6 Card Poker 1-2-5
The hybrid table game known as 6 Card Poker 1-2-5 was designed by online casino software developer Gamesys N.V.
For those familiar with the online casino industry, the name ‘Gamesys’ probably rings a bell, with a U.K. based software provider also doing business under that label. Clearly, the N.V. version of Gamesys is affiliated in some way with the parent company, but for all intents and purposes, Gamesys N.V. operates as an independent limited liability corporation (LLC) licensed by the government of the Netherland Antilles.
During the company’s heyday, Gamesys N.V. powered the software behind several online casino brands. However, as part of its response to the murky legal situation within the U.S. after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006, Gamesys N.V. elected to consolidate its list of client casinos to five total.
BetVoyager is known as the flagship platform for Gamesys N.V., providing players with a central hub through which to experience the company’s latest casino game designs and software updates. Other online casinos powered by Gamesys N.V. software include BetRaiser, BetVictor, Goldfishka, and Ice Casino.
Other Names for 6 Card Poker
The concept behind 6 Card Poker 1-2-5 is closely related to another hybrid table game known as Lunar Poker, or alternatively, Royal Poker or Russian Poker. That game was itself an extension of Caribbean Stud Poker, with a few player friendly rule twists thrown in to spice up the action.
With Lunar Poker played all over the world in brick and mortar casinos, it’s likely that a Gamesys N.V. developer took notice and decided to adapt the concept for use by the company. The result was 6 Card Poker 1-2-5, a game with an unwieldy name that nonetheless creates an exciting, interactive gameplay experience.
If you’re an online casino enthusiast looking for a new game to dive into, or you simply want to improve your 6 Card Poker 1-2-5 skills, this page was written with you in mind. Here you’ll find a detailed walkthrough meant to introduce you to the game’s rules and structure, including the available wagers, payouts, and odds. Next up is a handy guide to locating 6 Card Poker 1-2-5 tables among the crowded online casino landscape, followed by an introduction to the game’s strategic concerns, such as an analysis of the “zero house edge” claim and advice on how to play your cards correctly.
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Rules and How to Play
The game of 6 Card Poker 1-2-5 is a derivative of five card stud poker, so a standard 52 card deck of playing cards is used. Rather than the multiple deck shoes used in blackjack and other table games, however, a single deck is used for each hand and reshuffled upon completion.
The objective of the game is to form the best possible five-card poker hand, according to the traditional hierarchy of poker hand rankings.
6 Card Poker 1-2-5 Hand Rankings
Before moving on to the game’s specific rules, readers who may not be familiar with the way poker hands are compared can check out the table below to see what beats what, and how to form each hand:
Broadway straight (A K Q J 10) in the same suit.
Five consecutive cards (10 9 8 7 6) in the same suit.
Four of a Kind
Four of same card (A A A A 3).
Three of a Kind and One Pair (8 8 8 K K).
Five cards in the same suit (5c 8c 9c Qc Kc).
Five consecutive cards (9 8 7 6 5).
Three of a Kind
Three of same card (J J J 3 8).
Two pairs of the same card (Q Q 7 7 3).
One pair of the same card (A A 3 8 10).
No pair, Highest Card is rank of hand (K 7 5 3 2).
Playing the Game
Beginning the Round
The game begins when you place a mandatory Ante wager. For the sake of this discussion, we’ll assume that a bet an Ante bet of $5 has been placed, and throughout the page, we’ll return to the running example hand to illustrate how the game is played from the player’s perspective.
Along with the Ante bet, players can also elect to place an optional Bonus side bet, which will pay out based on the strength of your final five-card hand combination, with the dealer’s hand irrelevant to the wager. Again, we’ll toss a $5 chip on this Bonus side bet as part of our running example hand.
Card Dealt and Player Options
With your Ante bet of $5 in play, the dealer will then distribute five cards to each player, along with five cards to themselves. Both the player and dealer’s hands will show four cards face down, and one card face up.
At this point, the first player decision comes into play. Based on the relative strength or potential of your five card combination versus the dealer’s up card, you may choose between four actions: Fold, Raise, Buy, or Exchange. Each of these moves is described in detail below:
As you can see, the game of 6 Card Poker 1-2-5 is quite complex, offering players no less than four initial decision points, and two distinct ways through which to improve their hand.
