gordonm888
Joined: Feb 18, 2015
• Posts: 2823
April 24th, 2020 at 5:27:52 PM permalink
There was a table game exhibited at the 2019 Cutting Edge called Texas Flip Poker- a Texas Hold'em variant. For some reason, it caught my interest and I've looked at it and am providing a few thoughts about it. (I like to do this kind of stuff- pretty crazy.)

The rules are displayed here Texas Flip Rules , and a video that demonstrates the game play is here: Texas Flip Demo video

Description
Basically this is Texas hold'em one-on-one against the dealer with these exceptions:
1. The dealer always has the Queen of Hearts as one of his hole cards, which is fixed and displayed face up on every deal. The dealer's second hole card is face down until all wagers have been made.
2. Each player must play two hands with equal wagers as the Ante. A player may switch the last two cards that are dealt between each of his hands to improve either one or both of the hands, but may also decide not to perform such a switch.
3. After a player has seen the 4 cards in his two hands, and at his option has switched the last two cards between his hands, he must then make two separate decisions to Call or Bet on each of his two hands. The BET is limited to be the identical size of the ante bet.
4. All 5 common cards are then turned over and the dealer reveals his second hole card and the payouts are made. Ties are a push and both the Ante and Play bets are lost or paid 1:1 based on whether player loses or wins.

Thus the player has two different decisions: (1) whether to switch the 2nd hole cards between his two hands and (2) whether to BET (one unit) or CALL (i.e., No Play Bet, only an Ante Wager)

Call vs BET Strategy
BET on a hand when you have a pair, or Q9 or higher (suited or unsuited), otherwise CALL.
Exception: CALL with a 22 pair when neither of the deuces is the two of hearts.

The decision to call with a Q8s is extremely close, I get that a Q8s (which must be in a suit other than hearts) has an EV = -0.0001 (approximately).

For comparison, I also calculate that Q8o is EV= -0.061 approx, and that Q9o is EV = +0.0256 approx.

Switch Strategy
I have not worked through all the possible cases for when to switch cards. The general idea is to switch between your two hands when it will create a paired hand, a suited hand, or a hand with connected cards such that you have a chance to use both cards to make a straight.

EX: Your two hands are Kh (7d) and 7c (3d) and the switchable cards are in the parentheses. You obviously want to switch in this case to make Kh-3d and 7d-7c. After this switch, you should decide to BET (raise) on both these hands.

Creating a paired hand with a switch seems to be the highest priority in this decision.. There is only a modest advantage in creating a suited hand or a connected hand (even with zero gaps such as 7-6) because there are no payout bonuses for making a flush or straight (or any other high ranking hand) in Texas Flip and because drawing to two cards to make a straight or flush always involves a relatively small increment of probability (<2%).

When the four cards in your two hands are 4 different ranks in the range 2-J, then you have a very bad hand. Switch as you can to maximize your possibilities of flushes and straights, hold your nose and hope for the best.

Here are some less-obvious strategic objectives for your switch decision:

a) If one of your hands has a Q, you want to place a lot of weight on moving as high a card as possible together with the Q. Because you are facing a dealer with a Q-x (except when dealer has a QQ), and one of your hands must be a Q-x, there is a lot of leverage in having a higher "kicker" than the dealer. Whomever (dealer or player) has the higher 2nd card will be dominating their opponent. So, for example:

Ex: You have Qs (4h) and Td (7c) you should switch your cards between hands to play Qs-7c and Td-4h (and CALL both hands). These are both losing hands, but the Q7 is substantially better than the Q4, whereas there will be a much smaller difference in EV between T7 and T4.

b) With all other considerations being equal, e.g., when there are no possible connected or suited card combinations, and you have one K or A, try to couple your K/A with the highest card possible.

Ex: Your two hands are 2s (Kh) and 4s (9h). In this case, there are no possible ways to make a suited 2 card hand or a connected 2 card hand. It is best to switch you cards to be arranged as 2s9h and 4sKh. While you may think there is little difference between a 2s and a 4s, the 4s will be a considerable help whenever the dealer's second hole card is a 3 or 2 - specifically in those scenarios in which the dealer pairs his 2nd hole card and you pair your 4. And since there will be two units wagered on whichever of your hands has the King, it is surprisingly optimal to arrange the cards so that your two unit wager is on a K4 rather than on a K2.
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There are lots of questions that I can't answer. For example: Should you break up a hand with two consecutive suited cards to create a hand with a low pair? I dunno.

Or: If your two hands have identical ranks, such as Ks(2h) and Kd(2c) should you CALL or BET? After all, both these hands now each have only 4 outs to make a pair, rather than the usual 6 outs. I am almost certain you only call these hands, but I haven't calculated it out yet. And what if you both hands had only 5 outs to a pair, etc?
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
ksdjdj
Joined: Oct 20, 2013
• Posts: 909
April 25th, 2020 at 5:10:30 AM permalink
Quote: gordonm888

(snip)
Or: If your two hands have identical ranks, such as Ks(2h) and Kd(2c) should you CALL or BET? After all, both these hands now each have only 4 outs to make a pair, rather than the usual 6 outs. I am almost certain you only call these hands, but I haven't calculated it out yet. And what if you both hands had only 5 outs to a pair, etc?

