versions of existing table games appear now and again. Some are
intended to enhance the appeal for current players. Others are meant
to attract solid citizens previously focused on the slots, who want
a broader experience than the machines without sacrificing the chance
that their next bet will beget a bonanza. All are designed to get
more money in action, typically with high edge and good profit potential
for the casino.
motivate lots of slot play. This is, after all, an era when even
some Republicans muse about a second chance at the American dream
by winning rather than earning it. Few table jackpot ideas stand
the test of time, however. Many, proposals as well as those that
make it to the floor, flunk the laugh test.
blackjack, or craps aficionado certainly wouldn't object to striking
it rich. But bettors steeped in the nuances of a game often cringe
at changes, structural or superficial, especially if the "enhancements"
require longshot side bets or involve strategies which would otherwise
be spurned. Further, slot fans who might be tempted to try the tables
still face the intimidation of the games, and are often discouraged
at the low hit rates associated with most table jackpot schedules.
The pros and
cons are illustrated by a twist some casinos are now considering
for Pai Gow poker. In this game, bettors receive seven cards from
which they form separate five- and two-card hands. The proposed
jackpot would be awarded, for a side bet, to players receiving both
a royal flush and a pair of aces.
Here are comparisons
to help put the probability of winning this prize into perspective.
video poker, players receive five-card hands then dump and replace
whatever they want. Optimum strategy yields a royal in about one
round out of 40,000. The return is typically 800-for-1, low compared
to the odds of hitting but appropriate in view of all the payouts
for lower poker values.
players receive five cards, period. The likelihood of a royal is
one out of 649,739. But jackpots for $1 side bets, progressive sums
based on the amount wagered since the previous hit, start at $10,000
and often grow to $150,000 or more.
Pai Gow poker, the odds of forming a royal from five out of seven
cards, irrespective of the other two, is one out of 30,939. Statistically,
this is easier to hit than a royal at video poker. Adding the condition
that the two-card hand be a pair of aces changes the odds to one