AxiomOfChoice
Joined: Sep 12, 2012
• Posts: 5761
December 30th, 2012 at 11:04:06 PM permalink
Honestly, I have always had problems with the pair splitting and soft-doubling of BJ basic strategy. I can keep one set of rules straight but if I jump around between games (DD to 6D, or S17 to H17, or DAS to no DAS) I can never remember the strategy variants without checking. This is basically my problem with video poker as well. Maybe part of the problem is that there are so many different rule variants that all require slightly different strategies, but with UTH there is only one strategy to remember.

I have a similar problem with video poker. I can remember a strategy and play almost flawlessly but then if I want to switch games I will have no clue. I can memorize that strategy for the new game but it will cause me to forget the first one.
Paigowdan
Joined: Apr 28, 2010
• Posts: 5692
December 31st, 2012 at 12:36:20 AM permalink
Quote: AxiomOfChoice

I have to say, if people played optimally, the game would probably not last. 2.3% of the ante is not much in such a slow moving game.

I'm surprised to hear a house edge of 2.3% as considered too small to maintain the game, when most at this board would view it as usurious. Also, it's 2.3% of two units, not one, because to ante you have to bet both the ANTE and the BLIND bets; it's a more expensive game to play. In perfect practice, the house edge drops to 0.5% when considering the Element of risk, and with perfect players. In actual practice, the game has a long term hold percentage of about 25%, indicating that it "effectively" operates with a 2.5% HE or so. The game is a solid performer for good players.

Quote: AxiomofChoice

So, I look at it like blackjack. I think that an optimal strategy should be readily available, but I'm not looking to force it down anyone's throat.

A concise, short & easy sample strategy could be on the "how to play" card.

Quote: AxiomofChoice

Honestly, Grosjean's full strategy is still a lot easier to follow than blackjack basic strategy.

Very true, but Blackjack is an easier and cheaper game to play aside from strategy, and has a century of momentum behind it.

UTH became prominent in just the past several years. Remember, Carribean Stud, Let It Ride, and Deuces Wild were once very prominent games that exploded in growth before totally fizzling out.

Only Three Card Poker held on to its installs to become a mainstay game partly because of the VERY simple Strategy of "Play a Queen or better hand and you're okay." This saved players from burning out themselves on the game. It's important that a fine game not be a fad.

I think having a simple strategy on the How to Play card isn't a bad idea. And here, I don't mean a James Grosjean or Steve How "Atomic Energy Strategy" that a serious "One percenter Player" would have gotten from Grosjean's or Steve How's Discountgambling.net sources anyway. Something that 99% can jump on and use.
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
AxiomOfChoice
Joined: Sep 12, 2012
• Posts: 5761
December 31st, 2012 at 12:59:22 AM permalink
Quote: Paigowdan

I'm surprised to hear a house edge of 2.3% as considered too small to maintain the game, when most at this board would view it as usurious.

As the wizard has pointed out before, element of risk is a better way to measure the true edge than house edge. It's only 2.3% of the ante, but you get so much more money in play that the edge on the total money bet is a lot less. Someone who is usually a green chip player might only want to be \$10 or \$15 on the ante, since that would often be putting much more at risk.

Quote:

Also, it's 2.3% of two units, not one, because to ante you have to bet both the ANTE and the BLIND bets; it's a more expensive game to play.

No, the total edge is 2.3% of one unit, including everything. The house edge on the blind is massive, but the player makes up for that by having a massive bet on the play bet. The house has a much smaller edge on the ante itself (due to the fact that you must sometimes fold hands that end up being winners, and also due to the fact that the dealer not qualifying benefits the dealer more often than the house). This is also why passive play is so expensive. If you don't make those big bets when you have the edge, you are still getting eaten alive by the blind bet without getting your play bet edge to make up for it.

Quote:

In perfect practice, the house edge drops to 0.5% when considering the Element of risk, and with perfect players. In actual practice, the game has a long term hold percentage of about 25%, indicating that it "effectively" operates with a 2.5% HE or so. The game is a solid performer for good players.