The expected value of the Ks(2h) hand in the above scenario is about -4.93% (I am guessing the Kd(2c) will be similar, but I am not sure because I haven't checked)

For the above hands If you take out the (2h) and (2c) and change them to (7h) and (7c), then the EV for the Ks(7h) hand is about -0.73%

Note: I could have made mistake(s) because I had to type out the "Win and Lose" figures manually into a spreadsheet from the link below

https://wizardofodds.com/games/texas-hold-em/calculator/

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Spelling etc not checked
gordonm888
Joined: Feb 18, 2015
• Posts: 2823
Thanks for this post from:
April 25th, 2020 at 10:18:43 AM permalink
Quote: ksdjdj

The expected value of the Ks(2h) hand in the above scenario is about -4.93% (I am guessing the Kd(2c) will be similar, but I am not sure because I haven't checked)

For the above hands If you take out the (2h) and (2c) and change them to (7h) and (7c), then the EV for the Ks(7h) hand is about -0.73%

Note: I could have made mistake(s) because I had to type out the "Win and Lose" figures manually into a spreadsheet from the link below

https://wizardofodds.com/games/texas-hold-em/calculator/

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Spelling etc not checked

Thank you, ksdjdj! I had not realized that the WOO Hold'em calculator has dead card capability (in the folded hands!) Thanks for pointing that out. I have been using the Hold'em calculator on the CardPlayer site,

https://www.cardplayer.com/poker-tools/odds-calculator/texas-holdem

which is the only other online hold'em calculator I am aware of that has dead card capability.

By the way, for Ks2c without considering the players second set of hole cards, I get EV = +0.0426 approx. So eliminating two outs - one each on the K and 2, is worth about 5% for this hand. Probably worth more for a hand such as KsTc.

In the next couple of posts, I am indeed going to discuss the effect of "dead cards" in the player's second set of hole cards on the CALL/BET decision.
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
ksdjdj
Joined: Oct 20, 2013
• Posts: 909
April 25th, 2020 at 3:14:34 PM permalink
For the hand Ks(9h) I get an EV of +3.12% when the "dead cards" are Kd(9c).

Also, when I first started looking at this game I wanted to see how "strong" having a Qh in the dealer's hand was when playing "one on one", the EV is around -12.16%.

Of course, this game's EV should be better than that, because you can "call", "bet" and "switch", but I won't be able to work it out, because it takes me about an hour just to do just one hand (and that is without taking "switching" into account).
gordonm888
Joined: Feb 18, 2015
• Posts: 2823
Thanks for this post from:
April 25th, 2020 at 3:14:59 PM permalink
Texas Flip Poker
Effect of the Other Two Hole Cards on CALL/BET Decision for Pairs

First let me make a correction to the simple basic strategy I had previously posted for CALL BET decision for Pairs:

Considered in isolation, you should:
33 pair to AA pair: BET
22 pair: CALL

I previously had advised that the player should BET with a 2 pair containing the 2 of hearts. That was incorrect.
2h2c vs QhX: EV = -0.0096 (approx)
2d2c vs QhX: EV = -0.0001 (approx)

For context, here is a pair of threes: 3d3c vs QhX: EV = +0.0373 (approx).

So the player's EV increases by about 0.037 as you climb the ladder from 22 pair to 33 pair
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Now let's consider the effect of the second set of hole cards on the player's CALL/BET decision for pairs. Since we are making the BET wager on 33-AA, lets look at cards that reduce the EV of those pairs.

The major effect is when your second set of holes cards has one or both remaining cards that are the same rank as your pair. Obviously, if you have, say, 33 pair then, you are hoping the common cards will contain another 3 - so having a 3 in your other set of hole cards will reduce the EV of playing that pair.

If you have 55 pair in one of your hands and have another 5 pair in the other hand than you have very limited prospects for improving either 55 pair hand. EV = -0.0881 (approx) for each of those 55 pair hands

With two sets of 77 pair in your two hands, your EV for each hand is still negative: -0.0093 (approx).

Here is the strategy I have worked out for pairs:

BET/CALL Strategy with a PAIR
88 to AA: Always BET
55 to 77: BET except CALL when your other set of hole cards is a pair of the identical rank.
44: BET except CALL when there is at least one 4 and no Qs in your other set of hole cards,
33: BET except CALL when
a) there is at least one 3 and no Qs in your other set of hole cards
b) the other set of hole cards is a pair of twos, 22
22: CALL except BET when there is at least one Q in your other set of hole cards

The may be some other exceptions that require you to BET 22 pair, such as when you have certain high cards in your set of hole cards. For example, one specific case I want to test is when you have 22 pair and your other hole cards are JhTh, because these cards reduce the ability of the dealer to make flushes and straights with the Qh.
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.