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Ask the Slot Expert: How many RNGs are there in a multi-hand video poker machine?

30 August 2017

Question: A casino near me is offering a bonus for hitting a royal flush. Should I avoid playing video poker at other casinos and on my tablet until I go to that casino?

I don't want to waste a royal.

Answer: You can play as much or as little video poker as you like without affecting your chances for hitting a royal flush when you go to play at the casino with the promotion.

We say that you hit a royal about every 40,000 hands on the average. The key phrase in the statement is on the average. You may go 40,000 between two royals. You may also have to wait 50,000 or 60,000 hands between them. You may also go just a few thousand hands between royals. And some players have even hit back-to-back royals.

There is no cosmic scorekeeper keeping track of the number of hands it's been since your last royal and influencing the video poker machines you play to keep them from hitting a royal until you've paid your dues. Your chances of hitting a royal are the same on every hand. It doesn't matter whether it's been 100 or 100,000 hands since your last royal.

The cards you get are selected at random, without regard for what happened on your last hand, how well you're doing on the machine, what promotions the casino is running, whether you're using a slot club card, the day of the week or the time of day. It's all random.

A friend of mine told me about her experience with the Double Your Royal promotion at the Gold Coast in Las Vegas. In this somewhat optimistically named promotion, you get a voucher after you hit a royal. You take the voucher to the slot club booth, where you get to pick an envelope from one of four drums, based on the denomination you were playing. Each envelope contains a slot dollar amount. The slot dollar values in the envelopes range from 25 to 200 for nickels, 50 to 1000 for quarters, 75 to 2000 for halves, and 100 to 4,000 for dollars and above.

We can be pretty sure that the distribution of values in the envelopes is going to favor the lower values and just one or a few envelopes will have the maximum value. You're probably not going to double your royal. And even if you did draw the maximum amount, you get slot dollars not cash money. There's no telling how much you'll have after playing the slot dollars.

Back to my friend's story. She hit a royal playing dollar NSU Deuces. The envelope she drew contained a slip for 250 slot dollars.

While she was playing off the 250 slot dollars, she hit another royal flush. That's fewer than 50 hands between royals. She got only 100 slot dollars as a bonus for the second royal. And, no, she didn't hit another royal that day.


Question: When playing multi-hand video poker, when you get your initial hand I understand the RNG gives you the hand. But what happens when you press draw? Say you have 100 hands. Is there only one RNG which gives you the result of all 100 hands? Or are there 100 RNGs which each give you the result per hand?

Answer: There's just one RNG. The program running the slot machine polls the RNG at the beginning of a hand to determine the five cards that will be dealt. For the draw, it will poll the RNG for each hand played to determine which cards will replace your discards.

So, if you're playing 100 hands on Hundred Play poker, the program will poll the RNG 100 times after you press the Draw button, once for each hand you're playing.


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