The high hold is due to the fact that almost everyone plays absolutely terribly, and mistakes are extremely expensive. It's also due to the fact that almost everyone plays the trips bet, which is another 3.5% HE.

Look at it this way. Consider a \$10 minimum table. If all 6 spots are full, and everyone plays the minimum on the ante & blind, doesn't play the trips, and plays perfectly, the house is pulling in 2.3% of \$60 per hand. That is \$1.38 per hand. The problem is that the game tends to go extremely slowly with that many players. If 25 hands / hr are being dealt, that is \$34.50 per hour of EV for the house. Subtract the costs of dealers' salaries and benefits, the fractional cost of the supervisor watching the game, the fractional cost to just run the casino, the cost to bring players drinks, etc, and there is not a lot, if anything, left. I don't know how much a table needs to make before it starts "breaking even" (probably depends on the casino) but I'm guessing that \$35 an hour is not great. The house would have to either make the game worse or raise the minimums. Higher minimums would probably not go over well (given the 4x bets preflop). The blind bet is already a terrible pay table (to make up for the play bet) but I suppose it could be made worse.

Of course, this would never happen in practice. Blackjack BS cards are everywhere (you can buy one from the casino gift shop for a couple of bucks) and people still play the game terribly. It's the same thing -- if it wasn't for those players, there would be no 3:2 games below the black chip levels. The house is not going to survive on a 0.5% edge of \$10 per hand (more hand per hour in blackjack, of course, but still not enough IMO)

I agree with you that Steven How's strategy is just too difficult, but I find Grosjean's strategy very straightforward. Have you seen his strategy card? Even if people screwed up some of the postflop stuff, just 4x'ing the right hands preflop would significantly improve most peoples' play.
Paigowdan
Joined: Apr 28, 2010
• Posts: 5692
December 31st, 2012 at 2:21:40 AM permalink
Look at these AMAZING numbers on Ultimae Texas Hold 'em, as reported to the Missouri Gaming commission - publicly posted information:

Missouri Casino Harrah's Maryland Heights, October 2012 data
GAME------------------------------tables----------Drop-----------------------hold-----------------hold %
Ultimate Texas Hold'Em_______2______\$635,254.00_________\$205,261.49________32.312%

Quote: AxiomOfChoice

......
Look at it this way. Consider a \$10 minimum table. If all 6 spots are full, and everyone plays the minimum on the ante & blind, doesn't play the trips, and plays perfectly, the house is pulling in 2.3% of \$60 per hand. That is \$1.38 per hand. The problem is that the game tends to go extremely slowly with that many players. If 25 hands / hr are being dealt, that is \$34.50 per hour of EV for the house. Subtract the costs of dealers' salaries and benefits, the fractional cost of the supervisor watching the game, the fractional cost to just run the casino, the cost to bring players drinks, etc, and there is not a lot, if anything, left. I don't know how much a table needs to make before it starts "breaking even" (probably depends on the casino) but I'm guessing that \$35 an hour is not great. The house would have to either make the game worse or raise the minimums. Higher minimums would probably not go over well (given the 4x bets preflop). The blind bet is already a terrible pay table (to make up for the play bet) but I suppose it could be made worse

Well, for a slow game, two tables of Ultimate Texas Hold 'em dropped 635,254 Dollars, and held onto \$205,261.49 at Harrah's Maryland Heights, Missouri, in October. Performs similarly in many upscale casinos. All Public info here. Assuming BOTH tables were open around the clock for 48 table hours per day for the 31 days in October, incurring maximum expenses, that's 1488 hours for the money, or:

1. \$427 per hour in buy-in money per table (or \$854 every single hour from the two tables), for every hour of every day in October 2012.
2. \$138 per hour in pure profit per table (or \$276 profit per hour between the two tables), for every hour of every day in October 2012.

