Last Update: Jul 24, 2004
On July 22, 2004, I spotted Pyramid Poker at the Bellagio. It is a simplified version of Pai Gow Poker, using three cards instead of seven. If you are looking for a game of skill that is easy to play and strategy is usually obvious then you may like Pyramid Poker.
- Game is played with a single ordinary 52-card deck.
- All cards are ranked as in poker except aces are always high.
- After bets are made each player and dealer get three cards each, dealt face down.
- Player must arrange his three cards into a 2-card and a 1-card hand. The 1-card hand must be less than the 2-card hand.
- A pair shall beat any two singletons in the 2-card hand. There are no straights or flushes. Otherwise hands are scored according to poker value.
- After players have arranged their hands the dealer will arrange his hand according to the house way below.
- Player's 1-card hand will be compared to the dealer's 1-card hand and player's 2-card hand compared to dealer's 2-card hand. The highest hands shall win. All copies shall go to the dealer (thus the house advantage).
- If player wins both ways then he shall win 1 to 1.
- If player wins one way and loses one way then his bet shall push.
- If dealer wins both ways then the player shall lose his bet.
- With three singletons play middle card in the 1-card hand.
- With a pair of 2's to 8's always play the pair in the 2-card hand.
- With a pair of 9's play the pair in the 2-card hand if the singleton is a 6 or more, otherwise play a 9 in the 1-card hand.
- With a pair of 10's play the pair in the 2-card hand if the singleton is a 7 or more, otherwise play a 10 in the 1-card hand.
- With a pair of jacks play the pair in the 2-card hand if the singleton is an 8 or more, otherwise play a jack in the 1-card hand.
- With a pair of queens play the pair in the 2-card hand if the singleton is a 9 or more, otherwise play a queen in the 1-card hand.
- With a pair of kings play the pair in the 2-card hand if the singleton is a 10 or more, otherwise play a king in the 1-card hand.
- With a pair of aces play the pair in the 2-card hand if the singleton is a jack or more, otherwise play a ace in the 1-card hand.
Following is the optimal player strategy.
With three singletons play the middle card in the 1-card hand, except play the lowest card in the 1-card hand with any of the following.
- 2, 3, and any card 5 or greater.
- 2, 4, and any card queen or greater.
With a pair and a singleton normally play the pair in the 2-card hand except with any of the following.
- 2 to 4 singleton and a pair of jacks or higher.
- 5 to 7 singleton and a pair of queens or higher.
- 8 or 9 singleton and a pair of kings or higher.
- 10 or jack singleton and a pair of aces.
The following table shows the possible outcomes in Pyramid Poker. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 3.53%.
|Return Table for Pyramid Poker|
|Win ||130992144 ||0.321713 ||1 ||0.321713 |
|Tie ||130801752 ||0.321246 ||0 ||0 |
|Loss ||145376504 ||0.357041 ||-1 ||-0.357041 |
|Total hands= ||407170400 ||1 || ||-0.035328 |
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