A Complete Strategy Guide for Oasis Poker
Oasis Poker is one of the most interesting casino poker variations available, and the strategies used for it can be fairly complicated. While it’s not as in-depth as most blackjack or video poker styles, it is more difficult than most other titles in the genre.
An Introduction to Oasis Poker
Oasis Poker is a game that offers two decisions that players can make, but the nature of each of those decisions is completely different. That’s something that sets it apart as far as other poker variations on the space are concerned.
While the strategies are more complex than pretty much any other casino poker game, they aren’t as difficult as video poker or blackjack on a high level.
What this means is that this is a game that is perfect for players who want something that has an intermediate level of complication. If you think most casino poker games are too easy and simple, but you also don’t want to devote hours and hours of your life to perfecting your blackjack or video poker technique, then Oasis Poker is a strong game with a strategic basis that will most likely appeal to you.
In the following, we’re going to break down how the rules of this game affect the relevant strategies and show you how to play this game on a very high level without having to put a ton of time into it.
Relevant Rules and Procedures
The basis flow of the game goes as follows:
- The player makes a wager called the ante.
- The player and dealer are given cards with the player able to see all five of his or her own cards while only one of the dealer’s cards are exposed.
- The player has the option to discard any number of his own cards to receive new ones. The cost changes based on how many cards are discarded.
- After the discard (or standing pat), the player can fold or raise. Folding gives up the cards and the ante wager.
- If the player raises, an additional bet called the raise is made. It’s always worth exactly twice the value of the ante.
- The dealer’s cards are turned over to see if he qualifies with at least ace-king high.
From there, payouts are determined according to the following:
- Dealer Doesn’t Qualify – Player is paid 1:1 on the ante, raise is returned
- Dealer Qualifies, Dealer Wins – Player loses the ante and raise
- Dealer Qualifies, Player Wins – Player is paid 1:1 on the ante, the raise is paid based on the pay table below
- Dealer Qualifies, Ties With Player – Both of the wagers are returned to the player
The decision to fold or raise is primarily determined by the hands that the dealer can qualify with or not and the resulting math that comes from that, which we’ll simplify in the following sections.
The pay table for the raise, which is particularly relevant to the drawing portion of the game, is listed in the following as multiples of the raise value (which is twice the size of the ante):
- Royal Flush – 100x
- Straight Flush – 50x
- Four of a Kind – 20x
- Full House – 7x
- Flush – 5x
- Straight – 4x
- Three of a Kind – 3x
- Two of a Kind – 2x
- Any Other Hand – 1x
The higher payouts for certain hands that you can draw to is the main mechanism for determining how to play the discard decision, as we’ll get into below.
Strategic Considerations for Oasis Poker
We are going to break up our discussion of strategy for this game into two parts and give the basics of what you need to know to play well in general. While this will not have you playing 100 percent perfectly every single time because of a variety of fringe cases, this will get you pretty close.
Playing the Discard Decision
If you discard a single card, you only have to pay the cost of the ante. However, carding two cards means you have to pay twice the cost of the ante, and discarding three means you pay 3x the cost of the ante. Because the cost is so high for discarding two or more cards, it’s never correct to do so.
Because of the higher payouts for royal flushes and straight flushes, you can always discard one card to those four-card draw, even if it involves splitting up what would otherwise be a pair. Playing for these major draws is worth more profit to you on average than keeping even a pair of aces.
If you don’t have a flush in your hand, then you can also discard one profitably to go after a flush or an open-ended straight draw (also known as an outside straight draw). However, if you have a pair in your hand as well, you will want to avoid the discard and keep the pair instead, even if it’s as low as a pair of twos.
There are two fringe cases where you can play a little differently:
- If you have four to a flush with a pair that’s on the low side (22-55), and the dealer’s card is higher than your pair, then drawing to the flush is often the better choice.
- If you have four to an inside straight draw (also known as a gutshot straight draw), and the dealer’s card is lower than three of the cards that would make up that draw, then you can usually go for the draw profitably.
Those situations aside, you should generally avoid discarding anything at all.
Playing the Raise or Fold Decision
When it comes to the second decision in Oasis Poker, you should completely ignore how the discards went and whether you discarded any or none. Instead, all you need to focus on is the card that the dealer is showing and the value of your hand.
There are two hard rules for this part of the hand:
- If you have any made hand that’s a pair of twos and up, then you always raise with no exceptions.
- If you do not have any kind of made hand and have ace-queen high or lower, then you always fold with no exceptions.
This leaves the uncommon but key case of having ace-king high, which in turn follows its own two rules:
- If the dealer’s card is an ace or a king, then you raise only if you also have a queen or jack in your own hand.
- If the dealer’s card is not an ace or a king, then you raise only if it matches one of your own cards.
This may seem like an overly simplified strategy, but it’s based on very sound mathematical principles that are beyond the scope of this guide.
The strategies involved in Oasis Poker are in-depth enough to keep the game from getting boring for most players. However, they are definitely not as in-depth as what you’ll find in games like video poker or blackjack.
This provides a sort of “sweet spot” for players who want something a little more challenging than the average casino poker game without getting in over their heads. In that way, Oasis Poker strategy is the perfect stepping stone for seeing if you would like to get your feet wet with something that will bring you a higher degree of complications in the future.