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Video Poker Pay Tables

Look Before You Play


The popularity of video poker has increased tremendously in the last few years. This is because video poker gives a player a chance to use skill instead of just inserting coins and pulling the handle. Some of the games offered have over 100% return in the long run when using correct playing strategy. Although most of the games with “Positive Expectations” i.e. 100% payback are offered in Nevada, there are full pay video poker machines that offer higher returns than slot machines in many gaming destinations. When you combine full pay video poker with your players club benefits you can come up with a winning strategy.

The advantage of playing video poker is that a player can determine the “Expected Return” (ER) of a machine by looking at the pay table on the front of the machine. There are 2,598,960 hands that can be produced with a 52-card deck. The RNG (random number generator) in a video poker machines is set to simulate the probabilities of drawing any one of the combinations of hands. Because this is a set probability the casino gets its edge by adjusting the pay table of the machines. By knowing how to read a pay table you can make sure you are playing the machine with the best return. I have seen two identical looking machines next to each other with different pay tables.

Let’s take a look at standard Jacks or Better draw poker game. The pay table is shown below. The Royal Flush pays 250 per coin with a bonus 4,000 coin pay out when you play the maximum five coins. This is shown as 250/4000. The bonus for the royal flush is figured in to the overall return. The key to the Jacks or Better game is the pay out for the Full House (9) and the Flush (6). Note also that it pays two coins for two pairs. A machine with this pay table in the first column is referred to as a 9/6 machine and has an ER of 99.5 percent.

The casinos lower the pay out by reducing the coins paid for the full house and the flush. If you take a look at the two other examples in the chart you will see that when they lower the payout of the Full House and Flush to 8/5 the return drops to 97.30 percent. When the payout for these hands is lowered to 6/5 the payout drops down to 95 percent. A quick rule of thumb is that the pay out will be reduced by 1.1% for each coin taken away from either of these hands.

Although video poker machines may look a like they are quite different. It is up to you to read the pay table before you sit down and make sure you are choosing the machine that will offer the best return. Any Video Poker machine can be analyzed to determine the Expected Return. Many times a casino will put two machines with different pay tables next to each other. I have often seen this happen and noticed that a player is sitting at the machine with the lower return. This tells me that they are not very knowledgeable about video poker. Once you pick the best game make sure you are using the correct strategy for that game. If you are unsure you can bring a strategy chart with you to help you make the correct decisions.

Until Next time remember:
Luck comes and goes.....Knowledge Stays Forever.

Jacks Or Better Pay Table

Royal Flush 250/4000 250/4000 250/4000
Straight Flush 50 50 50
Four of a Kind 25 25 25
Full House 9 8 6
Flush 6 5 5
Straight 4 4 4
Three of a Kind 3 3 3
Two Pair 2 2 2
Jacks 1 1 1
Return 99.54% 97.30% 95.00%
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