Boston Is Five

by Jason Borneo

Boston 5 is a new poker based game that is spreading quickly. I keep getting new siting reports so I no longer keep track of where it is played. Following are the rules, strategy, and house advantage for the game.

  • Play begins with the player making an ante bet and a "first wager." The first wager must be exactly double the ante.

  • There is also an optional 3 card bonus bet. The pay table can vary from casino to casino, see table 1 for one example. The player can not make this bet alone but must play the main game.

  • Players then receive 3 cards each. Sharing of information between players is not allowed.

  • If the player made the 3 card bonus bet and has at least a pair then he should show the dealer his cards to receive payment.

  • After reviewing the first three cards the player must decide to either fold or raise. If the player folds he forfeits his cards and all bets. If the player raises he must make a "second wager" exactly equal to the first wager.

  • The dealer will then deal each player still in the game two more cards.

  • Each hand is individually compared to the dealer's five-card hand, the highest hand wins.

  • If the player's hand beats the dealer's hand then the player shall win even money on the first and second wagers, and the ante shall push.

  • If the dealer's hand beats the player's hand then the player shall lose his first and second wagers and the ante.

  • If the player's hand and dealer's had are exactly equal in value (highly unlikely) the first and second wagers and the ante shall push.

  • Regardless of whether the player or dealer has the higher hand the player shall be eligible for a bonus for hands of two pair or greater, based on the ante bet. Table 2 shows what each hand pays. Note that if the player has a Oncasinogames Canada bonus hand but loses to the dealer he will still get the bonus but lose the ante bet itself.


The strategy is simple, raise on everything. Even on the worst 3-card hands raising is a much better option than folding. I also suggest avoiding the 3 card bonus bet if the flush pays 3 to 1, it is okay at 4 to 1.

House Edge

The house edge in Boston 5 is 3.32%. This is defined as the ratio of the expected plaeyr loss to the total amount bet. Normally the house edge is defined as the ratio of the loss to the initial wager. However since the player should raise all the time I felt it appropriate to measure the loss to the total wager.

The house edge on the 3 card bonus bet depends on the pay table. In the pay table above the house edge is 2.32%. At Harrah's in Las Vegas the flush pays only 3 to 1, which increases the house edge to 7.28%.


The following are only the casinos that I know of, there are probably lots more.

  • Las Vegas: Harrah's

  • Missouri

  • Indiana

  • Colorado: The Lodge

  • Mississippi

  • California: Rincon

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