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Last Updated: April 11, 2019

Heart Attack

Introduction

Heart Attack is a table game that made it's first appearance, as far as I know, at the Foxwoods casino in Connecticut in early 2019. The rules are difficult to compare with any other known games. If forced, it is kind of like Uno, where the player tries to get rid of cards by matching those played by the dealer in rank or suit. To add a twist, hearts are wild.

Rules

  1. A single 52-card deck is used.
  2. Play begins with the player making equal bets on the Ante and Hearts wagers. The player may also bet the Attack side bet at this time.
  3. The object of the game for the player is to discard all three of his cards.
  4. Three cards will be dealt to both player and dealer. The player cards are dealt face up and the dealer cards face down.
  5. The dealer shall immediately adjudicate the Attack bet, which pays based on the player's cards only and the pay table below.
  6. The dealer shall turn over one card.
  7. The player may discard one card that matches one of this conditions:
    • Matches the card the dealer just revealed in rank.
    • Matches the card the dealer just revealed in suit.
    • Any card in hearts.
    • Any card if the card the dealer just revealed is a heart.
  8. If none of the player cards meet these conditions, the player loses the Ante and Hearts wagers.
  9. The dealer reveals a second card.
  10. Repeat rules 6 and 7.
  11. The dealer reveals the third card.
  12. Repeat rules 6 and 7.
  13. If the player successfully discarded all three cards, then the Ante bet will pay even money and the Hearts bet according to the combined number of hearts between the player and dealer hands, as follows:
    • Six hearts — 250 to 1
    • Five hearts — 10 to 1
    • Four hearts — 3 to 1
    • Three hearts — 1 to 1
    • 0 to 2 hearts — Push

Following is the pay table for the Attack bet. Wins are on a "to one" basis.

Attack Pay Table

Event Pays
Royal flush in hearts 250
Straight flush in hearts 100
Three of a kind with a heart 30
Flush in hearts 10
Straight with a heart 6
Pair with a heart* 3
Two hearts 1

Notes:
* For a hand to qualify as a "pair with a heart," one of the cards in the pair must be a heart, as opposed to the singleton.

Example

Following is an example game played through the Free demo game. In the first image you can see I bet $100 on the Ante and Hearts bet and $10 on the Attack bet. This is a rare situation where I could play all three cards without a heart being involved, because all three match the dealer's first card in either rank or suit.

Heart Attack example 1

In this situation I used my "outs" strategy below to make my decision. Here are the number of outs with each card I could play:

  • 8 of spades: There are 10 spades left in the deck and 2 non-wild eights, for a total of 12 outs.
  • 5 of spades: There are 10 spades left in the deck and 2 non-wild fives, for a total of 12 outs.
  • 6 of clubs: There are 12 clubs left in the deck and 1 non-wild six, for a total of 13 outs.

The two spades were tied for the fewest outs so I arbitrarily picked the 5 of spades to play.

The following image shows the second dealer card. Here I had only one card I could play, the 8 of spades, because it matches in rank, so I played it.

Heart Attack example 2

The next images shows the dealer's third card. It is a wild heart, so I was able to play my remaining 6 of clubs.

Heart Attack example 3

The final image shows the scoring of the game. The Ante pays even money, because I got rid of all three cards. The hearts was a push because there was one heart only between all six cards. The Attack bet lost because it didn't meet any hand in the pay table.

Heart Attack example 4

Strategy

  • Never play a heart, unless it's your only choice.
  • Given the choice of multiple non-heart cards to play, play the one with fewer outs. For any given card, the number of outs is the number of remaining cards that match in rank or suit, not counting hearts.

Ante & Hearts Analysis

The following table shows my analysis of the Ante bet. The lower right cell shows a player advantage of 11.33%.

Ante Bet Analysis

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Win 1 1,359,879,768 0.556638 0.556638
Loss -1 1,083,142,632 0.443362 -0.443362
Total 2,443,022,400 1.000000 0.113277

The following table shows my analysis of the Hearts bet. The lower right cell shows a house advantage of 19.12%.

Hearts Bet Analysis

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
6 250 205,920 0.000084 0.021072
5 10 6,023,160 0.002465 0.024655
4 3 63,577,800 0.026024 0.078073
3 1 313,650,480 0.128386 0.128386
0 to 2 0 976,422,408 0.399678 0.000000
Ante bet loses -1 1,083,142,632 0.443362 -0.443362
Total 2,443,022,400 1.000000 -0.191176

The following table shows my analysis of both bets combined. The lower right cell shows an expected loss of 7.79% on the Ante bet. I hesitate to call this the "house edge." The important this is the player can expect to lose half of that, or 3.89%, of the combined money bet on the Ante and Hearts bets.

Ante & Hearts Bet Analysis

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
6 251 205,920 0.000084 0.021157
5 11 6,023,160 0.002465 0.027120
4 4 63,577,800 0.026024 0.104097
3 2 313,650,480 0.128386 0.256772
0 to 2 1 976,422,408 0.399678 0.399678
Ante bet loses -2 1,083,142,632 0.443362 -0.886723
Total 2,443,022,400 1.000000 -0.077899

The next table shows the probability of how many cards the player plays.

Cards Played

Card Played Combinations Probability
3 1,359,879,768 0.556638
2 579,595,536 0.237245
1 325,467,480 0.133223
0 178,079,616 0.072893
Total 2,443,022,400 1.000000

Attack Bet Analysis

There are two known pay tables for the Attack bet. Pay table 1 is used for the game demo. Pay table 2 is used at Foxwoods casino.

The following table shows my analysis of pay table 1. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 4.85%.

Attack Bet Pay Table 1

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Royal flush in hearts 250 1 0.000045 0.011312
Straight flush in hearts 100 11 0.000498 0.049774
Three of a kind with at least one heart 30 39 0.001765 0.052941
Flush in hearts 10 274 0.012398 0.123982
Straight with at least one heart 6 432 0.019548 0.117285
Pair with a heart 3 1872 0.084706 0.254118
Two hearts 1 2466 0.111584 0.111584
Loser -1 17005 0.769457 -0.769457
Total 0 22100 1.000000 -0.048462

The following table shows my analysis of pay table 2. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 3.08%.

Attack Bet Pay Table 2

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Royal flush in hearts 250 1 0.000045 0.011312
Straight flush in hearts 100 11 0.000498 0.049774
Three of a kind with at least one heart 40 39 0.001765 0.070588
Flush in hearts 10 274 0.012398 0.123982
Straight with at least one heart 6 432 0.019548 0.117285
Pair with a heart 3 1872 0.084706 0.254118
Two hearts 1 2466 0.111584 0.111584
Loser -1 17005 0.769457 -0.769457
Total 0 22100 1.000000 -0.030814

Written by: Michael Shackleford

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