Video Poker Players – Don’t Rush the Royal Flush

Video PokerToday’s post is for those Video Poker players who roam away from perfect strategy to help achieve the jackpot of a Royal Flush, or in some Joker Poker, a 5-of-a-kind.

My advice – don’t do it!

Great Podcast fpr Craps, home poker games, and all sorts of gambling advice.
Great Podcast fpr Craps, home poker games, and all sorts of gambling advice.

Thank to Mark & Dr. Mike from You Can Bet On That for the inspiration. To improve your play in video poker, check out NETG’s previous post Resources for Gambling – Video Poker that will be updated for tomorrow’s post.

While we are tempted at times to keep two or three cards to the Royal, ultimately it will be your demise if it isn’t part of the proper strategy for that game and that paytable.  You might win a battle, but the cost of waging war will be far more costly and a much shorter war in the long run.

Fun at the Craps Table
Fun at the Craps Table

Let’s face it, there are those social games like craps where it’s all for one, and a win is usually good for everyone (except for those “no-pass line” people).  High fives all around, it’s fun and a good feelings for all. Playing Video Poker can be a grind – and that’s what some of us enjoy.

In my opinion, the video poker player is a quiet, methodical gambling predator who combines science, math, and patience to whittle away at the house’s edge….or at least they should be.

A brief explanation of video poker.  First, it’s only like poker in that the hands are the same – pair, two-pair, 3-of-a-kind, etc.  Second, the basic action in one play is as follows: the machine give you five cards, you choose which to hold and which to discard, the machine replaces your discards and pays you off according to the value of your hand.  The biggest prize is the Royal Flush – A K Q J 10 all in the same suit.Royal Flush

Unlike poker, there is no bluffing, there is no raising the bet, there is no “all-in” – it’s just you and the Random Number Generator in a machine in front of you.

Many recreational players seem to get impatient for the big prize to appear. Recently, I heard a discussion on one of my favorite podcasts – You Can Bet On That. It started when a caller asked “why not change from perfect strategy and “help” the Royal Flush appear?  Well, here’s the answer.

The solitary play of a video poker player.
The solitary play of a video poker player.

Each play is a single play on a slot or VP machine, and has nothing to do with the next hand, the next 40 hands, or the next 40,000 hands.  A Royal flush has the probability of appearing once every 40,390 hands – probability means probable, not definite.  And, this is the flaw in the “help the Royal” strategy.

The truth is anyone, even a trained monkey, can get a Royal Flush dealt to them. The probability is once in 650,000 hands.  Is it possible to get one before then? – YES.  Is possible never to get one dealt? -YES! Is it PROBABLE that it will occur around 650,000 hands – YES, but don’t count on it, just like you shouldn’t expect a Royal after the 40,000 hand. Probable doesn’t mean “it’s due.”
Royal Probability

Consider this: The Random Number Generator deals with one game at a time. It has no memory of who played before or how long you have playing that day.  It doesn’t count the hours previous that it’s cousin machine down the row had played on it.  It is all about possibility, probability, and not about “due” or “definite.”

That’s the key – possibility vs. probability.  Video Poker is all about reducing the house edge to lengthen your bankroll.  Perfect strategy is mathematically designed to increase the probability of lengthening your bankroll. By lengthening your bankroll, you improve the probability of the bigger payoff hands to appear, thus allowing more hands to be played.  This gives you a higher probability chance for that Royal.

So, bottom line is this:

If you always try for the Royal Flush, you decrease the length probability of your session.  It might slight increase the draw for a Royal on that hand, but how long will you be able to play using that strategy?  ………the answer is NOT VERY!

imageVideo Poker Strategy is designed to play as many hands as possible.  Stick too it. Even if you don’t get the Royal Flush, it will increase the probability of playing longer, losing less, and increasing other perks such as more reward points and increasing your Average Daily Theoretical.

ONE NOTE – THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO VIDEO POKER TOURNAMENTS NOR VIDEO POKER PROGRESSIVES (especially when the progressive return has made the game a positive EV.)

Remember, tomorrow is all about resources for your video poker play.  It will be “Royally” informative!