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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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How is video poker dealt?

17 August 2009

John,

I am a slot manager working in a California casino and I frequently read your column to get information for my staff. I have written to you before and I was honored that you included one of my answers in one of your columns.

I have a question regarding how video poker hands are dealt. I think you have answered this question before. If so, I apologize for the repeat of the question. I have been given two explanations about how the cards are dealt. The first is that five cards are dealt and five more cards are dealt out underneath the original five. Discarding a card simply reveals the card underneath the one that is discarded. The other explanation that I have received is that the first five cards are dealt and the remaining 47 (or 48 for Joker Poker) continue to shuffle until the hold is made and the draw takes place.

Is either of these correct?

I appreciate any information you could give to me, even if it isn't included in the column.

Thank you,
Chris

Dear Chris,

I'm happy that I've been able to provide useful information for you and your staff.

Both methods have been used to deal video poker.

You might be able to see a problem with the first method, select all 10 cards at once. If you had knowledge of the RNG function, you could write a computer program to simulate the RNG and determine the five cards that aren't displayed. You would then be able to make better decisions about which cards to hold than someone who didn't know what those five cards are.

This operation may sound far-fetched, but it's exactly what a group of slot cheats did in the Midwest. As a result, all video poker machines now use the second method. They draw five cards at random to display for the deal. They then wait until the draw to select any cards needed to replace discards. This way, they are far less vulnerable to being cheated.

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