It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, not because the kids are back at school or because the leaves are changing color (that doesn’t happen here in Vegas for eight more weeks). It is because it is time for the Global Gaming Expo at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.
For a gaming analyst like me, it’s a chance to meet other inventors and take a look at a whole batch of new games. Obviously, I’m already familiar with the ones I worked on, but there are other “math guys” out there, so there are plenty of games I’ve never seen before.
As I have done in the past, I’ll give you a preview of some of the games I’ve worked on or am otherwise familiar with that will be on display at the show. One of these games is a novel concept called Straight Edge.
Like its name implies, all that matters in this game are Straights and nothing but Straights. Don’t worry about Pairs, Trips, Flushes or even Straight Flushes. In this game, size matters – the size of your Straight that is.
To begin play, the player makes an Ante Wager and receives 7 cards face down. The dealer will deal himself 8 cards face down. The player reviews his hand and may either Fold, forfeiting his ante or make a Play wager equal to his ante.
If the player makes the Play wager, both player and dealer will expose his hand. If the player has a longer Straight than the player, he wins. If they have identical length Straights and the player’s Straight has a higher or equal rank to the dealer’s rank, the player wins.
Margin of Victory: 6 pays 200; 5 pays 25; 4 pays 8; 3 pays 3; 2 pays 2 and 0 or 1 pays 1. Payouts are to 1. Original wager is returned as well.
So, if the player has a 4-card Straight and the dealer has a 2-card Straight, the player will be paid 2-1 on his Play Wager. The top prize pays if the player has a 7-card Straight and the dealer has not even a 2-card Straight. Then the player wins 200-1 on his Play Wager.
As should be no surprise, there are two sidebets for Straight Edge. The first pays based on the strength of the player’s hand, beginning at a 4-card Straight. There are two available paytables, varying from 94.14% to 96.40% paybacks.
The base game offers a very competitive 98.44% payback. This is higher than most games that utilize a simple ante/play structure (Three Card Poker’s payback is about 98%). It also offers a relatively simple strategy, on par with Three Card Poker.
In Three Card Poker, you need to remember Q-6-4. For Straight Edge, you only have to remember Q-K. If you have a 2-card Straight of Q-K or better (or any 3-card Straight or better), then you play. Straight Edge will be on display at the SHFL Entertainment booth (Booth 1241). If you’re making it to the G2E this year, I strongly suggest you give this one a try.
Elliot Frome is a second generation gaming analyst and author. His math credits include Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Mississippi Stud, House Money and many other games. His website is www.gambatria.com. Contact Elliot at [email protected].