Raise It Up
The original trademark application for a hybrid table game known as Raise It Up was filed in February of 2012 on behalf of major casino game manufacturer Shuffle Master.
Documents also indicate that Shuffle Master, which became SHFL Entertainment in 2012, also maintained a trademark on the title Raise It Up between 2005 and 2009.
The game – which incorporates elements of popular table games Let It Ride and Ultimate Texas Hold’em – provides players with single hand gameplay, meaning there is no dealer hand to beat. The objective is to form the best possible five-card poker hand, using a combination of three hole cards and three community cards.
Like in Let It Ride, player hands in Raise It Up are scored independently, so the dealer doesn’t “play,” and the variable betting scheme is taken from Ultimate Texas Hold’em is used, with players holding the ability to place a larger or smaller raise bet depending on the amount of community cards that have been revealed.
According to a post by Roger Snow, the intellectual impresario at SHFL Entertainment for many years, which was made to the Wizard of Odds casino games forum, Ofir Ventura of Las Vegas, Nevada is credited as the co-inventor of Raise It Up.
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The game was showcased at the 2012 Global Gaming Expo, before making its brick and mortar casino debut in August of that year at the Pala Casino near San Diego, California. Raise It Up, sometimes marketed under the names Raise It Up Stud or Raise It Up Poker, failed to generate a consistent player base.
In March of 2013, after only a few months on the floor, Snow took to the forums once again to inform interested casino game enthusiasts that Raise It Up had been “removed due to poor performance.”
Interestingly, two of the leading online casino platforms operating as part of New Jersey’s legalized iGaming industry – Betfair and Caesars – have both had Raise It Up listed among the available table games to be found on their respective sites. However, despite the presence of a logo and icon bearing the words Raise, It Up found on lobby screenshots, neither of these online casinos currently spreads the game.
Raise It Up – A New Hope
Despite its status as a defunct table game, one of the hundreds to be invented and given a trial run, only to fade away into obscurity, Raise It Up may have hope yet. In 2013 SHFL Entertainment was acquired by rival casino game equipment firm Bally Technologies, which was in turn taken over by rival Scientific Games a short time later.
The ownership rights over Raise It Up and several other previously launched table games has been transferred to Scientific Games, an industry conglomerate which now controls SHFL Entertainment, Bally Technologies, WMS, and TwinStar. The company has chosen to retain the longstanding Bally brand, though and has even begun the process of repurposing old casino games for both a revival and a renewed marketing push.
In that spirit, this page was written to form a thorough guide to the game of Raise It Up, in hopes that players may one day have a chance to place a few wagers and enjoy the concept. We’ll start out with a detailed walkthrough to introduce the rules, available wagers, payouts, and player actions. After that, you’ll find a discussion on the best places to find the game, followed by a section detailing proper strategy and other tips to improve your odds.
Rules And How to Play
Experienced table game enthusiasts will recognize the relationship between Raise It Up and two much more popular titles: Let It Ride and Ultimate Texas Hold’em.
Raise It Up borrows its single poker hand structure from Let It Ride, and its variable betting pattern from Ultimate Texas Hold’em.
With that in mind, readers who aren’t familiar at all with either game are encouraged to visit the linked main pages to learn the basics, before heading back here to finish your Raise It Up crash course.
This game is played using the standard 52 card deck of playing cards, and all cards hold their usual poker values, so 2s are the lowest rank while Aces are the highest card on the totem pole.
Accordingly, the classic hierarchy of poker hand rankings is in play to score your hand. With no dealer hand in play, you won’t need your flush to beat their straight, but payouts are awarded on an escalating scale based on making the best possible hand.
