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Ask the Slot Expert: Sequential Royal Video Poker

27 August 2014

By John Robison, Slot Expert™

I am currently in Cripple Creek Colorado. I was in Johnny Nolon's Casino a few hours ago. They had a 25-cent video poker machine that had a payout for a sequential royal. The current value for the sequential royal was $12,994.57. I looked at the pay table but I didn't write it down so I am not sure what the percentage was.

I thought it might be worth a gamble of some amount just to see what happens as you never know. Or are the odds so terrible that it would be a waste of my money? Maybe just stick with the regular 9/6?

The Wizard of Odds analyzed sequential royal video poker at http://wizardofodds.com/games/video-poker/tables/sequential-royal/. He states that "a sequential royal that pays 10,000 adds about 0.23% to the return of any non-wild card game." His 10,000 unit payout is per coin assuming full-coin play. So a 10,000 unit payout is 50,000 when five coins are played, or $12,500 on a quarter machine, pretty close to your progressive payout. You can add 0.23% to the long-term payback of the rest of the paytable to get this paytable's long-term payback. (Note that a sequential royal is 10 to Ace, left to right only.)

The Wizard calculated that the probability of hitting a sequential royal is 0.00000025, or 1 in 4,000,000 hands. If the rest of the paytable on this machine is good (like 9/6 Jacks), you can play this machine and hope for that extra bonus if you hit one of those rare sequential royals. If the rest of the paytable is less than full-pay, then find a better paytable. The bonus for the sequential royal hits too infrequently to add much to the long-term payback.


Where can I buy the pocket cards for all of the different video poker games? What is the best computer program and smartphone app to use? I was wondering if any of them have an option where you can analyze any dealt hand so you can see what you should hold or trash.

Let's start with the smartphone app. I don't have any video poker software installed on my Android-based phone, so I don't have any firsthand experience with any of the phone apps. I have used WinPoker on the PC, though, and there is an iPhone version available (Zamzow Software).

In addition to WinPoker, I've used Frugal Video Poker, which is free now because it hasn't been updated for many years. The people who wrote Frugal Video Poker offer a more up-to-date program called Wolf Video Poker. I haven't used it, but I found Frugal Video Poker to be a good program. You can get more info at www.wolfvideopoker.com. Another good choice is Bob Dancer's Video Poker for Winners available from ShopLVA.com and VideoPoker.com. All of these programs let you analyze specific hands.

Speaking of the VideoPoker.com site, you can also analyze hands there, but that requires a gold membership, which also gives you a discount on Video Poker for Winners. The VideoPoker.com site is my current place for practicing video poker, at first because I didn't install any of the software I own on my new PC and now because I really like the site.

Moving on to strategy cards, you can get Bob Dancer and Liam Daily's strategy cards from ShopLVA. I find these cards a bit too big for easy carrying, so I use Dan Paymar's cards. These are small enough to fit in a shirt pocket or wallet when not needed. The extra space on the Dancer/Daily cards is used to present different strategies, from beginner to advanced, which takes into account penalty cards. I analyzed the difference between playing the mathematically perfect strategy for 9/6 Jacks and the one on Paymar's card and the difference was 0.01 percentage points (99.53% versus 99.52%). It's not worth the effort to learn the complicated penalty card strategy unless you play a lot -- I mean a lot -- or for high stakes. And even then it might not be worth it. The difference on $10,000,000 in action is $1000.


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at slotexpert@comcast.net. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

Copyright © John Robison. Slot Expert and Ask the Slot Expert are trademarks of John Robison.

 

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John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots