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Best of John Grochowski
A shuffle through the gaming mailbag17 April 2007
A. On Class II machines, identifiable by the bingo logo on the glass or screen, strategy does not matter. The machine has to pay you the amount determined by the bingo pattern drawn. If you make what would be a costly mistake on a regular Class III video poker machine, the Class II machine has to pay you anyway. That's the reason for the genie.
The woman who was doing all the winning was having a very lucky session. Her strategy made no difference.
Class II machines are used primarily at Native American casinos that do not have compacts with the state, or those that have a limit on the number of Class III games written into their compacts. They then augment that Class III limit with Class II games to meet demand.
Class II games generating bingo patterns rather than random numbers corresponding to reel symbols or playing cards. In a Class II video poker game, you're getting a poker interface, and the appearance of a game with strategy, but your strategy doesn't really make a difference in the same way it does on a Class III game. The genie is there to fix up any mistakes that would cost you a win.
A. First question first. The different games use different electronic decks in the sense that each game on a multi-game machine has its own random number generator. Essentially, Bonus Poker is dealing from a different deck than Bonus Poker Deluxe.
As for patterns in the draws, there aren't any. There are enough possible pairs to draw that you'll wind up with two pair fairly frequently just because of the odds of the game. Starting with a pair of Aces and discarding the other three cards, there are 16,125 possible draws. The most frequent result will be that you'll be left with just the pair --- that makes up 11,520 of the possible results. But the next most frequent result, with 2,629 possible hands, is that you'll wind up with two pair again. The remainder of the possibilities are 1,842 three of a kind hands, 169 full houses and 45 hands that include four of a kind.
Note that 16.3 percent of the time, you'll be right back to two pairs, and you'll hit your four Aces only 0.28 percent of your draws that start with holding two Aces.
The return to two pairs is frequent enough that it can happen several times in a row, leaving the impression that it "always" happens. That's an effect of selective memory --- and we all have selective memory to some degree. But if you kept track for a very long time, you'd find that your most frequent result was winding up with just the one pair, followed by two pairs and then three of a kind.
A. Index numbers are a tool for card counters that tells them when to deviate from basic strategy. For example, a Hi-Lo counter will split 10s against a dealer's 6 if four more low cards than high cards per deck have been dealt --- the index number for that particular hand is plus-4. Non-card counters need not worry about index numbers.
Listen to John Grochowski's "Beat the Odds" tips Saturdays at 6:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 7:41 p.m. and Sundays at 8:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 10:42 p.m. on WBBM-AM, News Radio 780 in Chicago, streaming online at www.wbbm780.com, and to his casino talk show from 7 to 8 p.m. Saturday on WCKG-FM (105.9), streaming at http://1059freefm.com.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
Best of John Grochowski