Whenever I’m in Las Vegas, I try to visit Bally’s Casino on the Strip. Bally’s (along with New York – New York) more than other casinos tries out new table games. On a recent trip I saw a new “9 Card Fortune Flush” game, and, like a moth to a flame, I had to investigate.
The game is fairly complicated. While I was there, my dealer was training an experienced dealer and both were having trouble.
In ultra-simplified terms (leaving out many details), you first pick either “red” or “black”. Suppose you pick “red” (which is hearts or diamonds but not both). Then you place four $5 bets on 1.) “Nine Cards”, 2.) Player’s Six”, 3.) “First Three”, 4.) “Nine Card Bonus”. Next, the dealer turns three cards up. Suppose it’s two diamonds and one club (the ranks, such as king or ace, are irrelevant).
At this point you place an additional $5 bet on the “Nine Cards” bonus. Next, the dealer gives each player 6 cards. Now you pick the most cards of your color – but only one suit. So suppose you have two diamonds, and a bunch of other stuff.
Your hand is four of a suit. At this point you’re paid or not on each of your four bets.
Whew. Now the problem with this game, and why it’ll never catch on, is not the complexity, but psychology. I was playing with a woman named Bernadette, from Texas. We were both new to the game. Bernadette was in Seat 1 and chose “red”. I then picked “red” too because otherwise we’d both be hoping for different colors on the first three cards, and in effect would be sort of virtually competing instead of cooperating. Also, if you pick “red” and then get a ton of “black” cards, it is psychologically really, really irritating – losing hurts much more than winning feels good.
This game has no chance of becoming a common game. But the math and psychology are very interesting.