First introduced in 2011, High Card Flush is a fairly new table game that was inspired by flush rankings in poker. Just like other popular poker-based casino games such as Three Card Poker or Caribbean Stud, High Card Flush is played against a dealer using a 52-card deck. The goal of this game is simply to make the highest flush ranking possible (multiple cards of the same suit) using the 7 cards you are dealt. All hands are ranked based on the strength of any 3+ card flush.
The rules for betting in High Card Flush are unique and unlike most other table games – the better your hand is, the more money you can wager. For example, if you are dealt a six-card or seven-card flush, you are allowed to wager 3x your initial bet. There are also two optional side bets which offer large bonuses that pay up to 8,000:1 (for a 7-Card Straight Flush). This adds another level of excitement to the game by giving players multiple ways to win big.
Though it was once a relatively unknown game that was only available at one casino, High Card Flush has slowly but surely gained popularity since being introduced in 2011. Over the last several years it has attracted a large following of loyal players and is now available at many casinos in the United States.
How To Play High Card Flush
Since High Card Flush uses basic poker flush rankings to determine the winner, it is a pretty straightforward game. Regardless of whether you’re familiar with how to play poker or not, High Card Flush is actually one of the easiest table games to learn, so you should have no problem picking up on the rules.
When you sit down at a High Card Flush table you will start off by placing an ante bet. The ante bet is your primary wager, and it’s required to play. This will determine the amount of your next bet (if you decide to play the hand). You also have the choice of placing two optional side bets; the flush bonus and straight flush bonus (explained below).
If you follow proper strategy while playing, you will end up calling 67.86% of the time. The dealer will typically have a qualifying hand 75.36% of the time, and there is a 0.08% chance the dealer will push with any player(s).
Flush Bonus Side Bet
The Flush Bonus is an optional side bet that pays out if you are dealt a flush of 4 or more cards, regardless of whether you have a winning hand or not. The odds and payout structure differ from one casino to another, so we have listed the Flush Bonus paytable from Dover Downs as an example:
7-Card Flush 300:1
6-Card Flush 100:1
5-Card Flush 10:1
4-Card Flush 1:1
Straight Flush Bonus Side Bet
The second side bet offered in High Card Flush is the Straight Flush Bonus, which has the highest possible payout in the game. This bet pays extra for hands with a straight flush of 3 or more cards. As is the case with the Flush Bonus, the payout structure offered will vary from one casino to the next. For the sake of example, we have listed the Straight Flush Bonus paytable from Dover Downs below:
7-Card Straight Flush 8,000:1
6-Card Straight Flush 1,000:1
5-Card Straight Flush 100:1
4-Card Straight Flush 60:1
3-Card Straight Flush 7:1
Evaluating Your Hand
Once all bets have been placed, every player at the table (including the dealer) will receive 7 cards. They are dealt face-down, so you won’t know what kind of hand the dealer has. After all cards have been dealt you should evaluate your hand based on two factors; the number of cards you have in the same suit and the value of the cards. As is the case with other variations of poker, Aces are the highest ranking card (followed by K, Q, J etc.) and no one suit has any greater value or ranking over another suit.
The first step is to see how many cards you have in any one suit (heart, spade, clubs or diamonds). This is commonly referred to as “maximum flush” and will help determine the strength of your hand; the more cards that you have in the same suit, the stronger your hand is. For example, if you receive a hand with a four-card flush it will beat any hand with a 3-card flush, but will lose to hands with a flush of 5 or more cards.
The second step is to consider the strength of your hand based on flush rankings in poker. This is determined by the highest card(s) in your flush. For example, a hand containing a flush of K-Q-J-10 would beat a hand with a maximum four-card flush of Q-J-10-9, but lose to a hand with a maximum four-card flush of A-2-3-4. The best possible hand a player can have is a 7-card straight flush with A-K-J-Q-K-10-9-8.
Upon evaluating the strength of your hand, you will need to decide whether you want to continue playing or not. This is done by either folding, calling or raising your ante bet. Basic strategy dictates that players should raise with suited J-9-6 or higher and fold with suited 9-7-4 or lower. Hands with suited 9-7-5 to J-9-5 are a toss-up.
Fold: Surrender, losing your ante bet.
Call/Raise: Place a second bet that is equal to (at least) the ante bet. The maximum amount of the call wager depends on the rank of your hand:
– Two-card, three-card, or four-card flushes: The maximum call wager is equal to the ante wager.
– Five-card flushes: The maximum call wager of 2x the ante wager.
– Six-card or seven-card flushes: The maximum call wager is 3x the ante wager.
After all players make their decisions, the dealer’s cards are revealed to the table. Similar to the rest of the table, the dealer must evaluate their hand and determine their best flush based on the standards listed above. If the dealer does not have at minimum a three-card flush with a nine-high, all of the players at the table have their ante bets paid and their call bets are pushed.
However, if the dealer does in fact have at least a three-card flush with a nine-high their hand is compared to each of the player’s hands according to the following scale:
Players with a higher-ranking hand win both their ante and call wagers at even money.
Players with a lower-ranking hand lose both their ante and call wagers.
Players with the exact same ranking hand as the dealer push both their ante and call wagers.
Lastly, any bonus wagers will be evaluated and paid or collected accordingly.
High Card Flush Origins and History
A man named Mike Pertgen came up with the original concept for High Card Flush in 2010. At that time, Pertgen was working as a dealer at Rio in Las Vegas. For reasons unknown, he came up with an idea for a new table game based on poker flush hand rankings and started developing it. He went on to partner with a company called Red Card Gaming to help with marketing. In 2011 the first High Card Flush table debuted at Harrah’s in Laughlin, NV – but it did not receive much attention.
Galaxy Gaming Acquires the Rights to High Card Flush
In September of 2012, the rights to High Card Flush were acquired by Galaxy Gaming; a leading developer, manufacturer and distributor of table games and other products for the casino industry. Seeing untapped potential, the company immediately made several improvements to the original game. In October of 2013 Galaxy Gaming introduced the new and improved version of High Card Flush to the gambling industry at the annual Global Gaming Exposition in Las Vegas.
The improvements also helped High Card Flush earn the “Best New Table Game of 2012″ title from Casino Journal. Just a few months later, in January of 2013, the game was placed inside of 10 casinos across Nevada, California, and Washington for testing. This time around, it was extremely well received and the game was deemed a success.
The rights to High Card Flush are still owned by Galaxy Gaming to this day, and the game has been introduced to a number of casinos across the United States.