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La Pair'e began a Nevada field trial at the El Cortez on September 19, 2019. The game is difficult to describe briefly, but, if forced, its like a cross between roulette and Three Card Poker. The title means "the pair" in French.
Following are the rules of the basic game play, without explaining each individual bet.
- A single 54-card deck is used, containing two jokers.
- After betting is closed, the dealer will deal the first card in a three-card hand.
- The dealer will settle "First Card" wagers, which is based on the first card only.
- The dealer will deal a second card.
- The dealer will settle "2nd* Card" wagers, which is based on the first two cards only.
- The dealer will deal a third card.
- The dealer will settle the single 3rd* card wager and all other remaining wagers.
- Jokers are wild for purposes of the Poker bet only (explained below).
* It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up that the three types of wagers are titled, "First, 2nd and 3rd." Personally, I would have been consistent with either "First, Second and Third" or "1st, 2nd and 3rd." However, the notation in the rules was taken directly from the rule card, which I wish to respect.
First Card Wagers
The area on the table for First Card wagers specify all 13 ranks, plus the joker. Of the 14 types of bets, 12 (2 to king) are in two rows. The betting area for the the ace straddles the areas for the 2 and 8. The betting area of the joker straddles the areas for the 7 and king. Much like in roulette, the player can place a bet on the border of two, three, or four betting areas. Following is a description of the various First Card bets:
- Joker Straight Up — This is a bet on a joker only. Pays 25 to 1.
- Straight Up — This is a bet on a single rank, for example the queen. Pays 12 to 1.
- Split — This is a bet on two ranks, for example jack and queen. Pays 5 to 1.
- Joker-7-K — This single bet covers the joker, 7, and king. Pays 4 to 1.
- A-2-8 — This single bet covers the ace, 2 and 8. Pays 3 to 1.
- Corner — This bet covers four ranks, for example 5, 6, jack, and queen. Pays 2 to 1.
2nd Card Wagers
There are 14 2nd Card wagers, one for each rank and the joker. To win, the first two cards dealt must form that chosen pair. The two types of bets are:
- Rank — This bet that the first two cards will form a specific pair. Wins pay 225 to 1.
- Joker — This bet that the first two cards will both bet jokers. Wins pay 1300 to 1.
3rd Card Wager
There is one 3rd Card wager only, called the Poker Hand. For purposes of the Poker Hand bet only, jokers are wild. The following is the pay table for the Poker Hand bet. Wins are on a "to one" basis.
Poker Hand Pay Table
|Three of a kind||10|
The table has betting areas for three other bets that don't seem to fit into the betting areas on the layout above. They are as follows:
- First Card Red — Pays 1 to 1.
- First Card Black — Pays 1 to 1.
- Any Pair'e — Pays if the first two cards form a pair. See pay table below.
Any Pair'e Pay Table
|Ace to King*||16|
* The phrasing "ace to king" I presume to mean to cover all 13 ranks.
If the rules above were unclear, which they probably were, perhaps looking at the rack card will help. Click on either image for a larger version.
The following table shows my analysis of the First Card bets. The return column shows the best bets are on the joker and a single rank, both with a house edge of 3.70%.
First Card Bets Analysis
|Straight up (one rank)||12||4||0.074074||-0.037037|
|Split (two ranks)||5||8||0.148148||-0.111111|
|Corner (four ranks)||2||16||0.296296||-0.111111|
The following table shows my analysis of the 2nd Card bets. The return column shows the better bet is on a single rank, with a house edge of 5.24%.
2nd Card Bets Analysis
The next table shows my analysis of the Poker Hand bet. The lower right cell shows a surprisingly low house edge of 1.11%.
Poker Hand Analysis
|Three of a kind||10||208||0.008386||0.083857|
The next table shows my analysis of the Any Pair'e bet. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 3.77%.
Any Pair'e Analysis
|Ace to King Pair'e||16||78||0.054507||0.872117|
The next table shows my analysis of the First Card Red and First Card Black bets. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 3.70%.
First Card Red/Black Analysis
Discussion about La Pair'e in my forum at Wizard of Vegas.