Page 8 - Jackpot Magazine South ~ April, 2024
P. 8

Knowing the best video poker games to play
 “The smarter you play, the luckier you’ll
give you information on
the machine’s payback,
or how much you will
win. And since video
poker machines are not
all created equal, by understanding how to read a video poker machine you can scout the casino floor and find the ones that have the highest payback. As Tamburin told readers, “Your job, therefore, is to understand how to read the pay schedules, andmyjobistoshowyouhoweasyitisto do it.”
Video poker machines that have the highest payouts are known as full pay machines. For example, look at the pay schedule for the popular Jacks-or-Better video poker game (no bonus games or anything wild). The top three hands — royal flush, straight flush and four-of-a-kind — generally keep the same pay schedule, as do the bottom few hands, a pair of jacks or
better, two pairs, three-of-a-kind and a straight. The big difference comes
with the full house and the flush.
A full house/flush that pays 9/6 (nine coins to the one bet for a full house; six coins to the one bet for a flush) is a full pay machine. Also good are the ones that pay 9/5 (nine coins for the full house; five for the flush). Not as good but often found are the 8/5 games. The overall payback percentages are 99.5% for the 9/6 game, 98.4% for the 9/5
game and 97.3% for the 8/5 game. You can see why you should look at the pay schedules before playing. Wouldn’t you rather win nine coins than eight for the same hand? The percentages also assume playing the maximum five coins and having some knowledge of proper play, or what some refer to as expert play. Even with expert play, the cards are still random in their delivery so it does not ensure winners, but the odds are much
better with this type of play.
If you like some of the other video poker games, however, such as Deuces
Wild, Bonus and Double Bonus games, you can find out their pay schedules just as easily. Again, the key is looking at the full house/flush payouts. With these games, don’t forget to note some of the other payouts, such as the differences in four- of-a-kinds (aces generally pay more) and two pairs, which often pay the same as the pair of jacks or better. There are also games that involve playing more than one hand at a time, and then there are the “carnival” games that have a bonus amount triggered randomly but requires betting more than you may actually win (these fun games pay off with big hands).
Playing on a higher return video poker machine is only half the battle. Players must play these machines with expert strategy to get the most back. Remember, always play max coins to get the maximum payback. And always use your players club card when playing video poker. Although points and perks do accumulate when playing video poker, it is true sometimes special offers exclude video poker or other games.
The fact that special offers often exclude video poker is a tipoff. Video poker typically has a much lower house edge compared to other casino games like slots or table games. Since casinos want to maximize their profits, they often exclude games with lower house edges from promotions to mitigate potential losses.
Also, there is the skill factor. Unlike many other casino games that rely solely on luck, video poker incorporates an element of skill. Skilled players can employ strategies to improve their odds of winning, making it riskier for casinos to include video poker in promotions where players have a higher chance of winning.
  Play To Win Again
The Best of... Series
— Mark Pilarski, Journalist
There is a popular series of books that have the words “for dummies” in the title. There is Running a Bar For Dummies, Dating After 50 For Dummies, How To Fix Everything For Dummies, and even The Bible for Dummies. There are casino books, as well, and one time, gaming expert Henry Tamburin even wrote a column for Jackpot! titled, “Video Poker For Dummies.”
Tamburin, author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, asked for forgiveness for the title of the column, but said if someone were reading the column, then they were not a dummy and he had their attention. We think this reasoning is fair. Video poker is a game like no other. There are similarities to slot machines — bill acceptors, players
club card reader, often stand-alone machines on the casino floor — and although they basically look alike, there are a few big differences.
Unlike slot machines,
which just spin with little
input from the player,
with video poker, the
player gets to make the
decision on how to play
the hand. That means
the player has a say
on whether it will be a
winning hand (holding a
high pair, for example) or a loser (keeping nonconsecutive numbers that may or may not lead to something). Additionally, all the information needed to determine a video poker machine’s payback percentage is contained on the front of the machine.
Reading a video poker machine’s pay schedule is very important since it will
   8 JACKPOT! MAGAZINE • April 2024

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