Last Updated: November 05, 2010

Flop Poker

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Introduction

Flop Poker is a poker variant I have seen in many of the casinos in Biloxi. I've had reports of the game in other parts of the country too, like Atlantic City and Indiana. The game is easy to learn, community cards cause players to often win or lose in unison, and there is a possibility of a large win. A unique feature is the "pot" bet, which carries a zero house edge.

Rules

  1. Game uses a single deck of cards and all hands are scored according to traditional poker rules.
  2. Play starts with the player making an Ante wager and a Pot wager. The ante wager may be any amount subject to table limits. The Pot wager is always the table minimum, which in my experience is usually $5.
  3. Each player gets three cards dealt face down. The player may look at his own cards but sharing of information is not allowed.
  4. Player has two options, raise or fold. If the player folds he forfeits his Ante but but retains his cards for purposes of the Pot bet. If player raises it is in the form of a Flop bet equal to his Ante bet.
  5. The dealer then deals a three card flop face up. These are community cards and may be used by all players.
  6. The dealer will determine the best poker hand using the player's three cards and any two of the flop cards. If the player has at least a pair of jacks the Ante wager will pay even money and the Flop bet according to the pay table below.
  7. Finally, the player with the highest poker hand, again using his own three cards and any two flop cards, shall win all Pot bets. If two or more players have the exact same valued hand then the Pot bets will be chopped by the players with the high hand.

Liberal Pay Table

Hand Pays
Royal flush 1000 to 1
Straight flush 500 to 1
Four of a kind 100 to 1
Full house 30 to 1
Flush 20 to 1
Straight 11 to 1
Three of a kind 4 to 1
Two pair 2 to 1
Jacks or better 1 to 1
All other Loss

There is also a stingy pay table, that pays 10 to 1 on a straight, instead of 11.

Strategy

The player should raise with any of the following hands.

  1. At least one card jack or higher.
  2. A pair
  3. 3 to a flush
  4. 3 to any straight

The player will have one of these hands 86.4% of the time.

House Edge

The following table shows all the possible events in Flop Poker, the probability, win/loss, and the contribution to the total return, based on the liberal pay table. The lower right cell shows a player return of -0.054237. This means the house edge, which is defined as the ratio of expected player loss to initial wager, is 5.42%. The element of risk, which is defined as the ratio of expected loss to the total amount wagered, is 2.91%.

Return Table in Flop Poker

Event Combinations Probability Pays Return
Royal flush 1880 0.000005 1001 0.004622
Straight flush 16776 0.000041 501 0.020642
Four of a kind 234624 0.000576 101 0.058199
Full house 1676064 0.004116 31 0.127607
Flush 2126344 0.005222 21 0.109667
Straight 4321584 0.010614 12 0.127364
Three of a kind 14197576 0.034869 5 0.174344
Two pair 37615896 0.092384 3 0.277151
Jacks or better 62578504 0.153691 2 0.307382
Tens or less 229129152 0.562735 -2 -1.125471
Fold 55272000 0.135747 -1 -0.135747
Total 407170400 1 -0.054237

The house edge on the pot bet is obviously 0%.

The house edge under the stingy pay table is 6.49%.

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