won two in a row. One interesting sequence to try is 5,5,10,10,20,30,40. If you win the whole sequence, your profit will be $120. If you win only the first two bets, then lose on the third, you’ll break even. If you lose on the fourth or fifth bet, you’ll win $10. You’ll win $20 if you lose on the sixth bet and $40 if you lose on the seventh bet.

VIDEO POKER

1.Overview Video Poker is a fast and exciting game with simple betting rules. The playing rules are the same as those in Draw Poker. The player simply decides how much to bet and which cards to discard after the initial deal. The key to playing well is to know what cards to hold to give yourself the best chance of winning. Each hand is played with a new 52-card deck (except Joker Poker games which have a 53-card deck). The house advantage in Video Poker depends upon the particular game and the payoff odds provided by the casino and is generally considered to be about 1% if all hands are played correctly.

2.Games and Payoffs There are many different types of games offered on Video Poker machines. The payoff amount for winning hands is displayed on the machine and will vary depending upon the game. We'll cover two of the most common games here.

Jacks or Better - Jacks or Better is the most common game. You must have at least a pair of Jacks or higher to win. A high pair (Jacks, Queens, Kings, Aces) normally pays even money. All higher hands in standard poker ranking pay off, including 2 pair, 3 of a Kind, Straight, Flush, Full House, 4 of a Kind, Straight Flush, and Royal Flush.

Deuces Wild - Each of the four deuces (2's) is a wild card which can represent any card in the deck. For example, if your hand has 2-5-6-7-8 the deuce can represent a 3 or 9 and you have a straight.. If your hand has four hearts and a 2 of clubs, the deuce can represent a heart and you have a flush. Since winning hands are much easier to obtain than in Jacks or Better, the payoffs are quite different. You must have at least 3 of a Kind to win, such as one pair and a deuce (normally pays even money). The payoff amounts for many of the hands are considerably lower than in Jacks or Better. You can even get 5 of a Kind in this game. There is also a special payoff for 4 deuces (much higher than 5 of a Kind) and different payoffs for a natural Royal Flush (no deuces, maximum payoff) and a Royal Flush created by using one or deuces (lower payoff). Deuces Wild can be an up and down game with long winning and losing streaks because it all depends upon the number of deuces you're initially dealt. A singledeuce in the initial hand only has a 54% chance of drawing a winning hand, while 3 deuces in the initial hand is a sure winner of at least 4 of a Kind.

3.Playing Strategy To have the best chance of winning at Video Poker, you must make the correct decisions regarding which cards to hold. Mathematical studies of probability have developed ranking charts based on the "expected value" of specific hands. The expected value (EV) is calculated by assuming that every possible draw might come up, adding up all the payoffs, and dividing by the number of possible draws. An EV of 0.8, for example, means that you can only expect to get 80% back on that particular hand in that game with the given standard payoff table. As a player, you don't have to be concerned with all of the math, since expected values have been calculated for all possible hands. The following pages list the Expected Values for Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild.Hands which do not require a decision, such as 5 unmatched low cards (draw 5) and winning hands which use all 5 cards, such a Full House, Straight Flush, etc. are not listed. Here's an example of using the table: Suppose you are playing Jacks or Better and you are dealt a four-card straight with no high cards and a pair of 5's. Should you hold the pair or the possible straight? The table shows that the four-card straight has an EV of 0.7+ (the + sign means its a little higher than 0.7) and the low pair has an EV of 0.8+. You should hold the pair because it has a higher EV. Of course this doesn't predict what you will actually draw on a single hand; it only tells you that holding the pair has a better chance of winning. As another example, suppose you're playing Deuces Wild. You are dealt one deuce, the 10-J-Q of hearts, and the 10 of clubs. Do you hold the three 10's or the 4-card Royal Flush? The EV for three of a kind is 2+ while the EV for a 4-card Royal Flush is 3+. Go for the royal flush, even though the 3 of a kind is a guaranteed winner.

