Classic Dancer's Answers
Your monthly serving of tips from the video poker expert, Bob Dancer
Each month, VideoPoker.com brings you exclusive tips and inside scoop from Bob Dancer, one of the best known video poker authors and writers.
Q1: (This question originally appeared in August 2000 Strictly Slots)I was dealt two royal flushes in the same weekend. What are the odds of that happening?
A1: Assuming you are telling the truth, the odds are 100% that it happened! It makes no sense to talk about odds of something happening AFTER they already happened. A royal is dealt from a 52-card deck about one in 650,000 hands. And assuming you are going to play 10,000 hands next weekend, the odds are 1 in 65 that you'll be dealt one royal and over 4,000 to one against being dealt two or more. But you get a 4,000 or so people to play 10,000 hands and often ONE OF THEM will get dealt two royals. And you can be sure that whoever that lucky person is, he or she will go around wondering, "What are the odds?"
Q2: (This question originally appeared in August 2000 Strictly Slots. Today the 10/6 version of Double Double Bonus is available for dollars and lower in Las Vegas local casinos.)You rarely talk about Double Double Bonus and that is my favorite game. So tell me, if I am dealt Ac Ah As 4d 9c, is it correct to play AAA or AAA4. As you know four aces with a 2, 3 or 4 kicker pay 2.5 times as much as four aces without the kicker.
A2: I don't write about the game because even the best version (returning 9 for the full house and 6 for the flush) gives up more than a percent to the house. On the hand in question, holding just the aces is by far the better play. For dollar players playing five coins at a time, holding just the aces is worth over $3 more than keeping the kicker too.
Q3: (This question originally appeared in August 2000 Strictly Slots. Today Video Poker for Winners is a far superior product to WinPoker.) I use your WinPoker program and I can play about 99% accurately. Not bad! So how come I am still losing? I have yet to hit a royal flush.
A3: Your last sentence answers your own question. But you will hit royal flushes. Keep playing and they will happen --- and they are always a nice surprise.
But playing with 99% accuracy is just one factor in the equation. By far the most important factor is the underlying value of the game when played perfectly. Play a 101% game at 99% and you'll just about break-even. But play a game with only 96% potential at the 99% level and you'll still lose. You'll still hit royals on this game, but they won't pay for the amount you lose between royals.
Q4: (This question originally appeared in August 2000 Strictly Slots.) My husband and I play two machines that are identical, as near as we can tell. We have played each machine approximately the same amount. However on one of the machines we have hit three royal flushes and none on the other. I believe this is good reason to stop playing the cold machine and my husband says it doesn't matter. Who's correct?
A4: I believe your husband is correct. Assuming the pay schedules on the machines are identical, which one will pay off today is strictly a guess. Frequently played machines can average two or three royals a week, and over the course of a year produce more than 100 royal flushes. If you have two identical machines, about one fourth of the time the next three royals will all occur on the same machine. Don't put much stock in such streaks. You are seeing a small part of a pattern that is very likely strictly random.