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Wizard
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Wizard
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Mission146
February 23rd, 2021 at 9:07:54 AM permalink
I noticed a new game at VideoPoker.com called Ultimate X Gold. It is a bonus feature game tacked onto multi-play video poker.

The rules are a bit hard to explain, but let me try.

  1. If the player gets any paying hand on the DEAL, then he will earn a "Multiplier Upgrade."
  2. Every hand in the pay table, from all four of a kinds to a three of a kind, will have a multiplier associated with it. This multiplier will apply to all hands on the screen.
    As the player plays, these multipliers will go up and down, as the player earns then and they are applied to wins.
  3. Usually, a Multiplier Upgrade will bump up the multipliers on the three hands above the hand won on the deal in the pay table. For example, a three of a kind on the deal would bump up the multipliers on a straight, flush, and full house.
  4. An exception to rule 3 is a high pair on the deal will bump up the lowest three multipliers (three of a kind, straight, and flush).
  5. Another exception is there is a maximum multiplier on all hands. If that is reached, it can't be bumped more more.
  6. An exception to the exception in rule 4 is in 3-play and 5-play mode, a high pair will bump up a three of a kind only (except it it's already at the maximum multiplier).


Confused? Here is a video I just made demonstrating and narrating the game.


Direct: https://youtu.be/KO8lGDR4nVg

No, I do not know the return of the game, but Action Gaming, the makers of the game, tend to bump up the return just a little if a max bet is made.

A perfect analysis would be very difficult. I'm already percolating on a basic strategy.

For now, I welcome all questions and comments. I also challenge the other math wizards on the site to contribute their thoughts on analyzing the game.

I welcome the vultures to comment on vulturing the game. Unlike conventional Ultimate X, the player must make a max coin bet to be able to redeem multipliers, otherwise they are greyed out. However, a screen rich in high multipliers might be plus EV for a while, until the player plays them down.

The question for the poll is would you play Ultimate X Gold?
Last edited by: Wizard on Feb 23, 2021
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Mission146
Mission146
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Thanks for this post from:
RealizeGaming
February 23rd, 2021 at 10:15:42 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard



I welcome the vultures to comment on vulturing the game. Unlike conventional Ultimate X, the player must make a max coin bet to be able to redeem multipliers, otherwise they are greyed out. However, a screen rich in high multipliers might be plus EV for a while, until the player plays them down.

The question for the poll is would you play Ultimate X Gold?



(Quote clipped, relevance to my response)

Your video poker hand analyzer would definitely be getting a workout, except I'd probably make a point to know a good number of decision points in advance of actually searching the games and would likely make myself a little, "Cheat sheet." For example, I believe that you should have just kept the Trip-Threes in the hand where you were dealt a Full House. I figured that just by using your hand analyzer and dividing by five then multiplying by nine as to the paytable, where relevant.

Of course, it looks like the current spread of multipliers there (after the full house was dealt) would result in a ten-coin bet return of 94.7668% when disregarding any EV that might come from future multipliers. That's also with making all quads 5-K 9x (where some were actually 4x) for simplicity.

On the hand after your dealt pair of queens, I get that the return would be over 108% based on a ten-credit bet, for the following hand, even though I went ahead and disregarded the multiplier value on JQK (again, for speed) and just had all 5-K return 125 units on a 10 unit bet.

My vulturing, 'Strategy,' would be very simple. The game with the multipliers showing either returns more than 100% based on a ten-coin bet, or it doesn't. For something like this, I would choose just to completely disregard any value associated with potential added multipliers.

Even then, many individual, 'Plays,' will be losing due to going multiple hands without hitting one of the results with an associated multiplier. In the case of ten-play, I would think that most realization of value will come from dealt hands that correspond to hands with a multiplier on it. For instance, on that 108%+ I used the website to give me, more than 20% of the added return is coming from the fact that I'm getting paid triple on those 3OaKs. Ten-Play is a game where you'll often be dealt a pair and will then hit anywhere from 1-3 3OaK's without meaningful improvement elsewhere, so if that follows a few hands where you didn't hit any multiplied hands, you can easily find yourself down a little bit after that, "Play."

Would I play UX Gold for any reason aside from vulturing? Nope. Variance and the probability of my playing something (even if inclined to do -EV gambling) tend to have an inverse correlation.
Vultures can't be choosers.
Wizard
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Wizard
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Mission146
February 23rd, 2021 at 11:02:31 AM permalink
Good comments, Mission, thanks.

I've been thinking about a rough basic strategy for 5-play Jacks or Better. The base game has an 8-6 pay table, for a 5-coin per hand return of 98.39%.

I know this is rough thinking, but but if multiply the win for every hand that qualifies for multipliers (four of a kind to three of a kind), by 2.9 and play optimal strategy for such a pay table, the return is 98.83%.

What this tells me is that the average multiplier should close to 3 for the state of the game to be plus EV. At an average multiplier of 3.0, the return is 101.48%. The multiplier on the three of a kind is very important. In conventional 8-6 Jacks, the three of a kind returns 22.33% and every hand from a straight to four of a kind combined returns 26.22%. I feel quite comfortable saying I wouldn't vulture a game if the three of a kind multiplier were 1x.

Here is a strategy for 8-6 Jacks where every hand from a three of a kind to four of a kind is multiplied by 3. This, I think, would be a good starting point. However, I'm sure there would be many exceptions. For example, Mission makes a great point that I probably should have held the three of a kind only on my dealt full house, with a 1x multiplier for a full house and a 9x for four 2's to 4's.

