Dear Mark, Do
you know anything about a game called Boston Five Card? Karl V.
Boston 5 Card is
a relatively new poker game that is making an appearance in numerous
casinos across America. Some readers have written me stating how much
fun it is to play; its ultimate success, however, will depend not on
fun, but on how much money it makes for the casino.
Play commences when
the player makes an ante bet and a "first wager." The first
wager must be exactly double that of the ante. Additionally, there is
an optional 3-card bonus bet, though you cannot make a bet on the 3-card
bonus wager alone. Each bonus player then receives 3 cards. If a player
made the optional 3-card bonus bet and has at least a pair, he/she then
shows the dealer his/her cards to receive payment. If you can, find
the following paytable: three-card straight flushes pay 40-1, and you
get 30-1 for three of a kind, 6-1 for straights, 4-1 for flushes and
1-1 for a pair. The casino advantage on this wager is 2.3%. But if the
flush payoff is 3-1 instead of 4-1, the house edge climbs to 7.3%.
Once the dealer
makes the appropriate payoffs for those who made a 3-card bonus wager,
you review your first three cards and decide whether to raise or fold.
If you fold, you forfeit your cards and all bets. If you raise, you
must make a "second wager" exactly equal to the first wager.
The dealer then deals the remaining players two more cards. Each hand
is then individually compared to the dealer's five-card hand, and the
higher hand wins.
If your 5-card hand
beats the dealer's hand, you win even money on the first and second
wagers, and push the ante bet. If the dealer's hand beats your hand,
you lose your first and second wagers, plus the ante. If both the dealer's
hand and yours are exactly equal in value, the first, second and the
ante bets all push.
Regardless of whether
you or the dealer has the higher hand, you are eligible for a bonus
for hands of two pair or greater, based on the ante bet. The full pay
table on the ante bonus is as follows: royal flush, 1,000 x ante; straight
flush, 200 x ante; four of a kind, 100 x ante; full house, 25 x ante;
flush, 15 x ante; straight, 10 x ante; three of a kind, 5 x ante; two
pairs, 2 x ante.
The strategy for
5-Card Boston is quite simple: raise on everything. Even if you have
what looks like a willywuss 3-card hand, it is a much better option
to raise than to fold. Only by betting the ante-bet-bet combination
on every hand can you lower the house edge to 3.32%.
Also, Karl, don't
forget to avoid the 3-card bonus bet if the flush pays 3 to 1 instead
of 4 to 1, or if a three-of-a-kind pays 25 to 1 instead of 30 to 1.
Dear Mark, In
a recent column you mentioned surrender, both early and late. I've never
heard the phrase before. Can you explain what it means? John O.
Surrender is an
option in which the casinos allow players to "surrender" half
their original bet total after they have examined their first two cards
and have viewed the dealer's up card.
permits a player to relinquish half of the wager even if the dealer
has a blackjack. With late surrender, a player loses the bet if the
dealer possesses a blackjack. Never, John, think of surrender as giving
up half your wager, but as just getting back half your probable loss.
of the week: "The rulers of the country generally believed that
betting eliminates strikes. Men had to work in order to gamble."
-Michael Ondaatje, Running the Family