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Best of John Grochowski

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A shuffle through the gaming mailbag

9 October 2007

Q. I went to the new Four Winds casino in Michigan, and found a video poker game that was really strange, and I mean that in a good way. It was called MultiPay Poker, and sometimes it paid more than the pay table said it should. I'd get three of a kind, which the pay table said paid 15 coins, and sometimes I'd be paid 15, but every once in a while I'd get 20. Do you know anything about this game? What was going on?

A. Multi-Pay is an interesting little game, one that had carved out a small niche for itself in the late 1990s before being pulled from distribution by WMS Gaming. It's available again in a spruced-up version, with Multi-Pay Deuces, Double Bonus and other games in addition to the original.

The reason for the odd payoffs is that in Multi-Pay, you get paid on every type of winning hand contained within your five cards. To use your example, most three of a kinds pay 3-for-1, or 15 coins for a five-coin wager. But when you have three Kings or three Aces, you're not only paid for the three of a kind, you're also paid 1-for-1 on a high pair. So your total return is 4-for-1, or 20 coins for a five-coin bet.

Full houses become especially valuable. You're paid not only on the full house, but on three of a kind and two pair, and if you have Kings or Aces, you'll be paid on the high pair, too. The only restriction is that you can be paid only once on a given type of hand. If your full house is three Aces and two Kings, you'll get your full house, three of a kind and two pair pays, but you'll get only one high pair payoff.

Multi-Pay was a favorite of mine in its original release. My brother, father and I once were playing together at the Tropicana in Las Vegas, and we sat down at three adjacent Multi-Pay machines. The multiple-game units also included a good video blackjack game with great rules, including early surrender. My dad wanted a demonstration of what the blackjack game could do, and my brother wanted to learn about Multi-Pay. So I switched a back and forth between the games, offering explanations as I played.

While on Multi-Pay, I drew a royal flush in spades. Party time! I was paid not only on my royal, but on the straight flush, flush and straight as well. In the original version of Multi-Pay, straight flushes paid 500 coins for a five-coin bet. Flushes paid 5-for-1 and straights 4-for-1, so my total payoff for a five-quarter bet was $1,136.25 --- $1,000 for the royal, $125 for the straight flush, $6.25 for the flush and $5 for the straight.

I was paid just before a shift change, and we kept playing. The supervisor just coming on duty for that area of the slot floor looked at the records for the previous shift, and spotted my jackpot. That puzzled her. She was used to quarter royals being an even $1,000 unless there was a progressive jackpot involved, so she came out and asked how I could have been paid such an odd amount. I explained Multi-Pay to her, and she sat down at another machine and played for a few minutes so she could see the multiple payoffs for herself.

One caution if you're going to give Multi-Pay video poker a try. The reason it's able to offer all those enhanced payoffs is that it takes away paying hands at the bottom of the pay table. Multi-Pay is a Kings or better game. You get no payoff for a pair of Jacks or Queens. Keep that in mind for strategy purposes. A single Jack or Queen is just another low card, and you never hold one on its own. Dealt a hand such as Jack-Queen-8-6-3 of mixed suits, chuck 'em all away and draw five fresh cards.

Q. If I'm playing Jackpot Party or Super Jackpot Party and I go to the bonus round, I check out where the poopers are and try to pick those boxes the next time. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Is that a reasonable way to play?

A. It's as reasonable as any way, but it really doesn't make any difference. The placement of the party poopers that end the bonus round is done by a random number generator. The chance of any given square containing a party pooper is the same in every bonus round.

Pick randomly, or pick the spaces where the poopers were last time, or pick all the blue boxes first, or pick all the corners first --- in the long run, it makes no difference. Your average returns will be about the same.

Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski