I enjoy the casual card game, and from time to time I play poker and its many variants with friends. One of the more popular but frustrating games to play is Acey-Deucey.

The rules to Acey-Deucey, or In-Between, are fairly simple: dealer turns up two cards in succession. Player must make a bet in accordance to the expectation that a third card will fall within them. Win, and take the bet from the pot; lose, and pay it in. If the third card matches one of the first two, the loss is doubled. The game ends when someone gets a big spread, yells “Pot!” and wins the hand.

Acey-Deucey is popular because of the suspense and general table-wide humiliation that it causes. All too often someone calls “Pot!” on a decent hand and loses. This leads to a nice round of razzing and a larger pool of money for everyone else to conceivably mine.

The problem with this game, from a player’s standpoint, is that one’s chances of winning are pretty terrible. (You know the chances are against you if a casino is willing to play you and give you odds.) Let’s take a closer look.

There are 13 cards in a deck of cards, 14 if you count the ace as both low and high, since the ace can sometimes be low in this game. The only opportunities to win in Acey-Deucey are the thin windows in between the two drawn cards. At absolute best—ace low, ace high—the player has a 12 in 13 chance of winning on the next card. Usually, however, the cards are closer together, and that’s when problems set in.

Take, for example, Jack-3. Looks like a nice wide spread, doesn’t it? Tempts a lot of people to say “pot” when the pot isn’t too large, too. Except J-3 only has a 7 in 13 chance of winning: just 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 are winning draws. Suddenly what looks like a pretty solid hand only has 54% odds on it.

Moderate hands are actually the most dangerous. Nine-2? Sure, why not? But the odds drop to 46% on 9-2, enough to make Foxwoods some money and cost the player some coin. I’m not running full data at the moment, but a good number of hands are tight spreads like 3-5 or 7-8 that have nearly nonexistent chances of winning. All these hands do is up the size of the pot for a daring soul in a lucky moment.

Of course, some hands are solid; King-2 runs 10/13, or 77%, to win. But put fifty dollars jellybeans in the middle of the table and six friends saying “POT!” and suddenly you’ve got a nice maelstrom of aggravation on your hands. Which, of course, is why it’s fun, but also why I can’t stand the game.

Me, I like Screw Your Neighbor.