Educate yourself to machine payout

April 22, 2008 7:00 PM
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Winning Strategies by Elliot Frome | The last couple of weeks, I’ve discussed the importance of seeking out ‘full-pay’ machines. These are the machines that are the commonly found highest pay tables for any variety of video poker.

Unfortunately, unless you’re more than just a beginner and have some basis for comparison, you may not know which pay tables constitute ‘full-pay’. To help you out, I’ve provided you with the full-pay pay tables for some of the most popular games in the casino.

Full-pay Pay Tables
Hand
Game Description
Jacks
Bonus
Double
Double Double
or Better
Poker
Bonus Poker
Bonus Poker
Royal Flush
800
800
800
800
Straight Flush
50
50
50
50
Four of a Kind – As
25
80
160
400/160*
Four of a Kind – 2-4
25
40
80
160/80*
Four of a Kind – 5-K
25
25
50
50
Full House
9
8
10
9
Flush
6
5
7
6
Straight
4
4
5
4
Three of a Kind
3
3
3
3
Two Pair
2
2
1
1
Pair J’s or Better
1
1
1
1
* Pays the higher amount if the kicker is an A-2-3-4

The chart lists the full-pay pay tables for these games.

You will find these games in virtually every casino, and are a staple on the newer multi-game machines. However, just because these games exist, does not mean the pay table exists.

Also, just because the multi-game machine plays the full-pay for one variety doesn’t mean it will for another. Lastly, don’t assume that two machines sitting side by side that appear to be the same will have the same pay tables.

The casinos have learned from years of relying on slots. The big difference here is that once you know the pay table, you know the payback. This way, the casinos can’t pull one over on you the way they might with slot machines.

The full-pay versions of these games offer very competitive paybacks that afford you a reasonable chance to walk away a winner. The table at the right shows the paybacks of these games.

The casinos will do everything they can to get you to play these games with less than the full-pay pay tables. Sometimes they’ll just shave a unit off the Full House and cost you about 1 percent. Once in a while, you’ll find that they take a unit away from the Three of a Kind or the Two Pair (where it pays 2) and they’ll take you for several percentage points.

Some of the more generous casinos will tease you by raising the Full House or the Flush by 1 (or even 2) while changing the Trips to pay only 2. Given the frequency of Trips relative to a Full House, they are just trying to rope you in.

These minor changes may not seem like a lot, but rather than looking at it as lowering the payback from 99.5 to 98.5 percent, look at it from the other side. Your expected loss rate goes from 0.5 to 1.5 percent.

Essentially you can expect to lose three times as much in the long run. This is why one of the key components of Expert Strategy is to know which machines to play. For video poker, that means knowing which pay tables to play.

My father’s book ‘Winning Strategies for Video Poker’ has one of the most comprehensive lists of pay tables in any book. To help you learn which games to play, I’m making the book available for half price (regularly $15.95).

You can buy it for $7.98 plus $2 postage and handling ($9.98 total). Make checks payable to Compu-Flyers and send to P.O. Box 132, Bogota, NJ 07603. Make a note of our ‘Word of the Day’ special.