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Last Updated: September 30, 2019

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Millionaire Progressive

Introduction

Millionaire Maker is a $5 "red light" side bet in a host of poker-based games at the Venetian and Palazzo in Las Vegas. The side bet is always based on a five-card hand, thus the odds are the same regardless of the game. I first noticed the side bet on many games at the Venetian on September 8, 2019.

Rules

  1. The Millionaire Maker is a side bet available on Ultimate Texas Hold 'em, Three Card Poker, Let it Ride, Caribbean Stud, Crazy 4 Poker, and Mississippi Stud. In theory, it could be put on any game that utilizes five cards drawn from a single 52-card deck.
  2. In five-card games like Caribbean Stud Poker, Mississippi Ride, and Let it Ride, the bet is based on the player's own five cards. In Three Card Poker, it is based on the player's three-card hand and two community dummy cards. I am not sure about Ultimate Texas Hold 'em, but believe it to be based on the player's hole cards and the flop.
  3. The bet amount is always $5, to be placed on a red light on the table.
  4. All wins are on a "for one" basis, meaning the original wager is not returned on a win.
  5. Following is the pay table:

    Millionaire Maker Pay Table

    Event Pays Winner Envy Bonus
    Royal flush in spades Mega $5,000
    Royal flush Major $2,000
    Straight flush Minor $1,000
    Four of a kind $1,500 $-
    Full house $250 $-
    Flush $200 $-
    Straight $150 $-
  6. I do not know the seed or contribution rates for the jackpots.

Analysis

The following table shows the win, number of combinations, probability, and contribution to the return for all possible wins, before considering the Envy Bonuses. The return is the product of the win, probability, and 0.2. The reason dividing by 5 is to show the rate of return on a $5 bet. The lower right cell shows the return from the fixed wins is 34.04%.

Millionaire Maker

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Royal flush in spades Mega 1 0.000000 0.000000
Royal flush Major 3 0.000001 0.000000
Straight flush Minor 36 0.000014 0.000000
Four of a kind $1,500.00 624 0.000240 0.072029
Full house $250.00 3,744 0.001441 0.072029
Flush $200.00 5,108 0.001965 0.078616
Straight $150.00 10,200 0.003925 0.117739
Other $- 2,579,244 0.992414 0.000000
Total   2,598,960 1.000000 0.340413 + ?

As always with progressive, the return at any given time depends on the amounts in the jackpot. To help the player determine the value of the progressive jackpots, I offer the following:

  • For every $1,000,000 in the Mega jackpot, the return goes up by 7.70%.
  • For every $100,000 in the Major jackpot, the return goes up by 2.31%.
  • For every $10,000 in the Minor jackpot, the return goes up by 2.77%.

As an example, on September 8, 2019, the Mega jackpot was $1,021,229, the Major was $336,919, and the Minor was $25,343, for an overall return of 56.70%.

The next table shows the value of the Envy Bonuses. The lower right cell shows that each player at the table besides yourself increases the expected return by 0.36%.

Millionaire Maker Envy Bonuses

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Royal flush in spades Royal flush in spades 1 0.000000 0.000385
Royal flush Royal flush 3 0.000001 0.000462
Straight flush Straight flush 36 0.000014 0.002770
Other Other 2,598,920 0.999985 0.000000
Total   2,598,960 1.000000 0.003617

Based on industry averages, these "red light" side bets usually have a very high average house edge, in the 20% to 25% range. Without knowing the seeds and contribution rates, I can't determine an average value for the Millionaire Progressive.

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