Last week, I discussed a variety of Bonus video poker variants that you might want to try after you get a bit bored with Jacks or Better. If it is that good of a game, why would you get bored with it? Well, this is just human nature. Sometimes, when we get too familiar with something it can get a bit boring.
The other reason is there are other variations that are more exciting, which is a subjective term and not mathematical. The math term would be “volatile.” The volatility of a game tells us how big the difference will be between our highs and lows. Is the game a slow-moving train or a big booming roller coaster with lots of turns and falls? One is not better than the other. It is just a matter of what you like.
There is a mathematical calculation that can put a value on the volatility of the game. It involves the probability of each outcome and that payout. But, I’ve never felt it is very useful to go through this calculation for the average person. I prefer to liken the games to amusement rides to give you an idea of what to expect. A game like pai gow or blackjack is essentially that slow moving train I mentioned earlier. Excluding side bets, you are playing a game that can’t pay more than even money (in the case of blackjack, you do have the 3 to 2 pay on blackjack and doubling/splitting) and has a lot of pushes (especially pai gow).
Even Jacks or Better video poker is more volatile than this. While a vast majority of the games will end in a loss or a push, there is the opportunity to win 800 for 1 with the Royal. You can win 25 for 1 with Quads. When you move through the Bonus games, the volatility increases because the payouts increase for the rarer hands. You trade this off by getting paid a little less on the more common hands.
What makes this a faster roller coaster ride? This just comes back to the way probabilities work. If you theoretically get a High Pair 25 percent of the time (I’m making up that number), after you’re done playing for several hours, your real number is going to be pretty close to that. The likelihood that only 20 percent of your hands were High Pairs is extremely low.
If the probability of Quads is 0.25% (again, made up number), and you play for several hours, there is a good chance the real value might be 0.5% or 0.1%. A hand that occurs on average 1 in 600 is going to vary far greater over 10,000 hands than one that is going to occur 1 in 3! Add to this that the payout of those Quads is far greater and the outcome of your time in play is far more reliant on how you do on those rare hands – because the common ones are very likely to be very close to the mark.
This is why for Jacks or Better it is crucial to get your Royal Flushes. It will be very hard to make up that missing two percent of payback the Royals add if you aren’t getting them with hands that pay as pushes or 2 to 1. But, with Double Double Bonus you are now more reliant on the Quads and specifically the Quads with kickers to get you to your theoretical payback. Hitting them as often as you should will be a strong determining factor in how you’re doing.
I’ll go into more detail on this next week as we count down the weeks to National Video Poker Day on Sept. 6. I’ve also been told it is National Read a Book Day. So, we have the perfect way for you to celebrate both at the same time!
For GamingToday readers, we offer our three top selling video poker books for just $7 each! You can order “Expert Video Poker for Las Vegas,” “Winning Strategies for Video Poker” or “Video Poker: America’s National Game of Chance” – or order all three for $21. This includes first class shipping and handling. If you’d like to order, send a check or money order to Gambatria, P.O. Box 36474, Las Vegas, NV 89133 or shoot me an e-mail at [email protected] if you’d like to use a credit card.