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Best of John Robison

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Getting another kicker pure chance?

10 August 2011

John,

Always read your Q/As with interest, but your answer to the fellow who told a story about a guy being dealt four aces and a deuce cannot be correct. In the example, he discarded the 2 and caught a 4, still giving him the bonus. Pure chance!

If your theory is correct, why didn't he toss an A and get it back? C'mon!

Leo

Dear Leo,

The scene is this: Video poker machine in a racino in New York. Player A dealt four aces and a deuce. Player discards deuce and gets another kicker, a four. Happens every time, player says.

Note that I never said that it wasn't chance that player A got another kicker. What I did say is that these machines do not operate in the same was as the Class III machines, which have their own RNGs, that the writer was comparing them against.

The machine in question is a Class II video lottery terminal. The result of the hand has already been determined by a central computer system. No matter what Player A did, the machine was going to pay him for four aces with a kicker, even if it had to go to extraordinary lengths, as described by the player who wrote the original letter:

After that, I tested his theory. If I had kings and threes, I tossed the kings and kept the three, and without fail, each time I drew at least as good of a hand. The one time I didn't, the "matching card" gave me the difference.

Now, you could be right that it was pure chance that player A got another kicker. If he hadn't, the machine would have invoked the "matching card" or "fairy godmother" or whatever bonus to award the same number of credits. Presumably, if player A had discarded an ace instead, the machine would have needed to resort to the bonus to pay the credits because there are no aces left to be dealt.

The key point is that the machine is not a Class III machine. It doesn't operate the same way and as to how it actually operates, as they say, all bets are off.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
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