Jacks or Better

Hold Hand:EV
4 card Royal Flush18
Full House9
Flush6
3 of a Kind4+
Straight4
4 card Straight Flush4-
Two Pairs4+
4 card Inside Straight Flush2+
Pair Jacks+1.5
3 card Royal Flush1.5-
4 card Flush1.2
4 card Straight (3 high cards)0.9-
Low Pair0.8+
4 card Straight (2 high cards)0.8+
4 card Straight (1 high card)0.7+
4 card Straight (0 high cards)0.7-
3 card Double Inside Straight Flush (2 high cards)0.6+
3 card Inside Straight Flush (1 high card)0.6+
2 card Royal Flush (KQ, KJ, QJ)0.6+
4 card Inside Straight(Ace high)0.6-
2 card Royal Flush(Ace high, no 10)0.5+
3 card Inside Straight Flush (0 high cards)0.5+
3 high cards, no Ace0.5+
2 high cards0.5-
2 card Royal Flush (with 10 no Ace)0.5-
1 high card0.5-

Deuces Wild

Hold Hand:EV
3 Bare Deuces15
2 Deuces, 4 card Royal Flush4+
2 Bare Deuces3+
1 Deuce
1 Deuce 4 card Royal Flush3+
4 card Straight Flush2+
3 of a Kind2+
Flush2
Straight 2
4 card Straight Flush2-
4 card Inside Straight Flush2-
3 card Royal Flush 1+
3 card Straight Flush (not 6 high)1+
1 Bare Deuce1
0 Deuce
4 card Royal Flush19+
3 of a Kind2+
Flush (not 6 high)2
Straight2
4 card Straight Flush2-
4 card Inside Straight Flush2+
3 card Royal Flush (not 6 high)1+
Pair (don't hold 2 pair)0.6
4 card Straight .05+
4 card Flush0.5+
3 card Straight Flush0.5
3 card Inside Straight Flush0.4+
2 card Royal Flush (Q,J high)0.4-

TEXAS HOLD'EM

Texas Hold'em is the most popular poker game at casinos. The game is fast-moving and exciting. Playing well requires good nerves and a clear understanding of the rules and the relative strength of hands.

.1.Playing Rules - The game of texas holdem is a variation of 7-card stud where all the players share common cards called "community cards". The dealer position is designated by a "dealer" button which is moved clockwise to the next player after each hand. As you will see later the player's position relative to the dealer position has important significance.

Before dealing the two players to the left of the dealer must ante. These bets are called the "big blind" and the "little blind". The big blind is equal to the lower of the game bet limits. In Casino Coach the little blind is half the value of the big blind. For example, in a $10-20 game the big blind is $10 and the little blind is $5.

Note: The amount that the second blind must bet may vary among casinos. In some casinos the second blind may have to ante a larger bet than the big blind.

The hand begins with two cards dealt face down to each player. The player to the left of the big blind begins the bidding. Note that this means the player that anted the big blind bets last. Players that bet towards the end of the round have a significant advantage because they can see how many players have folded and whether there has been any raises. This first player betting must either call, raise, or fold. Betting continues clockwise around the table. After the first round of bets is completed, three community cards (called the "flop") are turned face up in the center of the table. The cards in the center of the table may be used by all players as part of their hand.

The first player remaining in the game that is to the immediate left of the dealer begins the next betting round, called "fifth street". The player can either check or bet. Betting continues around the table. After the second round of betting a fourth card (called the "turn") is turned face up in the center of the table and the betting cycle is repeated. This is called "sixth street". Finally a fifth card (called the "river") is turned up. All remaining players now have seven cards, the two they were dealt and the five community cards in the center. The final round of betting, "seventh street", then takes place. The remaining players declare their hands and the player with the best 5-card poker hand wins the pot. In the rare occasion of a tie, the pot is split.

2.Betting Rules - The betting amounts are set by the casino's game bet limits, which have an upper and lower level. The lower level determines the blind bets and the basic bets on the flop and the turn. After the turn is displayed the basic bet is the upper limit. A raise is equal to to the basic bet at the current stage, that is, the lower limit through the turn (through sixth street) and the upper limit for the final round (seventh street). After the blinds are bet, players can either call, raise, or fold. If the big blind has not been raised, the player in the big blind position has the option to raise his/her own bet.

Note: In tournaments like the World Series of Poker, the betting rules are obviously different, with unlinmited raises possible.