If you aren’t entirely familiar with the way poker hands stack up, see the table below for a refresher:
|Royal Flush||Broadway straight (A K Q J 10) in the same suit|
|Straight Flush||Five consecutive cards (9 8 7 6 5) in the same suit|
|Four of a Kind||Four of same card (Q Q Q Q A)|
|Full House||Three of a kind + one pair (Q Q Q A A)|
|Flush||Five cards in the same suit (2h 6h 9h Kh Ah)|
|Straight||Five consecutive cards (6 5 4 3 2)|
|Three of a Kind||Three of same card (Q Q Q 2 A)|
|Two Pair||Two pairs of the same card (Q Q A A 2)|
|One Pair||One pair of the same card (Q Q 4 3 2)|
|High Card||No pair, highest card is rank of hand (A K 4 3 2)|
Playing Raise it Up
Step #1: Starting Cards
The objective of Raise It Up is to combine your three card starting hand with three community cards, which will be revealed one at a time, in order to form the best possible five-card poker hand.
Step #2: Lay Wagers
The game begins when players put up a pair of mandatory wagers: the Ante bet and the Blind bet. At this time, you may also choose to put up an optional wager known as the Pair Plus side bet.
Going forward through the rest of this section, we’ll return to a running example hand as a way of illustrating crucial gameplay concepts from the player’s perspective. In this case, imagine that we’ve put up the standard $5 wager on the Ante bet and the Blind bet, for a $10 total base game wager, along with $5 on the Pair Plus bet.
Step #3: Hole Cards Handed
Once all players have anted up, the dealer will then pass out three cards face down to each player, along with three cards face down on the center of the felt.
Your three cards are known as “hole” cards, so they must remain face down, and no sharing of hole card information between players will be permitted. The other three cards will be the community cards, shared by all players to help improve your hole cards into a five card poker hand.
In the running example hand, we’ve been dealt the As 10s 10d combination to begin the hand with one pair of 10s already.
After taking a peek at your three hole cards, the game’s first player decision point takes place: Check or Raise.
For the running example hand, as you’ll learn in the strategy section, one pair to start the hand is quite strong. So we’ll go ahead and make the Raise bet for 3x, or $15 ($5 Ante bet X 3 = $15). Had we been dealt something weaker than one pair, we would elect to check and see a free community card instead.
Step #4: Community Cards Turned Over
When all players have run through the first check or raise decision, the dealer will then turn one of the three community cards face up.
Players who elected to check on the first decision are now given the option to check or raise, but this time, the Raise bet can only be for 2x the original Ante bet.
Back to the running example hand, the dealer turns over the 9s as the first community card. Because we’ve already exercised the raise option on the last decision point, we can’t raise again, so we’ll stand pat with a forced check.
After the second round of decisions has been made, the dealer will reveal the second of three community cards.
At this stage in the hand, players who haven’t raised yet can either fold or raise, and no more checking is allowed. For this decision, however, the Raise bet amount is limited to 1x, or the same amount as the original Ante bet.
For the running example hand, the dealer shows the Ad as the second community card, and we improve to two pairs with Aces and 10s. We’ve already made our 3x raise, though, so we’ll have to check once more.
Step # 5: Five Card Hands Completed
Now the dealer tables the final community card, which completes your five card poker hand.
In the running example hand, our luck continues when the dealer turns over the 10c as the third and final community card. We’ve improved to a full house with 10s over aces (10c 10s 10d As Ad).
Based on the strength of your best five-card combination, payouts are awarded based on the following pay table:
|Raise It Up Base Game Pay Table|
|Royal Flush||1 to 1||1000 to 1||100 to 1|
|Straight Flush||1 to 1||200 to 1||20 to 1|
|Four of a Kind||1 to 1||30 to 1||10 to 1|
|Full House||1 to 1||4 to 1||6 to 1|
|Flush||1 to 1||3 to 1||5 to 1|
|Straight||1 to 1||2 to 1||4 to 1|
|Three of a Kind||1 to 1||1 to 1||3 to 1|
|Two Pair||1 to 1||Push||1.5 to 1|
|One Pair (10s and up)||1 to 1||Push||1 to 1|
Three Pay Tables
As you can see, three different pay tables are used to award payouts for each of the three wagers available during the base game: Ante, Blind, and Raise.