As Mission says, to play well, you would have to run every non-obvious hand through my video poker hand analyzer.

Links:
Video poker pay table analyzer
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Mission146
Mission146
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February 23rd, 2021 at 11:08:42 AM permalink
My Other Observations

1.) I think the idea behind this game, fairly obviously, is to compel players to continue playing the game by getting them to, "Chase," those big multipliers on the quads. Casual players will often find themselves getting smacked in the teeth on ten-play, as they will frequently hit the quads on only one of the ten-hands all the while betting 100 credits per hand. 3600 credits, for one example, is not exactly a windfall jackpot when you're betting 100 credits per hand.

2.) One aspect of regular UX that might annoy some players is how frequently they might be dealt something like a Straight-Flush-FH on a game like Bonus Poker or DDB just to basically completely strike out on the following hand. That feeling will be mitigated at least somewhat as players can play hands at peak multiplier value (assuming they get them there in the first place) until the result(s) in question is(are) hit.

3.) Since multipliers will only disappear via being hit on one (or only a few) possible hands at a time (ex: you'll almost never hit Quad Aces on the same play that you've also hit Quad 2,3,4...would require throwing away an entire hand or only holding one card to even be possible) that's another aspect that's more likely to keep people playing. With regular UX, in addition to not having enough credits, another, "Natural stopping point," would be completely striking out on a hand and not having any multipliers for the following hand. That generally won't be the case with this game as almost all future plays will have at least one multiplier result to work with.
Vultures can't be choosers.
Mission146
Mission146
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February 23rd, 2021 at 11:14:42 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Good comments, Mission, thanks.

I've been thinking about a rough basic strategy for 5-play Jacks or Better. The base game has an 8-6 pay table, for a 5-coin per hand return of 98.39%.

I know this is rough thinking, but but if multiply the win for every hand that qualifies for multipliers (four of a kind to three of a kind), by 2.9 and play optimal strategy for such a pay table, the return is 98.83%.

What this tells me is that the average multiplier should close to 3 for the state of the game to be plus EV. At an average multiplier of 3.0, the return is 101.48%. The multiplier on the three of a kind is very important. In conventional 8-6 Jacks, the three of a kind returns 22.33% and every hand from a straight to four of a kind combined returns 26.22%. I feel quite comfortable saying I wouldn't vulture a game if the three of a kind multiplier were 1x.

Here is a strategy for 8-6 Jacks where every hand from a three of a kind to four of a kind is multiplied by 3. This, I think, would be a good starting point. However, I'm sure there would be many exceptions. For example, Mission makes a great point that I probably should have held the three of a kind only on my dealt full house, with a 1x multiplier for a full house and a 9x for four 2's to 4's.

As Mission says, to play well, you would have to run every non-obvious hand through my video poker hand analyzer.

Links:
Video poker pay table analyzer



You're welcome!

That's definitely really good for, "Rough thinking!" I wouldn't have thought of that. My, "Cheat sheet," (in addition to obvious exceptions to basic strategy) would just include the EV per result based on a ten-credit bet, then you can multiply those by multipliers and add to base ten-credit bet (with zero multipliers) to see if that gets you close. Some hands will conflict with each other due to strategy deviations (example being a bunch of quads loaded with multipliers reduce Full House value---since you'll more frequently throw away a dealt FH in favor of holding trips) but should get me close enough to be generally reliable.

I agree with the thinking on the 3OaK, but I tend to think the entire right side is pretty important when it comes to value, so I'd also like to see multipliers on straights and flushes, especially since getting those hands dealt isn't terribly infrequent.
Vultures can't be choosers.
100xOdds
100xOdds
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February 23rd, 2021 at 8:49:47 PM permalink
hm.. going to take a long time to vulture any game that has quads with kicker and a maxxed out multiplier.
What is the max? 9x?
Craps is paradise (Pair of dice). Lets hear it for the SpeedCount Mathletes :)
Wizard
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Wizard
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February 24th, 2021 at 12:46:06 AM permalink
Quote: 100xOdds

hm.. going to take a long time to vulture any game that has quads with kicker and a maxxed out multiplier.
What is the max? 9x?



I've seen multipliers at 10x. I would barely consider the multipliers on the four of a kind hands if I were a vulture. As I wrote earlier, about half the decision should be based on the three of a kind multiplier.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
IndyJeffrey
IndyJeffrey
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February 24th, 2021 at 3:29:16 AM permalink
As the resident casual+ player, I am turned off by the absence of multipliers at higher hands. As in the screen shot in the original post, the absence of multipliers for the full house would be so frustrating, when dealt a full house. Though that adds to the strategy of needing to know holding the three of a kind would have been correct; as opposed to our conditioned thinking just to hold the FH.

Another interesting point made in Wiz's video, the multipliers are less likely to disappear the fewer hands you play. Makes sense. So, now different return tabes would need to be calculated for the number of hands played, no?
IndyJeffrey
IndyJeffrey
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February 24th, 2021 at 3:30:33 AM permalink
Quote: 100xOdds

hm.. going to take a long time to vulture any game that has quads with kicker and a maxxed out multiplier.
What is the max? 9x?



At 6:37 of the video, the pay tables are displayed.
Wizard
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Wizard
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February 24th, 2021 at 7:43:43 AM permalink
I just posted a proper page at Wizard of Odds. I welcome all comments.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.

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