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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Video Poker Strategy

27 July 2003

Dear Mr. Robison,

I've been searching the web trying to find any reference to whether or not there is an error in the strategy for deuces wild 10-8-4-3 machines listed on page 121 of Frank Scoblete's book, Victory at Video Poker. The copyright date on my copy is 1995, but I think it's the 5th printing, 2002. I'd like to learn the proper play for deuces wild video poker, and am reading the pertinent sections in Mr. Scoblete's book. However, on page 121, rules 12 ("Three cards to a one-deuce straight flush - double inside draw") and 13 ("Four cards to a one-deuce straight - inside draw"), listed under non-deuce hands, refer to hands with deuces in them. I didn't see this occur in any other deuces wild non-deuce hand listings. Is this an error, and should these two rules be listed under deuce hands? If so, where do they fit in? If not, shouldn't there be an explanation as to why they're listed under non-deuce hands?

Also, when a rule refers to two cards to a royal flush with a jack or queen high, do the rules differ if the high card is an ace or a king? If so, why? Why wouldn't the rule be consistent for any two cards to a royal flush?

I hope you don't mind my asking you about Mr. Scoblete's book. I got tired of looking at pages that referred to the book without really discussing it, and you were listed as editor on the RGT Online games site, which stated it was presented by Mr. Scoblete. I noted that you contribute to the Atlantic City Insider. My husband goes periodically to conventions and trade shows in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. I've been debating taking the train up from Washington, DC, to Atlantic City, but I've noted some criticism that the video poker settings are different there than they are in Las Vegas, and that the return is not nearly as high in Atlantic City as in Las Vegas. Is that correct? For the price of the train ticket I can get round-trip airfare to Las Vegas, so if the return is greater there I would rather wait until we can both take some time and go to Las Vegas.

Thank you for your time and attention to these questions. I've asked more questions than I intended to when I started this message - my primary concern is with the first question concerning the deuces in the non-deuce listings. Your assistance is appreciated.

Very truly yours,
Jessica

Dear Jessica,

That definitely does look like a mistake having those rules in the non-deuce hands section. In any case, the paytable to concentrate on is the one on page 116 because it is the most widely available Deuces paytable.

The reason the rule specifies the highest card is because a two-card royal jack or queen high can lead to many more straights and straight flushes than a two-card royal king or ace high. The expected value of a two-card royal depends on what the highest card is.

There are plenty of playable video poker machines in Atlantic City, but nowhere near the number of good machines as in Las Vegas. And there aren't any good Deuces Wild machines in AC. Another thing to keep in mind is that most of Atlantic City's cashback is bounceback--that is, you have to come back to collect it on your next visit. AC is a lot closer and I think you'd have a good time, but nothing can compare to Las Vegas.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hello,

I live in Rancho Mirage, near Palm Springs, California, and I play slots at the "Indian" casinos here in California. I have noticed that certain machines (Five Times 7s, Blazing 7 Doubles, and Red, White & Blue 7s) pay over and over again. However, other machines "never" pay. Is this "normal" casino procedure?

Thank you for your wonderful column,
Kathryn

Dear Kathryn,

I would say that what you're seeing is the difference between high hit frequency machine and low hit frequency machines. Some machines are designed to pay frequent, but relatively small hits, and others are designed to pay less frequent, larger hits.

I would say that, but the machines you listed are low hit frequency machines. I suspect there's something else going on here. Perhaps you like these machines more than the others, so you watch them more frequently and you're more aware of what happens on them. You're just missing all the hits on the other machines.

It's also possible that the other machines you're comparing these machines to have even lower hit frequencies. In any case, it is normal for a casino to have machines at many different hit frequencies. Some players like lots of small hits; others prefer fewer, larger hits.

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.

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