In the casino, the winning player only get 95% of the money in the pot. The casino does not participate in the play. Their role is to deal the cards and keep track of the money. For this, the casino takes a 5% commission (vigorish) from the pot.

3.Strategy

Texas Hold'em players are generally classified as "loose" or "tight" in their style of playing. A tight, or conservative, player, folds unless they have a very strong hand and does not generally bluff. A loose, or aggressive, player stays in longer, raises aggressively, and often bluffs. Of course there are all shades of gray in between these extremes. What is important when you play is to determine what type of player you want to be and stick to that strategy whether you're winning or losing.

The most common fault of non-professional players is to wait too long to fold with a weak hand. Even an aggressive player must recognize when their chance of winning is slight and cut their losses early in a hand.The most important decision is whether to fold on the initial round of betting. If you do not have a strong hand in the first two cards dealt then you should probably fold. A strong hand is a pair or Ace-King or two high cards suited such as Queen-Jack of clubs. Once you stay in after the first round it is easy to get drawn in to staying the whole way; if your first two cards are weak the probability of winning is low. Your position on the table relative to the dealer should also be taken into account. If you're one of the early bidders you'll be more likely to fold unless you have a very strong hand. If you're in a late position you may choose to stay in with a slightly weaker hand if a lot of players have folded and there haven't been any raises. To learn more about the odds of pulling certain hands from the intial two cards or after the turn.

7 CARD STUD

If you've ever played poker you've undoubtedly played the classic game of 7 card stud. However, if you decide to play 7 Card Stud in a casino, you'll find that the rules are somewhat different than in the usual friendly games. The casino rules primarily relate to betting. They are specific and must be followed. You'll also find that when you win you only get 95% of the pot. The casino does not participate in the play. Their role is to deal the cards and keep track of the money. For this, the casino takes a 5% commission (vigorish) from the pot.

1. Basic Play

The casino version of 7 card stud is a straight up game with no wild cards or jokers. Each player is initially dealt three cards, two face down and one face up. This is called 3rd street. After each round of betting is completed, one more card is dealt to each player. The 4th, 5th, and 6th cards are face up and the 7th card is face down. The betting rounds are called 4th street, 5th street, 6th street, and 7th street. After all betting is completed, the players that have not folded show their hands and the player with the best 5-card poker hand takes the pot. In the rare occasion of a tie, the pot is split.

2. Casino Betting Rules

Before each hand, all players must ante an amount usually 10% of the upper bet limit ($1 in a $10-20 game). The opening bettor on 3rd street is the player with the lowest face card. This player must make a minimum bet ($2 in a $10-20 game). The other players may fold, call, or raise. A raise would take the 3rd street bet to the lower bet limit ($10 in a $10-20 game). If there is a raise the opening bettor may call or fold.At 4th street the basic bet is the lower bet limit if there are no pairs showing. If a pair is showing the basic bet is the upper bet limit. From 5th street through 7th street the basic bet is the upper bet limit ($20 in a $10-20 game).When the game is over, the casino takes 5% of the pot and the balance goes to the winner.

3. Strategy

7 Card Stud players are generally classified as "loose" or "tight" in their style of playing. A tight, or conservative, player, folds unless they have a very strong hand and does not generally bluff. A loose, or aggressive, player stays in longer, raises aggressively, and often bluffs. Of course there are all shades of gray in between these extremes. What is important when you play is to determine what type of player you want to be and stick to that strategy whether you're winning or losing.

The most common fault of non-professional players is to wait too long to fold with a weak hand. Even an aggressive player must recognize when their chance of winning is slight and cut their losses early in a hand.

One of the most important things to know about 7 Card Stud is that the average winning hand is three nines. If you have anything weaker than that the odds are you will lose. Of course there will be many situations where you have the possibility of drawing a stronger hand than three nines with the remaining cards, but you should be aware of the odds (and of course also aware of the cards that have been played). Unless you want to be very aggressive, it is not smart to go "against the odds" and try for a long shot such as an inside straight.

PAI GOW POKER

1. Overview Pai Gow Poker is derived from an ancient Chinese game. Its an exciting game which has become increasingly popular in casinos. It offers fast action and interesting strategic challenges in playing the hands.

