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Phil Em Up poker

Discussion in 'Casino Gaming' started by Vegas Insight, Aug 22, 2016.

  1. Vegas Insight

    Vegas Insight Low-Roller

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    Yes, the name is spelled Phil.

    This is a game I played in North Dakota on Saturday night. It's a table game played like Let it Ride, where you're playing to make a hand, not to beat the house hand, a la Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em.

    There are two hole cards for each player and three community cards. You wager on your hand pre-deal, and after getting your hole cards and seeing the dealer's first two cards you can "double down." Players are paid for 10s or better, so with four cards in your hand, if you have 10s or better, you always double down. If you have four to a flush or straight flush, you may want to double as well, as both bets get paid the odds for filling the flush or straight flush.

    Two twists to the game. There's one joker in the deck. It can show up in your hand or in the community cards. It is only used in straights, flushes and as an ace for pairing purposes. You can't use it to pair a king, so having it in your had doesn't mean you will have a winning hand. The presence of the joker makes the top hand in the game five aces. I forget the payout for that.

    Also, there's a bonus bet on the community cards: a la Three Card Poker. If the community cards are fives or better, you win. The top being a three-card royal flush at 100-to-1. The joker can be used to make a straight or flush in this hand, as well, but again, it can only pair the ace. So 3-6-joker is a loser, 3-ace-joker is a winner.

    I played it since I wasn't in the mood for blackjack. I was lucky to make a pair of 10s or better after several hands, and I didn't see many three-card bonus payouts, either. Game sucked.

    Then a guy gets up to get a beer and the table goes from four hands to three. On that very next deal the dealer's first two community cards are ace and queen of hearts. After the double downs he goes to turn up the last card. He wishes for a king of hearts and goes to turn the card, but it falls back to the table face down. He turns it a second time and there you have it, queen of hearts. We erupt.

    I was doing what seemed to be the standard, bet $5 on the hand and $5 on the bonus. That paid $500 for the three-card royal. The dudes next to me had $10 each on the bonus, so both guys won $1,000. Dude came back with his beer a few minutes later as the pit boss was making sure everything was legit before we were paid. While it was mentioned to the poor guy that he missed out on a big payout, I was quick to point out that had he not gotten up to go buy a beer (no comped drinks in Legendary North Dakota) none of us would have won the 100-to-1 bonus because there would have still been four hands in play, thereby preventing the three-card royal.

    From what little I could find online, it appears this game has been around for a few years and is only in the Dakotas. Another forum's discussion of it suggests that the game has a healthy house advantage, and shouldn't be played as a long-term proposition. I played off the $100 I bought in with, including a little tip to the dealer, and that $400 profit never left my pocket. At this point that $400 is coming with me to Vegas on Oct. 30.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Depends on the full paytable but only betting 2X vs. 3X on good hands while adding a "bug" to the deck sounds like a losing proposition overall.

    Assuming this paytable linked below, the game is pretty close to "let it ride" in terms of house edge.

    https://discountgambling.net/2013/04/19/phil-em-up-poker/
     
  3. Vegas Insight

    Vegas Insight Low-Roller

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    that is the game, although i can't say if the paytable in NoDak was the same as listed on that website. thanks for finding that link. i'm not sure how i missed it while googling on sunday.
     
  4. morga251

    morga251 Tourist

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    I've played this game at Dakota Magic as well.... never seen it anywhere else.