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Best of John Grochowski

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The Casino Answer Man

11 April 2001

Q. I started playing quarter video poker many years ago, then moved up to dollars, and now I have my eye on the $5 machines. (Don't worry! I have the money to handle the jump, and I always stay within my bankroll.) Is there anything different I should look for in a $5 game instead of a dollar game?

Big Jim

A. For the most part, video poker players should look for the same things in any denomination of machine. A 9-6 Jacks or Better machine will return 99.5 percent in the long run with expert play regardless of whether the game takes nickels or $5 tokens.

One thing that may be of concern to high-denomination players is the frequency of hands that will trigger IRS-level jackpots. Casinos are required to have players sign IRS form W-2G before they can pay any jackpot of $1,200 or more.

On $5 machines, relatively common four-of-a-kind hands trigger the IRS requirement on some games. If you're playing Jacks or Better, four of a kind returns 125 coins per five wagered, a payoff of $625 that's well below the IRS threshold. But on Double Bonus Poker, where four of a kind pays 250 coins or more, the payoff becomes at least $1,250, and that must be reported.

The average player will hit about one four of a kind per hour. If you're going to be doing IRS paperwork that often, it's essential that you keep good records so that at tax time, you can deduct gambling losses from wins.


For more information about slots and video poker, we recommend:

The Video Poker Answer Book by John Grochowski
The Slot Machine Answer Book by John Grochowski
The Casino Answer Book by John Grochowski
Break the One-Armed Bandits! by Frank Scoblete
Victory at Video Poker and Video Craps, Keno and Blackjack! by Frank Scoblete
Slot Conquest Audio Cassette Tape (60 minutes) with Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Slots & Video Poker! Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete
The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots by John Robison
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