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Are video poker machines rigged?20 June 2015
There are “experts” who use criteria such as these to “prove” machines are biased.
I decided to perform a little experiment to see. Along with the normal data I document during my video poker sessions, I added two additional pieces of information – the number of times I am dealt four of a flush and the number of times I complete the flush. Some of the results were quite interesting. All of the results listed below were on the same video poker machine, played at a leisurely pace making sure proper strategy was followed closely. The game was “full-pay” (9/6) Jacks or Better.
In Jacks or Better there are 52 total cards in the deck and five cards are dealt in the original hand, leaving 47 cards remaining. Since there are 13 cards of each suit and you are dealt four of them when you are dealt four of a flush, there are nine cards of that suit remaining. Therefore the odds of completing a flush when dealt four of a flush are 9 in 47 or just under one in five – 19.15 percent. Let’s see how the sessions went.
Duration – 1:09
Total Hands – 833
Four to a Flush – 26
Flushes Completed – 2
In over an hour of play this machine only produced two flushes when dealt four of a flush 26 times. This is well under one in five – only one in 13 or 7.69 percent. One could easily make a case that this machine is biased. Let’s check the next session on this machine.
Duration – 2:50
Total Hands – 2,523
Four to a Flush – 49
Flushes Completed – 4
In nearly three hours of play and over 2,500 hands there were 49 times four of a flush were dealt and only four of these resulted in a flush – a roughly one in twelve pace or 8.16 percent – nowhere near the one in five a truly random machine should produce. Surely this machine must be biased? Let’s look at the combined figures.
Session One and Two Combined:
Duration – 3:59
Total Hands – 3,356
Four to a Flush – 75
Flushes Completed – 6
Four hours of play with over 3,300 hands produced 75 hands with four of a flush and of these only six became flushes – less than one in 12 or 8.00 percent which is nowhere near 19.15 percent. This machine has to be biased – right? Well before we decide let’s look at my next session.
Duration – 58 minutes
Total Hands – 662
Four to a Flush – 26
Flushes Completed – 8
This session was just under an hour with 662 hands. During that time 26 hands of four of a flush were dealt and eight of those became flushes. That works out to just under one in three or 30.77 percent – much better than random at 19.15 percent. So maybe this machine isn’t biased after all!
Combining the three sessions we get the following total results.
Duration – 4:57
Total Hands – 4,018
Four to a Flush – 101
Flushes Completed – 14
That one good session brought the total of completed four of a flush to just less than one in seven or 13.86 percent. While still under what random would dictate, it is much closer than it had been and certainly within striking range.
Without boring the reader with details of additional sessions my statistics on this machine stand at 18.43 for this year. For my total play throughout the year, the results end up very close to the 19.15 percent random figure. The problem with most players is they tend to notice and remember the times when they don’t complete the flush (or low pair or whatever) and tend to forget the times they complete several in close proximity.
Remember, random happens over the long term. It takes hundreds of thousands and even millions of events for random events to approach the mathematically produced amounts. Just because a player goes a few thousand hands with seemingly non-random results does not mean the machine is biased. If you are playing in Las Vegas, Atlantic City or other closely regulated venues you can be assured the games are fair. The casinos don’t need to rig the games to win money from gamblers; the edge is already built in.
May all your wins be swift and large and all your losses slow and tiny.
Jerry “Stickman” is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com.
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