Give those machines a more thorough physical

Home » Columns » Give those machines a more thorough physical

As a video poker player, if finding a 9/6 machine is not too tough, finding one that pays 2 coins (for each coin bet) on two pair is even tougher. Most machines look like 9/6 but 1 coin returned for two pairs. When the “best” machine in the casino is a 9/6/1, is there a better advantage to playing the 8/5/2 version? Dan R.

First, Dan, do you mind if I ask you question? Are you sure the machines you speak of didn’t pay a bonus on some of the four-of-a-kinds? I have to ask because your question omits vital information, notably the rest of the pay-table.

A standard Jacks-or-better full-pay machine typically returns 9-for-1 on a Full House, and 6-for-1 for a Flush. The full-versus-partial equation changes when the machine only pays 1-for-1 for two pairs. Most likely, you were playing on some hybrid Bonus Poker machine, where the payoff bonus for Four-of-a-Kind is reduced to 1-for-1.

But even if the pay table states four Aces pay 80-for-1; four 2s, 3s or 4s 40-for-1; four 5s through Kings 25-for-1, you could be giving the house an extra 5-plus percent on your play. Reducing the return on two-Pair hands penalizes the player too far, even with the increased payoffs on Four-of-a Kinds.

Now it’s time to scare the bejesus out of you. Let’s say there is no bonus for four-of-a-kinds. Assuming that the other paybacks on this machine are the same as 9/6 Jacks, these machines dribble back only a bankroll-busting 86.7%.

My recommendation is to keep looking for that Full Pay 9/6 machine where you are paid 2-for-1 for two Pair. If you can find it, you’re getting a return of approximately 99.5%. Otherwise, your next best choice is to play the 8/5 machines that do pay 2 for two pair. They pay back about 97%.

An interesting situation happened on a blackjack game that I hope you can help me out with. I’m playing two hands of blackjack at $20 a hand and I receive a 13 on one (6 and a 7) and a Jack and Queen for a 20 on the other. I toss $10 in front of both of my bets for insurance. Because it wasn’t directly in front of either, the dealer asks me which bet I wanted to insure. Am I wrong in believing that obviously it was the 20 and the dealer should have known that, or did he know something I don’t know? Ron L.

He may or may not have known, that it really doesn’t make any difference whether you insure the 13 or the 20. Insuring a 13 is every bit as poor a wager as is insuring a 20. Both, Ron, are sucker bets.

But if you want to get really technical, insuring the 20 is actually the worse play, since you are holding at least two of the cards the dealer needs to make blackjack. Insuring a hand composed of two 10 cards, even on the most liberal single deck game, gives the house a 14.3% edge, making this one of the worst bets in the casino.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “One thing that a loser has that a winner doesn’t have: lots of room for improvement.” –VP Pappy

Top Casino
Latest Casinos
111% Welcome Bonus plus a $111 FREE CHIP

Sign up today get 500 FREE SPINS on Chilli Heat

Exclusive Games with Fast & Secure Payments
Get up to $8000 Bonus + 100 Free Spins on signup
WagerWeb 50% Cash bonus OR 75% Cashback 125% signup bonus up to $1000
Slots Animal Casino 5 Free Spins ( No Deposit )
wagerweb sportsbetting
Latest Games
Big Salmon Run

Play the Big Salmon Run slot from Arrows Edge at this Casino.


Play the Bonanza slot from Big time gaming at this Casino

1 Million Megaways BC

Play 1 Million Megaways BC Slot Game from Iron Dog Gaming at this Casino

Aztec Powernudge

Play The Aztec Powernudge Slot from Pragmatic Play at this Casino

Thunderstruck II

Play Thunderstruck II Slot Game from Microgaming at this Casino