Australia is one of the most important poker markets in the world. The 25 million population might seem insignificant compared to other nations, but on a per capita basis, no nationality spends more money on gambling.
Australians love games of every type, but poker has a special place in everyone’s heart. From watching and even competing in the WSOP to playing video poker for fun, it seems there is a poker game for every level. But there is always room for more.
Russian poker, the new Australian casino craze
Developers love to use Australia as a test bed for beta tests and limited releases. For one thing, that 25 million population is significant but manageable if something goes badly wrong and needs serious patches or even a recall. Secondly, this is a knowledgeable and tech ready market that will test a new game rigorously. In the case of poker, we can add a “thirdly” which is that this is a country that adores its gambling games.
Russian poker is gradually popping up on more and more Australian online casino sites. If you want to track it down for yourself, this online casino software providers guide is focused on Australian online casino offerings and will point you in the right direction. Let’s find out more about the game along with some strategy tips to get you started.
How to play this new poker variant
If you know how to play Caribbean stud poker, you are in a great position to learn and master Russian poker, as the two variants are very similar. Russian Poker uses the standard poker hands rankings, so the high card is the lowest possible hand, followed by one pair, right up to a royal flush.
You play against the dealer, so other players’ hands are irrelevant to you. Play begins by you placing the ante bet. Let’s say it is a dollar. The dealer then deals you and the other players five cards face-down, and five to herself, four face down and one face up. Now take a look at your cards.
So far, this is the same set-up as Caribbean stud. But at this point, things change a little. In Caribbean stud, it is a case of fold or play. Here, you have two extra options. So your four choices are:
- Fold – throw in your cards and lose the ante
- Play – place the bet, which is another dollar3
- Buy a card – you can spend a dollar on another card. Then you still have the choice to either fold or play.
- Draw new cards – discard up to five cards of your cards and have them redealt. Again, this will cost a dollar and again, you can then decide to fold or play.
Who wins? Rules and pay table
With all bets in, the dealer reveals her hand. She must have Ace-King or better to qualify. If the dealer doesn’t qualify, the ante pays 1-1 and all other bets are returned, regardless of what you are holding.
If the dealer qualifies and has a better hand than you, you lose all wagers. If your hand is better, you win according to the following pay table:
- Ace King & one pair pay 1 to 1
- Two pair pay 2 to 1
- Three of a kind pay 3 to 1
- Straight pays 4 to 1
- Flush pays 5 to 1
- Full house pays 7 to 1
- Four of a kind pays 20 to 1
- Straight flush pays 50 to 1
- Royal flush pays 100 to 1
A host of bonus bets
Russian poker is quite simple, but the number of bonus bets available can make it look complicated. First, you can pay insurance against the risk of the dealer not qualifying, which is the value of the ante. Second, if the dealer doesn’t qualify and you have a great hand, you can pay the same amount to replace their highest card. If that allows them to qualify and you still win, you’ll be paid according to the pay table.
There is also a bonus bet whereby you are backing yourself to get three of a kind or better. This will add a multiplier to your winnings if you are right.
Strategy tips for Russian poker
Books have been written on strategy for this game, but to get you started here are three basic rules that are worth following:
- Buy a sixth card when you have a strong hand
- Exchange two cards if the other three offer a straight flush
- Play if you have Ace-King-Queen or better