These real-world figures are through the roof, even assuming that BOTH games were open 24/7. SUPER popular game.
If the hours were less, well, the profit figures would be even higher for the same monthly drop and hold grosses.
Trouble paying the bills with this game? No, not with UTH. A number of other games? Yes, quite often. Midi Baccarat and Let it ride are losing money many months, either through lack of action, or poor hold on good action. Let's look at the casino's bills.

1. The dealers' salaries - with Benefits - is \$75 a day per dealer in salary expenses. (\$64 per dealer in salary @ \$8/hr, plus \$11 a day in health insurance. Tips are covered by player largess. Assume \$90 a day in tips, then each dealer makes \$154 per day, or \$1,540 gross per two-week pay period.) Now, 8 dealers a day to man two tables of three shifts a day with a relief dealer = \$600 a day or \$18,600 in dealer labor costs per month, at maximum 24/7 on two tables.

2. Share of supervisory and property expenses (utility, security, floormen, etc.) are pro-rated, say \$9,400 for two tables. Total casino cost to run two jammed up tables around the clock, non-stop 24/7 = \$28,000. So this assumes that for ONE table, to take care of dealers, floormen, security, power & lights, etc., is \$14,000 a month at a jammed-up top-tier casino. This is generous: an office rental of \$14K a month gets you thousands of luxury square feet with security, and we're talking here about a single 7' x 5' table space. That is.....IF the table is popular, and it holds correctly to cover this nut. It has for UTH, I'd say.

3. Now, the Table hold minus the local casino expenses equals \$181,261. Subtract an assumed \$3,000 in licensing fees to the distributor, you got \$178,261 to be sent up to corporate per month - from two 7' x 5' tables - after the local casino pays the bills.

\$178,261.49 in net local profit, from two tables, per month. Your comment of "Subtract the costs of dealers' salaries and benefits, the fractional cost of the supervisor watching the game, the fractional cost to just run the casino, the cost to bring players drinks, etc, and there is not a lot, if anything, left." is not true.

Quote: AxiomofChoice

Of course, this would never happen in practice. Blackjack BS cards are everywhere (you can buy one from the casino gift shop for a couple of bucks) and people still play the game terribly.

BJ players play decently. At local casinos, and in Atlantic City. Even the Missouri Blackjack numbers sometimes struggle. Because people DO play near at least the wizard's simplified strategy. For the casino operator's side, 6:5 helped, side bets help, higher limits help, and CSM's help. Many Blackjack games are in the single digits in hold, as are many Baccarat games. Fiesta took out a Blackjack game to put in UTH.
Quote: AxiomofChoice

It's the same thing -- if it wasn't for those players, there would be no 3:2 games below the black chip levels. The house is not going to survive on a 0.5% edge of \$10 per hand (more hand per hour in blackjack, of course, but still not enough IMO).

UTH has been doing fine, as seen. A player makes THREE bets minimum to play out the hand, and 4 with the trips bet; and this is at 1x. At 3 or 4 units plus, it's a high-stakes high, roller game that can afford a lower HE. But a \$5 or \$10 Blackjack game cannot, though \$3 blackjack can with a CSM. THIS says a lot.

Quote: AxiomofChoice

I agree with you that Steven How's strategy is just too difficult, but I find Grosjean's strategy very straightforward. Have you seen his strategy card? Even if people screwed up some of the postflop stuff, just 4x'ing the right hands preflop would significantly improve most peoples' play.

Grossjean's strategy IS well written, but you have to look at it through the eyes of a tourist player seeing the game for the first time. You need to have a strategy here that can be explained in 30 seconds, or else they'll get creamed and never play the game again. For some, this is the case. If people bet 4x on the hole-card PLAY bet with a Q-8 or better, 90% of the time they'd be correct in comparison to perfect play. Currently, the average ploppie isn't anywhere close to this. The table hold on these TWO Ulimate Texas Hold 'em tables were 32% about a third of the drop; this somewhat approaches the player burn-out area...
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
Ibeatyouraces
Joined: Jan 12, 2010
• Posts: 11933
December 31st, 2012 at 6:01:14 AM permalink
deleted
DUHHIIIIIIIII HEARD THAT!
Joined: Jun 20, 2012
• Posts: 297
December 31st, 2012 at 6:11:50 AM permalink
What is the HE if you only bet 4x on top hands like 9-9 or better and nothing else? The majority of players I see check all middle to low pairs and Ace-x then bet 2x if the board looks innocuous.
Paigowdan
Joined: Apr 28, 2010
• Posts: 5692
December 31st, 2012 at 9:51:38 AM permalink

