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Game’s 99.5% return among best in the pit

I’ve arrived in Las Vegas for this year’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E). This week, I’ll be giving a preview to one of the latest innovative table games. Leading the pack is Shuffle Master’s Dealer Bluff. This game has some very innovative features, partially thanks to Shuffle Master’s latest generation of shuffler (the “i-Deal”), which allows the ‘table’ to know which cards the dealer has, as they are dealt, and allows them to remain face down. It is also the only game that I know of in which the dealer acts first.

To begin a hand of Dealer Bluff, each player makes an Ante and a Blind wager. Each player and the dealer then gets 6 cards (to make a 5-card Poker hand), all dealt face down. Based on the dealer’s hand, the dealer will either Check, Bet 1x, 2x or 3x. Now the fun begins.

To ensure no cheating can occur, it is the electronic equipment that determines what the dealer will do based on the cards it knows the dealer has, AND a built-in ‘bluff’ table. So, if the dealer has a Pair of Aces, it will NOT always make the same wager. Using this bluff table, the dealer will bet 3x 30% of the time, 2x 52% of the time, 1x 12% of the time and to check 6% of the time. The table will decide which the dealer will wager randomly based on these probabilities. So, just like in real poker, the opposing player may bet hard or slow play the hand.

The player now has to decide what to do. If the dealer checks, then the player may also check or he may bet 1x. The dealer will always call a player wager, as the dealer is not permitted to fold. If the dealer bet 1x, 2x or 3x, the player may either fold, surrendering his Ante and Blind, or he can call the dealer and make an additional Play wager equal to his Ante times the multiple the dealer wagered.

The player has one additional option. He can also come over the top and RAISE the dealer by wagering 2x whatever the dealer wagered. So, if the dealer bet 2x, the player can bet 4x. If the player is betting $5, this means making an additional $20 wager. Again, the dealer cannot Fold and will essentially call any wager the player makes.

Assuming the player does not Fold, if the dealer does not have at least a Pair, he does not qualify and the player’s ante wager pushes. All other wagers remain in play. If the dealer’s hand beats the player’s hand, the player loses all additional wagers in play (if the dealer qualifies, he will lose his Ante as well). If the player’s hand beats the dealer’s hand, the player is paid even money on his Play wager. If the dealer qualified, the player is paid even money on the Ante Wager. The Blind wager will be paid depending on the player’s hand. If the player has a Two Pair or less, the Blind wager will push. If the player has Three of a Kind, the Blind will pay even money. The payouts go all the way up to 500 to 1, if the player has a Royal Flush.

The overall payback of Dealer Bluff is a whopping 99.5%, putting it up there as one of the top paying games in the casino.

Dealer Bluff offers the player a unique playing experience. Many games have tried to replicate the poker experience by creating a betting system that is similar to a real poker table. While I doubt any game will ever fully achieve this, the idea that the dealer acts first and then the player responds does give Dealer Bluff a unique advantage in this regard. The use of the i-Deal shuffler allows the casino to offer a game like this without worry that the dealer is passing any information on to any of the players, as the dealer is completely in the dark about his own hand.

Watch every Tuesday for a brand new Winning Strategies article.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Elliot Frome

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About the Author

Elliot Frome

Elliot Frome’s roots run deep into gaming theory and analysis. His father, Lenny, was a pioneer in developing video poker strategy in the 1980s and is credited with raising its popularity to dizzying heights. Elliot is a second generation gaming author and analyst with nearly 20 years of programming experience.

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