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Ask the Slot Expert: When does progressive 8/5 Jacks go positive?

16 February 2017

By John Robison, Slot Expert™

Question: I play the Progressive Joker Poker machines in Harrah's AC. I am wondering what the odds are of getting five-of-a-kind.

Answer: You can expect to hit a five-of-a-kind about once every 11,000 hands, on the average on Joker Poker.

The key phrase is on the average. You won't get a quint every 11,000th hand. But if you divide the number of times you hit a five-of-a-kind by the total number of hands you played, the ratio will get closer and closer to 1/11,000 the more you play.


Question: I have two separate questions and think about them a lot as I play my favorite slot and video poker games. First, on progressive video poker, how much does the progressive jackpot add to the overall payout percentage? In other words, if I am on a 8/5 Jacks or Better, at what amount does the jackpot need to be to create a positive expectation?

Second, I love to play the lightning strike type games and there is a choice of four different denominations: penny, two cents, nickels and dimes. Is the slot machine programmed at the same payout percentage for all four denominations or as I choose the higher denomination does the payout percentage set on the machine increase?

Answer: Starting with your second question, it's possible that the long-term payback can be higher for the higher denominations. We definitely see this on multi-denomination video poker machines, where we can tell the long-term payback from the paytable.

On a slot machine, though, we can't tell anything about long-term payback from looking at the paytable. Two machines with different long-term paybacks will have the same paytable. Slot designers change the long-term payback on a slot machine by changing the layout of the symbols on the reels, changing how frequently each symbol lands on the payline. Video poker machines can't make some cards more likely to be dealt than others, so the only way to change the long-term payback of a video poker machine is to change the paytable.

So, it's possible that the higher denominations have higher long-term paybacks, but I don't count on it. I usually play the lowest denomination choice on multi-denomination slot machines.

Turning to your first question, progressive 8/5 Jacks or Better is breakeven when the royal is worth 8666 credits. The royal flush contributes 0.02 percentage points to 8/5 Jacks' 97.3 long-term payback when the royal is the base 4,000 credits. Its contribution increases ever so slowly as the value of the royal climbs. At breakeven, its contribution is 0.05 percentage points — which is what we would expect because we have to climb about three hundredths of a percentage point to go from 0.973 to 1.00.


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at slotexpert@slotexpert.com. 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.

 

Ask the Slot Expert: Russians cheat a slot machine's RNG

8 February 2017
Question: The RNG can't be beat? Google the headline Russians Engineer a Brilliant Slot Machine Cheat and take a read. Answer: The headline refers to a recent article in Wired. The RNG cannot be beaten -- not without inside knowledge. I've written about RNG cheats many times in the past. Each time a ... (read more)
 

Ask the Slot Expert: Wheel of Fortune max bets

1 February 2017
Question: Your article on the Worst Video Poker Instruction Tape was hilarious! Can you put that on YouTube or somewhere to share? Answer: The column in question was published on this site on 09/14/16. I believe that the program is not in the public domain, so I can't post it. As I'm sure you did too, I searched for it online and couldn't find any copies. ... (read more)
 

Ask the Slot Expert: Prosecuting a slot player who cashed out credits he didn't notice were on the machine

25 January 2017
Question: I recently had my first trip to a casino. I walked up to a slot machine to play it and put my ticket in to play and played once or twice and then cashed out. When I cashed out I noticed that the amount on the ticket was more than what I thought I had won. I redeemed the ticket and was done for ... (read more)

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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
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