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Best of John Grochowski

Gaming Guru

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The Casino Answer Man

19 October 1999

I have a friend who, when she gambles, plays only video poker. In the last 10 months - and she gambles maybe every four to six weeks - she has hit a royal flush SIX TIMES! She's done this at different locales: Trump's in Gary, Las Vegas and Iowa. Sometimes she's playing dollars, sometimes quarters, sometimes one coin, sometimes five, but altogether she's won at least $4,500. Is she just very, very lucky or would you consider her to be an expert player?

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.

* * * * *

I was interested in your column on video poker for the computer. I tried Comp USA, Best Buy and Office Depot and they did not have Bob Dancer Presents WinPoker or Panamint's Video Poker Tutor. Do you happen to know where I could purchase one of these games? Since I am new to video poker on the boats, I don't understand when you talk about the poker machines on the boat and you give these numbers like 9-6, etc. What are you referring to?

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
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