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Keys to Crazy 4 Poker

Nov 9, 2004 4:52 AM

By Elliot Frome

Over the past couple of years, Shuffle Master has been on target with new table games such as 3 Card Poker and 4 Card Poker. Now, the Las Vegas-based gaming manufacturer is knocking on the door again with a new game, Crazy 4 Poker.

In Crazy 4 Poker, the player and the dealer each get five cards to make their best four-card hand. Like many of the new games, Crazy 4 Poker offers two separate bets.

The first is based on the value of the player’s hand and is called Queens Up. The Player wins if he is dealt at least a pair of queens, regardless of what the dealer has.

The second wager is actually two wagers of equal amount — the Ante and Super Bonus. These are placed prior to the deal and are tied to the outcome of the showdown between the player and dealer.

After seeing the five cards, the player can either fold by surrendering his Ante and Super Bonus bets, or he can play by placing an additional wager equal to the ante.

If the player has a pair of aces or higher, he may wager up to three times the original Ante. After all players have made their decisions, the dealer turns over his cards.

The dealer needs at least a king to qualify. If he doesn’t have at least a king, he pays even money on all the Play bets.

This means that if the player has a pair of aces, he will get paid for the larger Play bet instead of the smaller Ante. If the dealer has at least a king, the player receives even money on his Ante and Play if his hand is higher than the dealer’s. If not, he loses both bets.

The Super Bonus is a bit complex. The Super Bonus pays if the player has a straight or higher, regardless of what the dealer has. If the player has less than a straight and he beats the dealer, the Super Bonus pushes (is a tie).

Most casinos adhere to one of two paytables. As is common nowadays for these kinds of games, the paybacks on the no strategy portion leave something to be desired. On the other hand, there is only one paytable in use for the Super Bonus portion of the game.

Because the Super Bonus is part of the Ante/Play portion of the game, there is no point in giving a payback on just that aspect of the game. The only thing that matters is the overall payback of the Ante/Play portion in total, which turns out to be a very respectable 98.91 percent. To achieve this payback you have to play using proper strategy, which fortunately is rather easy to remember: If you have a K-Q-8 or higher, play. If you have a pair of aces or better, take advantage of the ability to bet three times your Ante.

You’ll win more than 90 percent of these hands. It should be noted that K-Q-8 does not represent perfect strategy, but it’s a very easy and effective strategy to remember. Both strategies return 98.91 percent, with the difference being less than .01 percent.

In case you think that the suggested strategy isn’t worth remembering and that it would be easier to stay in the game all the time, the price for that slight bit of convenience reduces the payback to about 96.5 percent. That means on a $5 table you’ll wager an average of more than $15 per hand, not including Queens Up, and the "no-strategy" strategy will cost you about 50 cents per hand or about $15 per hour.

For a strategy as simple as remembering K-Q-8, it’s well worth the effort.