Jumboshrimps
Joined: Jan 11, 2010
• Posts: 75
January 25th, 2022 at 9:57:48 AM permalink
This game looks unique and interesting, particularly because the players compete for the best hand. I haven't seen a strategy analysis or a calculation of the house edge. Anyone?
gordonm888
Joined: Feb 18, 2015
• Posts: 4393
January 25th, 2022 at 10:36:38 AM permalink
I agree this is a very interesting game. There is already a WOV forum thread on this game: Ricochet Poker but it simply provides the rules without any analysis.

Game description.
Players and the dealer all make equal wagers that go in a central pot.

Players are dealt 2 cards face-up and dealer 5 cards face up

Dealer folds if he has a very high 5-card hand -the threshold hand for "kickout" depends upon the number of players in the game. It ranges from KKQ to a Straight. This is a rule that helps the player.

Each player, starting with the lowest two card hand, must decide to either play (with an ante-sized Play bet) or fold. If they play, they are dealt three additional cards face down.

As OP says, only one player can win the - the player (including the dealer.) who makes the highest 5 card hand

Dealer only puts an ante bet in and his hand is always eligible to be the highest -that is the house edge. Players must wager a Play bet (which goes in the pot) in order to win the pot.

As it is a competitive poker game, a player's EV would depend upon all the two card hands in the game. I suspect Wizard may not want to analyze the strategy for this. Maybe someone within the forum?
Last edited by: gordonm888 on Jan 25, 2022
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
Jumboshrimps
Joined: Jan 11, 2010
• Posts: 75
January 26th, 2022 at 10:42:30 AM permalink
Quote: gordonm888

I suspect Wizard may not want to analyze the strategy for this.

Or maybe he will? ;)

Understanding the EV and strategy seems to require a combination of (1) calculating the dealer's "raw" edge, resulting from the fact that the players but not the dealer must match the ante in order to win, and (2) calculating traditional poker "pot odds" based on the other players' and dealer's cards. Again, very unique!

Thanks.
ThatDonGuy
Joined: Jun 22, 2011
• Posts: 5745
January 26th, 2022 at 10:49:47 AM permalink
I'll consider doing some analysis, but I will need some details on the rules.

What are the "kickout hands" for each number of players - and specify whether or not the dealer folds with that hand, or if it has to be a higher hand.

If there is more than one player, how is "lowest to highest" determined (is a suited 2-card hand taken into account?), and does a player get to see the cards dealt to any previous players before having to decide whether to fold or call?
Jumboshrimps
Joined: Jan 11, 2010
• Posts: 75
January 26th, 2022 at 12:19:31 PM permalink
Great! I believe the game is at Binions at the moment. I can't find the Binions rules, but here are the official rules adopted by the State of Washington, which appear to match the way the game is explained by a few online videos:

https://www.wsgc.wa.gov/sites/default/files/public/activities/GameRules/game-rules/Ricochet%20Poker%20Approved%20Game%20Rules%206-18-21.pdf

The dealer's hand is "kicked out" if it is "equal to or better than" the hand indicated (which varies based on number of players).

Per online videos, the lowest hand is determined by traditional analysis of a two-card hand (e.g. J-2 is higher than 10-9, any pair is higher than both, suits and connectors ignored). In the case of a tie, the traditional order of suits controls (spades highest, then hearts, diamonds, clubs).

All cards dealt face-up so all players see all other players' cards.
gordonm888
Joined: Feb 18, 2015
• Posts: 4393
Thanks for this post from:
January 26th, 2022 at 1:41:04 PM permalink
Preliminary Strategy for One Player (heads-up with the dealer)

When the dealer folds, you have won the dealer's ante bet and your own. You will still draw to see if you make a straight or better and qualify for bonuses.

If the dealer stays in he has a 5 card hand that beats your two card hand. So you can see his hand which is less than an KKQxx but better than your 2 card hand. In heads up I think the general rule for the heads -up decision is that your 2 card hand must have 6 outs to make a better hand than the dealer.

- When you have a pair 22-QQ and dealer has a higher pair, you must fold. You have only 2 outs to beat the dealer's hand with a 3oak. Your chances of making 2 pair are worth less than 3 additional outs so folding appears to be the best option.

- If dealer is paired, and you are unpaired you must have 6 outs to make a pair - so both of players' cards must be higher than the dealer's pair and no more than neither of your ranks must be present in the dealer's hand.

- If dealer is unpaired any card that will pair your two cards is an out, as is any card that gives you a better high card hand than the dealer's high card hand. Your total outs must be 6, so you should be able to PLAY against any dealer high-card hand except for A-high in which the dealer has one or both of your ranks in his hand (as a penalty/match card).

Preliminary Multi-player Strategy (still incomplete)
I think the strategy can still be stated as the number of outs for the most part, but the analysis must factor in the number of players still to act after you and the amount of antes and play bets in the pot contributed by other players that is available to win.

If you are the last player to act:
pot = 3 ante size bets: Play if you have at least 3 outs to beat the current high card hand
pot = 4 or more ante size bets: Play if you have at least 2 outs to beat the current high card hand

Notes on counting Outs: If you have a J-7 and a pair of 7s or pair of Jacks will beat the high hand than you have 6 outs minus the number of Jacks and 7s that you have seen in any player hand, in the dealer's hand and in any cards drawn by a preceding player.

I have not calculated the "number of outs" needed to Play when there are players after you that are still to act.

I also have ignored the possibility of making straights or higher in my analysis because those possibilities are quite low. However, if there are any bonuses for making a straight or higher, a suited connector might be an exception that needs fewer outs than I have listed. Lots of analysis work still to be done!
Last edited by: gordonm888 on Jan 26, 2022
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.