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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Ask The Slot Expert

20 September 2001

I played the 6-9 jacks or better video poker machines recently at Argosy Casino in Lawrenceburg, IN.

I was surprised to find that "two pair" paid only 1 coin, instead of two! If both pair were small pairs, would you be ahead to discard one of the pairs, in order to have a better shot at 4 of a kind?

Thanks,
Bill

Dear Bill,

That's a sneaky paytable. It's not really 9/6 Jacks or Better. A true 9/6 Jacks machine pays 2 for two pair.

Assuming that the other paybacks on this machine are the same as 9/6 Jacks, this machines pays back a bankroll busting 86.7% according to Bob Dancer Presents WinPoker.

I also used WinPoker to answer your question. Given a hand with two low pairs, you're far better off holding both pairs. The expected value of two pair is 8.4 and the expected value of a low pair is 3.3.

Are you sure this machine didn't pay a bonus on some of the four-of-a-kinds? It seems like an awfully stingy paytable for video poker.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John

Hi John,

You've got to remember that this was on a riverboat...ever see a riverboat give anyone a break? This was the Argosy Casino at Lawrenceburg, IN.

The rest of the payoffs were the usual 9/6 with nothing special thrown in.

The other video poker machines on board were 5/9's and 5/8's and 5/7's jacks or better. Didn't play them, as I passed them over for the 6/9's. Don't know if they were 1 coin payouts for 2 pairs or not, since I didn't play them. Will check on my next trip.

Thanks,
Bill

Dear Bill,

I have limited experience with riverboats. I just couldn't believe a casino today would have a video poker machine with a payout that low.

Definitely check the other machines there. I suspect (hope, at least) that the 8/5 machine is 8/5 Jacks, which pays back about 97%.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


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


For more information about slots and video poker, we recommend:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots by John Robison
Break the One-Armed Bandits! by Frank Scoblete
Victory at Video Poker and Video Craps, Keno and Blackjack! by Frank Scoblete
Slot Conquest Audio Cassette Tape (60 minutes) with Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Slots & Video Poker! Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete
The Slot Machine Answer Book by John Grochowski
The Video Poker Answer Book by John Grochowski
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