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The Casino Answer Man (Triple Play Video Poker)

8 July 1999

I believe your column about Triple Play Poker was misleading as it did not address four-of-a-kind payouts, which can be substantial.

Example: Playing an IGT Triple Play machine with Double Double Bonus Poker, the idea is to get four of a kind. Let's say you're dealt King-King-3-3-X. The obvious strategy is to hold the Kings (since either a high pair or two pair pay 1-for-1 on Double Double Bonus). The 6-5 full house-flush payout is meaningless as you are playing for four of a kind.

The column dealt specifically with the situation of a casino that offers 9-6 Jacks or Better, paying 9-for-1 on full houses and 6-for-1 on flushes, on single-hand games, but takes those payoffs down to 6-for-1 on full houses and 5-for-1 on flushes in Triple Play Poker.

To choose to play the game with the lower pay table is foolish in the extreme. Full houses and flushes occur almost five times as frequently a fours of a kind. In 9-6 Jacks or Better, we get a full house about once per 87 hands and a flush once per 91 hands, but four of a kind occurs only once per 423 hands.

If we bet $5 on each hand--and that would mean $15 per play on the three-hand Triple Play games--by lowering the full house flush payoffs to 6-5, we throw away an average of $96 between quads that we'd have pocketed with a 9-6 pay table. That's money we need to keep us in the game between quads.

That's true even in Double Double Bonus. A 250-coin payoff on four Kings is nice, but on the average we make more than 2,000 coins worth of bets for every time we hit quads. We'd better be hitting something else along the way.

By the way, your "obvious" play of breaking up two pair to hold a pair of Kings is costing you money. Starting with a single pair, your chances of pulling four of a kind are only 1 in 360--not much better than when you started. There are 16,215 possible three-card draws, and 45 will give you four of a kind. That's vastly outweighed by the 1 in 11.75 chance of drawing a full house if you keep both pairs. Your expected average return for holding both pairs is 8.4 coins for each five played, while it's only 7.2 for holding the pair of Kings.

The casino has enough of an edge already. Don't give it something extra by accepting low pay tables and making low-percentage plays while chasing jackpots.

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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