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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Which game should I play?

3 August 2009

Hi John,

I always look forward to your columns.

In your opinion, is an average video poker player better off choosing a game with a higher percentage long-term payback or settling for one with a lower percentage with a game that the player is more familiar with?

I looked at a couple of sites that recommended certain machines at different Vegas casinos, some Double Bonus Poker and some Jacks or Better and some Deuces Wild Bonus Poker. I am more comfortable playing Jacks or Better but 9/6 machines can not be found.

We just returned from a trip to Vegas and I didn't have much luck this time but still enjoyed the trip.

Thanks for all the bits of info you have given.

Ed

Dear Ed,

Thanks for the kind words about my columns.

As a general rule, you're usually better off playing the pay table with the higher long-term payback even though you don't know the correct strategy for it -- provided we're talking about a pay table in the same family as the one with which you're familiar. A 9/6 Jacks strategy is useless for Deuces Wild or Joker's Wild pay tables, but isn't too bad for any Jacks or Better, Bonus Poker or Double Bonus pay table. In fact, playing the 9/6 Jacks strategy on a 10/7 DB machine gives a higher long-term payback than playing it on a 9/6 Jacks machine. I wouldn't use the 9/6 Jacks strategy on a pay table with kickers, but I have to admit that I've never run an analysis to see what the long-term payback would be.

One other thing to consider: For a short run of a few thousand hands, randomness is going to have a bigger effect on your results than the pay table and your strategy, so it doesn't really matter which game you play.

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