What is the HE if you only bet 4x on top hands like 9-9 or better and nothing else? The majority of players I see check all middle to low pairs and Ace-x then bet 2x if the board looks innocuous.

I don't know exactly. I trust the mathematicians strategy. For that matter, I never tried to calculate and write out my own basic strategy for Blackjack, but went with basic stratetgy card, too, for Blackjack. I trust the experts' math. What I do not trust are Baccarat's "trend boards" of the Big Road, the little road, the grasshopper road, and what have you.

Anyway, as for only raising pocket 9's or better, You'd be giving up a LOT of starting hands where you'd have the win advantage from your hole card launch point, and where you can bet 4x knowing that you'd have this advantage. Remember, in this game you make a LOT of money getting paid 4x on your play bet, and losing this advantage is very detrimental.
Also, People assume it's real Texas Hold 'em poker, but it's not quite, when you realize you're playing against one player (the dealer), and who is playing blind and can't fold, only you can.

This is like playing heads up against a blind and drunk player who checks when you check, and calls every raise you make, and without looking at his cards. If you start with about a Q-8 or better as your hole cards, just go to the limit of 4 times and show down the dealer.

Granted, you can get some bad beats by plowing on straight through, and if you check you can save yourself when the board turns out to be disasterous for you. But the gimmick of this game, the catch, is to make you go to the limit against gut instinct and all fear from jump street. The fact that some can't is really where UTH gets its house edge from, - from player fear and timidness. It's a game for gamblers who trust the math of it all.

There's 1326 starting combinations of two-card hole card hands.

You'd give up all ace-high hands, suited and off suit.
Plus all K5-KQ, and K2-K4 suited.
Plus all Q8 to QJ, and Q6 & Q7 suited
And all J10 hands
and all pairs 3's to 8's
that's something like 456 hands or so, I think, or about a third of the hands. Seeing this people will scream, "Sheesh - You raise all the time on NOTHING!" - when in reality, it is they who check on powerhouses who will lose out.

