Winning at Video Poker for 11-3
15,000 hands of video poker
This exercise, which I've been doing for quite a while now , will give you a good idea of what to expect from playing video poker on a long term basis. I have a program which I use to practice my 9/6 Jacks or Better strategy and it keeps track of my stats as play occurs.
Now, for those of you just getting involved with video poker, the 9/6 Jacks game is probably the grand daddy of them all; it was the game which started the VP 'boom'. Played correctly, this game will return about 99.5% long term. Since a big part of the return (about 2% overall) is from the Royal, a player can expect to run at a 97.5% payback until the royal comes up. If you play this at a casino which has a decent slot club, say .5% return on all the $$$ you bet, a return of 100% is theoretically possible. So, you say -- what's the big deal about a 100% return; that's just getting your money back. True. But it's a much better return than you'll ever get off a slot machine and who's to say you can't get 'lucky' and realize a return of over 100%?
Let me show you how that could work. On my practice machine, I've played 15,000 hands. That means I've bet 75,000 coins (at 5 coins per play) which translates into $75,000 if I was playing a dollar machine or $18,750 if I was playing quarters. My return to this point has been 72,625 coins which means I'm down $2,375 at a dollar machine or $593.75 at a quarter machine. What if I hit a royal on the next hand? I'd get $4000 for $5 at a dollar machine and then I'd have a net profit of $1620, not to mention a slot club return of $375 (at a .5% rate). Since a playing rate of 400 hands an hour is easily attained, that 15,000 hands represents about 37.5 hours of play which works out to be a 'pay' of $1620 + $375 = $1995 divided by 37.5 or $53.20 an hour. At a quarter machine, it's $13.30 an hour. But, we got lucky because we cannot expect to hit a Royal every 15,000 hands or so; it's expected once every 40,000 hands. If it took us exactly 40,000 hands to hit a royal, we'd be down about $1000 at a dollar machine, though we'd have about $1000 in slot club points.
So, when we're playing a machine where the house has a small edge, we're looking to get lucky. But, if you were a dollar player and just broke even, you would have probably received free hotel rooms, comped dinners, etc., so breaking even isn't all bad.
But, enough chit-chat; here are the numbers. I've displayed them in such a way as to show how many I should have received in 15,000 hands versus how many I actually got. Of course, one cannot receive .37 of a Royal, but it will give you an idea of probability against reality.
| ||# Probability ||# Actually Received|
|Royal Flush ||.37 ||0|
|Straight Flush ||1.58 ||.3|
|Four-of-a-kind ||35 ||35|
|Full House || 173 ||184|
|Flush ||163 ||130|
|Straight ||170 ||163|
|Three-of-a-kind ||1117 ||1151|
|Two Pair ||1941 ||1912|
|Jacks or better ||3218 ||3135|
|No Pay ||8184 || 8287 |
Expected total return (excluding the Royal): 97.51%
Actual return: 96.83%
So, at least thus far, I'm below expectation by 510 coins, which is not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. But you can see that I will likely continue to lose at this game until the Royal hits. The nice thing about video poker is that it WILL hit; I just don't know when.
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