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Four aces and 10 10s21 February 2016
The aces have to come up a lot less with the bigger payoffs, right? If they come up the same, why would anybody play for the 400 instead of the 4,000?
ANSWER: First, a couple of points of clarification: The payoffs you list assume a five-coin bet. In Bonus Poker and Double Bonus Poker all four-ace hands get the listed payoffs. In Double Double Bonus and Triple Double Bonus, you not only need four aces, you need a 2, 3 or 4 as the fifth card to win those big jackpots. Other four-ace hands pay the same 800 as Double Bonus.
Do aces come up less frequently in the Double Double Bonus and Triple Double Bonus to make the big pays less frequent? No, each card has an equal chance of being dealt in all those games.
In fact, those who play at expert level get four-ace hands more often in the games with the bigger jackpots. We get four aces once per 5,106 hands in 8/5 Bonus Poker, once per 4,567 hands in 9/7/5 Double Bonus, once per 4,252 hands in 9/6 Double Double Bonus – broken down into once per 16,236 with the low-card kicker and once per 5,761 hands without – and once per 4,578 hands in 9/7 Triple Double Bonus – broken down to once per 14,214 hands with the kicker and once per 6,751 hands without.
The reason we get aces more often in the big jackpot games is because we adjust strategies to go for them more often. Dealt ace of clubs, jack of diamonds, 7 of hearts, 4 of clubs, 2 of hearts in 9/7 Triple Double Bonus, we hold just the ace and give ourselves a long-shot chance at four aces with a kicker. Dealt the same hand in 9/7/5 Double Bonus, we hold both the ace and the jack.
The adjustments to offset the big jackpot hands come on the rest of the pay table. In Bonus Poker, with the smallest aces jackpot, two pairs pay 2-for-1, while they pay only 1-for-1 on the other games. Triple Double Bonus, with biggest jackpot, pays only 2-for-1 on three of a kind, while the others pay 3-for-1. Other pay table adjustments are made on full houses, flushes and straights.
Smaller payoffs on more frequently occurring hands make it unnecessary to tinker with card frequency to make the payback percentages come out right.
QUESTION: I have a streak story for you. I was playing blackjack in Laughlin a few years ago, there were four players, and we all get pat 20s. The dealer has a 10 up and turns over a face card, so a push, with 10 10-values in a row.
The very next hand, we all four have pat 20s again and the dealer has a face card. I declared with confidence, “We have you this time!” But he turns over another 10!
Amazing! Twenty 10 cards in a row!
ANSWER: I’ve been at tables where everyone had 20s only to let out a collective groan when the dealer turned up a second 10 for a push, but twice in a row for a whole table is painful. I checked back with Mike, who e-mailed the story, and it was a six-deck game, meaning 20 of the 96 10-value cards came out consecutively. For those who count cards, that’s a quick minus-20 and time for a breather.
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Best of John Grochowski