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Voting -- video poker or slots?

Nov 4, 2008 5:03 PM

Winning Strategies by Elliot Frome |

The choice you made Tuesday could be the most critical one in your life.

It may affect your finances, your health and your mental well being. Will you choose to stay the course, or to finally say no more – no more slots, that is!

What better day is there besides Election Day to make the decision to elect to say ‘no’ to slots and to embrace video poker as America’s National Game of Chance. We all know that the economy is very shaky right now, so why not help yourself out by making your gambling bankroll last much longer.

Video poker machines pay 98-101 percent. Slots tend to pay 92-97. Most importantly, when you sit down at a slot machine, you don’t even know what the payback is. There can be a sign over a slot machine telling you that the payback is 97 percent, and the machine next to it may look just alike with the exact same paytable, yet pay only 92.

How can this be? Because with slot machines, the paytables are meaningless. It is completely allowed to have them programmed to pay out a specific payback. They can be programmed with near misses. Even though the reels may appear to have 20 symbols, there is no requirement that they show up as randomly as they appear on the reels.

The same is not true for video poker.

According to state regulations, any device that uses a real life object (i.e. such as a deck of cards or a die) must have each outcome occur completely randomly as if using the real life object. In simple terms, this means that every deal in video poker is completely random just as if you took a real deck of 52 cards and dealt them out yourself.

There is no such thing as purposely programming in "near misses."

Once we know that every card dealt is done completely randomly, it is possible to create a computer program that can determine the best way to play every possible hand. From a 52-card deck, there are 2,598,960 unique 5-card deals.

For each deal, there is 32 possible ways to play the hand (ranging from holding all 5 to dumping all 5). Each of these, can have anywhere from 0 draws (if you keep all 5) to about 1.5 million possible draws (if you discard all 5). In total, the program actually analyzes about 6.75 billion possible combinations of deals and draws.

The end result is that the program plays each hand to maximize the number of coins that will be returned in the long run. This results in the highest possible payback. It then can categorize each initial deal, which creates a strategy table that guides the player to make sure that an actual human can achieve this payback.

Sounds complex? Well, in all honesty, it is more complex than playing a slot machine. I like to think of it as the price you need to pay in order to save your money. But, then again, you’re probably willing to work a little harder to get a promotion at work. So why not work a little harder and save yourself some money in the casino?

The end result of all of this is that the only way to change the payback of a video poker machine is to alter the paytable. This means that just by looking at the video poker machine, you can immediately tell the exact payback of the machine. In turn, you know which machine has a better payback than another.

On this Election Day, there is one clear choice that is better than the rest. Make sure you make the right decision.

To help you make the right choice and fight the recession, we’re launching our holiday special early this year. Buy a copy of Lenny Frome’s "Winning Strategies" for $15.95 and we’ll send you "Video Poker: America’s National Game of Chance" for free! (regularly $19.95!).

If you’d like to order, just mention the Election Day special and send a check or money order for $15.95 to Compu-Flyers, P.O. Box 132, Bogota, NJ 07603.

Next week: The conclusion to my multi-part walk through the strategy table.


Video poker machines pay 98-101 percent. Slots tend to pay 92-97. More importantly, When you sit down at a slot machine,