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Best of John Grochowski

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Dealer's hole card and dangers of video poker

28 September 2014

QUESTION: I was talking with a dealer friend, and he pointed out there are times the dealer exposes cards with no need. If every player busts, or if there is a mix of player blackjacks and busts, the dealer’s down card doesn’t make any difference in the outcome. So why turn it up? Why does a casino that’s worried about card counters give that extra information?

ANSWER: There’s another situation in which the dealer turns up his down card after bets are decided. That’s when he pays off player blackjacks, either with no other players at the table or when all others have busted. There are no remaining wagers to be settled by playing out the hand.

Still, there are a couple of reasons beyond tradition and inertia for the dealer to turn up his down card after all players bust. One is simply player confidence in the games. Showing all cards actually dealt is part of encouraging player belief in an open, honest game, similar to spreading all cards from a fresh deck before a shuffle to let players know all the cards are there.

A second reason has to do with gaming regulations. It’s common for casinos to submit to their state gaming boards a set of internal controls, to be approved by the board before the games go into operation. The internal controls describe procedures for each game. If they say the dealer will turn up his face down card, then that is the procedure the casino must follow until the internal controls are changed with approval of the gaming board.

Some gaming boards might go along with such a change; others would not.


QUESTION: I got lucky. I touched the screen to start Double Double Bonus Poker, and within a few hands I drew the four Aces with the kicker. Instead of 2,000 quarters, I got 4,000. Turns out, I’d hit Triple Double Bonus instead. I experienced the ups – can you tell me about the downs?

ANSWER: Congratulations on the big win! A four Aces plus kicker jackpot that’s as big as a royal flush is the big upside of Triple Double Bonus Poker. With expert strategy on the full-pay, 9-7 version of the game, you’ll get the Aces-plus-kicker jackpot an average of once per 14,214 hands, more than three times as often as the royals that pop up once per 45,358 hands.

Not only that. Four 2s, 3s or 4s with a low card or Ace kicker bring a jackpot of 2,000 coins with a five coin bet, instead of the 800 you’d get on Double Double Bonus. The low quads plus kicker come up once per 5,795 hands, so you have a legitimate shot at a big payoff in any session.

Problem is, you also have a heightened chance of going broke fast in any session. Three of a kind payoffs are reduced from the normal 3-for-1 to 2-for-1, and that adds a lot of volatility to the game. Instead of the standard deviation of 6.48 and variance of 30.78 you find in 9-6 Double Double Bonus, the full-pay 9-7 version of Triple Double Bonus has a standard deviation of 9.91 and a variance of 98.28.

For those who have both the temperament and bankroll to outlast long losing streaks, Triple Double Bonus is an enticing option. With expert play, the 9-7 game returns 99.58 percent, dropping to 98.15 percent with a 9-6 pay table. But it is an extreme roller-coaster, with steep plunges and sharp rises on your credit meter.

You do need to make some strategy adjustments to get the most out of TDB. For instance, dealt A-A-A-2-Jack, we hold the Aces with the kicker in TDB, but not in DDB. And dealt 2-2-2-4-Jack, we even hold the kicker with the 2s in TDB, something that shocked me the first time I ran strategy for this game, but which makes sense with the reduced payoff on three of a kind. Triple Double Bonus is very much a jackpot hunter’s game, and we do almost everything we can to maximize chances at the big hits.
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