2. Pai Gow Rules

Basic Play - In Pai Gow Poker there are one or more players and a banker. The banker is usually the dealer, although layers are periodically given the opportunity to be the banker. The players and banker are each dealt seven cards. These must be "set" by dividing them into two separate poker hands, a two-card hand and a five-card hand. The two-card (known as the low or front hand) must be lower in ranking than the five-card (high) hand. If it is not, the hand is "fouled" and automatically loses. Note that there cannot be straights, flushes, etc. in the two-card hand. The highest possible hand is a pair of Aces.

Hands are ranked using standard poker hand rankings. The player wins if both his/her low hand and high hand are ranked higher than the banker's hands. If the player wins only one hand, the result is a tie (or push). If the player loses both hands, the result is a loss. In the special case of a "copy" hand, where both the player and banker have identical rankings, the banker hand wins. This usually occurs in the low hand (for example, both player and banker have Ace-Queen).

Payoffs are even money, but the house takes a 5% commission on all winning hands.

Using the Joker - Most casinos use a 53-card deck with one Joker. The Joker is wild only when used in Straights, Flushes, Straight Flushes, or Royal Flushes. In Straights, Straight Flushes, or Royal Flushes the Joker becomes the highest value and suit of the card required to complete the hand. In Flushes it becomes the highest value card that is absent. When used alone, the Joker becomes an Ace. The Joker cannot be used to create pairs or three, four, five of a kinds with cards other than Aces.

Casino Procedures - In the casino, the dealer first shuffles the deck, then deals out seven face-down stacks of seven cards each in front of the chip rack. There are always seven stacks regardless of the number of players. The dealer then rolls a dice cup with three dice. The dealer distributes the stacks to the players in a sequence determined by the total of the dice rolled.

The players set their hands and place the high and low hands face down on the table. After all players have set their hands the dealer turns over his/her stack and sets the hand in accordance with predetermined house rules. Similarly to Blackjack, the dealer has no discretion and must use the house rules. Each casino has its own set of house rules which may vary from "aggressive" to "conservative" (see Section 3 for further information on strategies). The dealer then compares the hands and determines wins and losses.

The house (dealer) is the banker for the first hand played at a table. Thereafter, the bank alternates between the dealer and each player in turn around the table. A player may pass on the opportunity, in which case the next player is given the option of banking. After a player plays a hand as the banker, the next hand always reverts to the dealer as banker. Therefore the house will be banker at least 50% of the time. When a player is the banker the house becomes another player. The player banker must have sufficient funds to cover all other bets on the table (including the house bet). The player banker may also co-bank with the house, reducing the funds required to 50% of the total bets. In the co-bank situation, all wins and losses are divided equally between the player banker and the house. A player can bank only once for each rotation around the table.

Note: The house collects its 5% commission regardless of who is banking.

3. Strategies

Strategies for setting hands can range from conservative to aggressive. In a conservative strategy (also known as the Fair Way) the objective is to make at least one of the hands as strong as possible. This increases the probability of a push and decreases the probability of losing both hands. Of course the probability of a win is also decreased. An aggressive strategy tries to make both hands reasonably strong, often resulting in neither hand being as strong as possible. This increases the probability of winning or losing both hands and decreases the probability of a push. Most casinos use a form of conservative strategy as their house strategy, although some may use an aggressive strategy. Most casinos will provide players with a written copy of their hand setting rules upon request. Casinos will also assist a player in setting a hand. The following examples illustrate the difference between the conservative and aggressive strategies:

You are dealt 5-5-6-6-7-Q-2. A conservative strategy would keep two pair in the high hand and the Q-7 in the low hand. An aggressive strategy would split the pairs, putting a pair of 6's in the high hand and a pair of 5's in the low hand.

You are dealt 7-8-9-10-J-10-7. A conservative strategy would place the Straight in the high hand and 10-7 in the low hand. An aggressive strategy would split the Straight, putting a pair of 10's in the high hand and a pair of 7's in the low hand.

