Overview of Bet the Deck
The first trademark for the hybrid table game known as “Bet the Deck” was filed in April of 2004 by a company called USA Gaming Incorporated.
One year later, players began to take note of an interesting new game found at the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The game doesn’t appear to have caught on in any major way, however, and sightings of Bet the Deck tables seem to be limited to that particular property and era. Accordingly, searches for USA Gaming Incorporated turn up no traces of an active company, and it’s highly likely that the firm went under at some point.
By 2011, the original trademark was allowed to lapse, and a second trademark application for a casino game known as Bet the Deck was filed that same year by Worldwide Gaming Incorporated. This version included a slightly different setup and gameplay structure, but for the most part, both Bet the Deck games are based on the same foundation.
Based in Hamel, Minnesota, Worldwide Gaming Inc. is still operational today, although the company appears to specialize in casino equipment repair and resale, rather than the design, manufacturing, and marketing of new games.
Bet the Deck II
The second version of Bet the Deck (which will be referred to on this page as Bet the Deck II for clarification) first appeared at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, debuting just one month after Worldwide Gaming Inc. filed the new trademark application. Once again, though, the volatile game with high house edges failed to garner widespread popularity or a consistent base of players, and today it appears that Bet the Deck II faded into obscurity much like its predecessor.
Not Adapted for Online Casinos
Unfortunately for online casino players, neither version of Bet the Deck has been adapted for play over the internet as of yet. While this could always change, however, at the moment Bet the Deck has been consigned to the history’s scrapheap, as one more in a long line of inspired casino gaming ideas which simply failed to attract a sufficient amount of players.
Even though the game isn’t widely available, if at all, it never hurts to learn the ins and outs of a new casino concept. Written with the curious player in mind, this page begins with a section explaining how both versions of Bet the Deck work, followed by information on locating the game, and finally, an overview of strategic considerations.
You can learn more about the original Bet the Deck game at the Wizard of Odds site.
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Rules and How to Play
The following description of the rules and gameplay for Bet the Deck pertains to the original version of the game. The rules and gameplay for Bet the Deck II can be found on our Bet the Deck II game page.
The game of Bet the Deck is a hybrid table game incorporating elements of traditional five card stud poker, newer table games like Three Card Poker, and even roulette.
Table Layout and Seating
The table for Bet the Deck is arranged much like a blackjack table, with players seated in a semi-circle at the front, while a dealer runs the game from the other side. In front of each player’s area on the felt, you’ll find an array of betting squares and circles, on which chips are placed to signal your wager(s).
In front of the dealer’s area of the table, you’ll see four yellow spaces with the words “Community Cards” printed through them, and these spaces will hold the four community cards dealt out on each hand.
A standard deck of 52 playing cards is used for Bet the Deck, and the dealer will shuffle the deck upon completion of each hand.
The betting area available for players consists of a primary grid consisting of 13 squares. Each of these squares contains a circle holding the numbers 2 10, along with the letters J, Q, K, and A. Of course, these numbers and letters signify the card ranks for each suit in a standard deck of playing cards, so 2 represents the deuce, 3 the trey, and so on through to the face cards (Jack, Queen, King), and the Ace.
These bets are considered the basic wagers in Bet the Deck, similar to the individual number bets found on a roulette table. And just like in roulette, Bet the Deck players can place wagers on more than one number at a time, so you’ll likely see some players at the table covering a few numbers during each hand.
Additional bets can be placed, but before we explain how these wagers work, it’s helpful to discuss how the game’s base bets function first. More information on the alternative bets will be presented below, but when all bets have been placed, the dealer will wave a hand above the table (another roulette feature) to signify that the community cards will now be dealt.
Playing Bet the Deck
The objective of Bet the Deck is to form a five card poker hand using the four community cards produced by the dealer. To do so, you’ll be using any card that you’ve wagered on to complete the five card poker hand and form the highest possible holding.
For example, let’s imagine you’ve wagered a single $5 chip on the K-space, which means you’ll be playing the King. Under the rules of Bet the Deck, the card spaces you can wager on represent all four suits in the deck, so in effect, you have the King of clubs, the King of diamonds, the King of hearts, and the King of spades at your disposal for this hand.
With all betting completed, the dealer will burn one card face down, before spreading the next four cards from the deck across the felt face up. For those familiar with Texas Hold’em poker, this would be like the “flop” and the “turn” appearing simultaneously, and the four community cards on the board are shared by all players at the table.
For our purposes, let’s say the dealer flips up a four card combination of 10 J Q A in different suits. In this case, your King would be used to complete the 10 J Q K A five card straight, and your winning hand would be paid out at the appropriate rate (more information on pay tables to come).
On the other hand, if the dealer spreads the 6 7 9 J across the felt, your King fails to produce a qualifying hand (one pair using your hole card or better), and the king high hand would be deemed a loser. Should the community cards reveal the K Q 3 2 though, pairing your King would form a qualifying hand of one pair.
Finally, let’s say the community cards come in any combination of four suited cards. Something like 3d 5d 9d Ad or 2s 4s 8s Js, for example, would give you a flush in this instance, because your wager on the K-space entitles you to play all four Kings in the deck.
