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Best of John Grochowski

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A shuffle through the gaming mailbag

28 July 2009

Q. My game of choice is Deuces Wild Bonus Poker, which pays a little more for five 3s, 4s and 5s, plus 400 credits for five aces, 1,000 for four deuces, and 2,000 for four deuces plus an ace. I do not usually hold a kicker but do hold the ace if I am dealt three deuces with it. Is this the optimum strategy, or should I discard the ace to give me a better chance of picking up the fourth deuce?

A. You've got it right in making the ace the only fourth-card kicker to go with three deuces.

Assuming a five-coin wager, when you start with three deuces and an ace, there are 47 possible draws. Thirty-six will leave you with four of a kind for a 20-coin return, three will bring a straight flush for 45, four will bring a wild royal flush for 125, three will bring a fifth ace for 400 and one, the last 2, will leave you with four deuces plus an ace for 2,000 credits. The average of the 47 draws is 96.91 credits.

Hold just the three 2s, and there are 1,081 possible two-card draws. By far the most common result, 820 draws, leave you with four of a kind for 20 credits. Another 113 draws are straight flushes for 45, while 36 bring wild royals for 125, 45 bring five 6s through kings for 100, 18 bring five 3s, 4s or 5s for 200, three bring five aces for 400, 43 bring four deuces for 1,000 and three bring four deuces with an ace for 2,000. The average return is 77.97 coins.

So the better percentage play is to hold an ace with three deuces. That is not true of any other card. Dealt a hand such as 2-2-2-3-king, neither the 3 nor the king brings enough return should you fill in the five of a kind to make it worth diminishing your chances at drawing a fourth deuce. Hold just the 2s.

Deuces Wild fans should note that this strategy applies ONLY to Deuces Wild Bonus Poker. On most Deuces Wild games, the best play is to hold just the three 2s, without ever-holding a fourth-card kicker.

Q. A clarification, please. I've read that if I leave a machine and another player hits a jackpot, I wouldn't necessarily have won. Does that mean it's not that particular machine that pays off, that it's based on play at all machines.

A. On the Class III slot machines we see in all commercial casinos and most Native American casinos, each machine has its own random number generator. Play on other machines does not affect the outcome on yours.

The random number generator runs continuously, even when the machine is not in use. Every split second difference in your timing in starting the reels spinning takes the RNG to a different point, giving you a different result. The combination you see on the reels will be different if you hit the button ... now ... as opposed to ... now. If you stop to tip the cocktail waitress, or glance at your neighbor's machine, or count to "1" before hitting the button, you'll get a different result.

With all that in mind, if you leave a machine, and another player sits down and hits a big payer, it is unlikely that you would have hit that same big payer. Your timing would have been different, and your results would have been different.

I once was playing video poker when a player to my left decided to change machines, and just moved down one more. Another player took that machine, and drew a royal flush right away. The first player groaned, and said, "I should have stayed where I was." But if he had stayed, it's extremely unlikely that he'd have drawn the royal. His timing would have been different.

Q. My brother-in-law is a big craps guy, and he chooses where to play by how much he can take in odds. If one casino has 3x, 4x, 5x odds and the other has 10x odds, he'll go for the 10x.

I like to play a little, but I can't afford to take full odds most of the time, anyway. If all I can afford are double or triple odds, is there any advantage to me to play at a 10x odds table?

A. If you're only going to be taking double or triple odds, then the mere existence of 10x odds makes no difference in the house edge against you. You'd be just as well off at a triple odds table most of the time.

However, if you're increasing wagers during a hot streak, the best place to increase them are on the free odds, which give no edge to the house. Keep your pass and come bets at table minimum, and up the odds. There is a potential benefit to you of having room for growth in your odds bet if you can't afford max odds at the start of play.

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:

The Craps Answer Book

> More Books By John Grochowski