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Progressive or Normal Video Poker

24 January 2015

By Jerry Stickman
Hi Jerry:

I was hoping you would answer a question. I live in New Jersey and usually stay at a "local’s" casino in Las Vegas twice a year for a week. They have a group of 9/6 Double Double Bonus progressive machines that usually start at $1200 for a royal and goes up from there. How do you determine if that's a better game than a 10/7 ddb where the royal is a straight 4000 coins?

Thank you,

Hi Norman,

I must admit I have never seen a 10/7 DDB (Double-Double Bonus) game nor a 9/6 DDB progressive game, although I have seen these pay schedules in DBP (Double Bonus Poker). If these games exist, they are a great opportunity for you. I can answer your question, though, as the numbers generally apply regardless of the specific game.

In most of the Jacks or Better based games (Jacks or Better, Bonus Poker, Double Bonus Poker, and Double-Double Bonus Poker), each increase of 1,000 credits for a royal flush translates into just over a half a percent increased return. For example, on a 9/6 DDB game, the return for a royal of 4,000 credits is 98.98 percent.

When the royal increases to 5,000 credits, the return for the game is 99.52 percent (an increase of 0.54 percent). With the royal set at 6,000 credits, the return climbs to 100.09 percent (an additional increase of 0.57 percent). You can use the one-half percent per 1,000 credit increase in the royal flush payoff as a general guide to determine when a progressive game meets or exceeds a standard game and/or your individual playing requirements.

Be aware that because more of the return is tied up in a royal flush, the strategy changes as the payout for a royal increases. Some of the close calls between two or three of a royal versus other hands will start favoring the royal hold. You don’t necessarily have to change the playing strategy, but if you don’t you will forfeit some of the return opportunity.

Hopefully you have a computer program or app that generates video poker playing strategy. If so, I would recommend generating strategies for games with royals increasing at 500 to 1,000 credit increments starting at the level you are willing to play. You can then use the strategy closest to the royal payout for game you are playing.

A word of caution, however. As the pay for a royal climbs, not only does the return percentage climb, but so does the variance. The higher-paying royals bring with them a higher bankroll requirement to play for the same amount of time. This is because more of the overall return is tied up in the royal flush. You will be sacrificing more of the lower paying hands to chase the higher-paying royal flush. At 6,000 credits for a royal, the return may go to 100.09 from 98.98 but the variance climbs to 68 from 42. Should you not get a royal flush before someone else, you could very well lose a lot more of your bankroll playing at the higher variance.

As long as you are aware of the circumstances and you have the bankroll and emotional tolerance for it, playing progressives can be very profitable in the long run.

I hope this information helps you in your search for Video Poker nirvana. Whatever you do, remember that playing video poker should be fun. So enjoy yourself.

And … may all your wins be swift and large and all your losses slow and tiny.

Jerry “Stickman”

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at


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Jerry Stickman
Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit or or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at

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