3 New Casino Games You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

by Michael Stevens
on November 11, 2016

You can find a practically unlimited number of slot machine games to write about.

But let’s face it. They’re all the same game.

The sound effects and images might vary, but if you’ve played one slot machine, you’ve played them all.

Luckily, other new casino games are being launched constantly now.

And some of them are exciting and different.

Below I list and describe 3 new casino games you’ve probably never hear of before:

1. 4 Card Split

4 Card Split is a card game available at the Suncoast Casino in Las Vegas. It’s a hybrid of pai gow poker and Three Card Poker. It features a mandatory side bet and optional raise bets on both of your hands. It’s not the easiest game to grok at a moment’s notice, but who wants to play Casino War all the time, anyway?

Here’s how you play 4 Card Split:

It’s a casino banked poker game. This means you’re competing with the dealer, not the other players. Since you’re not using 5 cards, the hand rankings differ from traditional poker hand rankings. Here are the hands in order from best to worst in 4 Card Split:

  • Straight flush
  • 3 of a kind
  • Straight
  • Flush
  • Pair
  • Ace high

You start by making 3 bets:

  1. Ante #1
  2. Ante #2
  3. 4 card blind

You get 4 cards. The dealer also gets 4 cards. One of the dealer’s cards is face up (like in blackjack). The other 3 cards are face down.

The 4 card blind bet is resolved before anything else happens. It pays off based on your hand as follows:

  • Royal flush pays 500 to 1.
  • 4 of a kind pays 150 to 1.
  • Straight flush pays 50 to 1.
  • 3 of a kind pays 8 to 1.
  • Flush pays 7 to 1.
  • Straight pays 5 to 1.
  • 2 pair pays 4 to 1.
  • A pair of 10s or higher pays 2 to 1.

Then the real fun begins. As in pai gow poker, you get to “set” your hands. In 4 Card Split, you divide your hand into 2 hands, either:

  • A 3-card hand and a 1-card hand
  • Or 2 hands with 2 cards each

If you have a 3-card hand with a flush (or better), you have an instant winner. That pays off as follows:

  • Royal flush pays 30 to 1.
  • Straight flush pays 12 to 1.
  • 3 of a kind pays 8 to 1.
  • Straight pays 3 to 1.
  • Flush pays 2 to 1.

Once the instant winners are paid off, the dealer collects those cards.

The only hands left after this are not instant winners. You have 2 options for any of these hands:

  1. Raise
  2. Fold

If you raise, you place an additional bet the same size as the ante. If you fold, you forfeit your ante.

If you raise, you get enough additional cards for a 3-card hand.

When all this action finishes, the dealer turns over her face down cards. She makes the best hand she can from her face up card and any 2 of her formerly face down cards.

The dealer then must qualify by having a king or higher. If the dealer doesn’t qualify, the raise is treated as a push. (It’s returned to the player.) The ante pays off per the instant winner pay table above.

If the dealer qualifies, she compares her hand to yours. If she has a better hand, you lose your bets. If you have a better hand, you get even money on your raise. The ante bet pays off per the instant winners pay table listed above.

Strategy for this game begins with the 4 card blind bet. You should always place the minimum bet here. That’s the same size as the ante bets. The dealer will try to convince you to bet more.

Don’t.

You’ll have to use some logic and common sense to come up with a strategy for setting your hands. If you’re an experienced pai gow poker player, this part will probably come easy to you.

The only other element of strategy to consider is the decision on whether to raise or fold.

You should raise with 2 cards if you’re holding the following:

  • A pair
  • A draw to a flush
  • An outside straight draw
  • An inside straight draw, but only if your high card is higher than the dealer’s up card.
  • If the dealer has an ace, raise if you have any A-10 or better.
  • If the dealer has a king, raise if you K-10 or better.
  • If the dealer has a queen, raise if you J-10 or better.
  • If the dealer has a jack, raise if A-10 or better.

If you have a 1-card hand or a 3-card hand, you’ll raise if you have a jack or higher—but only if it’s higher than the dealer’s up card. Otherwise, fold.

The house edge on this game is 0.24%, making it one of the best bets in the casino. I’m indebted to Michael Shackleford’s page on the game for the strategy and house edge information.

2. 9 Card Fortune Flush (and High Card Flush)

9 Card Fortune Flush is a new, popular variation of a recent series of games based on High Card Flush. Understanding how to play High Card Flush is a prerequisite for understanding how to play 9 Card Fortune Flush, so I’ll cover that first.

As you would in Caribbean Stud Poker and Three Card Poker, you’ll be folding or calling during the game. The big difference is based on how the hands are ranked. Your goal is to make the best possible flush from 7 cards.

You start playing by making an ante wager. You also have the option of making a bonus wager. You and the dealer both get 7 cards. As in all house-banked casino card games, you’re competing with the dealer, not the other players.

You assess the value of your hand on 2 standards. The first standard is based on how many cards you have of a single suit. The goal is to have as many cards of the same suit as possible, which is called “the maximum flush”.

Here’s an example:

You have 7 cards. 4 of them are diamonds. 2 of them are spades. One of them is a heart. Your maximum flush is the 4-card flush made up of diamonds. If the dealer has a 5-card flush, she beats your hand. If she has a 3-card flush, you beat her hand.

The second standard is based on normal poker hand rankings for flushes.

Here’s an example:

You have a 4-card flush with an ace as your highest card in the flush. The dealer has a 4-card flush with a king as her highest card in the flush. Since an ace is higher than a king, your flush beats the dealer’s flush. If you both had aces, you would look at the next highest-card in each hand, and so on.

