Ultimate Casino War
Ultimate Casino War, previously known as One for the Money, gives this popular casino game a twist. Players are given the choice to switch their card with the next one in the shoe, giving them a slight edge the original Casino War didn’t have. Other than that new rule, Ultimate Casino War plays just like the original, where the highest card wins the money.
This guide will show you the overall rules, with explanations for each. Follow our step-by-step guide on how to play Ultimate Casino War, along with an example hand that shows you the bets and player options. Despite not finding this game at online casinos at the moment, there are still other locations that you can go and play. Learn the basic strategy on when to Stand, Raise, or Trade your card.
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Most children grew up playing the card game War on the kitchen table, so the general premise of One for the Money / Ultimate Casino War should be recognizable right off the bat.
However, not everyone has encountered the high card battle in the casino setting, so if you’ve never played before, head over to our main Casino War game page for a quick crash course. Once you know how Casino War works, you’ll better appreciate the nuances added into this exciting variant on the concept.
One for the Money / Ultimate Casino War utilizes the standard 52 card deck of playing cards, and traditional poker rank values are applied (2s are lowest and As are highest). During the base game, suits are irrelevant when comparing cards, but suits do matter when settling the optional Perfect Match side bet (more on this later in the section).
The objective of the game is to hold the highest card in a comparison with the dealer’s card.
The game designer didn’t mandate a set number of decks, but most casinos put a six or eight deck shoe into play.
Switching a Card
In Ultimate Casino War there is a specific rule that has been added to make the game more exciting, the Switch or Trade rule. This rule will allow the player to switch or trade the first card they received with the next card in the shoe. The player can do this when they are not sure that their first card will be able to beat the dealer, or if the card is really low ranked.
This can only be done once, so after switching the card you will be stuck with whatever card you are dealt. This can be helpful or detrimental to your chances of winning, which is why you should take a look at our Ultimate Casino War strategy section for furhter details on how to handle this rule.
How to Play Ultimate Casino War
Place an Ante Bet
A hand of One for the Money / Ultimate Casino War begins when players put up a mandatory Ante bet. The sizing is up to you, so long as it meets or exceeds the posted table minimum. At this time, you can also choose to put up an optional wager known as the Perfect Match side bet. The rules and payouts for this side bet will be described after the base game instructions for the sake of clarification.
Dealer Distributes the Cards
When all players have posted their wagers, the dealer will then pass out a single card face up (the “up” card) to each player, along with two cards face down (the “hole” cards) to themselves.
Stand, Raise, or Switch
After assessing your own up card, the game’s first player decision point takes place: Stand, Raise, or Switch.
Receive Replacement Card and Stand or Raise
Once the dealer has handed out all replacement cards to players who took the Switch, the game’s second decision point arrives: Stand or Raise. The same rules as described above still apply, and this round simply offers players who switched their cards a second opportunity to either increase their wager or hold pat.
Dealer Cards Revealed
With all bets now posted, the time has come for the dealer to reveal their two hole cards. When they do, the dealer will then select the highest card from among the two, while discarding the other (with two identical ranks, either card can be used). That high card becomes the dealer’s hand, which is then compared to your hand to determine a winner.
Compare Cards and Get Paid
There are three possible scenarios when comparing the player card with the dealers:
Despite the game’s roots in the traditional card game war, ties don’t result in a three card drawing “war” to settle the score. Even in Casino War, this element has been preserved, but One for the Money / Ultimate Casino War relies instead on the simple win/push/loss payout scheme.
Perfect Match Side Bet Payout
At the end, the optional Perfect Match side bet is scored by comparing the final card you play to both of the dealer’s cards (before the dealer discards one card).
For this bet, you’re hoping to see either identical ranks (any 9 for you and any 9 in the dealer’s hand), or identical cards (the 9d for you and the 9d for the dealer). Matching the card rank regardless of the suit is known simply as a “match,” while matching the card rank and suit is known as a “perfect match.”
