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Best of John Robison

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Ask the Slot Expert: Do video poker pay tables matter to casual players?

27 May 2012

John,

I'm a long time reader and appreciate your advice. I have two questions: one has a definite answer and the other probably doesn't. First question: I'm a longtime video poker player in AC and recently I've begun to enjoy the triple play machines. The jackpot hand is 5 aces dealt. On a .25 machine the jackpot is usually in the 60k range. Just to know what I'm up against, what is the probability of being dealt 5 aces? I know it's a real long shot; is it a million to one?

My second question is about payout tables in poker machines. Over the years I've read about how it is important to pick a game with the best payouts. The games that I like don't necessarily have the best payouts. Do payout tables really matter for a casual player? I could see them meaning something to professional gambler over many years. But for someone like myself, I believe the difference would be marginal. I'm not a slave to the tables and just play the games I like. I'd like to hear from you very much and thanks.

Danny

Dear Danny,

Thanks for the kind words about my column.

Your chances of being dealt five aces are worse than one out of a million. There are 2,869,685 combinations of five cards drawn from a 53-card deck (the Five Aces game has an extra ace in its deck) and only one combination of five aces, so your chances are 1 out of 2,869,685.

I think pay tables matter for all players. Casual players may argue that they don't play as much as often as other players, but the long run is nothing more than a number of short runs added together.

That said, some casual players may not play enough hands for the lower pay table to have a greater effect on their results than randomness (luck, if you will). Moreover, it's also important to have fun in the casino. It's your money and if you can afford to take the chance that you'll lose a little more in the long run, you can play any game you like. (Still, I'd rather see you play the machines with the better pay tables.)

Jackpots (and royals) for all,
John


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.

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