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Last Updated: October 2, 2018

Dragon Poker

Introduction

Dragon Poker started as a at the Rio in Las Vegas on September 27, 2018. The game uses a modified deck of cards with Chinese pictures. The structure of the game has elements of Three Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em.

Rules

  1. The game uses a modified 53-card deck, with the following cards:
    • 1 Gold Dragon
    • 3 Fire Dragons
    • 3 Water Dragons
    • 7 Phoenixes*
    • 8 Tigers
    • 9 Pandas
    • 10 Monkeys
    • 12 Rabbits
  2. The Gold Dragon is wild
  3. For purposes of the base game and the 3 Card Bonus (explained below), the Fire Dragons and Water Dragons are exactly the same. They are treated differently for purposes of the Dragon Bonus.
  4. The base game starts with the player betting equal amounts on the Ante and Ante Bonus. At this time, the player may make the optional side bets on the 3 Card Bonus and Dragon Bonus.
  5. After betting is closed, the player and dealer shall each receive three cards. The dealer cards are dealt face down.
  6. The player has two choices — make a raise bet equal to the Ante bet or fold.
  7. If the player folds, then he loses the Ante and Ante Bonus bets.
  8. After the player acts, the dealer shall reveal his cards.
  9. Both hands shall be scored as follows, from highest to lowest:
    • Three of a kind
    • Pair
    • Three singletons
  10. In the event that both player and dealer have the same type of hand, then the ranks of the cards in rule one shall be used to break the tie, as in conventional poker. The rank order is shown in rule one, except Fire Dragons and Water Dragons are treated equally as just "Dragons."
  11. If the player has the higher hand, then the Ante and Play bets shall pay one to one and the Ante Bonus according to the pay table below.
  12. If the dealer has the higher hand, then Ante, Ante Bonus, and Play shall all lose.
  13. If the player and dealer tie, then the Ante, Ante Bonus, and Play shall all push.
  14. The 3 Card Bonus shall pay according to the value of the player's hand only.
  15. The Dragon Bonus shall pay according to the number and type of dragons in the player's hand.
  16. All wins are on a "to one" basis.

Ante Bonus Pay Table

Points Pays
Three Dragons 20
Three Phoenixes 7
Other three of a kind 4
Two Pandas or better 1
Other Winner Push

* For purposes of this page, I struggled with the plural for phoenix. The game maker uses just "phoenix," but I prefer "phoenixes," as sixes is the plural for six.

Example

Dragon Poker

In the example above, my three rabbits beat the dealer's pair of monkeys. The game expresses the "win" on the image as the amount returned, including the original wager. I bet $100 each on the Ante, Ante Bonus, and Play. The Ante and Play each won another $100. The Ante Bonus paid 4 to 1, for $400 in winnings. My $10 bet on the 3 Card Bonus paid 10 to 1 odds for a low three of a kind, or $100. The Dragon Bonus lost because I had no dragons.

Strategy

The player should make the Play bet with Phoenix-Panda-Rabbit or better.

Analysis

Following is my analysis of the game. The lower right cell shows the ratio of the expected loss to the Ante bet is 3.70%.

Base Game Analysis

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Win with three dragons 22 685,860 0.001494 0.032863
Win with three phoenixes 9 1,095,395 0.002386 0.021471
Win with other three of a kind 6 12,597,063 0.027436 0.164614
With with pair of pandas or better 3 90,652,512 0.197436 0.592307
Other win 2 113,820,564 0.247894 0.495789
Push 0 5,423,068 0.011811 0.000000
Fold -2 87,494,400 0.190558 -0.381115
Loss -3 147,380,738 0.320986 -0.962959
Total 459,149,600 1.000000 -0.037030

With two required units to begin with and raising 80.94% of the time, the average final wager is 2.809442 units. That makes the Element of Risk, defined as the expected loss to total amount bet, 3.7030%/2.809442 = 1.3181%.

Following is my analysis of the 3 Card Bonus side bet. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 5.06%.

3 Card Bonus Analysis

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Three Dragons 40 35 0.001494 0.059763
Three Phoenixes 30 56 0.002391 0.071715
Three Tigers 15 84 0.003586 0.053786
Other trips 10 571 0.024375 0.243746
Two Dragons 4 966 0.041236 0.164945
Two Phoenixes 2 1,218 0.051994 0.103987
Two Tigers 1 1,480 0.063178 0.063178
Other -1 19,016 0.811748 -0.811748
Total 23,426 1.000000 -0.050628

Following is my analysis of the Dragon Bonus side bet. The lower right cell shows an expected return of 14.40%.

Dragon Bonus Analysis

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Three Fire Dragons 1000 1 0.000043 0.042688
Three Water Dragons 1000 1 0.000043 0.042688
Three Dragons with Gold Dragon 200 15 0.000640 0.128063
Three Natural Dragons 60 18 0.000768 0.046103
Two Dragons 7 966 0.041236 0.288654
One Gold Dragon 5 1,035 0.044182 0.220908
All other -1 21,390 0.913088 -0.913088
Total 23,426 1.000000 -0.143985

  • by the distributor.
  • in my forum at Wizard of Vegas.

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