Testing Your Hand Strength
After taking advantage of either the Buy or the Exchange options, you must then decide between folding or raising once you’ve determined the best possible five card poker hand among your newly completed collection of cards.
Once you’ve gone through this player decision process – either folding, raising, buying, or exchanging – the dealer will then open their four down cards to reveal the strength of their own five-card poker hand.
Exchange Option for Dealer Hand
Here’s where 6 Card Poker 1-2-5 becomes even more interesting.
After the dealer shows down their five card poker hand, players face another crucial decision point. The dealer must hold at least one pair of 2s or better in order to “qualify” in this game.
When the dealer doesn’t qualify, showing down a hand worse than one pair of 2s, you can choose to invoke the Exchange option* once again by paying a fee equal to the amount of your Ante bet. This time, however, you’ll be exchanging the dealer’s highest card with a random card dealt from the deck.
*In order to use this maneuver on the Gamesys N.V. software, you’ll need to click on the chip graphic representing your Ante bet, before clicking the “Go On” button which will then appear.
If you decide to use the Exchange option to replace the dealer’s highest card, and the dealer’s hand still doesn’t qualify after the switch, you’ll lose your Ante bet and your Raise bet will be returned as a push. With that said, players should use this option sparingly.
When the Exchange Option is Not Used
On occasions when the dealer doesn’t table a qualifying hand, and you decide not to use the Exchange option, you’ll be paid out at even money on your Ante bet, while your Raise bet will be returned as a push.
This is the reason why the game includes the Exchange option for the dealer’s highest card, as players want to see the dealer produce a qualifying hand. When the dealer fails to do so, you’ll only win even money on your Ante bet while seeing your Raise bet returned in a push.
Dealer Hand Qualifies, Player Payout
Those payouts pale in comparison to what happens when the dealer does qualify. When this occurs, the following payout scenarios are applied:
The pay table used to reward winning player hands on the Raise bet, when the dealer does manage to qualify, can be reviewed below:
As you may have guessed by now, getting a chance to earn payouts from the escalating pay table above is pivotal to success in 6 Card Poker 1-2-5, so players should always be attempting to help improve the dealer’s non-qualifying hands during the final player action. After all, even if you hold a monster hand like four of a kind or a straight flush, you won’t receive anything more than your Raise bet returned in a push.
Bonus Side Bet Payout
Finally, what about that $5 bet on the Bonus we put up initially? For this side bet, you’ll be paid out based on the strength of your five card poker hand alone, with none of the dealer qualification to muddle things up. Make a big hand, and the Bonus side bet will reward you handsomely, it’s that simple. Take a look at the Bonus side bet pay table below:
Once all winning wagers have been settled, and all losing wagers claimed by the house, the dealer will reshuffle the deck and begin a new hand.
6 Card Poker Example Hand
For the sake of our running example hand, let’s run through a few possible scenarios to see how these player actions work.
|#1||If you were dealt something like Qs 10h 7c 4d 2c, which is a five card combination offering you no made hands or drawing hands to speak of, the safest course of action would be to fold away your Ante bet and live to fight another day.|
|#2||How about with a slightly better hand, something like Qs Qh 7c 4d 2c for one pair of queens? In this case, you could decide to play it close to the vest and simply toss in a Raise bet of $10 (double your Ante bet of $5).|
|#3||The better play, however, would probably be to either Buy another card and try to improve, by catching another queen for three of a kind, or by pairing one of your other cards to make two pairs. The Buy option in this scenario would cost $5 (equal to your Ante bet), and the dealer would then distribute the sixth card your way, giving you a chance to improve.|
|#4||Finally, with a pair of queens in the hole already, some players would take a shot and exercise the Exchange option, paying $5 (equal to your Ante bet) while discarding and replacing one, two, or all five cards. In this case, we’d be best served by dropping two of our cards (the 4d and the 2c), while drawing two more from the deck and hoping to improve.|
In both cases, after a Buy or an Exchange, you’ll have to assess your new five card hand and decide between folding or raising. With a made pair of queens already, though, we’ll most likely be raising even when we don’t improve any further, as the hand is strong enough to win many showdowns on its own. The exception to this would be when the dealer show’s an up card that outranks our high pair (either a king or an ace in this case), as we can safely assume that they either hold a higher pair already.