The following pay table is used to settle Perfect Match side bets in One for the Money / Ultimate Casino War:
|Perfect Match Both Dealer Cards||100 to 1|
|Match Both Cards||30 to 1|
|Perfect Match One Card||10 to 1|
|Match One Card||3 to 1|
Perfect Match Bet Scenario Examples
The optimal scenario when making the Perfect Match bet is for your final card to match both the rank and the suit of both dealer’s cards.
- If you are playing the Jc, for example, and the dealer turns over the Jc as both of their cards, you’d win 100 to 1 on your wager for the double perfect match.
- If the dealer turned over the Jd and the Js, matching both cards but not making any perfect matches, you’d win 30 to 1.
- If the dealer turned over the Jc and any other non-J card, you’d make one perfect match for a 10 to 1 payout.
- If the dealer turned over any J and any other non-J card, you’d make one match for a 3 to 1 payout.
Start a New Round
When the shoe is close to being exhausted, the dealer will remove the cards, shuffle them back into a single stack, and offer the cut card to players at the table. From there, a new round of hands will commence.
Our example hand will be a way to better explain crucial gameplay concepts as they exist from the player’s perspective. For the betting stage, let’s imagine that we’ve put up the standard $5 chip on the Ante bet, and $5 more on the Perfect Match side bet.
Once the dealer has distributed the cards, we’ve been dealt the lowly 3d to begin.
Our 3 isn’t going to beat very many dealer cards, so we’ll obviously use the Switch play and try to improve our standing. That means we’ll have to put up an additional $5 for the Switch bet, bringing our total wager on the base game to $10 ($5 Ante + $5 Switch = $10).
After discarding the 3d and paying the Switch bet, the dealer slides the top card from the shoe and delivers us the Kc – a drastic improvement.
BWith our K now making us a big favorite over the dealer’s hand, we’ll go ahead and make the Raise bet for $5 more. This increases our total wager on the base game to $15 ($5 Ante + $5 Switch + $5 Raise = $15).
The dealer turns over the 9h and the Qs, before choosing the highest card and playing the Q. This is a strong holding of course, but it’s no match for our K, so we’ve beaten the dealer.
To settle the our example hand, our K has beaten the dealer’s Q, so we’d win even money on all base game bets. That equates to $15 total profit on $15 in total wagers, or $5 on the Ante bet, $5 on the Switch bet, and $5 on the Raise bet.
For the example hand, we failed to make a match with our Kc and the dealer’s Qh and 9s, so we’ve lost our $5 wager on the Perfect Match side bet.
Now that all bets have been settled, the dealer will discard the cards and will have the table ready for another round.
Best Places to Play One for the Money / Ultimate Casino War
As of today, it doesn’t look like One for the Money / Ultimate Casino War has achieved the level of success needed to warrant widespread placements. They have appeared in US casinos, as well as casinos around the world.
The game is approved for play in the following states:
After a thorough search, the only casino website that turned up any relevant mention of One for the Money / Ultimate Casino War was the Crazy Moose Casino in Pasco, Washington. It stands to reason that a few smaller casinos located in the states above still have a few holdover tables in operation.
Currently, there seems to be only one international casino that players can find Ultimate Casino War at, the Crown Casino in Australia. For those players looking to play at that casino, should know that they have changed its name to Poker War.
Ultimate Casino War Strategy
Although technically classified as a skill game, due to the presence of player decision points, One for the Money / Ultimate Casino War presents one of the simplest gameplay experiences found on the casino floor.
When it comes to the game’s pivotal choice of whether or not to switch your card, the following guidelines should be used to ensure that you make the most optimal decisions at all times.
- You should always Raise when holding a Jack or Better.
- You should always Stand when holding an 8, 9 or 10.
- You should always Trade cards when holding a 7 or Lower.
After Switching a Card
- On occasions when you are forced to trade cards, use the following standard to decide between standing and raising:
- You should always Raise when holding a Jack or Better.
- You should always Stand when holding a 10 or Lower.
The House Edge of One for the Money
By adhering to these rules at all times, you can play One for the Money / Ultimate Casino War perfectly, giving yourself the highest possible expectation while reducing the house edge against you to 3.82 percent.