You are dealt 8-8-Joker-10-J-Q-Q. A conservative strategy would use the Joker as a 9, place the Straight in the high hand, and Q-8 in the low hand. An aggressive strategy would split the Straight, putting a pair of Queens in the high hand and a pair of 8's in the low hand.

Because of the vast number of possible combinations, the strategies can become quite complex. It is beyond the scope of this tutorial to cover all the possible strategies. Sections 4 and 5 describe typical conservative and aggressive house strategies.

4. Conservative Strategy

No Pair - Use second and third highest ranked cards in the low hand.

One Pair - Always use the pair in the high hand and the next two highest ranking cards in the low hand.

Two Pairs - Keep the two pairs in the high hand if the pairs are both 5's or less; otherwise split and play the lower pair in the low hand. If you have an Ace (not one of the pairs) play it in the low hand and play both pairs in the high hand, if one of the following conditions occurs: (1) both pairs are 7 or less; (2) the high pair is 10's or better and the low pair is 6's or lower. All other combinations split the pairs and play the lowest pair in the low hand.

Three Pairs - Play the highest pair in the low hand.

Three Of A Kind - Always keep in the high hand unless you have 3 Aces. If you have 3 Aces, play one Ace in the low hand and a pair of Aces in the high hand. With two three of a kinds, play a pair of the highest three in the low hand.

Straights - Always play the Straight in the high hand, unless the condition noted below occurs. With additional Straight cards, play the highest other two cards in the low hand. With two pairs and a Straight, keep the Straight in the high hand unless the two pairs are both 10's or better. If the two pairs are 10's or better, split the Straight; play the low pair in the low hand and the high pair in the high hand.

Flushes - Always play the Flush in the high hand, unless the following conditions occur. When holding extra Flush cards, play the highest two other cards in the low hand. With two pairs and a Flush, keep the Flush in the high hand unless the two pairs are both 10's or better. If the two pairs are 10's or better, split the Flush; play the low pair in the low hand and the high pair in the high hand.

Full House - Always split and play the pair in the low hand. With two pairs and three of a kind, play the highest pair in the low hand.

Four Of A Kind - With four 8's or less, play the four of a kind in the high hand. With four 9's or better and no Ace or other pair, split and play one pair in the low hand and one pair in the high hand. With four 9's or better and an Ace or another pair, play the four of a kind in the high hand and the Ace or pair in the low hand.

Four or Five Aces - Always split.

Straight and Royal Flushes - Always play the Flush in the high hand. When holding extra Flush cards, play the highest two other cards in the low hand.

5. Aggressive Strategy

-No Pair - Use second and third highest ranked cards in the low hand. One Pair: · Always use the pair in the high hand and the next two highest ranking cards in the low hand.

Two Pairs - Always split and play the lowest pair in the low hand, unless one of the following conditions occur: If the pairs are both 5's or less, or if one pair is 5's or less and the other pair is 10 or less, keep both pairs in the high hand if a King (not part of the two pairs) or better can be played in the low hand. If the pairs are both 6's through 10's, or if one pair is 5's or less and the other pair is Jacks or better, keep both pairs in the high hand if an Ace (not part of the two pairs) can be played in the low hand.

Three Pairs - When holding three pairs, play the highest pair in the low hand and the remaining pairs in the high hand.

Three Of A Kind - Always keep in the high hand unless you have 3 Aces. If you have 3 Aces, play one Ace in the low hand and a pair of Aces in the high hand. With two three of a kinds, play a pair of the highest three in the low hand.

All Straights, Flushes, and Straight Flushes (Including Royal Flushes) - When there is a choice of playing either a Straight, Flush, or Straight Flush, play the hand which allows the highest two cards in the low hand. With a Straight or Straight Flush which is Ace high and includes a Joker, play two Aces (the Ace and Joker) in the high hand and the next two highest cards in the low hand. If the hand can be played as a lower Straight, play the Straight in the high hand and the Ace in the low hand. With Ace or Joker and a pair of 10's through King's, play Ace or Joker in the low hand and the pair in the high hand. Play the pair in the high hand only if the low hand can be improved. With two pairs, three pairs, three of a kind, or Full House along with a Straight, Flush, or Straight Flush, use the two pairs, three pairs, three of a kind, or Full House rule.