Example Hand Payouts
Returning to our running example hand, in which we were dealt Qs Qh 7c 4d 2c, to begin with, a pair of queens, let’s assume that the dealer has qualified with an inferior pair of 6s.
In this case, we beat a qualifying dealer hand, so our Ante bet of $5 is paid out at even money for a $5 profit, while our Raise bet of $10 is paid out at even money as well for another $10 profit.
If we used the Buy option first and received the third queen to improve our hand, here’s how the payout process would work. We put up a $5 bet on the Ante and then paid $5 more for the Buy option. After improving to three of a kind, we’d put in the Raise bet for $10, and again we beat a qualifying dealer hand.
Now, we’d receive the same even money payout of $5 on the Ante bet, but the Raise bet would pay out $30 at 3 to 1 for making three of a kind.
Improved Hand Payouts
Returning the latest scenario used in our running example hand, wherein we improved to three of a kind in queens after using the Buy option, we’d receive a nice bonus payout of $75 on our $5 Bonus side bet at 25 to 1 odds.
Of course, you won’t always be forming strong hands like three of a kind or better (more on this in the strategy section), so beware of becoming attached to the Bonus side bet.
Best Places to Play 6 Card Poker 1-2-5
The game of 6 Card Poker 1-2-5 is a proprietary product of Gamesys N.V., which means it can only be accessed through an online casino which runs the company’s software suite.
Typically referred to as a boutique software servicer, Gamesys N.V. follows a different operational strategy when compared to larger rivals like Microgaming, NetEnt, and RealTime Gaming (RTG). Instead of licensing its software to a long list of client casino “skins,” Gamesys N.V. concentrates most of its resources into servicing a small collection of platforms. As a result, the company puts a priority on customer service and game integrity first, ensuring that players always come first.
For a list of Gamesys N.V. powered online poker sites which currently offer 6 Card Poker 1-2-5 tables, see below:
Of these five platforms, BetVoyager is considered to be the flagship carrier of Gamesys N.V. software, so players interested in 6 Card Poker 1-2-5 should start there. The site is well respected within the industry, both by players and independent reviewers, and BetVoyager’s interface is the most modernized of the bunch.
When it comes to live play, Gamesys N.V. has yet to license 6 Card Poker 1-2-5 to any brick and mortar casinos.
Strategic Considerations for 6 Card Poker 1-2-5
First things first: Gamesys N.V. markets 6 Card Poker 1-2-5 as a “zero house edge” game, meaning players face no inherent disadvantage built in by the house.
With that said, the company’s zero house edge game concept is dubious advertising at best, because players must pay the house a commission of 10 percent on any net gambling win earned over the course of a session. For this game, a ‘session’ concludes after a period of non-activity equal to one hour, or 24 hours total, whichever comes first.
So even with game conditions which technically produce zero house edge, you’ll still be paying the house a portion of your winnings over the long run to make up for the player friendly rules.
When it comes to strategic advice on how to play your cards given all possible scenarios, the game of 6 Card Poker 1-2-5 just can’t be broken down on the same level as blackjack and other table games.
Expert’s Strategy to Playing
According to acclaimed casino game theorist and mathematician Michael Shackleford, who has served the gambling community for many years as the Wizard of Odds, this game contains no less than 627,392,769,491,403,000,000 possible outcomes. Even for Shackleford, who has devoted his professional life to analyzing casino games, this level of complexity makes 6 Card Poker 1-2-5 essentially unsolvable.
Of course, that didn’t stop Shackleford from devising a basic outline for 6 Card Poker 1-2-5, which players can use to help guide their decision-making process:
|First Decision – Play, Fold, Buy, or Exchange|
|Any Straight or Flush|
|Any Four of a Kind|
|Any Full House|
|Any Three of a Kind|
|Any Two Pair|
|Any One Pair|
|Ace King High|
|Less Than Ace King High|
|Second Decision – Play or Fold|
|A K Q or Better|
|Any Other Hand|
By sticking to these rough guidelines, players can put themselves on the right side of variance.
Finally, when it comes to the Bonus side bet, keep in mind that of the 2,598,960 possible hand combinations you can hold, 2,524,332 of those will fail to produce three of a kind or better. By and large, you’ll be making one pair or two pair hands, which will likely be strong enough to beat the dealer, but won’t matter whatsoever when it comes to the Bonus side bet.