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Best of John Grochowski

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The best of video poker and roulette

17 November 2013

QUESTION: You have said that for a serious video poker player, it is best if a person sticks to the following machine: 9-6 Double Double Bonus Poker with full houses paying 9-for-1 and flushes paying 5-for-1. You went on to say that an expert player could then expect as much as a 98.98 percent return, with the equivalent house edge of only 1.02 percent.

Do you know of any online casinos offering the above and if so, may I know who they are?

Lastly, I am looking to purchase software that would train me by simulated playing and teach me how to improve my plays and am wondering what would be the name of the software and where I could get it. Could you also recommend a good book?

ANSWER: First off, a couple of clarifications. In 9-6 Double Double Bonus Poker, flushes pay 6-for-1, not 5-for-1. I had a typo in a recent column that listed the 5-for-1 payoff, and for that I apologize. When numbers are used before the name of a video poker game, they almost always refer to the returns on full houses and flushes, so 9-6 Double Double Bonus pays 9-for-1 on full houses and 6-for-1 on flushes, while the 8-5 version pays 8-for-1 on full houses and 5-for-1 on flushes.

Second, 9-6 Double Double Bonus isn’t the best of all video poker games. It’s one of the most popular because of the 2,000-coin jackpot on four aces with a low-card kicker. And as casinos have reduced their video poker pay tables in recent years, it’s one of the easiest full-pay games to find. If hunt through the locals casinos in Las Vegas, you can find full-pay Deuces Wild (100.8 percent), 10-7-5 Double Bonus (100.2) -- the extra number refers to a 5-for-1 return on straights -- and other high-payers that are rare elsewhere.

In the reader’s full, uncondensed e-mail, he asked specifically about an online casino. I do not have listings of what pay tables are available for online casinos. Those interested in available pay tables at brick-and-mortar casinos in the United States should check out the VP Free website, www.vpfree2.com. Click on “Casinos,” and then you can click on regions to find the best video poker games at each casino.

A quick glance finds the game at eight Atlantic City casinos, eight in Colorado, six in Illinois, dozens in Las Vegas -- nearly every jurisdiction in the country has 9-6 DDB. It seems to have become the game of choice for operators who want to appeal to choosy video poker players without really offering the very best games.

As for software, at different times on different computers, I use Bob Dancer’s Video Poker for Winners, Jean Scott’s Frugal Video Poker and Dean Zamzow’s WinPoker. All can be set for different games and pay tables and will alert you when you are making mistakes. Video Poker for Winners and Frugal Video Poker will generate strategy tables. WinPoker doesn’t do that, but I find it the easiest to use when I need to adjust to a pay table that’s not one of the basics already included on the software.

One book recommendation: “The Video Poker Edge” by Linda Boyd.

QUESTION: If I bet a single number in roulette, it pays 35-1, even though there are 38 numbers including 0 and 00, and the real odds are 37-1. I understand the house has to make its money, but what if some enterprising casino split the difference and paid 36-1? What would that do to the house edge?

ANSWER: The house edge on a single-number bet on a double-zero wheel is 5.26 percent. If you changed the payoffs so the bet paid 36-1, the house edge would be reduced to 2.78 percent.

That’s just marginally higher than the 2.7 percent house edge on a single-zero wheel. For a casino that wanted to offer a game with a house edge in that range, it would be easier to use a single-zero wheel than to get into fractional payoffs on other wagers.

Example: A two-number split bet pays 17-1, and has a house edge of 5.26 percent on a double-zero wheel -- the same house edge as single numbers and almost every other bet on the layout. To get the house edge to 2.78 percent, the payoff would have to be 17.5-1. Casinos aren’t going to want to deal in fractions.
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:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> 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