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Best of Elliot Frome

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Video Poker for the Impatient

19 January 2005

Video Poker really isn't a game for the impatient. Even the simplest version takes time to master to play it properly. There is, however, one version of the game that combines a much smaller and simpler strategy table with the higher volatility that the impatient may appreciate.

Higher volatility is a nice way of saying that you'll either win big or go bust faster. Obviously, no one wants to go bust faster, but that's generally the trade off for the chance for the quick win. For most varieties of video poker, a Royal Flush, and its big payout, shows up once in about 40,000 hands. It's wonderful when it happens, but it's certainly not a frequent occurrence. This is why the casinos came up with all the bonus poker games. Four of a Kinds show up far more frequently, closer to once in about 600 hands. As the double and double double varieties of the game became more popular, players had the opportunity to hold their own as long as they got their fair share of Quads, and win big without the Royal if they get more than their fair share of Quads. With the original jacks or better, you can rely on an overabundance of other hands to fund your winning session, but only a Royal could make you a really big winner.

The problem is that Double Bonus and Double Double Bonus have very long complex Strategy tables that take more time to learn than even traditional jacks or better. So, for the 'impatient' video poker player there is Triple Bonus Poker. The overall payback of this game is 99.6%, so it does offer the player a fair shot at winning. Triple Bonus pays on Quads at three times the amount of Bonus Poker, hence how it got its name. So, it pays 240 for Quad Aces, 120 for Quad 2-4's and 75 for all other Quads. Full Houses pay 11, Flushes pay 7, Straights pay 4 and Trips pay 3. Two Pairs and Pair of Aces or Kings are a push. This is where the house takes the edge back. At the same time, because the game pays on a Pair of Kings or better, 2-card Royals and High Card hands without a King or Ace become unplayable.

The Strategy Table is only about 30 rules instead of 36 to 40 of most other games. Most importantly, the most complex hands are the ones that are gone. Also, as we have broken out Quads, Trips and Pairs on the Strategy Table, most of it is intuitive. There are a couple of key plays to remember and you'll be an expert quickly. The first is that Trip Aces plays over a Full House. Even though the Full House pays 11, the payback of 240 for Aces makes the Three Aces superior by a wide margin (expected value of 13.6 vs. 11). The Full House is superior to all other Trips.

The next key play is to know that you throw the second pair if you have Two Pair including a pair of Aces. This is a bit closer than our prior example, but is still a clear play. This is the only time we throw away Two Pair. Just like regular jacks or better, a High Pair plays over all 4-card Flushes and Straights, while a Low Pair plays over the 4-Card Straight, but not a 4-Card Flush.

That pretty much covers the basics of this game. Just be forewarned. If you don't get your share of Quads, it may be a very short session. You can expect to have a losing hand about 55% of the time in a game that pays on jacks or better. Triple Bonus will give you a losing hand about 65% of the time. This is why you can expect a fast session. Either you'll go broke or hit some of those big Quads in a hurry.

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