While attending a Cutting Edge Tables Games Conference in 2016 to promote my
Poker For Roulette side bet, several of the break out session presenters
were using the same clip from Vegas Vacation, where Clark and Cousin Eddie go to that odd casino where
the games are a little
The final game played at that casino, is shown here. While simple in nauture,
"Pick A Number" used no device to determine the winner. And no device to indicate what
number was selected by the player. 'Ripe for cheating by the dealer' is an understatement.
Despite the absurdity of the game, seeing the same clip multiple times in one afternoon, it
made me wonder: Is there a way to make a fair version of the game, with a reasonable house edge?
With an initial desire to make it a 1-10 thing, I started with concepts that included using
a home style Bingo ball and cage, with balls numbered 1 thru 10. Realizing that there may be problems
with testing the fairness of such a device, I switched to using cards. A short deck of 3 or 4 suits,
with all the picture cards removed, but one joker inserted. Much like a zero in Roulette, the joker
became the source of the house edge.
It didn't feel right, particularly when I started to consider the side bet and the Joker.
Then, when walking thru a casino, I passed a Sic Bo table that was closed. While I am no fan
of all the different ways to bet on the outcome of three dice, the basic/bottom bet of just picking
a single value, and getting various payouts based on the number of hits, intrigured me.
After spending some more time with Excel, the concept of using a standard deck of 52 cards, NO
joker, and picking three cards, was exactly what I needed. With the multiple payouts available for a
single bet, it's easy to come up with a comfortable house edge. Picking three cards also introduces
the option of a Three Card Poker style side bet.
Last, I added a jackput when one of the rarest three card hands is followed by another of
those rare three card hands, and Pick A Card was born.