Issue 277
January 2, 2006 - January 8, 2006
Volume 6
page 3

A Six-Pack in the Casino?
By Elliot Frome

  How can you not like a game called Six-Pack Poker? It must be a game created for the average Joe. When you take a look at the game, you begin to realize that it IS a game for the average Player. Many of the newer games require a much higher bankroll than Six-Pack Poker, because they require the Player to frequently bet 3, 4 or even 5 units per hand. Six-Pack Poker plays a little more like Three Card Poker, but better yet for the Player. In this game, the Player makes an original Bet and then can make an optional Double bet. There is no such thing as folding, so you�re in the action to the very end no matter what your hand looks like.

Six-Pack Poker uses some interesting concepts. First of all, to begin the game, the Dealer deals out two 3-card hands face down (after each Player makes his initial Bet wager). He then turns over 2 cards from each of the 3-card hands. At this point, the Player has the option to Double his bet. Once each Player has made his decision, the Dealer turns the last card of each of the 3-card hands face up for all the Players to see. The Dealer will then take the better of the two hands for himself. For the purposes of this part of the game, partial straights and flushes are not considered.

Of course, at this moment, most of you are going �Huh? Why would I want to double my bet if the Dealer is getting the better of the two hands?!� Don�t worry, what Six-Pack gives the Dealer, it quickly takes away. The Dealer will be given only TWO more cards to make a 5-card hand, while each Player will be given THREE cards to combine with the 3-community cards to make a 5-card hand. It should also be noted that the ranking used for the 3-card hands is one that does not necessarily create the best situation for the Dealer. Because partial Flushes and Straights are not considered, the Dealer will keep a mixed suit J-7-2 and give the Players the suited 10-9-8, which is a much stronger hand, especially when you�re adding 3 cards to it.

After each Player and the Dealer has his cards, standard Poker rankings apply. If the Dealer�s 5-card hand beats the Player�s best 5-card hand, the Player loses all wagers. If the hands tie, it�s a push. If the Player�s hand beats the Dealer�s, he will be paid even money on his Double. The Bet will push if the Player wins with less than a Pair and will win even money if he wins with a Pair or Better.

The unique dealing method and betting structures for Six-Pack Poker keeps the Players in the game. As I said earlier, the Player never folds. The Player will win almost 49% of the hands. A little more than 10% of the hands he wins will be with less than a Pair, so only 5% of all hands will end up with the Player winning and his Bet pushing. Unlike Blackjack, where the opportunity to Double will occur infrequently, the Player should be Doubling about 60% of the hands (63% if you use basic strategy and 59% if you use Expert Strategy). In the end, the overall payback of Six-Pack Poker is a respectable, 97.25% with basic strategy (97.35% with Expert Strategy).

A variety of computer programs were utilized to determine the proper strategy. The only decision that needs to be made is when to Double. Anytime the Player is more likely to win the hand than to lose the hand, he should Double. Two strategies have been developed in this regard. The basic strategy only has a couple of rules and is certainly easier to remember. Expert Strategy is a bit more complex, but cuts down the house advantage a bit.

Basic Strategy rules:

  • Don�t Double if at least one of the two 2-card hands is a Pair
  • Don�t Double if at least one of the two 2-card hands contains an Ace.

Expert Strategy rules:

  • Double on ALL Ties.
  • Do NOT Double if there are NO Aces and No Pairs AND one of the following is true:
    • If the Higher Hand is K-10 or better, and the lower hand is NOT SUITED.
    • If the Higher Hand is K-Q
    • If the Higher Hand is K-8 or better, AND BOTH cards of the lower hand are less than the non-King card of the higher hand AND (the lower hand is not at least a Double Inside Straight OR contains a �2�).
  • Double all other hands that do not contain an Ace or a Pair.
  • Double if BOTH hands contain an Ace, but neither hand contains a K or Q.
  • Double if ONE hand contains an ace, IF that hand�s other card is 7 or less, AND the lower hand is suited and both cards are greater than the higher hands non-Ace card.

One final note, for the timid or aggressive Player; playing a never Double or always Double strategy is disastrous. If you always Double, the house edge goes up to more than 5%. If you NEVER double, it�s worse and goes to better than 8%. You want to make sure you at least utilize basic strategy when playing Six-Pack Poker. When you do, just sit back, relax and enjoy a frosty cold one! You can find Six-Pack Poker at the Resorts Tunica. The game was invented by Phil Schultz of Sunstar Games.

About the Author

Elliot Frome is a 2nd generation gaming author and analyst. His father, Lenny Frome was considered one of the premier authors of Video Poker books. Titles include, Expert Video Poker for Las Vegas (recently updated for 2003!) and Winning Strategies for Video Poker, which includes the strategy tables for 61 of the country’s most popular versions of Video Poker. Check out Compu-Flyers website at, or drop Elliot an e-mail at


Books by the Author

Purchase this remarkable 128-page compilation of the 60 best games, available online here.


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