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Best of Elliot Frome

Gaming Guru

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Those Hidden Gems

18 June 2004

Assuming a Jacks or Better Full-pay machine, how would you play the following hands:

A)
2C
8H
10D
JD
QC
B)
8S
9S
10S
QD
AD
C)
5D
9S
JD
QD
KC
D)
6D
8C
9S
10D
AD

Let's take a closer look at each one.

Hand A would appear to have a few choices. Do we hold the 4-Card Inside Straight? the 3-Card Straight? the 2 High Cards? the 2-Card Royal? By now, you all know the answer lies in the Expected Value (EV) of each possible play. Accounting for any/all penalty card situations, we find that the holding the 2 High Cards has an EV of .4939 vs. the EV of the 2-Card Royal of .4788. The other 2 possible plays are not even listed on our strategy table telling us that we NEVER hold these types of hands. From this example we learn that 2 High Cards beats out a 2-Card Royal that contains a '10'.

Hand B can be played a variety of ways as well. Should we hold the 4-card inside straight? the 3-card straight flush? The 2-Card Royal? A quick look at our strategy table again tells us how to play this hand. The 3-card straight flush (0 High Cards) has an EV of 0.63. The 4-Card inside straight (1 High Card) isn't playtable. The 2-Card Royal (Q-A) has an EV of 0.58. From this hand, we learn that a 3-Card Straight Flush (even with NO High Cards), outranks ALL 2-Card Royals and 4-Card Inside Straights. Many people wonder why they don't seem to get their fair share of Straight Flushes, and this is because many people miss hands like these.

Hand C can be played as a 4-Card Inside Straight (3 High Cards) , a 2-Card Royal or as 3 High Cards. This type of hand is probably also one of the most frequently missed by players. The 2-Card Royal has an EV of 0.60. The 4-Card Straight (3 HC) has an EV of 0.53, while the 3 High Cards has an EV of 0.51. From this hand, we learn 2 important items. A 2-Card Royal (without A or 10) outranks ALL 4-Card Inside Straights and it outranks 3 High Cards. In fact ANY 2-Card Royal made up of 2 High Cards outranks all 3 High Card Hands. So, when you're dealt J-Q-K or J-Q-A or J-K-A, where 2 of them are suited, drop the third high card. We do this obviously because the EV is higher, but the real impact is that when you hold the 3 High Cards that are unsuited, you eliminate many chances to hit that Royal. This becomes even more important when playing Progressives.

Hand D would appear to be able to be played as a 2-Card Royal (10-A), a 3-Card Straight, a 4-Card inside straight or as One High Card. A quick check to our strategy tables find that ONLY ONE of these possible plays is considered playable in a 9-6 Full Pay Jacks or Better game. We never play 3-Card straights or 4-Card Inside Straights. The 2-Card Royal (A-10) is also not playable in this version of the game (keep in mind that there are paytables where it IS playable). Our only play is the 1 High Card with an EV of 0.47.

You'll notice that all of these hands are, well, bad hands. We must remember, though, that more than 40% of our hands will have an EV below 1.0 (losers) AND will not be a Low Pair (a losing hand, but one that is often easy to play). In order to maximize our chances for a winning session, it is very important that we play these hands properly. In essence by playing these 'bad' hands properly, we'll be around longer to enjoy the 'good' hands that will come along.

Elliot Frome

Elliot Frome is a 2nd generation gaming author and analyst. His father, Lenny Frome was considered one of the premier authors of Video Poker books. Titles include, Expert Video Poker for Las Vegas and Winning Strategies for Video Poker, which includes the strategy tables for 61 of the country’s most popular versions of Video Poker. Check out Compu-Flyers website at www.vpheaven.com, or drop Elliot an e-mail at compuflyers@prodigy.net.

Elliot Frome Websites:

www.vpheaven.com

Books by Elliot Frome:

> More Books By Elliot Frome

Elliot Frome
Elliot Frome is a 2nd generation gaming author and analyst. His father, Lenny Frome was considered one of the premier authors of Video Poker books. Titles include, Expert Video Poker for Las Vegas and Winning Strategies for Video Poker, which includes the strategy tables for 61 of the country’s most popular versions of Video Poker. Check out Compu-Flyers website at www.vpheaven.com, or drop Elliot an e-mail at compuflyers@prodigy.net.

Elliot Frome Websites:

www.vpheaven.com

Books by Elliot Frome:

> More Books By Elliot Frome