Shuffle Master (formally known as SHFL Entertainment, Inc.) is one of the OG groups when it comes to modern casino technology. The group got its break by designing an automatic card shuffler to help keep card counters at bay. Throughout the years, Shuffle Master has expanded, trying unsuccessfully to go into slots, but eventually absorbing tech related to Roulette, War, Baccarat, and others.
Today, Shuffle Master firmly has their talons in the land-based casino industry, but they do have some presence online due to their purchase in 2013 by Bally Technologies for $1.3 billion. The group has a variety of table games (like Ultimate Texas Hold'em) on offer that mirror what you'll find at a land casino.
A regulated online betting market stands to be potentially lucrative for Shuffle Master, as they hold the rights to several of these popular table games. While a lot of developers rip off Shuffle Master's games to an extent, a licensed market could see the company flex their legal muscles in an effort to become the big name offering these titles to customers.
Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em offers a great value if you know how to play it properly. It is also one of my personal favorite games. Having played it for hundreds of hours, I can say that the vast majority of players butcher the strategy and consequently lose much more than they should.
The goal of the game is to beat the dealer. Where strategy comes in is opportunities to raise your Ante bet. The earlier you raise, the more you're allowed to raise. All things considered, if you play properly you can expect to lose only one half of one percent of everything you bet. Novelty games like this also tend to get comped well. However, I would not play unless you know what you're doing.
House edge: 2.19%
Element of risk: 0.526%
Standard deviation: 4.94
Texas Hold 'Em Bonus
Texas Hold 'em Bonus
Texas Hold 'Em Bonus is yet another poker variant where the object is to have a better hand in Texas Hold 'Em than the dealer. This game offers three chances to raise your initial bet, so the final wager is often a large multiple of the initial wager.
The strategy is easy to explain for the initial two-card hand, as there are 169 only possible classes of them. However, after that the strategy is largely unknown, including by me. Beyond Counting Exhibit CAA (pages 367-371) by James Grosjean presents a long, complicated, and still incomplete strategy after the flop.
House edge (relative to Ante bet): 2.04%
Element of risk: 0.534%
Standard deviation (relative to Ante bet): 3.51
ShuffleMaster adds some side bets to the game of baccarat, as follows:
ShuffleMaster offers lots of blackjack variants. A commonality to many of them is the player may do something he isn't normally allowed to do, double or split for free. The price is that if the dealer draws to 22, then any bets still standing push. Following is their portfolio of blackjack games, many of which I'm not aware of ever having a placement.
Caribbean Stud Poker is perhaps the first of the poker variants to change the face of the casino floor. ShuffleMaster follows the standard 1-2-3-4-5-7-20-50-100 pay table. Here is the executive summary on the odds:
Casino War is yet another casino game classic that has fallen into the hands of ShuffleMaster. They follow what I call the "stingy rules," where there is no bonus for a tie after a tie. Here are the key statistics:
House Edge: 2.88%
Element of Risk: 2.70%
Standard deviation: 1.05
For more information, please see my page on Casino War.
Let it Ride is yet another game in ShuffleMaster's vast portfolio. Here are the stats:
House Edge: 3.51%
Element of Risk: 2.85%
Standard deviation: 5.17
For more information, please see my page on Let it Ride.
Mississippi Stud is one of the most successful poker variants in the last decade. The object is to get a high-ranking five-card poker hand. There is no dealer hand to beat. As the cards are revealed, the player must decide to raise small, raise big, or fold. The strategy can easily be fit on an index card.
At the time of this writing, it has 13 placements in Las Vegas. Beware that with a standard deviation of 9.84, it can be a feast or famine kind of game. Here are the basic statistics.
Three Card Baccarat, sometimes called Prosperity Three Pictures, could be briefly described as a simplified version of baccarat. The house edge is 3.11%. For more information, please see my page on Three Card Baccarat.
Three Card Poker
Three Card Poker
Three Card Poker should need no introduction and is one of the biggest feathers in ShuffleMaster's hat. Under the standard 1-4-5 Ante Bonus pay table the house edge is 3.37% and the element of risk is 2.01%.
The ShuffleMaster web site lists lots of games and side bets that I'm not aware of having any placements yet. Until they do, I will list them here with a link to their web site for more information.