You either trust the math of guys like Mike Shackleford, James Grosjean, Charles Mousseau, and Steve How et al, or you trust superstition - your "gut feelings." That's what craps is for.
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
miplet
Joined: Dec 1, 2009
• Posts: 1953
December 31st, 2012 at 11:25:04 AM permalink
Below is a full chart on how much checking each of the 4X hands cost. Only 4X on pocket 9's-A's costs 0.10379838612368 antes.
Hand4x EVCheck EVDifferancePer Anti
2/A unsuited0.04173-0.0823270.1240570.001122687782805
3/A unsuited0.147447-0.0232060.1706530.001544371040724
4/A unsuited0.2493950.0337320.2156630.001951701357466
5/K unsuited-0.117582-0.15110.0335180.000303330316742
5/A unsuited0.3585410.0935560.2649850.002398054298643
6/K unsuited-0.020774-0.102990.0822160.000744036199095
6/A unsuited0.3397630.070910.2688530.002433058823529
7/K unsuited0.081354-0.0494370.1307910.001183628959276
7/A unsuited0.4659960.1391980.3267980.002957447963801
8/Q unsuited-0.069429-0.0925630.0231340.000209357466063
8/K unsuited0.166259-0.0039540.1702130.001540389140271
8/A unsuited0.5753140.1994680.3758460.003401321266968
9/Q unsuited0.1325050.0261860.1063190.000962162895928
9/K unsuited0.3710240.1162280.2547960.002305846153846
9/A unsuited0.6676950.2524520.4152430.00375785520362
10/J unsuited0.1740240.1102870.0637370.000576805429864
10/Q unsuited0.3694950.0261860.3433090.003106868778281
10/K unsuited0.6074840.2693660.3381180.003059891402715
10/A unsuited0.9060710.4096370.4964340.004492615384615
J/Q unsuited0.4556810.2242970.2313840.002093972850679
J/K unsuited0.6919910.3186490.3733420.003378660633484
J/A unsuited0.9917670.4096370.582130.00526814479638
Q/K unsuited0.7829420.370490.4124520.003732597285068
Q/A unsuited1.0806090.5144080.5662010.005123990950226
K/A unsuited1.1719140.5689280.6029860.005456886877828
2/K suited-0.074507-0.079920.0054130.000016328808446
2/A suited0.3998550.1665180.2333370.000703882352941
3/K suited0.022-0.0301950.0521950.000157450980392
3/A suited0.4967140.2213720.2753420.000830594268477
4/K suited0.1170160.0189170.0980990.000295924585219
4/A suited0.5901050.2741050.3160.000953242835596
5/K suited0.2191480.0706380.148510.000447993966817
5/A suited0.6902170.3297470.360470.001087390648567
6/Q suited-0.006074-0.028120.0220460.000066503770739
6/K suited0.3091490.116480.1926690.00058120361991
6/A suited0.6492750.2856990.3635760.001096760180995
7/Q suited0.0627760.007850.0549260.000165689291101
7/K suited0.4038990.1671720.2367270.000714108597285
7/A suited0.7674310.3519510.415480.001253333333333
8/J suited0.1073860.0963180.0110680.000033387631976
8/Q suited0.2789320.1401990.1387330.000418500754148
8/K suited0.4816110.2090860.2725250.00082209653092
8/A suited0.868890.4096190.4592710.001385432880845
9/J suited0.3178370.2281960.0896410.00027041025641
9/Q suited0.4891990.2740930.2151060.000648886877828
9/K suited0.6945710.3447510.349820.001055263951735
9/A suited0.9535640.458240.4953240.001494190045249
10/J suited0.7788410.6019050.1769360.000533743589744
10/Q suited0.9435950.6480230.2955720.000891619909502
10/K suited1.1484690.7212970.4271720.00128860331825
10/A suited1.4093120.8378840.5714280.001723764705882
J/Q suited1.0241560.6935980.3305580.000997158371041
J/K suited1.22750.7675870.4599130.001387369532428
J/A suited1.4895070.886020.6034870.001820473604827
Q/K suited1.312620.8164080.4962120.001496868778281
Q/A suited1.5727050.9356910.6370140.001921610859729
K/A suited1.6583260.986740.6715860.002025900452489
3/3 pair0.0884560.0074540.0810020.000366524886878
4/4 pair0.461570.2106180.2509520.001135529411765
5/5 pair0.8316430.4298840.4017590.001817914027149
6/6 pair1.1598730.6325580.5273150.002386040723982
7/7 pair1.4869480.838610.6483380.002933656108597
8/8 pair1.8114611.0451770.7662840.00346734841629
9/9 pair2.1325131.2502820.8822310.003991995475113
10/10 pair2.4808031.4803321.0004710.004527018099548
J/J pair2.7497391.650961.0987790.004971850678733
Q/Q pair3.0186491.8216421.1970070.005416321266968
K/K pair3.2893591.9935321.2958270.005863470588235
A/A pair3.6010732.1929241.4081490.006371714932127
“Man Babes” #AxelFabulous
Joined: Jun 20, 2012
• Posts: 297
December 31st, 2012 at 11:57:47 AM permalink
Quote: miplet

Below is a full chart on how much checking each of the 4X hands cost. Only 4X on pocket 9's-A's costs 0.10379838612368 antes.

Thanks for the great info!!

I only ask because that's how most people around here play and the dealers encourage it. Everyone, dealers included think I'm crazy for raising King-Seven
98Clubs
Joined: Jun 3, 2010