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Last Updated: December 2, 2015

One for the Money

Introduction

One for the Money is a new table game that debuted at Diamond Jo's casino in Dubuque, Iowa in February, 2014. Later is appeared at the Venetian in Las Vegas, somewhere in the Philippines, and the Barona in California. For the Barona placement, the name was changed to Ultimate Casino War. Later, in late 2015, the game got a placement at the Crown casino in Melbourne, with yet another name change, this time to Poker War.

One for the Money is hard to compare it to any existing games, but, if forced, I would say it is a combination of Casino War and my own Mulligan Poker. The game is simple to learn and has a simple strategy to it.

Rules

  1. Any number of decks can be used. To minimize shuffling time, I would expect to see six or eight.
  2. Cards are ranked as in poker: deuces low and aces high. Except for the side bet, the suit is irrelevant.
  3. After making a wager, the player will receive one face-up card and the dealer two face-down cards.
  4. The player then has three options, as follows:
    • Stand. Player keeps his original card without raising.
    • Raise. Player keeps his original card and makes a raise bet equal to his original wager.
    • Trade. Player switches his card for the next card in the shoe. When switching, the player must also make a raise wager equal to his original wager.
  5. If the player chooses to trade, then after getting his replacement card he may either stand or make a raise bet equal to his original wager.
  6. The dealer will turn over both his cards and select the higher card. If the cards are equal in rank, the dealer may choose either one arbitrarily.
  7. The player card shall be compared to the chosen dealer card; the higher card wins. The bet shall be adjudicated as follows:
    • If the player has the higher card, then all player wagers shall pay even money.
    • If both cards are equal in rank, then all wagers shall push.
    • If the dealer has the higher card, then all wagers shall lose.

Strategy



The strategy at the first decision point is as follows:

  • Raise with a jack or higher.
  • Stand with a 8 to 10.
  • Switch with a 7 or less.

After switching, the strategy is as follows:

  • Raise with a jack or higher.
  • Stand with a 10 or less.

Analysis

The following table shows the expected value of each initial card by decision, assuming six decks.

Expected Values after Initial Card — Six Decks

Card Stand Raise Swap Strategy
A 0.857338 1.714677 -0.523840 Raise
K 0.571559 1.143118 -0.523840 Raise
Q 0.309677 0.619355 -0.523840 Raise
J 0.071694 0.143388 -0.523840 Raise
10 -0.142392 -0.284784 -0.523950 Stand
9 -0.332580 -0.665159 -0.523950 Stand
8 -0.498869 -0.997739 -0.523950 Stand
7 -0.641261 -1.282523 -0.523950 Swap
6 -0.759755 -1.519510 -0.523950 Swap
5 -0.854351 -1.708702 -0.523950 Swap
4 -0.925049 -1.850099 -0.523950 Swap
3 -0.971849 -1.943699 -0.523950 Swap
2 -0.994752 -1.989503 -0.523950 Swap

The expected values after switching depend slightly on which card was discarded. The following table shows the values if a deuce is discarded.

Expected Values after Switching a Deuce — Six Decks

Card Stand Raise Strategy
A 1.713791 2.570686 Raise
K 1.140537 1.710805 Raise
Q 0.615388 0.923082 Raise
J 0.138344 0.207516 Raise
10 -0.290594 -0.435891 Stand
9 -0.671427 -1.007141 Stand
8 -1.004155 -1.506232 Stand
7 -1.288778 -1.933166 Stand
6 -1.525295 -2.287942 Stand
5 -1.713707 -2.570561 Stand
4 -1.854014 -2.781021 Stand
3 -1.946216 -2.919324 Stand
2 -1.990354 -2.985531 Stand

All things considered, the player can win or lose up to three times his original wager. The following table shows the probability and expected return of each final outcome. The lower right cell reflects a house edge of 3.82%.

Net Win — Six Decks

Win Probability Return
3 0.094399 0.283197
2 0.246921 0.493842
1 0.068075 0.068075
0 0.092513 0.000000
-1 0.142985 -0.142985
-2 0.324963 -0.649925
-3 0.030145 -0.090434
Total 1.000000 -0.038231

The player's final wager can be one to three times his original wager. The following table shows the possible outcomes for the final amount bet. The lower right cell shows the average final wager is 1.92 times the original wager.

Final Wager — Six Decks

Bet Prob Return
3 0.142468 0.427405
2 0.626762 1.253525
1 0.230769 0.230769
Total 1.000000 1.911699

With a house edge of 3.82% and an average final wager of 1.92 units, the element of risk is 3.82%/1.92 = 2.00%.

In an eight-deck game, the house edge is slightly higher at 3.86% and the element of risk is 2.02%.

Perfect Match

Like any new table game, One for the Money has a side bet. In this case, it's the Perfect Match wager, which has also been seen in blackjack. It pays based on the number of dealer cards that match the player's final card.

There would be a negligible mathematical effect for the card switching rule, but for the purposes of the analysis of the side bet, I ignored that rule. That said, the following table shows the probability and return of each possible outcome assuming six decks. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 6.40%.

Perfect Match — Six decks

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Perfect match both cards 100 10 0.000207 0.020745
Match both cards 30 243 0.005041 0.151229
Perfect match one card 10 1,440 0.029872 0.298724
Match one card 3 5,184 0.107541 0.322622
No matches -1 41,328 0.857338 -0.857338
Total 48,205 1.000000 -0.064018

The next table shows the same thing for eight decks. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 4.18%.

Perfect Match — Eight decks

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Perfect match both cards 100 21 0.000244 0.024446
Match both cards 30 444 0.005169 0.155055
Perfect match one card 10 2,688 0.031290 0.312904
Match one card 3 9,216 0.107281 0.321844
No matches -1 73,536 0.856015 -0.856015
Total 85,905 1.000000 -0.041767

Conclusion

For a game of skill, meaning at least one decision involved, One for the Money is about as easy as it gets. The element of risk is in the middle of the range compared to other new table games. The following table shows the element of risk for this and other popular new table games.


The player should be aware that this is a fact paced game, so I would recommend keeping this in mind in deciding how much to bet.

  • One for the Money Hole-Card Play — at A.P. Heat.net. How to enjoy a player advantage of 11.8% if the dealer exposes a hole card.
  • Ultimate Casino War — at Discount Gambling. Stephen gets a house edge of 2.56%. You'll have to decide which one of us to believe.


Written by: Michael Shackleford

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