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Unusual Card Based Casino Games

By: Joan Peppin, Wednesday July 14th 2010
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Card games form an important segment of online casino games. Games like blackjack, baccarat and card games based on five card poker are offered by all online gaming software developers. Even uncommon card games like Red Dog and Casino War are in the portfolio of most software developers. However some of the best software developers offer unique card games, which help them in retaining their competitive advantage.

One such software developer is Playtech and it offers a card game called Stravaganza at its online casinos. Stravaganza is a card game similar to Blackjack. The number cards count at face value, picture cards are worth 10 points and the Ace is worth 1 point. The aim is to have a point total higher than the dealer. However, unlike in Blackjack, there is no bust limit. The players are dealt two cards face up and the dealer is dealt three cards face down. If in the two cards the player has a point total of 5 or less he can get his full bet back. If the player has a point total of between 6 and 9 he can get half his bet back. If the player has a point total of 10 or more he can play with two cards at the original bet. The player always has the option to place a second identical bet and draw a third card. The dealer then exposes his hand. If the dealer’s point total is higher the player loses both bets. If the player’s point total is higher he wins even money on both bets. If the dealer’s first card is a red ace the player loses his first bet, but if he has placed a second bet he gets that back. If the dealer’s hand includes a red ace as the second or third card, the player loses both bets. There are bonus payouts on the first bet only for three card hands. This acts as an incentive for players to take the third card. Three cards of the same rank give a payout of 3 to 1. Three face cards give a payout of 3 to 2. Stravaganza has a voluntary progressive jackpot side bet as well.

Three card rummy is another unusual card game. It is offered by Microgaming and Realtime Gaming. Both variants are somewhat similar. The Microgaming version of three card rummy is discussed here. The individual cards are valued in the same manner as in Stravaganza. But the objective is to get a hand value lower than the dealer when three cards are dealt to each. The special rule is that certain groups of cards count as 0 when appearing together irrespective of the individual card values. These are any pair, triple or same suit run of two or three cards. Hence only the ungrouped cards are totalled. The player places an ante wager and the player’s cards are dealt face up and the dealer’s cards are dealt face down. On seeing his cards the player can fold and lose his ante wager or place an equal play wager. The dealer’s cards are then exposed. The ante bet pays even money if the player wins. The play bet pays even money if the player wins and the dealer’s total is 20 or more. The play bet pushes if the player wins and the dealer’s total is less than 20. The player loses both bets if his value is greater than that of the dealer.

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