If that house edge rate seems rather high to you, that’s because it is when compared to similarly structured table games like Casino War (3.70 percent). However, as Michael Shackleford (better known as The Wizard of Odds) points out on his analysis page for One for the Money / Ultimate Casino War, the game’s allowance for players to toggle their total wager from between 1x and 3x their original Ante bet changes the equation.
Advice From the Experts
According to Shackleford, one of the preeminent casino game theorists of his day, the house edge isn’t the best metric to use when assessing games with variable increment betting sizes. This is because players will be making different sized bets on each hand, either reducing or increasing their overall risk in the process.
Use the Element of Risk Instead of the House Edge
Instead of house edge, Shackleford advises players to use a metric known as the element of risk, which is simply the house edge rate multiplied by the average unit wagered. Shackleford calculates that players will be betting an increment of 1.92x on the initial ante wager, as they alternate between 1x, 2x, and 3x bets by standing or raising.
By multiplying the house edge of 3.82 percent by the average wager of 1.92, Shackleford determines that the element of risk on One for the Money / Ultimate Casino War stands at exactly 2.00 percent.
We can compare that rate with other table games to see how One for the Money / Ultimate Casino War stacks up from a strategic perspective:
|GAME||ELEMENT OF RISK|
|Spanish 21||0.65 percent|
|One for the Money||2.00 percent|
|EZ Pai Gow Poker||2.47 percent|
|GAME||ELEMENT OF RISK|
|Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em||0.53 percent|
|Mississippi Stud||1.37 percent|
|Three Card Poker||2.01 percent|
|Casino War||2.68 percent|
As you can see, One for the Money / Ultimate Casino War sits right in the middle, making it a reasonable bet for casino gamblers to take a flier on. More importantly, the game is much more player friendly than ordinary Casino War, so strategically speaking, when you have the choice between regular Casino War and One for the Money / Ultimate Casino War, taking your money to the latter table is always the best bet.
Finally, when deciding whether or not to place the optional Perfect Match side bet, consider that the house edge on this wager stands at 6.40 percent when using six decks, and 4.18 percent when using eight decks. In either case, this side bet tends toward the higher range of the house edge spectrum, putting it perilously close to “sucker bet” status.
Ultimate Casino War Created
The original trademark application for a hybrid table game known as One for the Money was filed on behalf of SHFL Entertainment in late 2013. The inventor of the game is a frequent forum contributor on the Game Inventors page of the Wizard of Odds website, who goes by the screenname “BeachBumBabs”.
One for the Money combines elements of Casino War with two player decision points to give that classic high card game an added dimension. The aim of the game is to bring a high card into battle against the dealer, and the best card wins.
Shortly after the trademark application was filed, SHFL Entertainment was acquired by rival Bally Technologies in a $1.3 billion merger of casino game equipment titans. As a result, the rights to One for the Money were transferred to Bally Technologies.
Casino Debut & Alternate Names
One for the Money made its debut at Diamond Jo‘s casino in Dubuque, Iowa in February of 2014, before securing a few additional installations in small casinos scattered around the United States and Canada.
One of those placements was at the Barona Casino near San Diego, California, but by that point in time, One for the Money had become Ultimate Casino War. Under the ownership and marketing of Bally Technologies, the vague former title was ditched in favor of a more direct explanation of the game’s origins and objective. It is now being called “Mega War” at this particular casino.
It has expanded as far as Australia, where the Crown Casino has placed it on its gaming floor. However, they have also changed its name to “Poker War”, but it still retains all of the same rules and gameplay structure as Ultimate Casino War.
Reception Among the Playerbase
According to forum posts made by the game’s inventor during the last few years, One for the Money / Ultimate Casino War struggled to garner consistent a consistent player base during the limited installations the game received. Even after a series of rule changes were instituted, the game simply remained too passive for most casino gamblers, and One for the Money/Ultimate Casino War faded away into obscurity.
Nonetheless, considering the fact that Bally Technologies was itself acquired by another major rival, Scientific Games, in November of 2014, another change in ownership very well may inspire a renewed marketing push. This page was compiled to offer a comprehensive look at One for the Money / Ultimate Casino War.