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Some video poker games earn different players club points25 February 2017
At one time (it now seems like the distant past), when the concept of player’s club points was fairly new, all video poker and slot machine play was given equal points per dollar played. That quickly changed because the casinos rapidly figured out that many skilled players were consistently winning when they combined the game play with slot player’s club point benefits.
Most casinos now give video poker players half what they give slot players. While this is not as good a deal for video poker players, when combined with the returns for the games played, video poker players fare far better than slot players in the long run. Typical returns for slot play vary from less than 90% to around 97 or 98%. Video poker returns vary from about 95% to over 100%.
The advantage video poker players have is they can determine the return of the games they play by looking at the pay tables. There is no way a slot player can get the same information by simply looking at the slot machine they may or may not want to play.
This means a video poker player can avoid poor-paying games and concentrate on only those games that have a decent return. Most casinos have video poker games that will return close to 99 percent. Some casino may also have slot machines that return close to this, but video poker players are able to determine which video poker games actually return that much.
By selecting only those games that have a decent return, the addition of slot club points that are half of those of slot machine players means even greater returns – far above those of slot players even with twice the slot player’s club points of video poker players.
But even if you are a very careful video poker player and check every pay table before playing the game, here is something you may not have known. Not all video poker games are necessarily treated equally for calculating slot club bonus points. Many different factors can and do affect how many slot players club points a video poker player receives for his or her play.
Sometimes the denomination of the video poker game affects slot club bonus points. In some casinos the nickel-based games get fewer bonus points than quarter-based games. Most video poker games today are multi-denomination games. Nickel-based machines can be played at 5¢, 10¢, 25¢ or sometimes even 50¢ per credit.
Most quarter-based games can be played at 25¢, 50¢ or $1 per credit.
It is true that most casinos will give the same number of points per dollar played on video poker regardless of the base denomination (nickel, quarter, dollar, etc.) of the machine. Most casinos will, but not all. Some casinos base the number of points per dollar on the video poker machine’s base level. They treat all play on a nickel-based game as nickel play and subject to a lower bonus point amount. Sometimes it is one half of the quarter-based play.
This means that even though you play at a 25-cent per credit level on a nickel based machine, you will only get half the slot club points you would get playing a 25-cent base machine denomination. Because of this, if you are planning to play at the quarter level, it makes sense to play a quarter-based machine in this casino.
Today very few casinos have video poker games that return 99.5% or higher. When they do have some of these games, many will reduce the rate for earning slot club points. Actually, some will entirely eliminate earning slot points from the very good video poker games in their casino.
In one of the sneakier moves I have seen a casino make, machines having the same base denomination and exact same games and pay tables have different rates of slot club point return – even though they are placed next to one another.
In today’s competitive casino environment, a video poker player cannot afford to assume anything. It makes sense to make sure you are getting the rate you expect. Many of the higher-return video poker games will have a notice somewhere on the machine notifying the player of the reduced rate for slot club points. Look for it. Sometimes (or should I say usually) this notice is positioned where it is not terribly obvious and it is usually in fine print. However, it is worth the effort to search it out.
Another foolproof method of determining the slot club point rate is with actual play. It should only be a small amount of play, however. I do this the first time I play each different machine on a trip to that casino, even if I regularly play at the casino. Changes are made all the time and seldom are the announced.
Here is how the process works. When you start to play a machine make a note of the points on your player’s card. Next play 10 or 20 hands and check the points on your card again. Then subtract the beginning points from the ending points which give you the points earned for your 10 or 20 hands. Next divide those points by the dollars played (10 or 20 times the single play amount). For a quarter game, 10 hands played is $12.50 ($1.25 times 10). You now have the points per dollar.
Is it what you expect? If not, is it high enough to satisfy you based on the game you are playing? If so, continue play. If not, try a different machine – or try a different casino. You do have choices. Use that power for you benefit.
You work hard to maximize your return from the casinos. Don’t give up bonus points unnecessarily.
May all your wins be swift and large and all your losses slow and tiny.
Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack and video poker and advantage slot machine play. He 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 email@example.com.
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