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Best of John Grochowski

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Why Jacks or Better?

16 August 2015

QUESTION: It kind irritates me that you and other writers usually use Jacks or Better for examples in your articles to demonstrate a point about video poker strategy. As you are well aware, the most popular video poker game is Double Double Bonus. So why not use the most popular version of video poker?

Yes, this is my game of choice, and one that I have been playing since 1998. Why not appeal to the larger mass of video poker players to illustrate a point?

I am sure I am not the Lone Ranger out here that feels this way.

ANSWER: The answer is that Jacks or Better is the most basic video poker game, the one on which most other video poker games are based. Not all the readers of this column are video poker players, so when I want to make a point about video poker in general, I go back to the game that’s going to be the easiest for players of all games to understand.

I have written about fine points and strategies specific to Double Double Bonus Poker, as well as Bonus Poker, Bonus Poker Deluxe, Double Bonus Poker, Triple Double Bonus Poker and other games. However, using Jacks or Better as the touchstone for video poker in general, then sometimes pointing out adaptations for other games, seems like the logical way to go.

For many games, using Jacks or Better strategy will get you something not far off optimal return. The average return with expert strategy for 9/6 Double Double Bonus Poker is 98.98%. If you don’t know Double Double Bonus strategy and attack it with 9/6 Jacks or Better strategy instead, the expected return dips to 98.44%, a loss of about half a percent.

To get that extra half a percent, you need to know the quirks and special cases of Double Double Bonus, but an understanding of the basic game gets you most of the way there.


QUESTION: You write a lot about new slot bonuses. Out of all the ones you’ve seen, do you have a favorite, or a few favorites?

ANSWER: I can pick out a few I really like. Monopoly’s trip around the game board has been a favorite since its late-1990s debut. The virtual roll of the dice to collect properties is an event I find fun. No doubt my liking for it is influenced by my landing on Boardwalk twice – once on a nickel video slot, once on a quarter reel-spinner – the first time I saw the games in a casino.

I’ve had fun with a couple of racing games, NASCAR and Race Ace. It’s funny, because I’m not an auto racing fan, but I had a blast with that virtual ride around the NASCAR track, looking for openings, moving from side to side, accelerating when the opportunity came. It’s not an actual game of skill, but it has an exciting feel. Race Ace is different. Real skill is involved in the Mario Karts-like bonus event. I’m not good at it, but I like it.

I like the extras in some of the newer free spin bonus, like the Horde bonus in The Walking Dead, where zombies find gruesome ways to leave bonus symbols on the reels.

I’d have to go on for dozens of games to list all the bonuses that I think are a great time, and there’s always the proviso that a great bonus can’t save a game if players don’t get to the bonus event often enough. But these are a few I find fun.
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:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> More Books By John Grochowski