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Best of Jerry Stickman

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$1 8/5 vs. $5 9/6 Jacks or Better

4 May 2019

Jerry,

I enjoy your columns very much, especially the ones about video poker. Although the conventional wisdom is to always play video poker at full coin to capture the royal bonus, I’m not sure that advice applies to the $1 player whose only choice at that level is an 8/5 game, as is often the case these days. Wouldn’t the house edge and volatility be lower playing a single line on a $5 9/6 machine?

Thanks.

Sam

Hi Sam,

Thanks for the comments about my columns.

Let’s look at the math of your two scenarios. You are comparing a five-credit play on a $1 8/5 Jacks or Better to a one-credit (of $5) on a 9/6 Jacks or Better. Assuming that is the case:
$5 bet on a $1 8/5 Jacks or Better = 97.29% return, 19.3 variance.
$5 bet on a $5 9/6 Jacks or Better = 98.37% return, 4.9 variance.

You are correct. The house edge and variance are lower playing one $5 credit on a 9/6 game. The five $1 credit 8/5 game returns 1.08% less than the one $5 credit 9/6 game. Also, the five $1 credit 8/5 games variance is almost four times that of the one $5 credit 9/6 game.

That being said, there are other considerations. The lower house edge of the 9/6 game does return $1.08 more per $100 (20 hands) than the lower return 8/5 game. However, keep in mind that you are still giving the house $1.63 for every $100 (20 hands) played through the 9/6 game. By not playing five credits you are lowering your overall return of a 9/6 game by 1.17% or $1.17 per $100 played through the game.

Another thing to consider is playing strategy. The strategy for five-credit play is different for 8/5 games than it is for 9/6 games. Strategy for a one-credit 9/6 game is also different from the strategy for five-credit play. If you plan to play the one-credit $5 9/6 Jacks or Better game, make sure you are playing the correct strategy for your contribution to the casino will be even greater than $1.63 per $100 played.

So, if you can tolerate that kind of loss – go for it. Personally, I would not play either game. If this casino was my only option and I really wanted to play video poker, I would try to amass a large enough bankroll to play the $5 9/6 game at five credits per hand. Playing a five-credit 9/6 Jacks or Better game has an expectation of losing only $0.46 per $100 played through it. This is much better then $1.63 per $100 played. If I could not build a large enough bankroll to sustain play at a $5 per credit 9/6 game, I would not play VP at this casino at all.

May all your wins be swift and large and all your losses slow and small.

Jerry “Stickman”

Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack and video poker and advantage slot machine play. He authored the video poker section of "Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Pai Gow Poker!" You can contact Jerry “Stickman” at stickmanjerry@aol.com.
Recent Articles
Best of Jerry Stickman
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 www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com
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 www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com