In terms of gameplay, you get a hand and so does the dealer. You make decisions before comparing your hand to the dealer’s, though. You have 2 options:

  1. You can fold. If you do, you lose your ante bet, and the game ends.
  2. You can call. If you do, place another bet. The minimum size of this bet is the size of the ante, but you can bet more based on the strength of your hand. If you have a 5-card flush, you can double the size of the ante and bet that. If you a 6-card flush or better, you can triple the size of the ante and bet that.

As with a lot of these casino banked card games, the dealer checks first to see if she qualifies. In High Card Flush, the dealer qualifies by having at least a 3-card flush with at least a 9 high.

If she doesn’t qualify, you get paid even money on your ante bet, but your call bet is treated as a push. It’s returned to you with no winnings.

If she qualifies, you compare your hand with hers. If you have a better hand, the ante and call bets are paid off at even money. If she has a better hand, you lose both bets. In the case of a tie, both bets are treated as a push. You get no winnings, but you don’t lose your ante or call bet, either.

This leaves the optional bonus wager, which I mentioned earlier but haven’t expounded on. This bet pays off based on the strength of your hand, and it varies from casino to casino. For example, a 7-card flush might pay this bet off at 200 to 1 at one casino and 300 to 1 at another. A 6-card flush might pay off at 100 to 1, or it might pay off at 50 to 1. A 5-card flush might pay off at 10 to 1, 6 to 1, or even 5 to 1.

9 Card Fortune Flush is the latest variation of this game. In this version, there is no dealer hand at all. Instead, you choose a color and a bet. Then you hope to get a flush in the color you chose.

You start by betting on red or black. This bet is required if you want to play. You also have the following optional side bets available:

  1. First 3
  2. Player’s 6
  3. 9 Card Bonus

To win any of the side bets, the hand must be the color you chose. Each bet pays off based on your hand as evaluated against a pay table.

After you’ve placed your initial bets, the dealer gives you 3 cards. Based on those 3 cards, you can choose to fold or play. If you play, you place another bet equal to your initial bet on red or black. If you fold, you lose your ante.

If you’ve chosen to play, you get 6 more cards (for a total of 9 cards). You then choose which flush has the most cards in it and discard the rest of the cards.

The initial bet on red or black (and the play bet) pay even money if you get it right, but only if you get a 4-card flush or better. If you get a 3-card flush, it’s treated as a push. Otherwise, you lose your bet.

The First 3 bet pays off at 5 to 1 if you have a 3-card flush on your first 3 cards. It pays off at 2 to 1 if you have a 2-card flush. This is based only on your first 3 cards.

The Player’s 6 bet is based on the next 6 cards. It pays 3 to 1 if you have a 4-card flush or better. It pays 2 to 1 if you have a 3-card flush. If you don’t have at least a 3-card flush, you lose this bet.

The 9 Card Bonus Bet is the fun one. It pays off based on the following pay table:

Number of cards in the flush Payoff
9 5000 to 1
8 1000 to 1
7 100 to 1
6 20 to 1
5 10 to 1

The first version of the game, High Card Flush, involves a little bit of strategy.

In the 9 Card Fortune Flush variation, the only decision with any strategic implication is whether to fold or play. If you have at least one card that’s the right color, you should play. Otherwise, fold.

The house edge for 9 Card Fortune Flush is 2.17%, making it a slightly better game than High Card Flush, which has a house edge of 2.71%.

3. Blackjack Match

Most new blackjack games are just regular old blackjack with the addition of a side bet or some simple rules variation to spice things up. In the case of Blackjack Match, it’s just a side bet.

This side bet wins if the player and/or the dealer has a blackjack. It wins more if both have a blackjack. And it wins even more if those blackjacks are of the same suit.

The payout includes a progressive jackpot. It’s a $5 side bet, and the payoff structure varies from casino to casino.

Unlike most blackjack side bets, this one is paid like a slot machine bet. Normally in a table game, you get to keep your bet and get the winnings along with the bet back. But in Blackjack Match, the casino keeps the $5 bet even if you win.

This is called “for one” odds instead of “to one” odds. If a bet pays 200 to 1, you get your original bet back plus the 200 units. If a bet pays 200 for 1, you get the 200-unit payoff, but you still lose your initial bet.

Here’s a typical pay table for this side bet:

Situation Payoff
Ace king blackjacks of the same suit that match Jackpot
Suited blackjacks that match 10% of the jackpot
Suited blackjacks that don’t match $1000 (200 for 1)
Blackjacks $150 (30 for 1)
Player suited blackjack $50 (10 for 1)
Player blackjack $25 (5 for 1)
Player ace in first 2 cards $15 (3 for 1)

The house edge for any progressive varies based on how high the jackpot gets. In other words, if the jackpot is high enough, you might have an edge over the house. The jackpot rarely gets high enough for this to happen, though.

The dollar amount of the jackpot where the player edge and the house edge are both 0 is called the “break-even point”. If the jackpot is lower than this, the house has an edge. If the jackpot is higher than this, the player has an edge.

With this side bet, the break-even point varies based on how many players are at the table. It also varies based on the number of decks in play. More players are better for the player. More decks are better for the player, too.

The best-case scenario is an 8-deck game with 6 other players at the table. The break-even point, per Michael Shackleford’s site, is $713,805.66.

From a strategy perspective, the house edge is high unless the jackpot is also high. Most of the time you should pass on this bet, but it has an appeal. If you’re the type who enjoys taking a gamble on a big jackpot, the possible high edge might be worth it to you.

Conclusion

Some of the new casino games becoming available in 2016 are interesting and exciting. As a rule, the newer games often have a high house edge—especially when the new game is basically just a side bet in blackjack. The 3 new casino games I listed on this page are some of the more interesting games I’ve seen lately.

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