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Best of Jerry Stickman

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The next best in video poker

24 December 2016

Casinos routinely change their inventory of slot machines. Usually this is done to add exciting new games or to eliminate games that aren’t played enough.

Video poker games are also routinely changed. They may be moved to different locations. Banks of one type of game may be changed to another type of game. The games available on multi-game machines may be changed. Pay tables may be changed.

Unfortunately for the video-poker-playing public, the changes almost always favor the casino. Pay tables are reduced. Those games with 100+% payback with proper play are changed to pay well under 100%. Even games with 99%-plus are being eliminated or are having pay tables reduced.

For serious video poker players who are fairly new to playing the games, or those who play only a few times a year, I recommend a low-variance, simple strategy, high-paying game. Full-pay Jacks or Better, which pays 9-for-1 for a full house and 6-for-1 for a flush, is about the best for the serious but casual player as it satisfies all three requirements. It has a low variance. It is actually among the lowest of all available games. It has among the simplest of play strategies and it returns within less than one-half percent of 100% payback.

The presence of this great game is being reduced or its payback dramatically reduced at more and more casinos. Faced with these conditions, what is a self-respecting casual player to do?
The best action would be to find another casino that has game that he is looking for. However, for many reasons, this may not be possible. So then what?

Look for the next best game in terms of payback, variance and a simple play strategy. If full pay Jacks or Better is not available or if its pay table is 8/5 (meaning it pays 8-for-1 for a full house and 5-for-1 for a flush and returns 97.30% with perfect play) or worse, it is probably time to change games.

Of the commonly available games, Bonus Poker is a very good choice when considering variance and play simplicity. It is similar to Jacks or Better. The difference is the player receives a “bonus” for certain four-of-a-kinds. Jacks or Better pays 25-for-1 for all four-of-a-kind hands. Bonus Poker also pays 25-for-1 for four 5’s through kings. However, four 2’s, 3’s, or 4’s pay 40-for-1 and 4 aces pays 80-for-1. The remaining winning hands are the same as Jacks or Better except a full house pays 8-for-1 and a flush pays 5-for-1.

The full-pay Bonus Poker game just described returns 99.17% with proper play and has a variance of 20.9%. Full-pay Jacks or Better returns 99.54% with a variance of 19.5. Both of these measures are close making Bonus Poker a very decent game to play.

The strategy, however, is slightly more complex. Aces now become much more important than any other denomination because of the generous payback for four on them in one hand. Similarly, 2s, 3s and 4s are more important than anything of a higher rank because of the extra payback they receive when four of them appear in the same hand.

These changes are not insurmountable even for casual players. Simply purchase a set of strategy cards or a video poker strategy program and print out the strategy. Use the strategy cards or printed strategy while playing Bonus Poker and with a little practice you can be playing Bonus Poker like a pro.

These changes do not come without any effort, but the effort that is required is certainly worth the results.

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

Jerry “Stickman”


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 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