- The Ante Bet: the minimum threshold needed to earn a payout is one pair of 10s or better, and payouts for all hands are even money.
- The Blind Bet: one pair of 10s or better is good for a push (or your bet returned but not lost), while any two pair hand will also result in a push. You’ll need at least three of a kind in order to earn an even money payout on your Blind bet, but from there, payouts climb gradually based on the strength of your five card poker hand.
One remarkable aspect of the Blind bet in Raise It Up is that the mother of all poker hands, the Royal Flush, pays out an astounding 1,000 to 1 premium. In essence, this provides Raise It Up with a “jackpot” element, as any individual hand with $5 on the Blind bet (which is mandatory, remember) can produce a $5,000 win when the cards align perfectly.
- The Raise Bet: once again a single pair of 10s or better is the minimum requirement, and once again better poker hands will return higher payouts.
Payouts – How it Works
We can use the running example hand to make sense of this threefold base game pay table structure.
- The Ante bet: we made a full house, so we’d earn an even money payout of $5 on our $5 wager.
- The Blind bet: we put up $5 initially, and our full house is good for a payout of 4 to 1. So we just cleared $20 profit on the Blind bet.
- The Raise bet: we have $15 on the line, and our full house pays out at 6 to 1. We’ve collected another $90 on the Raise bet for making a strong hand.
All told, we put up $25 in total wagers during the base game hand ($5 Ante + $ Blind + $15 Raise = $25). Our total profit on the hand comes to $115 ($5 Ante + $20 Blind + $90 Raise = $115).
Of course, making a full house isn’t so easy as the running example hand suggested, and more often than not you’ll be working with lesser hands like one pair. But this goes to show you that in Raise It Up, a well timed maximum raise combined with a strong hand can return generous dividends on small investments.
The Pair Plus Side Bet
Finally, you may remember that we had an additional $5 at risk on the game’s optional Pair Plus side bet. This bet is paid out based on your initial three card starting hand, or your hole cards, only.
The following pay table is used to adjudicate Pair Plus bets in Raise It Up:
|Raise It Up Pair Plus Side Bet Pay Table|
|Straight Flush||40 to1|
|Three of a Kind||30 to 1|
|Straight||6 to 1|
|Flush||3 to 1|
|Pair||1 to 1|
As the name suggests, you’ll need at least one pair in order to earn a payout on the Pair Plus side bet.
For the running example hand, we began with As 10s 10d in the hole, or one pair of 10s. This is good for an even money payout, so we profit $5 on the $5 Pair Plus wager.
When all base game wagers and side bets have been settled, the dealer will collect the cards, reshuffle the deck, and begin a new hand.
Best Places to Play Raise It Up
As of the time of this writing, Raise It Up no longer appears in brick and mortar casinos. The game was removed from its debut placement at Pala Casino just months after first appearing on the floor, and subsequent installations were never secured.
As mentioned in the introduction, however, SHFL Entertainment has been absorbed within a larger casino equipment manufacturing company, twice over in fact. Today, it remains up to executives at Bally Technologies, operating under the Scientific Games umbrella, to determine whether or not Raise It Up will eventually be resurrected.
Play it in Online Casinos
Aside from the domain of live casino play, there does seem to be a bit of movement in adapting Raise It Up for play via online casinos. Searches for the game’s title combined with “online casino” return a few results based on Table Games reviews for a pair of major online casino platforms operating legally in New Jersey: Betfair and Caesars.
In one result, the review for Caesars Online even contains a screenshot of the Table Games section, which does indeed show a logo for Raise It Up alongside favorites like Let It Ride, Six Card Poker, and Mississippi Stud.
Unfortunately, when you visit this page for Raise It Up on Caesar Casino’s landing page, you’ll receive a 404 Error message alerting that “this page no longer exists.”
