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Best of John Grochowski
The Casino Answer Man19 October 1999
Even expert players are lucky when they hit a royal flush, and royal flushes alone are not enough to tell whether a player is an expert. In fact, some non-expert plays will yield more royals in the long run than expert strategy.
Let's say you start with 6 of clubs, 6 of hearts, 8 of diamonds, 9 of spades and Queen of clubs. If you're trying to force as many royals as possible, you hold just the Queen and discard the rest. But the expert play here is to hold the pair of 6s. The frequency of hitting two pair, three of a kind, full houses or four of a kind when you hold the low pair more than makes up for giving up the long-shot chance at a royal.
The amateur's play will bring more royals, but the expert play will bring more money. The idea for experts is to find an optimal balance between going for the big one and making plays that will bring enough return to keep them going between royals.
Is your friend an expert or just very lucky? I don't have enough information to tell whether she's an expert, but there's no doubt she's been lucky.
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When you can't find gambling software or books in stores, try phoning Huntington Press or the Gambler's Book Club, both in Las Vegas. Both take credit-card orders, and both have extensive catalogs. Call Huntington Press at (800) 244-2224, or Gambler's Book Club at (800) 522-1777.
The numbers I use with video poker machines, as I try to explain from time to time, usually refer to the payoffs for one-coin bets on full houses and flushes. That's the most common area in which casinos change the pay tables to change the house edge on video poker games. A 10-7 Double Bonus Poker machine pays 10-for-1 on full houses and 7- for-1 on flushes, while 9-6 Double Bonus pays 9-for-1 on full houses and 6-for-1 on flushes. Provided the rest of the pay table is standard, the 10-7 game is a much better deal for players than the 9-6 game.
On Deuces Wild, where other payoffs often are changed, I usually use a string of four numbers, such as 25-15-9-5 or 25-16-13-4. Those are the payoffs for a royal flush with wild cards, five of a kind, a straight flush and four of a kind. In some cases, I'll also list the full house payoff - 25-15-9-4-4 means four of a kind pays only 4-for-1, but full houses have been boosted to 4-for-1.
For more information about video poker, we recommend:The Slot Machine Answer Book by John Grochowski
Victory at Video Poker and Video Craps, Video Keno, and Video Blackjack by Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Slots & Video Poker! Videotape written by Frank Scoblete
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of John Grochowski