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Poker Burnout


Poker Burnout is a poker variation by Angel Espino. The object is to have a paying poker hand, which starts at a three of a kind. There is no dealer hand. The game features two decision points and the choice of playing any two of three hole cards, discarding the third.

Poker Burnout won second place at the 2017 Cutting Edge table game show in Las Vegas. As of this writing, in April 2018, it can be found at the Lodge and Saratoga casinos in Blackhawk Colorado.


  1. A single 52-card deck is used.
  2. Play starts with the player making a required Blind wager. The player may also make the optional Kicker bet at this time.
  3. The player will be dealt three hole cards.
  4. After reviewing his cards, the player may either fold or make an Ante wager equal to one to three times his Blind wager. If the player folds, then he loses his Blind wager.
  5. Three community cards, known as the flop, are dealt face up.
  6. The player may either fold or make a Call wager equal to his Ante wager. If the player folds, then he loses his Ante and Blind wagers.
  7. If the player makes the Call bet, then he must discard one of this three hole cards at this time.
  8. Two more community cards are dealt face up.
  9. The player will form the best five-card poker hand among his remaining two hole cards and the five community cards.
  10. If the player has a three of a kind or higher, then the Ante and Call bets will pay even money and the Blind bet will pay according to the pay table below, otherwise all three bets lose.
  11. The Kicker bet pays based on the player's three hole cards only. The bet still has action even if the player folds. The kicker bet pays 10 to 1 on a flush, straight, three of a kind, straight flush, or royal flush. Otherwise, on a pair or ace high or less, it loses.


Blind Pay Table

Event Pays
Royal flush 500
Straight flush 100
Four of a kind 50
Full house 10
Flush 8
Straight 6
Three of a kind 4



There is not much known about the strategy at this time. Following is what little I know, based on a math report by GLI.

  • Pre-flop, always make the minimum Ante bet. It doesn't make any difference at this point what your cards are.
  • If the player was dealt a pair, but not a three of a kind, he should always make the Call bet. Otherwise, it depends on the player's cards and flop. Sorry, but no further information is available on the post-flop decision at this time.
  • Under optimal strategy, whatever that is, the player will make the Call bet 88.93% of the time.


The following analysis was done by GLI and kindly shown to me by Angel Espino, the game owner. The analysis was done by looping through every possible combination of cards and making the optimal decision at each decision point.

The house edge, as defined as the expected loss to the Blind wager, is 7.88%. The player will always make an Ante bet equal to the Blind bet and the Call bet 88.93% of the time, for an average total bet of 2.8893 units. This makes the Element of Risk, defined as the ratio of the expected player loss to the total amount bet, is 7.88%/2.8893 = 2.73%.

The following table shows my analysis of the Kicker bet. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 4.63%.


Kicker Analysis

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Royal flush 10 4 0.000181 0.001810
Straight flush 10 44 0.001991 0.019910
Three of a kind 10 52 0.002353 0.023529
Straight 10 720 0.032579 0.325792
Flush 10 1,096 0.049593 0.495928
All other -1 20,184 0.913303 -0.913303
Total   22,100 1.000000 -0.046335



I would like to thank the game owner, Angel Espino, for his cooperation with the writing of this page, by sharing the GLI report with me and answering my questions.

At the 2017 Cutting Edge Table Games show, where Poker Burnout won second place, watch our interview here.