3 Unusual Casino Games
by Michael Wiesenberg © 2019 Great Bridge Links
In your travels you walk into a new casino, perhaps in Europe or Asia, or maybe somewhere in North America. In addition to the usual casino games of blackjack, craps, and roulette, you may encounter some strange games that you’ve never seen before, games like Casino War, Catch-A-Wave, Choi Ti Dee, Wild Holdem Foldem Poker, Double Exposure Blackjack, Euroulette, Fan-tan, Four the Money, Kalooki, and many others.
You may see many happy gamblers gathered around one of these games and you might want to jump in and give the game a try. This could be a huge mistake if you don’t know how to play. Make sure you understand how to play a game or don’t play — or you might find yourself having to call a large bet or else drop out and lose what might be a large investment or you might not even have enough chips to continue.
Here are introductions to three you can watch out for:
Casino War: A house-banked game played at a blackjack-type table. This is basically the game you played as a child. The object is to have a higher card than that of the dealer (rather than to accumulate cards, as in the children’s game). Played with six decks, cards are ranked as in poker, except aces are always high, and suits do not matter. Each player makes a wager, and then each player and the dealer each gets one card. Each player’s card is compared with the dealer’s card. If the player’s card is higher, he wins even money. If the dealer’s card is higher, the player loses. If there is a tie, the player has two choices: One, surrender and forfeit half the bet, or, two, go to war. If the player elects to go to war, he raises his initial bet by an equal amount. The dealer does the same. The dealer burns three cards and gives the player and herself another card each. If the player’s second card equals or beats the dealer’s card, then the player wins even money on the raised bet only, while the original wager pushes. If the dealer’s second card is greater, the player loses both bets. At some casinos, a tie after a tie results in a bonus equal to the original wager. (At some casinos, the rules may specify that the raise pays 3:1, but since the initial bet loses, this is mathematically the same thing.) A tie bet is also available, which pays 10:1 if the first two cards tie. At some casinos, the player wins even money on the original wager and the raise for a tie after a tie. The house edge on this game ranges from around 2% to something over 3%, depending on rules. The tie bet has a house edge around 18%. (The exact figure depends on how many decks are used.) The game was invented by Shuffle Master, a company that makes automatic card-shuffling machines for casinos and cardrooms and devises new casino games.
Catch-A-Wave: A house-banked game dealt from eight decks, in which players play separately against the dealer, and guess whether the next card will be higher or lower than the one that just came. Six correct choices in a row wins 6-to-1; a player may stop at any point. An incorrect guess loses the wager. Otherwise, the dealer draws and keeps drawing, with set rules on what to call, and must stop when receiving a card 6-10. An incorrect call by the dealer pays the player 1:1. The dealer then wins wagers if the dealer hit more often, and the player wins if the player hit more often; ties are pushes. If the player hit more often, the player gets paid off as a multiple of the difference between his total of hits and the dealer. For example, if the player hit four times and stopped and the dealer stopped after two hits, the player gets 2:1.
Choi Ti Dee: A rummy-style game played with one deck of cards among, usually, four players, in which players try to rid themselves of cards, and those left with cards have points counted against them. A cardroom makes money from a Choi Ti Dee game in much the same way it does from poker, by charging an hourly fee for the use of the facilities. Also spelled Choi Dai Dee, and sometimes known as big two.