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Dragon Poker started as a field trial at the Rio in Las Vegas on September 27, 2018. The game uses a modified deck of cards with Chinese pictures. The structure of the game has elements of Three Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em.
- The game uses a modified 53-card deck, with the following cards:
- 1 Gold Dragon
- 3 Fire Dragons
- 3 Water Dragons
- 7 Phoenixes*
- 8 Tigers
- 9 Pandas
- 10 Monkeys
- 12 Rabbits
- The Gold Dragon is wild
- For purposes of the base game and the 3 Card Bonus (explained below), the Fire Dragons and Water Dragons are exactly the same. They are treated differently for purposes of the Dragon Bonus.
- The base game starts with the player betting equal amounts on the Ante and Ante Bonus. At this time, the player may make the optional side bets on the 3 Card Bonus and Dragon Bonus.
- After betting is closed, the player and dealer shall each receive three cards. The dealer cards are dealt face down.
- The player has two choices — make a raise bet equal to the Ante bet or fold.
- If the player folds, then he loses the Ante and Ante Bonus bets.
- After the player acts, the dealer shall reveal his cards.
- Both hands shall be scored as follows, from highest to lowest:
- Three of a kind
- Three singletons
- In the event that both player and dealer have the same type of hand, then the ranks of the cards in rule one shall be used to break the tie, as in conventional poker. The rank order is shown in rule one, except Fire Dragons and Water Dragons are treated equally as just "Dragons."
- If the player has the higher hand, then the Ante and Play bets shall pay one to one and the Ante Bonus according to the pay table below.
- If the dealer has the higher hand, then Ante, Ante Bonus, and Play shall all lose.
- If the player and dealer tie, then the Ante, Ante Bonus, and Play shall all push.
- The 3 Card Bonus shall pay according to the value of the player's hand only.
- The Dragon Bonus shall pay according to the number and type of dragons in the player's hand.
- All wins are on a "to one" basis.
Ante Bonus Pay Table
|Other three of a kind||4|
|Two Pandas or better||1|
* For purposes of this page, I struggled with the plural for phoenix. The game maker uses just "phoenix," but I prefer "phoenixes," as sixes is the plural for six.
In the example above, my three rabbits beat the dealer's pair of monkeys. The game expresses the "win" on the image as the amount returned, including the original wager. I bet $100 each on the Ante, Ante Bonus, and Play. The Ante and Play each won another $100. The Ante Bonus paid 4 to 1, for $400 in winnings. My $10 bet on the 3 Card Bonus paid 10 to 1 odds for a low three of a kind, or $100. The Dragon Bonus lost because I had no dragons.
The player should make the Play bet with Phoenix-Panda-Rabbit or better.
Following is my analysis of the game. The lower right cell shows the ratio of the expected loss to the Ante bet is 3.70%.
Base Game Analysis
|Win with three dragons||22||685,860||0.001494||0.032863|
|Win with three phoenixes||9||1,095,395||0.002386||0.021471|
|Win with other three of a kind||6||12,597,063||0.027436||0.164614|
|With with pair of pandas or better||3||90,652,512||0.197436||0.592307|
With two required units to begin with and raising 80.94% of the time, the average final wager is 2.809442 units. That makes the Element of Risk, defined as the expected loss to total amount bet, 3.7030%/2.809442 = 1.3181%.
Following is my analysis of the 3 Card Bonus side bet. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 5.06%.
3 Card Bonus Analysis
Following is my analysis of the Dragon Bonus side bet. The lower right cell shows an expected return of 14.40%.
Dragon Bonus Analysis
|Three Fire Dragons||1000||1||0.000043||0.042688|
|Three Water Dragons||1000||1||0.000043||0.042688|
|Three Dragons with Gold Dragon||200||15||0.000640||0.128063|
|Three Natural Dragons||60||18||0.000768||0.046103|
|One Gold Dragon||5||1,035||0.044182||0.220908|