Overview of Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker
The hybrid table game known as Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker was designed and developed by SHFL Entertainment Incorporated, formerly known as Shuffle Master in the late 2000’s.
Credited as co-inventors on the official U.S. patent for Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker are Roger Snow, Mark Yoseloff, Stacy Friedman, and John Muskin.
The original trademark application filed in 2010 for the game lists its full name as Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker, which was later expanded to Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker Two-Way Bad Beat.
Currently, the ownership rights for Dealer Bluff are held by Bally Gaming Incorporated, which acquired SHFL Entertainment Inc. in 2013.
New Way of Playing Poker
The marketing hook for Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker comes from the fact that in this game, unlike nearly all other casino table games, the dealer doesn’t act last. By acting last, after all, player action has been completed, the dealer is afforded a slight advantage in terms of overall expectation. This dealer advantage from acting last is the factor which creates most of the house edge casinos rely upon to make table games a profitable venture.
Instead, when playing Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker, you’ll wait for the dealer to “choose” between three primary wagering options. The word choose is used loosely here, because rather than relying on the individual nature of human dealers, Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker relies on a computer program to make the decision. The dealer will scan their cards using a special device known as the iDeal shuffler which is installed on the table, and based on the combination of cards inputted, the software algorithm will decide between three possible wagering increments.
Once this process has been completed, players are free to make their own wagering decisions, based in part on the information revealed by the dealer’s “choice.”
By providing such an innovative twist on conventional casino table games, Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker introduces a certain element of intrigue that most games simply can’t match.
Debut in Las Vegas
The game debuted in late 2009 at the Wynn casino in Las Vegas, and after a period of tinkering with the rules and structure, the game returned to the Wynn in 2012. By early 2013, it had secured a spot on the gaming floors of the Red Rock Casino Resort in Las Vegas, along with two casinos in California, Thunder Valley Casino Resort outside of Sacramento, and Pala Casino outside of San Diego.
The Wynn, however, ultimately decided to drop the game from its table game menu, as did Thunder Valley Casino Resort and Pala Casino.
This page was designed for players who have passed by the Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker table and wondered about the curious looking addition to the casino floor. To begin, we’ll cover the game’s basic rules setup and gameplay structure, including player and dealer actions, the available wagers, pay table information, bonus side bets, and the table layout. Next, you’ll find a guide to locating Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker tables, before concluding with a discussion on proper strategy for excelling at this exciting new hybrid table game.
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Rules and How to Play
The game of Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker incorporates the familiar layout common to most hybrid table games.
Players sit on one side of a semicircular table, while the dealer runs the game from the opposite side. The space in front of each player is lined with various circles and sections for placing wagers, while the dealer’s space contains six slots where their cards will eventually be displayed.
The objective of Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker is to produce a stronger five-card poker hand, according to the traditional poker hand hierarchy, by using any five of the six cards dealt to you. The dealer will also use their best five cards from a six-card holding, and when you produce a superior hand, you’ll be paid out according to various pay schemes (more on this later in the section).
The strongest possible poker hand is the royal flush, followed by the straight flush, the full house, the flush, the straight, three of a kind, two pairs, one pair, and high card.
Playing Bluff Dealer Six Card Poker
Blind Bet Payout
Side Bet Payouts: Aces Up & Two-Way Bad Beat
When it comes to the game’s side bets, two different pay tables are used to determine payouts for winners.
Aces Up Side Bet
For the Aces Up side bet, only the player’s hand is considered, and the following pay table is in play:
Two-Way Bad Beat Side Bet
As for the Two-Way Bad Beat side bet, players are paid out whenever the either hand, the dealer’s or the player’s, produces a pair of aces or better and still loses. When this occurs, the losing hand will be compared to the following pay table, and players with pending Two-Way Bad Beat bets will receive the corresponding payouts:
Best Places to Play Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker
Unfortunately for fans of Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker, the game failed to catch on during its initial run at the Wynn, Thunder Valley, or Pala Casino.
This leaves Red Rock Casino Resort, an off-strip property located two miles to the northwest of The Strip, as the only casino currently offering Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker games.
As you’ll discover in the upcoming section on strategy, one reason for this game’s lack of availability can be tied to the concept of house edge, as Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker actually provides players with extremely favorable odds. While players may love a game with a low house edge, casino operators prefer to increase their profit margins, which explains why this innovative concept never expanded outside of its first few casino properties.
Call Your Local Casinos
Of course, you should always take a moment to call up your local casino and ask to speak with the table games manager there, because you never know if the game may have been recently installed. Casino industry conditions are constantly fluctuating, and based on the game’s longstanding status as a staple offering at Red Rock Casino Resort, other properties may eventually decide to take a gamble of their own on the interesting game concept.
Strategic Considerations for Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker
The crucial decision points for players during a hand of Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker occur only after the dealer has scanned their hand and acted according to the guidance of the iDeal device.
This means that in a rare instance within the world of casino games, players are provided with additional information before acting on their own hand. The optimal strategy for Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker was devised by experienced game theorist and author Elliot Frome, and it relies on a simple process of reacting to the dealer’s previous decision.
iDeal Raise Strategy
First, let’s examine how the iDeal software’s decision-making process actually works. The algorithm will produce the following raise sizes, based on the strength of the dealer’s best five-card poker hand:
This chart shows the probability that the iDeal software will make either an equal raise, a double raise or a triple raise, depending on which particular poker hand the dealer’s cards create. Thus, when the dealer’s cards produce a straight flush, there’s a 5 percent chance that the iDeal software will decide to raise an amount equal to the Ante bet, a 20 percent shot that the raise will be double, and a 75 percent chance of tripling the wager.
With the dealer’s strategy laid bare, we can move on to the optimal plays from the player’s perspective.
Player Strategy Guidelines
According to Frome’s analysis, players can create the highest probability of beating the dealer’s hand on any given deal by adhering to the following guidelines:
When the Dealer’s Bet = 1x
When the Dealer’s Bet = 2x
When the Dealer’s Bet = 3x
By sticking to these relatively simple thresholds regarding your hand strength relative to the dealer’s wager size, players can create conditions with a house edge of 1.68 percent.
House Edge Comparison
This house edge rate is actually quite favorable when compared to other poker-based table games, as you can see below:
With these numbers in mind, one of the best strategies you can employ as a table games player, at least one with regular access to Red Rock Hotel Resort in Las Vegas, is to play Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker in lieu of the other poker-based hybrid table games listed above.
In fact, these house edge comparisons may point to the reason that Dealer Bluff Six Card Poker has failed to gain widespread acceptance by casino operators. Simply put, this game may be too good for the player, which is why most casinos choose to devote their precious floor space to similar games which carry much higher house edge rates.
Side Bets are Sucker Bets
If you’re considering the strategic importance of the game’s two side bets, both carry high enough house edges to easily gain entrance into the ignominious “sucker bet” category.
When betting on the Aces Up side bet, players are faced with an overall house edge of 6.62 percent. As for the Two-Way Bad Beat side bet, even with the massive top-heavy payouts, the house edge stands at an unbeatable 10.60 percent.
The only strategy for winning when playing these side bets is simple and straightforward: never place a chip on either, and you’ll instantly improve your odds by an order of magnitude.