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Last Updated: October 28, 2019

Down Under Hold 'Em

Introduction

Down Under Hold 'Em is a poker-based casino game in which the player has partial information about the dealer's hole cards. In particular, whether each falls in low, medium, or high ranges. The player has one opportunity to raise, the earlier he does the more he may raise, and the higher hand wins.

down under hold em

I saw the game at the 2019 Global Gaming Expo and was told it has placements at Barona, Eagle Mountain, and somewhere in Mexico.

Rules

Following are the rules for Down Under Hold 'Em.

  1. The game is played with a single ordinary 52-card deck.
  2. The player must make an equal bet on both the Ante and Bet, and can also make an optional Trips or Better and/or Match the Dealer side bets at this time.
  3. Two cards are dealt face down to the player and dealer. The player may look at his own cards.
  4. A card-reader, made specifically for this game and Down Under Blackjack, is used to identify the range of each of the dealer's hole cards. The dealer shall use it to indicate which range each dealer hole card falls into, as follows:
    • Small (blue): 2 to 5
    • Medium (red): 6 to 9
    • Large (gold): 10 to ace
  5. The player can check or make a Player wager equal to two or three times the Ante.
  6. The dealer turns over three community cards.
  7. If the player previously checked, then he may make a Play bet equal to his Ante or fold. If the player already made a Play bet, then he may not bet further.
  8. Two final community cards are turned over.
  9. The player and dealer will both make the best possible hand using any combination of their own two cards and the five community cards.
  10. The player's and dealer's best five-card hands shall be compared, the higher hand wins.
  11. There is no "dealer qualifying" hand. In other words, all three bets always have action.
  12. If the player has the higher hand, then the Ante and Play wagers pay even money and the Bet wager pays according to the following pay table.
  13. If the dealer has the higher hand, then the Ante, Bet, and Play wagers shall all lose.
  14. If the dealer and player tie, then the Ante, Bet, and Play wagers shall all push.
  15. The Trips or Better bet will pay according to the poker value of the player's hand regardless of the value of the dealer's hand, according to one of the Trips or Better pay tables below. All wins are on a "to one" basis.
  16. The Match the Dealer side bet pays based on whether the player's hole cards match those of the dealer in rank. The table below shows the pay tables available by the game maker.

Bet Wager Pay Table

Player Hand Pays
Royal flush 500 to 1
Straight flush 50 to 1
Four of a kind 10 to 1
Full house 3 to 1
Flush 3 to 2
Straight 1 to 1
All other Push

The following table shows the Match the Dealer pay tables available to casino management.

Match the Dealer Pay Tables

Event P.T. 1 P.T. 2 P.T. 3 P.T. 4
Four of a Kind 250 500 50 25
Three of a Kind 25 25 10 10
2 Card Match 10 10 7 7
1 Card Match 2 2 3 3

The following table shows the Trips or Better pay tables available to casino management.

Trips or Better Pay Tables

Event P.T. 1 P.T. 2 P.T. 3 P.T. 4
Royal Flush 50 50 50 100 50
Straight Flush 40 40 40 40 40
Four of a Kind 30 30 30 30 20
Full House 9 8 8 7 7
Flush 7 6 7 6 6
Straight 4 5 4 5 5
Three of a kind 3 3 3 3 3

Strategy

The following six tables show the strategy at the first decision point, according to all six possible range combinations for the dealer's two hole cards. If the strategy indicates making the large raise, it should always be 3x the Ante. A key follows the sixth table. Click any image for a larger version.

Dealer Cards Small and Small

down under hold em - sml sml

Dealer Cards Small and Medium

down under hold em - sml med

Dealer Cards Small and Large

down under hold em - sml lrg

Dealer Cards Medium and Medium

down under hold em - med med

Dealer Cards Medium and Large

down under hold em - med lar

Dealer Cards Large and Large

down under hold em lrg lrg

Key to Tables:
Y = Always make 3x raise
S = Make 3x raise only if player cards are suited
N = Check

General First Decision Strategy

Gordon Michaels created a single strategy chart for the first decision point, as follows. The Wizard would like to thank Gordon for his contribution.

A strategy for the second decision point has yet to be put in writing. I'm afraid you are on your own with that for now.

Base Game Analysis

Normally, I like to indicate the probability and contribution to the return for all possible events. However, for this game I am using the analysis by GLI, kindly provided to me by the game owners. That contains the following information.

  • Required initial bet = 2 units.
  • Average final wager = 3.896 units.
  • House edge, as defined as the ratio of expected loss to Ante wager = 2.89%
  • House edge, as defined as the ratio of expected loss to total initial wagers = 1.45%
  • Element of risk, as defined as the ratio of expected loss to total amount bet = 0.74%

Trips or Better Analysis

The following table shows my analysis of pay table 1. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 0.90%.

