Without question, one of the real "perks" of being a part of the Aces Casino Entertainment team is being able to test out new casino-style games in advance of their subsequent debut onto the casino gaming scene at a later date. Aces Casino has always been a pioneer in the Las Vegas night casino party rental industry when it comes to having these new casino games available for their clients to enjoy before anyone else in the Southern California entertainment market. With that in mind, it should go without saying that, when a new game DOES make it's way onto the casino gaming scene, it's up to Aces Casino to put it through it's paces.
You ALL know where this is going: It's "Aces Casino Story Time" once again. Hey, that's why we're the number one orange county casino party company.
It's late 2008, time for another family adventure. (I'd call it a "vacation," but, when it comes to MY family, "adventure" is a much better term. You'll see.) It's decided by my dearest wife that it's time to forget the casino party industry for one weekend, scoop up the kids, hop in the car, and head to a city in central California called Solvang, a word that i'm guessing is Danish for "bakery swap meet." OK, I think to myself, the good wife needs a getaway to have some fun, do some shopping, and find out what an Aebleskiver is. (Don't ask. The only thing I can cook is microwaveable foods.)
So, off we go: up Highway 101, past Cachuma Lake, and, lo and behold, there it is. Hold on to your Aebleskivers, I can't believe it: It's a little Dutch town right here in California. Quaint, nice, friendly people, great food (I highly recommend the Solvang Restaurant), lots of places to see and visit.
I mean, LOTS of places: Including one more that I didn't know existed..... It seems that, just up the road from "Aebleskiver Alley," there's this brand new, bright and shiny building that stands out like a sore thumb. And, when I saw the name on this non-Solvang-looking monstrosity, it immediately caught my eye. You couldn't miss it.
We drove right by this huge casino on our way into Solvang, and when my wife saw me looking at this marvel of casino engineering, she KNEW that the Chumash Indian tribe was going to be an unplanned part of her vacation. (Told you it would end up being an adventure. Aces wouldn't be the best orange county casino party company without a lil' adventure.)
Now, when I was in school, if you were to poll every history teacher that ever tried to interest me in the fine art of historical studies, they'd all tell you that everything I know about history would fit into a small paper cup. Over the years, i've improved my historical knowledge ever so slightly, especially in the area of American history, but I have to admit that American Indian history has slipped many a shot by this goalie.
"Do me a favor," my wife immediately blurts out, as we're passing this Chumash Casino. "Don't go investigating that place until we're on our way out of town, after our vacation." It's a deal, I say. So, after all of us have had our fill of every Danish pastry this side of Solvang, it's time. Vacation over, time to check out the "Chumash Indian Casino and Spa."
Now, I may not know a whole lot about the Chumash tribe, but I DO know the law when it comes to both the casino party industry AND California casinos in general. No kids. Wifey's not interested in seeing this place, anyway. The only gambling she's ever done was marrying me, and since she's lost her only "wager," she's not looking to recoup her losses. She'll stay with the kids in the comfort of the covered patio outside the entrance to this place, and tells me, "go do your thing."
So, inside I go. Yep, pretty nice place. It is new, clean, and has the game roster you'd expect would be present in a California Indian-based casino: No Roulette, no Craps (not even card craps), PLENTY of slots, and when it comes to the table games, it's pretty much the usual suspects (BJ, Caribbean, 3CP), excepting for one.
Four Card Poker.
Now, I remember receiving the memo from the Shuffle-master corporation in regards to their newest creation, but I hadn't seen this game implemented onto a casino floor. OK, let's see how this works, I say to myself. Pull up a chair, let's take this game for a spin. Well, after about 30 minutes, here's the skinny on "Four Card Poker" courtesy of Aces Casino, your best choice for an orange county casino party company --
--Two initial bets are available: The Ante and the Aces Up.
--All players get five cards each and the dealer gets six cards. (This part i'm not too thrilled about, but since there's no vigorish involved in regards to winning bets, the house has to have SOME advantage.) One of the dealer cards is placed face up, and five face down.
--Players making the Ante bet must decide to fold or raise.
--If the player folds he forfeits all bets.
--If player raises, then he must raise at least the amount of the Ante and at most, three times the Ante.
--Players then keep their best four cards and discard one.
--Following is the ranking of hands from lowest to highest: high card, pair, two pair, straight, flush, three of a kind, straight flush, four of a kind.
--After all decisions have been made the dealer will turn over his cards and select the best four out of six.
--The player's hand shall be compared to the dealer's hand, the higher hand winning.
--If the dealer's hand is higher the player shall lose the Ante and Raise.
--If the player's hand is higher or equal then the Ante and Raise shall pay one to one.
--If the player has at least a three of a kind he shall also be paid a Bonus, regardless of the value of the dealer's hand. (I love that part of the game.)
Careful mathematical evaluation of this game called "Four Card Poker" seems to suggest the house edge comes out to about 3.89% using a normal payout table (there are more than one, depending on where you might play), and can dip to about 3.15%, using what might be called "basic strategy," something discussed in Blackjack play ad nauseum. We'll break down this, and other games, in subsequent blogs, trust me.
Our review of this new game? Well, at 3.9%, it's not a game that'll eat you alive. Heck, Roulette's house edge is around 5.2%, so, as far as new casino games on the market, Four Card Poker seems to be pretty fair. We'll give Four Card Poker a B+ rating to start.
We'd give it an "A+," except for two little problems. One, I lost $60 at the Chumash Casino testing out the game. GREAT rush of cards for the dealer. Oh, and, Two? I played for about 30 minutes, which, when you're stuck with MY kids, must seem like 30 days. Wifey's grade of Four Card Poker? Let's just say that I kinda knew what it would be, when I exited the casino a half-hour after entering and an Aebleskiver went whizzing my by head.
Moral of the story? If you visit the Chumash Indian Casino and Spa, take a shot at Four Card Poker. If you're a lover of new casino card games, I think you'll like it. Oh, and disarm all family members of Danish pastry before entering the Casino. I KNOW you'll like THAT.
(Aces Casino now offers Four Card Poker as a part of it's casino game inventory. Aebleskivers available upon request.)