Latest DraftKings Originals Feature Comedy Celebrity Tie-Ins

Comedians Kevin Hart and Andrew Dice Clay each have their own game now at DraftKings Casino.

Retail casinos and the stand-up comedy business have a long history together, particularly in Las Vegas. It’s all part and parcel of live entertainment for adults.

Online, the connection is less obvious. But DraftKings has been investing heavily in developing games in-house to differentiate itself. Celebrity tie-ins may be just what it needs to attract attention to these unique offerings.

Two new games featuring Hart and Clay recently appeared on DraftKings Casino:

  • Hart-Race Hold’em
  • DraftKings Andrew Dice Clay Craps

Hart’s name is one that American players may already associate with poker. He served as a brand ambassador for PokerStars beginning in 2017. After that relationship came to an end, he signed on with rival Partypoker in 2020.

DraftKings doesn’t currently have a player-versus-player online poker product. However, there have been signs in the past that it has thought about launching one. Hart-Race Hold’em may be a test of poker’s popularity – and that of Hart himself – with DraftKings players.

As for Clay and craps, “Dice” is right there in his name. Thematically, it’s a natural fit, though the comedian himself may not be familiar to younger players. He was prominent in the late 1980s and early 1990s, so most likely to resonate with Gen X gamblers.

Both games feature the cartoon likeness and voice clips of the comedian in question.

How Hart-Race Hold’em Works

Kevin Hart makes for an exceptionally aggressive and annoying Hold'em opponent.There are dozens of variations of casino poker on the market. Hart-Race Hold’em might be the one that most closely resembles real poker, however. For now, it seems to be available only in New Jerseybut may come to other states in time. The unique mechanics mean that regulatory approval may take some time.

Structurally, it’s almost identical to playing a heads-up sit-and-go on any real money poker site. You choose your stake and play a quick tournament against a virtual representation of Kevin Hart. If you get all of his chips, you double your money. If he gets yours, you lose.

There are just three twists: First, the computer opponent simply goes all-in every hand without regard to its hole cards. Obviously, that provides the human player with a big strategic advantage, so to compensate, “Hart” gets twice as many chips to start with.

Finally, there’s a bad beat jackpot. If you make a big hand using both hole cards and Hart beats you (also using both cards), you’ll receive an immediate bonus, depending on the strength of your hand:

  • Four-of-a-Kind or Better: 1000x your wager
  • Aces Full: 100x your wager
  • Any other Full House: 10x your wager

Hart-Race Hold’em Strategy

All told, these rules create a game with a theoretical maximum return-to-player of 98.23%. That’s worse than most blackjack variants but better than, say, roulette.

Of course, if you make mistakes, your RTP will be worse. Fortunately, DraftKings provides a table you can consult if you want to know the optimal move in a given situation. Click on Options (the gear wheel icon) and then Pay Table. Then find your card combination in the grid, and it will tell you the minimum effective stack for which you should be playing the hand.

Note that the optimal strategy might be counter-intuitive for players used to playing heads-up against human opponents.

Conventional poker reasoning says that you should play any cards that are better than 50/50 against a random hand. However, because Hart is guaranteed to play sub-optimally, the human player needs to play exploitatively. The correct move is often to fold a lot of hands that would have a small positive expected value and wait for ones where the edge is larger.

Is Hart-Race Hold’em Fun?

If you like heads-up poker but don’t feel like playing against a human, Hart-Race Hold’em provides an entertaining experience.

In fact, if you’re not an above-average poker player, you may be saving money by doing so. The 1.77% house edge is less than you’d be losing to the rake playing real poker against an equally skilled human. That’s assuming you’re studying the table and playing perfectly against Hart, of course.

That said, how enjoyable you’ll find the game depends on your sense of humor and tolerance for bad beats. Playing heads-up against an unreasonably aggressive human opponent can be one of the most frustrating tournament poker experiences. This is, quite explicitly, a simulation of that exact scenario. The virtual Hart even blusters, gloats and taunts you.

It’s funny at times but also frustrating. Those with a tendency to tilt might want to find a different game.

Andrew Dice Clay Craps

Andrew Dice Clay Craps is simply a reskin of DraftKings Craps with celebrity voice-overs.As for the other game, it’s really just DraftKings Craps with new graphics and a celebrity voiceover. There are no unique mechanics here, and the same array of side bets as in the generic version.

Here, the virtual Andrew Dice Clay serves as your dealer rather than an opponent. Hilariously, the first decision the game offers you is whether to allow profanity or not. That was, after all, basically his entire schtick back in the day.

After that, it’s just craps with a catchy soundtrack and a Brooklyn accent. Good for dice-lovers and Dice-lovers alike.

About the Author

Alex Weldon

Alex Weldon

Alex Weldon is an online gambling industry analyst with nearly ten years of experience. He currently serves as Casino News Managing Editor for Bonus.com, part of the Catena Media Network. Other gambling news sites he has contributed to include PlayUSA and Online Poker Report, and his writing has been cited in The Atlantic.
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