Trips or Better Pay Table 1 Analysis

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Royal flush 50 4324 0.000032 0.001616
Straight flush 37260 37260 0.000279 0.011140
Four of a kind 224848 224848 0.001681 0.050420
Full house 3473184 3473184 0.025961 0.233649
Flush 4047644 4047644 0.030255 0.211785
Straight 6180020 6180020 0.046194 0.184775
Three of a kind 6461620 6461620 0.048299 0.144896
All other 113355660 113355660 0.847300 -0.847300
Total 133784560 133784560 1.000000 -0.009018

The following table shows my analysis of pay table 2. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 1.90%.

Trips or Better Pay Table 2 Analysis

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Royal flush 50 4324 0.000032 0.001616
Straight flush 37260 37260 0.000279 0.011140
Four of a kind 224848 224848 0.001681 0.050420
Full house 3473184 3473184 0.025961 0.207688
Flush 4047644 4047644 0.030255 0.181530
Straight 6180020 6180020 0.046194 0.230969
Three of a kind 6461620 6461620 0.048299 0.144896
All other 113355660 113355660 0.847300 -0.847300
Total 133784560 133784560 1.000000 -0.019040

The following table shows my analysis of pay table 3. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 3.50%.

Trips or Better Pay Table 3 Analysis

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Royal flush 50 4324 0.000032 0.001616
Straight flush 37260 37260 0.000279 0.011140
Four of a kind 224848 224848 0.001681 0.050420
Full house 3473184 3473184 0.025961 0.207688
Flush 4047644 4047644 0.030255 0.211785
Straight 6180020 6180020 0.046194 0.184775
Three of a kind 6461620 6461620 0.048299 0.144896
All other 113355660 113355660 0.847300 -0.847300
Total 133784560 133784560 1.000000 -0.034979

The following table shows my analysis of pay table 4. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 4.34%.

Trips or Better Pay Table 4 Analysis

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Royal flush 100 4324 0.000032 0.003232
Straight flush 37260 37260 0.000279 0.011140
Four of a kind 224848 224848 0.001681 0.050420
Full house 3473184 3473184 0.025961 0.181727
Flush 4047644 4047644 0.030255 0.181530
Straight 6180020 6180020 0.046194 0.230969
Three of a kind 6461620 6461620 0.048299 0.144896
All other 113355660 113355660 0.847300 -0.847300
Total 133784560 133784560 1.000000 -0.043385

The following table shows my analysis of pay table 5. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 6.18%.

Trips or Better Pay Table 5 Analysis

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Royal flush 50 4324 0.000032 0.001616
Straight flush 37260 37260 0.000279 0.011140
Four of a kind 224848 224848 0.001681 0.033613
Full house 3473184 3473184 0.025961 0.181727
Flush 4047644 4047644 0.030255 0.181530
Straight 6180020 6180020 0.046194 0.230969
Three of a kind 6461620 6461620 0.048299 0.144896
All other 113355660 113355660 0.847300 -0.847300
Total 133784560 133784560 1.000000 -0.061808

Match the Dealer Analysis

The following table shows my analysis of pay table 1 of the Match the Dealer bet. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 6.37%.

Match the Dealer Pay Table 1 Analysis

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Four of a Kind 250 78 0.000048 0.012005
Three of a Kind 25 14,976 0.009220 0.230492
2 Card Match 10 11,232 0.006915 0.069148
1 Card Match 2 329,472 0.202833 0.405666
Loser -1 1,268,592 0.780984 -0.780984
Total   1,624,350 1.000000 -0.063673

The following table shows my analysis of pay table 2 of the Match the Dealer bet. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 5.17%.

Match the Dealer Pay Table 2 Analysis

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Four of a Kind 500 78 0.000048 0.024010
Three of a Kind 25 14,976 0.009220 0.230492
2 Card Match 10 11,232 0.006915 0.069148
1 Card Match 2 329,472 0.202833 0.405666
Loser -1 1,268,592 0.780984 -0.780984
Total   1,624,350 1.000000 -0.051669

The following table shows my analysis of pay table 3 of the Match the Dealer bet. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 2.95%.

Match the Dealer Pay Table 3 Analysis

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Four of a Kind 50 78 0.000048 0.002401
Three of a Kind 10 14,976 0.009220 0.092197
2 Card Match 7 11,232 0.006915 0.048403
1 Card Match 3 329,472 0.202833 0.608499
Loser -1 1,268,592 0.780984 -0.780984
Total   1,624,350 1.000000 -0.029484

The following table shows my analysis of pay table 4 of the Match the Dealer bet. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 3.07%.

Match the Dealer Pay Table 4 Analysis

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Four of a Kind 25 78 0.000048 0.001200
Three of a Kind 10 14,976 0.009220 0.092197
2 Card Match 7 11,232 0.006915 0.048403
1 Card Match 3 329,472 0.202833 0.608499
Loser -1 1,268,592 0.780984 -0.780984
Total   1,624,350 1.000000 -0.030684

Discussion about Down under Hold 'Em in my forum at Wizard of Vegas.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Kyle Morris, the game owner, for sharing with me the GLI math report for the game. All due credit should go to GLI for the strategy and math component of the base game.


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