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Last Updated: December 23, 2019

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Vegas 3 Poker

Introduction

Vega$ 3 Poker could loosely be described as a cross between Three Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em. I first saw the game at the 2019 Global Gaming Expo and shortly after, in December 2019, it began a field trial at Harrah's Las Vegas. The game offers a very low Element of Risk of 0.41%, making it one of the best bets in the casino, if played properly.

Rules

  1. The game is played with a single 52-card deck.
  2. The object of the game is to form a higher three-card hand than the dealer.
  3. Hands are scored as follows,from highest to lowest:
    • Straight flush
    • Three of a kind
    • Straight
    • Flush
    • Pair
    • Ace high or less
  4. Play starts with the player making an Ante bet. At this time, the player may also make the optional Vegas 3 and Vegas 4 side bets.
  5. The dealer shall give the player and himself three cards. Dealer cards are dealt face down.
  6. After checking his card, the player may make a Raise bet equal to two times the Ante or check.
  7. The dealer shall deal a single community card.
  8. If the player previously checked, then he may make a raise bet equal to his Ante or fold. If the player already raised, then no further action may be taken.
  9. The dealer shall reveal his hole cards.
  10. The dealer needs at least ace-queen to qualify. If the dealer does not qualify, then Ante bets shall automatically push.
  11. The best Player three-card hand shall be compared to that of the dealer, the higher hand winning.
  12. If the player has the higher hand, then the Ante (if still on the table) and Raise bets shall pay even money. An exact tie is a push. If the dealer has the higher hand, then the Ante (if still active) and Raise shall lose.
  13. The Vegas 3 side bet shall pay according to player's three hole cards and a posted pay table.
  14. The Vegas 4 side bet shall pay according to the poker value of all four of his cards (including the community card) and a posted pay table.

Please click on the following image for a full-size version of the rack card.

vegas 3 poker rack card

Example

Vega$ 3 Poker

In the screenshot above, the player bet $100 on the Ante and $25 each on both side bets. He was dealt a pair of queens as his hole cards. He made the 2x raise at this point. The community card did not help. The dealer revealed a pair of fives, which qualifies, thus the Ante was action. The player's pair beat the dealer's pair, so the Ante and Raise each paid even money.

The player's three-card hand was a pair, which paid even money. The player's four-card was a high pair (jacks or better), which pays 3 to 1. Thus, the total win was $100 + $200 + $25 + 3×$25 = $400. Please note the demo game pays everything on a "for one" basis, making the money returned $400 + $350 = $750.

Analysis

As of this writing (Dec. 16, 2019) I have not analyzed the game yet. However, AGS, the game distributor, kindly provided me their math report by GLI. This report indicates the house edge (relative to the Ante bet) is 0.88%. It also indicates the average final wager (including the Raise) is 2.1262 units, making the Element of Risk (ratio of expected player loss to total amount bet) equal to 0.88%/2.1262 = 0.41%.

The following table shows the probability and expected return for all possible outcomes of the Vega$ 3 side bet. It is based on the same pay table as found in the Demo game. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 7.28%.

Vega$ 3 Return Table

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Straight flush 40 48 0.002172 0.086878
Three of a kind 30 52 0.002353 0.070588
Straight 6 720 0.032579 0.195475
Flush 3 1,096 0.049593 0.148778
Pair 1 3,744 0.169412 0.169412
Loser -1 16,440 0.743891 -0.743891
Total   22,100 1.000000 -0.072760

The following table shows the probability and expected return for all possible outcomes of the Vega$ 4 side bet. It is based on the same pay table as found in the Demo game. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 5.63%.

Vega$ 4 Return Table

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Straight flush 40 48 0.002172 0.086878
Three of a kind 30 52 0.002353 0.070588
Straight 6 720 0.032579 0.195475
Flush 3 1,096 0.049593 0.148778
Pair 1 3,744 0.169412 0.169412
Loser -1 16,440 0.743891 -0.743891
Total   22,100 1.000000 -0.072760

Strategy

The following strategy was kindly provided with permission by Wizard of Vegas forum member gordonm888, who wishes to share credit with Charlie Patrick, both of whom I trust to do the math correctly.

Large Raise

Make the large raise (2x) with any of the following, otherwise check

  • Pair of 3's or higher
  • Pair of 2's and ace high with a straight or flush draw
  • K-9 high, or higher, with both a straight and flush draw

Small Raise

In general, make the small raise (1x) with K-Q-x or higher, otherwise fold. However, also with these exceptions:

  • A-Q-T or higher when an A is the common card
  • K-Q-T or higher when a K or Q is the common card

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank:

  • AGS, the game distributor, for sharing their math report on the game.
  • Gordonm888 and Charlie Patrick for the basic strategy above.

External Links

  • Demo game at the AGS web site.
  • Discussion about Vega$ 3 Poker in my forum at Wizard of Vegas.

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