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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Poker Popularity Spawns New Table Games

25 August 2004

The surge in popularity of live poker has done more than create a new generation of players. It has spurred casino game manufacturers to invest in the research and development of new table games designed to attract people who may be intimidated by participating in the "real thing".

There's always a price to pay. In the live poker room version, people play against one another. The casino makes its money by extracting a percentage from each pot called the "rake". In the table game variations, people play against the dealer. The casino makes its money from the mathematical house edge that's built into each game.

One new game that seems to have struck a happy medium is 3-5-7 Poker. The dealer acts as host while people play their cards against a pay table that's structured to generate money for the casino. That's the bad news. The good news is that the game's house edge is less than Caribbean Stud Poker, Let it Ride, and other games, including roulette.

Here's how it works: The game is played with a 52-card deck. There are three betting spots in front of each player position, the first for a 3-card hand, the second for a 5-card hand, and the third for a 7-card hand. Players have the option of wagering on all three spots or just on the first two.

When a new game begins, each player is dealt three cards. The dealer deals himself four cards that are placed face down in front of him. The first round of betting is based upon the three cards each player has been dealt. Hands are paid off at 40-1 for a straight flush, 25-1 for three-of-a-kind, 6-1 for a straight, 4-1 for a flush, and even money for any pair.

During a short period of time I observed the game being played at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, I witnessed a player dealt a straight flush in diamonds (A-2-3) and another player dealt three-of-a-kind in queens. The straight flush bettor had $10 in chips in the first circle, which paid $400. The three-of-a-kind bettor also had a $10 bet on the table, good for a $250 payout.

Anyone who has played Let It Ride knows that winning hands when you are dealt three cards are few and far between. I was quite surprised when I saw the big 3-5-7 Poker winners.

The second round of betting is settled after the dealer flips over two of the community cards in front of him. Winning hands are paid based on each player's 5-card hand comprised of the three cards he's holding and the two community cards. The payoffs are 500-1 for a royal flush, 100-1 for a straight flush, 40-1 for four-of-a-kind, 12-1 for a full house, 9-1 for a flush, 6-1 for a straight, 4-1 for three-of-a-kind, 3-1 for two pair, and even money for a pair of sixes or better.

The player in my example who won 25-1 for his three-of-a-kind in the first round, collected another 4-1 for the hand in the second round. Had the dealer flipped over the fourth queen, he would have collected 40-1 for four-of-a-kind. As it was, another player at the table had the queen.

The third and final betting round is settled after the dealer flips over the remaining two community cards. Players make their best five-card hands among the seven cards they have (four community and three dealt cards). The payoffs are 100-1 for a royal flush, 20-1 for a straight flush, 7-1 for four-of-a-kind, 5-1 for a full house, 4-1 for a flush, 3-1 for a straight, 2-1 for three-of-a-kind, and even money for two pair with the high pair being tens or better.

The house advantage boils down to 3.49 percent on the 3-card hand, 4.12 percent on the 5-card hand, and 3.28 percent on the 7-card hand.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp