ahiromu
ahiromu
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February 4th, 2010 at 3:05:08 PM permalink
So I'm planning on going to a local casino in the next few weeks and playing my first session of video poker. If it matters, I'm going to go to Snoqualmie Casino in Washington State. I have a few questions:

1. There are several versions of video poker, so I'm wondering if it would be improper of me to bring my cell phone (that has internet) and compare odds/payouts when finding a machine.
2. Similar to #1, when I find a machine could I have my phone out and follow the perfect strategy for that game on my phone?
3. Something that could help me skip #1, do these machines have perfect strategy payout %'s?
4. Any basic tips someone could give me.

Much appreciated.
Its - Possessive; It's - "It is" / "It has"; There - Location; Their - Possessive; They're - "They are"
wildqat
wildqat
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February 4th, 2010 at 5:49:45 PM permalink
For 1 and 2, keep it in your pocket. Most casinos take a rather dim view on having electronic devices out while you're playing, because of the possibility of their being used for cheating or play assistance. I know that's not what you're going to be using it for, but they don't know, nor do they particularly care. For 3, no, they don't give payout percentages.

Luckily, generally there is no restriction on notepads. What you can do is copy down the pay tables for the games and look them up away from the games. Then once you've decided what game(s) to play, you can copy the strategy down into the notebook and refer to it while you play. You should probably double-check, and definitely put it away at the blackjack table, but it'll probably be OK.

As for any tips, the best one I can think of is this, but you were probably already aware of that. :^)
FinsRule
FinsRule
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February 4th, 2010 at 6:09:16 PM permalink
Sometimes the Indian casinos have different rules than "normal" casinos. The one in Milwaukee won't let you have a phone in the casino at all.

Just a heads up...
boymimbo
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February 4th, 2010 at 8:59:57 PM permalink
I would review the Wizard's main site, learn what the paybacks are for each kind of game, and find the game(s) that give you the most enjoyment with the best payback. Better yet, practice your strategy or at least know some basic strategy about the game that you plan to play.

Common games are Jacks or Better, Double Bonus, Bonus, and Deuces Wild. Start with those.
----- You want the truth! You can't handle the truth!
SplittingAA
SplittingAA
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February 5th, 2010 at 7:16:25 AM permalink
I am by no means a VP expert (you can tell by my handle that I prefer BJ), but my suggestions to you as a newbie and not someone looking to make a living playing VP are:

  1. keep it simple. Meaning stick to games like Jacks or Better (JoB). The difference in house advantage between these simpler games and the the more complex variations is minimal compared to the amount a newbie will give back due to mistakes while trying to use a more complex optimal strategy.
  2. Use VPFree2.com to locate those machines within your local establishment (I just did a quick search, and the only casino listed in WA was Chewelah. So that didn't work).
  3. Use the Wizard of Odds (WoO) site listed above to learn the optimal strategy for that one game.
  4. Practice that one game on videopoker.com for free.
  5. establish a Bankroll (BR). Determine how much of it you are willing to lose and how much you would like to win (be realistic and stick to it).
  6. go to the casino find the machine with your game and...
  7. HAVE FUN!!! You are there for entertainment.


When you no longer consider yourself a newbie then by all means venture into the other variations of VP.

As mentioned in the post above, ixnay on all electronic devices regardless of how you are using them. I believe you can take a hard-copy of the Wizard's Optimal Strategy however for back-up.
Phil: I'm pretty sure that's illegal too. Alan: Yeah, maybe after 9/11, where everybody got so sensitive. Thanks a lot, bin Laden.
JB
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JB
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February 5th, 2010 at 8:20:54 AM permalink
I'd also like to point out that while the games on VideoPoker.com are basically identical to the machines you will find in a casino, you may be better off practicing your strategy using the video poker game on this site:

https://wizardofvegas.com/play/video-poker/

You can pick from several games and adjust their paytables. If you have Java installed and enabled, then you can set it to warn you when you make a strategy error.
miplet
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February 5th, 2010 at 2:05:37 PM permalink
All machines in Washington state are either bingo or electronic scratch tickets. Washington State Gambling Commission FAQ It doesn't matter what you hold or throw away. You get delt quads, throw it all away, you'll get quads again, or some genie will randomly pay you what quads would have, or something simular.
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slyther
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February 5th, 2010 at 2:11:06 PM permalink
Please note that the Video Poker machines in Washington State generally do not function as 'true' Poker Machines.

Read about it from the WA State Gambling Commission here: http://www.wsgc.wa.gov/faq/tls_faq.asp
ahiromu
ahiromu
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February 5th, 2010 at 3:47:27 PM permalink
To be clear I never really looked at any machines in Washington, just played table games. On this: so even if it's on a reservation they aren't allowed to have what would be considered as "true video poker"? It would basically be some variant of a lottery system, such as no different from a slot machine that might have 95% payback? The reason I'm looking into vp is because I want something with a low house edge that I can gamble by myself with so if this is the case...
Its - Possessive; It's - "It is" / "It has"; There - Location; Their - Possessive; They're - "They are"
JB
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JB
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February 6th, 2010 at 7:13:32 AM permalink
Quote: ahiromu

To be clear I never really looked at any machines in Washington, just played table games. On this: so even if it's on a reservation they aren't allowed to have what would be considered as "true video poker"? It would basically be some variant of a lottery system, such as no different from a slot machine that might have 95% payback? The reason I'm looking into vp is because I want something with a low house edge that I can gamble by myself with so if this is the case...


Based on the literature from the link posted by miplet, it would be accurate to say that their "video poker" machines are in fact NOT video poker. Thus, no strategy will help you, and they probably have a higher house edge than the table games you have been playing.
seattledice
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February 6th, 2010 at 7:38:03 AM permalink
Hmm ... learn something new every day. I have not paid too much attention to the VP machines at Snoqualmie or any other casino around here, but they sure look like regular VP machines. They have lousy "pay tables" so I've never been tempted to play them seriously, which turns out to be a good thing. Next time I'm at the casino maybe I'll take the time to read all the "fine print" to see if they disclose what is really happening. It almost seems worth a few bucks to test that "throw away quads and still get quads" theory.

I did some quick research and it seems that one major reason the state of WA banned VP is due to the addictive nature of these games. But if it looks and acts like VP, is there really a difference? Seems like most people will sit down in front of those machines and think they are playing poker, and if the HA is actually higher than real VP ...
JB
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JB
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February 6th, 2010 at 8:44:21 AM permalink
Quote: seattledice

Seems like most people will sit down in front of those machines and think they are playing poker, and if the HA is actually higher than real VP ...


Keep in mind that I am simply speculating when I say that the house edge might be higher; there is no way to tell without knowing the details of how many "tickets" there are for each payoff amount (including losses).

Depending on the size of the pool of virtual tickets, hitting a "Royal Flush" could theoretically be a more frequent occurrence than it is in regular video poker. For example, consider the following distribution of tickets for a game that simulates $1 full-pay Jacks or Better:

Hand Prize Tickets Return
Royal Flush
$4,000
1
$4,000
Straight Flush
$250
9
$2,250
Four of a Kind
$125
20
$2,500
Full House
$45
50
$2,250
Flush
$30
100
$3,000
Straight
$20
150
$3,000
Three of a Kind
$15
200
$3,000
Two Pair
$10
1,500
$15,000
Jacks or Better
$5
2,000
$10,000
Losing Hand
$0
5,970
$0
Totals
10,000
$45,000


In this example, each box contains 10,000 virtual tickets. When the box is fully sold, the casino has taken in $50,000 and paid out $45,000 of that in prizes. Thus, the house edge is 10%. However, the chances of hitting a royal flush (for the first ticket out of a new box) are 1 in 10,000 as opposed to the 1 in 40,390 from a normal machine.

However, if someone has already hit the Royal Flush in the box that you are playing from, then the probability that you will hit it is zero.

Again, this example is mere speculation. There could be hundreds of thousands of tickets in each "box" or possibly even a million or more; there's no way of knowing without being one of those who are in on the operation.

One thing that is obvious about this technique is that the casino has basically no liability, and is always guaranteed a profit. That is, if the above distribution were used, then each "box" of tickets sold is guaranteed to net the casino $5,000 every time, with absolutely no variance (assuming they continue to sell tickets from each box until all of its tickets are gone, as opposed to opening a new box once all the winners from the current box have been sold).
slyther
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February 6th, 2010 at 9:26:16 AM permalink
JB has it right. There is no way to determine the size of the 'box' nor the actual payout ratio. The minimum payout ratio is 75% per WA Tribal Compacts. I have played 'Video Poker' at Snoqualmie a couple times and found it to be reasonable, albeit a very small sample size.

Most of the 'video poker' machines have some sort of random bonus that you can win and I think that's how it compensates if you 'should have won' but threw away the wrong combination of cards.

Remember that the tribal casinos in WA are somewhat spread out so there isn't a lot of direct competition to force them to raise payout ratios. Plus look at how many folks are mindlessly playing the machines day and night (particuarly at Muckleshoot and Emerald Queen)

The bottom line for gambling in WA is go to have fun. Better yet join us in the poker rooms :)
seattledice
seattledice
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February 21st, 2010 at 1:41:55 AM permalink
I found a 1 cent VP machine at Angel of the Winds, so my experiment only cost me $1. It's not that I did not believe slyther and miplet, but I just had to see it for myself. At one point I was even up about $1, but I had not observed enough "odd" stuff to be satisfied. (I did play five units so that I would get the bonus payout if I happened to hit the Royal.)

The experiment was to confirm that

Quote: miplet

It doesn't matter what you hold or throw away. You get delt quads, throw it all away, you'll get quads again, or some genie will randomly pay you what quads would have, or something simular.



I did crazy stuff (crazy if you are trying to play optimum strategy) like hold three junk cards and throw away pairs and hold nothing when dealt two pairs or three of a kind. I always got paid at least what the original deal would have paid, and sometimes more. The machine I was on had a "joker's wild" feature and at times one, two, or all three of these little joker faces would light up which would increase the payout. This is the "genie" that allowed me to get paid the three of a kind payout when all I had was junk. It happened enough times to convince me that it was not random chance that was making my crappy play look good.

It's kind of annoying. Thank-you Washington State Legislature. I'm sure the machines are programmed so that people will think they are affecting the outcome -- for instance, one would expect a normal person to hold a pair of Jacks and the draw could turn it into the pre-determined three of kind or full house, or the genie equivalent. Most people probably have no idea that they are not playing real VP. They carefully select the cards to hold and feel like they did the right thing when they hit a decent payout. And they can still get addicted.

It would be kind of fun to sit next to people and show them what a "great" VP poker player I am with my unorthodox strategy. Or would that be mean?

Darn it - I forgot to read the fine print. Well, at least reading won't cost me another $1.
boymimbo
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February 21st, 2010 at 6:06:33 AM permalink
New York's racetrack casinos feature the same kind of Video Poker machines. I lit up at a double bonus machine with a 5-7-10 payout (100.71%) and the "matching hand". I figured I had a few percent player advantage. Then I realized that every slot in the casino was set to New York state law at something like 93% and that I was just lucky. I started to make stupid plays. How that particular slot seemed to work is that if you threw away something stupid, the top hand would compensate for it.

Though I won about $40 on the machine that day, I did not go back.
----- You want the truth! You can't handle the truth!
tsmith
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February 21st, 2010 at 3:35:29 PM permalink
It sounds like you're talking about Class II gaming machines, sometimes called Video Lottery Terminals or Electronic Bingo.

With this type of machine, the pictures you see on the screen mean absolutely nothing and really have nothing to do with video poker. What you're really playing is bingo, and the reels will display only what the bingo game's pattern is meant to pay. That's why if you get dealt 4 of a kind and throw it away, in one way or another you'll always win what 4 of a kind would have paid, because that's what the bingo pattern has to pay.

Unlike "normal" slots or VP machines, they do not have an RNG where the displayed result of the spin (or deal) is determined by a stop number assigned to each symbol (or a value assigned to each card). A VLT will display a winning combination of symbols for a winning bingo pattern, but in the event of a non-winning bingo pattern, a completely random selection of symbols will be displayed on the screen in no particular order.

Another thing to remember about Class II machines is that they are networked together, because the rules say bingo must be played by at least two people, and they must be playing against each other, not the house. This means that if you and someone else are playing a particular type of game -- in this case so-called video poker -- and you both hit the deal button at the same time and the other person draws a royal, you won't because there can only be one winner per game.

From what I understand, this is the only type of slot machine allowed at Washington Indian casinos, so it doesn't matter if you play something that looks like video poker or one that looks like wheel of fortune or one that looks like blazing sevens, they're all the same damn thing.

(edited) Needless to say, you cannot employ any VP strategy on Class II machines because there are no cards, neither dealt at the start nor waiting to be dealt; you have already won or lost and nothing you do will change the outcome.

If you want to practice VP strategy in advance of a trip to a "real" casino where they have "real" video poker machines, use the Wizard's free online game.
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