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16 February 2017
By John Robison, Slot Expert™
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.
8 February 2017Question: 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)
1 February 2017Question: 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 2017Question: 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)