Classic Dancer's Answers

Your monthly serving of tips from the video poker expert, Bob Dancer

Bob Dancer

Each month, brings you exclusive tips and inside scoop from Bob Dancer, one of the best known video poker authors and writers.

February 2009

This is the first of a monthly series of Bob Dancer columns written years ago. Sometimes the answer has changed, and when that is so, we'll tell you. Some of the questions are no longer applicable so that is why we'll pick and choose among Strictly Slots issues to find the best to present to you.

Q1:      (From April 2000 Strictly Slots) I was in Atlantic City and played Megabucks. A month later I was in Las Vegas and the Megabucks jackpot was more than twice as large. How did it grow so fast?

A2:      It didn't. Different jurisdictions have their own versions. The version you played in Las Vegas was linked to over 150 other casinos in Nevada. The version you played in Atlantic City was linked to casinos in that area. Mississippi and other areas have their own links.

But wherever you play it, it is a real sucker bet. At reset, Megabucks and other WAPs (wide area progressives) only return 85% or so to the player. Even just before the Nevada version was hit at almost $35 million earlier this year, the players weren't receiving anywhere close to an even bet.  

Q2:      (From April 2000 Strictly Slots) I recently received an advertisement from a company that collects information on which slot and video poker machines have recently paid off. They want to sell me a subscription so I can find out which machines are "hot". Is this a scam?

A2:      Not necessarily a scam. It is conceivable that they go out and check a lot of machines around the country and accurately compile and distribute this data. This information would not be cheap to accumulate, so charging people who want that information makes sense.

The more relevant question, however, is whether there is any value in the information. Does knowing a machine hit yesterday tell you anything about whether or not it will hit today? I believe the answer is no. It's all random and the machine could hit two days in a row or it could wait weeks or months before it hit again. The best predictor of how much a machine will pay off is looking at the pay schedule and learning to recognize which pay schedules return a high amount and which pay schedules return a low amount. Spend your time and money learning information that is useful rather than paying for information that is not.

Q3:      (From January 2000 Strictly Slots) I was playing video poker and was dealt Kh Qh Jh Th 9h. A straight flush isn't chopped liver, but I really wanted a royal. I wavered back and forth several times and finally chickened out and kept the straight flush. Did I make the correct play?

A3.      You haven't told me enough information to fully answer the question, so I'll need to speak in generalities. In most games, keeping the straight flush is correct. In dollar 9/6 Jacks or Better, for instance, keeping the straight flush is worth $250 and the 4-card royal is only worth $93.
The major exception to this is in most versions of Deuces Wild. In the dollar version of the one common pay schedule, the 4-card royal is worth $98, but the straight flush is only worth $50.
If you want to know for yourself, of course, check it on your computer. You can answer any of these questions very quickly.

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