sugabush26
sugabush26
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December 17th, 2010 at 10:19:24 PM permalink
I work in a casino, and two days ago, my boss comes out with a memo saying that a 3 of a kind beats a straight in pai gow poker. (not the bonus payout, the actual hand rankings.) We have all argued with him that he is incorrect, but he says this comes down from shuffle master...is this true? Did shuffle master change hand rankings on their pai gow games? Can they do this?
DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear
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December 18th, 2010 at 4:38:03 AM permalink
First of all, ShuffleMaster does not "own" Pai Gow Poker. They only own the shuffler.

They may make recommendations on the House Way. I'm sure your boss has confused a recommended deviation to the House Way with hand ranks.


Poker hand rankings are the kind of stuff taught in high school (and sometimes middle school) probability and statistics class. They don't change on a whim.
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁
Paigowdan
Paigowdan
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December 18th, 2010 at 4:53:42 AM permalink
Firstly, it isn't Shufflemaster who decides the ranking of hands, as other vendors (Galaxy Gaming, DEQ) also have many Pai Gow tables installed. Shufflemaster, as the others, have trademarks and patents on their games, and while these distributors do get the games approved with certain characteristics, it's extremely unlikely that Shufflemaster made such a foolish and disruptive decision - disruptive to table game operations AND client expectations.

It's the decision of the casino's shift manager or the table games manager, and this decision had to come from them. Yes, bosses can make such decisions and impose them on their dealers, we see it all the time. A sharp casino manager would have said - if Shufflemaster had indeed made such a decision - something to the effect of "No, you're not making such a stupid decision of changing the established and correct poker rankings on us, because if you are, we are taking your tables out and leasing Galaxy and DEQ Pai Gow tables instead. Kiss your revenue goodbye!" And this would be after Shufflemaster re-filed their game with gaming, and spent tens of thousands and a year's time to implement that change.

In Pai Gow poker, because of the joker, straights occur more frequently than trips, (7.16% to 4.97%) hence the bonus tables. But that does not always justify making trips stronger than straights: also note that One pair hands occur more frequently in PGP than high-card hands (16.08% to 41.66%), but high-card hands do not beat one pair hands!

In the meantime, you gotta follow what the bosses say, but CALL the floor over everytime a customer rightfully questions a payout based on this foolishness!

Sugabush, let us know how this pans out...
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
sugabush26
sugabush26
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December 19th, 2010 at 9:51:35 PM permalink
Thank you Dan. That was what i thought, but just needed confirmation from someone who knows. As of right now, it's staying that way....unfortunately. Thanks again.
Paigowdan
Paigowdan
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December 19th, 2010 at 11:44:49 PM permalink
Sugabush,
Can I ask which casino this is?
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
SOOPOO
SOOPOO
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December 20th, 2010 at 3:07:25 AM permalink
I would think each table would need a GIANT sign stating that 3 of a kind beats a straight, similar to the sign they have stating A 2 3 4 5 is the second highest straight. Dan or Wiz, I assume this change would not be enough to change the play of AAAKQxx to AAAxx KQ from AAQxx AK?
Wizard
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Wizard
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December 20th, 2010 at 3:36:38 AM permalink
I agree with Dan on this one. Some of this was already stated, but here is how I plan to answer this for a future "ask the wizard" column.

The probability of a three of a kind at 4.98% is lower than that a straight at 7.16%, due to the wild card rules. In Shuffle Master's Fortune side bet a Three of a Kind pays more. While they are allowed to have any rules they like for their own games (subject to the approval of regulators), I doubt Shuffle Master would have the audacity to change the rank ranking of the base game. Not only would the change be un-poker like, but results in untold complaints by disaffected players. I suspect the supervisor is confused with the three of a kind paying more on a side bet, and incorrectly assumes that means it ranks higher in the base game.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
FarFromVegas
FarFromVegas
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December 20th, 2010 at 8:59:45 AM permalink
Quote: Paigowdan

Sugabush,
Can I ask which casino this is?



Yes, please tell! I have never played this game in a casino, so I was practicing with the free simulators on WoO and Bodog to get a feel for how long a buy-in would last in general, and this would obviously change the outcome if this were the casino I will be visiting tomorrow.
Each of us is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts. Preparing for a fight about your bad decision is not as smart as making a good decision.
bilcgo
bilcgo
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April 3rd, 2011 at 6:00:58 PM permalink
I've raised this matter elsewhere and never gotten a satisfactory answer. Common sense dictates that 3 of a kind SHOULD beat a straight in Pai Gow Poker hand rankings, but I've never encountered a casino where it does. Compare other poker-based games where, for various reasons, the odds of making a specific hand differ from conventional poker probablities, and where hand rankings are adjusted accordingly: in three-card poker, straights beat flushes, and trips beat both straights and flushes. In four-card poker (and Crazy Four), trips beat straights and flushes again. So why not in Pai Gow Poker? Hand rankings should always be based on the probability of getting the particular hand, given the rules of the game you are playing, not on the rules of another game, however closely related.

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