A casino that I visit occasionally, Downstream in Joplin, MO, has Crazy 4 Poker. And there, if the dealer's hand does not qualify with a king or better, then they pay on the player's "Play" bet even if the player's hand is beaten by the dealer. Does anyone know if this common? Would this change the minimum hand that the player should bet in order to minimize the house advantage?
Yes, this is very standard.
This is the normal "half-pay" for a non-qualifying dealer hand, in most casino-banked poker games where the dealer plays his hand blind:
1. The ANTE Pushes and the PLAY wins, or
2. (As in three card poker) the ANTE Wins, and the PLAY is a push.
Same thing: it is a one-half pay on a dealer's hand non-qualification. The player always wins one-half of his amount wagered, if the dealer fails to open. It is done by pushing one bet, and paying the other bet - instead of paying BOTH on a hand so bad that the dealer cannot qualify. In very rare cases, the player would have a worse hand that would actually lose or tie, but he still gets paid on one bet if the dealer doesn't qualify.
Automatically, on most casino-banked poker games, if the dealer hand does not qualify, then one player bet is an automatic push, and the other bet is a player automatic win, and the hand is resolved - regardless of dealer holdings. It is to be assumed that the dealer would have lost the full hand, - both bets - and so he makes a half-pay, by paying one of the two poker bets, either the ante or the play bet. This generates the house edge advantage, as the dealer can only play blind.
This is Because the dealer would normally lose BOTH hands with a very weak hand, so a very weak hand level on the dealer's part is structured as a "half-pay" payout, even in rare cases where the player had had a weaker hand.
This type of mechanism provides a house edge to casino-banked poker games, where the dealer plays blind, and makes no advantageous decision against a player who may play his hand fully out with best player strategy.
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.