Game Licensed in New Jersey Online Casinos
In all likelihood, these New Jersey online casinos had previously secured a licensing deal with Bally Technologies, only to lose those rights when Bally was sold off to Scientific Games. This would explain the creation of URLs within the Caesars Casino and Betfair Casino websites, along with the Raise It Up game logo.
You won’t be able to play Raise It Up at the moment, but fans of the game should continue to search online periodically in hopes of locating a lead. After all, the available evidence suggests that Raise It Up is poised for a comeback sometime soon, at least online, while a return to the brick and mortar setting may also be in the cards.
Strategic Considerations for Raise It Up
Whenever you come across a new casino game, whether it be a hybrid table game like Raise It Up, or a slot machine, specialty game, or anything else involving gambling, the first place to search for strategy advice is the Wizard of Odds website.
Owned and operated by veteran casino game analyst, mathematician, and part-time casino game inventor Michael Shackleford, the Wizard of Odds presents unbiased, impartial, and accurate data on the probabilities and expected returns for each and every wager found in hundreds of casino game entries.
The same holds true for Raise It Up, and on Shackleford’s main Wizard page for the game, you’ll find a wealth of analytical material diving deep into the numbers which form a casino game’s foundation. Everything from a breakdown of total combinations for each possible event in a hand, to the expected return on every wager you can consider, can be found there.
Making a Key Decision
When it comes to making the most pivotal decision in Raise It Up – when to make the Raise bet, and thus, how much to raise – Shackleford defers to fellow game analyst Stephen How of Discount Gambling. According to How, players should employ the following guidelines to govern their Raise bet decision making (the term “high card” here refers to 10s, Js, Qs, Ks, and As):
Players should make Raise bet for 3x when holding any of the following hands:
- Any one pair
- Three high cards
- Two high cards with one gap or fewer (A Q, K J, Q 10)
- Three suited cards with two gaps or less
- Three suited cards with two high cards
Players should make Raise bet for 2x when holding any of the following hands:
- Any one pair
- Any straight or flush draw
- Three suited cards and three high cards (these don’t have to be the same three cards)
Players should make Raise bet for 1x when holding any of the following hands:
- Any flush draw
- Any one pair
- Outside and double inside straight draw (7 8 9 10 = outside; 6 8 9 10 Q = double inside)
- Inside straight draw with at least one high card
By sticking to How’s relatively simple hand strength guidelines, you’ll be playing close to Shackleford’s more complex optimal strategy. The approach advocated by How and shown above will create game conditions in which players face a house edge of 3.70 percent, while Shackleford’s optimal strategy reduces the house edge to 3.50 percent.
In any case, this house edge rate, which is rather high among similarly structured table games, doesn’t offer the best reflection of the risk afforded to Raise It Up players. Instead, because you won’t be betting the maximum on all hands, alternating between 1x, 2x, and 3x bets depending on your hand strength, the metric known as “element of risk” is more correct.
Element of Risk
A game’s element of risk can be determined by dividing its house edge by the average total units wagered (in this case, 3.31). In doing so, we find that the element of risk for Raise It Up stands at 1.11 percent.
Although its close cousin within the table game family, Let It Ride, offers a very similar house edge of 3.51 percent, the element of risk is much higher at 2.85 percent. Thus, from a strategic standpoint, players should take the reduced volatility offered by Raise It Up into account, as the bankroll swings won’t be nearly as severe.
Keep in Mind
Finally, before you think about making the Pair Plus side bet, remember that the house edge offered on this optional wager stands at a whopping 7.28 percent. Most side bets carry high house edges of course, but the Pair Plus side bet in Raise It Up should be considered as a “sucker bet” by savvy gamblers. Avoid the temptation and play strategically by avoiding this side bet at all times.
Discount Gambling has developed a strategy for Raise It Up Stud.