Full House - Always split and play the pair in the low hand. With two pairs and three of a kind, play the highest pair in the low hand.

Four Of A Kind - With four 7's or less, play the four of a kind in the high hand. With four 8's or better and no Ace or other pair, split and play one pair in the low hand and one pair in the high hand. With four 8's or better and an Ace or another pair, play the four of a kind in the high hand and the Ace or pair in the low hand.

Four or Five Aces - Always split and play two Aces in the low hand.

BACCARAT

1. Overview

Baccarat is a fast exciting game with simple betting and payoff rules. There is basically no playing strategy because the playing rules are fixed (although a bit complex). The only player decisions are the amount of the bet and the choice of betting on "Player", "Bank" or "Push" (tie). However, the fast action and generally large bet amounts does require a sound strategy of betting and money management. The generally accepted figures for the house advantage in Baccarat are 1.16% for the Bank hand and 1.37% for the Player hand. These are among the lowest of any casino game. The Push bet has a very high house advantage and should be avoided unless you want to play a hunch.

2. Playing Baccarat

Placing Bets - To place a bet, place your money on the Player, Bank, or Push area above your table position. You can bet on Player or Bank alone, on both Player and Push or Bank and Push, or on Push alone. You cannot bet on both Player and Bank. You can switch a bet from Bank to Player (or vice-versa) by clicking the left mouse button on the desired table area. Subsequent bets for that player will be placed in the last selected area.

Basic Rules - After all bets are made, two cards are dealt to each of two hands, called the "Player Hand" and the "Bank Hand". These names are arbitrary. The hand which has the closest total to 9 wins. Picture cards and 10's have a value of 0, aces have a value of 1, and all other cards have their face value. If the sum of the hand's cards is more than 9, the first digit is dropped. For example, a 6/5 is counted as 1, and 7/3 as 0. If either hand has a count of 8 or 9 after the first two cards are dealt, the hand is called a "natural" and no further cards are dealt. The hand which is closest to 9 wins; if both hands have the same count, the hand is a tie, or "push".If neither hand has a natural, the third card rules come into effect. These rules govern whether the Player or Bank hand draws a third card. The third-card rules are fixed and dictate, in every case, whether a third card must be dealt to each hand. These rules are complex and are covered in the following section. After any third cards are drawn, the deal is complete and the hand with the closest value to 9 wins.

Third Card Rules - The third card rules in Baccarat are mandatory.

Player hand rules - If the value of the Player hand is 0 to 5, the Player hand must draw. If it is 6 or 7, the Player hand must stand.

The Bank hand rules are more complex.

If the Player hand stands and the Bank hand has 0 to 5, the Bank hand must draw. If the Bank hand has 6 or 7, the Bank hand must stand.

If the Player hand draws, the Bank hand rules are different. If the Bank hand has:

0 to 2: the Bank hand must draw
3 to 6: the value of the third card drawn by the Player hand determines if the Bank hand draws or stands (see table below).
7: the Bank hand must stand

Third card rules when the Player hand draws and the Bank hand has 3 to 6 are as follows:

Bank Hand ValueBank Draws if Player DrewBank Stands if Player Drew
31,2,3,4,5,6,7,9,108
42,3,4,5,6,71,8,9,10
54,5,6,71,2,3,8,9,10
66,71,2,3,4,5,8,9,10

These third card rules create an unusual game situation. Even if the initial 2-card value for the Bank hand is better than the 3-card value for the Player hand, the Bank hand may still have to draw a third card, which may cause it to lose the game. The overall effect of these rules, however, favors the Bank hand, which wins more often than the Player hand. For this reason, a house commission of 5% is deducted from Bank hand payoffs.

Results and Payoff - The outcome of the hand is either "Player Wins", "Bank Wins", or "Push".The payoff on winning bets is 2 for 1, or even money. The payoff on Push bets is 8-1.As noted above, on Bank bets a house commission of 5% is deducted from the payoff, therefore the effective payoff is 1.95 for 1. In the casino winning Bank hands are paid off at 2 for 1, but the dealer places a commission marker equal to 5% of the payoff in a marker box on the table. Players owe the total of their commission --------------markers to the casino on demand.

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