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The royal treatment at video poker

3 December 2015

Each year when I go to the Global Gaming Expo, I spend six nights in Las Vegas. I always have some extra projects and meetings going on around expo time, and I play a lot less than you would think. It’s a busy, busy time.

Nonetheless, I manage to squeeze in a little play time, mainly on my first couple of nights in town. And always, there are stories to collect.

I was at Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall, several miles east of the Strip. One of the attractions is that it’s one of the few casinos around that still has full-pay Deuces Wild. That’s a prime reason I stay there for the couple of days that I have the most time to play.

Full-pay Deuces Wild is a rare, wonderful game that returns 100.8% to players, given expert play. When I found one empty seat at a bank of machines, I grabbed it. The fellow at the end of the row apparently had been at it a while, and he was grumbling with the usual Deuces Wild player’s lament:

“You can’t play this game without deuces,” he complained. “How can you play Deuces Wild if you never get a deuce on the deal?”

I sympathized, and said you couldn’t beat it when the 2s were flowing, but when they weren’t, Deuces Wild would take your money as fast as any game the casino could put out there.

“Well, it’s been taking mine,” he said. “I have enough for three more hands, then I’m giving this session a mercy killing.”

His next hand brought 10, jack, queen and king of spades. And the draw brought the ace for a natural royal flush.

“Would you look at that,” he said, looking and sounding shocked. “Just when I was getting ready to walk away, up comes the royal.”

But as the $1,000 mounted on his credit meter, he had one almost-serious lament.

“But you notice I still can’t get any deuces.”




I sat down at a Triple Play Poker machine with a multiple-progressive jackpot. There were separate progressives on the top, middle and bottom hands, plus one bigger jackpot for anyone fortunate enough to land royal flushes on all three hands. Including the draw, you’ll get a royal about once per 40,000-to-50,000 hands, the frequency depending on your strategy for the specific game and pay table. A royal on the initial deal is a 1 in 649,740, lighting-strikes kind of event.

Seated to my right were a father and his 20-something son. They were joined by a friend, and the dad nodded toward his son and said, “He has two royals already.”

It seems the son had been dealt four parts of a royal, and drew the fifth card on both the top and bottom hands, while missing in the middle. It wasn’t the big, three-royal jackpot, but two royals make for a nice payday.

Not long after the exchange, the friend called out to the dad, “Can I get one of these?” He had king, queen, jack, 10 of diamonds and was getting ready to draw. The dad said, “I don’t see why not.”

On the top hand, the draw brought the ace of diamonds, a progressive royal worth $1,034. The dad said, “Wait, let me take a picture of this.” He did, and texted to his wife.

Apparently after the son’s two royals, this one was nothing special to the wife. She texted back, “You guys ALWAYS get royals.”
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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