Getting the Best Hand
Whenever you can create two or more possible five card poker hands, the highest ranking hand will always take precedence.
Expanding the example to include multiple wagers on a single hand, you’ve now bet on the K, along with the Q and the A. This gives you the Kings, along with the Queens and Aces in the deck as hole cards.
Once the community cards are revealed, the same process described above is simply applied to each bet. So with your three wagers in place, and community cards of K Q 7 K on board, the dealer would evaluate each wager to determine winners and losers. Your bet on the K would form three of a kind, in this case, the Queen bet would form one pair, and the Ace would fail to produce a qualifying hand.
In addition to the basic card wagers we’ve just run through, Bet the Deck also includes three other wagers to make the game more interesting. Again, following the pattern established by roulette, Bet the Deck allows players to supplement their base game bets with riskier, but more lucrative, side bets.
Hand Rankings and Payouts
Now that you’re familiar with the available bets on the Bet the Deck table, let’s review the corresponding pay tables. First, we’ll take a look at the paytable used for the basic card bets, alongside that used for the Joker bet:
As you can see, the best possible hand in Bet the Deck is five of a kind, or four identical community cards plus your bet on the same card. When the Q Q Q Q combination appears as the community cards, for example, and you’ve bet on the Queen space, your five of a kind would be good for a 250 to 1 payout on your wager.
Differences in Payouts
Notice, though, that the payout for making five of a kind using a Joker bet has been reduced all the way to 50 to 1. This is because using the Joker card makes landing difficult poker hand combinations so much easier.
The payout scheme for card bets follows the usual escalating scale, moving upward from one pair (1 to 1 payout) to two pair (2 to 1), three of a kind (3 to 1), and so on. Again, take note that the Joker bet pay table is slightly different, as both one pair and two pair hands no longer qualify. Thus, when making a Joker bet, the minimum qualifying hand strength stands at three of a kind.
Other Bet Payouts
Moving on to the payouts for the other wagers in Bet the Deck:
Once all wagers have been assessed, with winning bets paid out by the dealer and losing bets claimed by the house, the deck will be reshuffled and a new hand will begin.
Best Places to Play Bet the Deck
Unfortunately, as was mentioned in the introductory paragraph, Bet the Deck appears to be an extinct game at this point, or at the very least, extremely endangered.
Sightings of Bet the Deck tables in brick and mortar casinos have been few and far between over the years, with the only confirmed reports coming from the Golden Nugget and the Flamingo as described above.
With that said, it never hurts to place a call to your local casino and ask to speak with the table games manager. Inquiring about the game’s status won’t cost you a penny, and with a little luck, you may just stumble upon a holdover from the Bet the Deck’s introductory phase.
Bet the Deck is found on the list of approved casino games in Nevada. You can view the entire list here.
Strategic Considerations for Bet the Deck
When playing a hybrid table game like Bet the Deck, the sole strategic concern players should keep in mind is understanding the various bets available to them.
The point of adding so many different bets to the table is to give players a mixture of decent bets and “sucker” bets, or wagers which incur an inordinately high house edge. By avoiding the bets with the highest house edge, and limiting your action to the game’s most player friendly wagers, you can immediately give yourself the best possible odds given the game’s inherent probabilities.
Bets, Odds, and House Edge
Below you will find a list of the bets found in Bet the Deck, along with the probability of winning, and the all important house edge percentage. In this case, the card bets (from 2 through A) have been broken down into smaller groups, as each range of cards offers different probabilities and house edges. Remember, the higher the house edge, the worse a bet is from the player’s perspective.
|BET||WIN PROBABILITY||HOUSE EDGE|
|A, 2, K*||Variable||9.33 percent|
|3, Q||Variable||7.67 percent|
|4, J||Variable||6.00 percent|
|5 through 10**||Variable||4.34 percent|
|8 or Lower||13.28 percent||7.02 percent|
|All Red||5.52 percent||6.12 percent|
|All Black||5.52 percent||6.12 percent|
|*Is the worst bet possible.|
**Is the best bet possible.
As you can see, none of the bets in this game are particularly appealing, with house edges well higher than the sub 1 percent found when playing blackjack according to optimal strategy, or the 1.06 percent / 1.24 percent rates attached respectively to the Banker and Player bets in baccarat. In yet another link to roulette, the average house edge on wagers in Bet the Deck hovers right around 5 or 6 percent, putting it on par with roulette played with a double zero wheel.
Stick with the Best Bet
By using this information to guide your betting, you should always be sticking to the 5 through 10 range when making card rank bets. You could also dabble in the Joker bet from time to time as both the card rank and Joker bets offer a house edge of under 5 percent.
Other than that, the best strategy to employ when playing Bet the Deck is to avoid all other bets, as they offer significantly worse house edges. If you don’t like the idea of sticking to just one or two bets with so many options on the table, take your bankroll to the roulette table, where you can bet on numbers, combinations, colors, odd / even, and several other wagers – all while facing a house edge well under most of the bets listed above.