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Best of John Grochowski

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A Shuffle Through the Gaming Mailbag

24 January 2002

Q. On the new Double Pay Poker machines, when you draw to complete the Triple Play, are the original cards from the second or third stud hands eliminated from the re-draw? Or are those cards "put back" into their respective decks for the draw? This would obviously affect the percentages and player's decisions, right?

Jim, via e-mail

A. Double Pay Poker pays off on five-card stud hands, then pays off again as the game reverts to the five-card draw that is more typical of video poker. To be eligible for the Double Pays, you have to bet twice as much as on a game without the stud payoffs. Maximum bets are 30 coins on Triple Play (three-hand) versions, 50 coins for Five Play and 100 coins for Ten Play.

Let's say you're playing Triple Play on a Double Pay machine. On the initial deal, you see three five-card hands, and the machine pays off any stud poker winners. The second and third hands are then wiped out as you choose which cards to hold from the first hand in a normal round of Triple Play draw poker.

Those second and third stud hands do not affect the draw portion of the game at all. Only the first hand counts. If you see an Ace of clubs in hand No. 2 or No. 3, but not in hand No. 1, that Ace of clubs will still be available to all three hands when it comes time for the draw.

In essence, the first hand is cloned twice so you have three identical decks available for the draw. You see five cards, chose which to hold, and then you get a different shuffle of the 47 cards remaining in each of the cloned decks.

Draw strategies are the same in Double Pay as in any other video poker game with the same pay table.

Q. I just returned from Las Vegas and must say that the new hotels are beautiful. But while playing blackjack at the Mirage, I noticed that they have what I would consider a continuous shuffle. Dealer deals hand, collects cards and puts them back in the shuffler at the end of the play. I believe I was told it is four decks in the shuffler. My question is, how does that affect the odds? I figured out it was a house advantage as I promptly got my butt whipped! Thank goodness for the Horseshoe two-hand deck, where I recovered my losses.

Also, how does a shuffler that's not continuous affect play?

A. Continuous shufflers make blackjack impossible for card counters, but they don't affect the odds of the game for basic strategy players, average players or just plain guessers.

Nevertheless, continuous shufflers hurt all players. When the dealer never has to stop to shuffle the cards, it increases the number of hands dealt per hour, and that yields more opportunity for the house edge to work against the player. Non-continuous automatic shufflers also increase the number of hands per hour, but not as much as continuous shufflers do.

On the average, players will lose the most money per hour against continuous shufflers, followed by non-continuous automatic shufflers, and will fare best in hand-shuffled games.

In an age where casinos supposedly are stressing customer service, continuous shufflers are a negative for the house, too. The dealers are the casinos' main point of contact with table players, and their best opportunity to chat with the players and give the impression of friendly service is during a shuffle. That's lost when continuous shufflers are used. They're a lose-lose proposition.

Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

The Craps Answer Book

> More Books By John Grochowski