Thursday, 20th October, 2016

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Video Poker Odds & House Advantage

One of the most popular casino games is the video poker game which made its entry into this field in the seventies; today it has made its way as being one of the most popular forms of gambling. Some people also call it as a game of skill. It is especially suited to a person who likes the anonymity of playing alone, a low house edge, a game of skill and the possibility of large wins. The best thing about this game is its simplicity; where one plays 1 to 5 coins, and the machine gives five cards out of which the player chooses which one to hold and which one to discard, and then the machine replaces the player’s discarded cards and pays the gambler the value of the cards which he holds in his hands. If a player applies a perfect mathematical strategy, he can win over 100% cash back. Many of the machines in this game have a small house of less than 50 percent. The player determines the payback of the machine by reading the schedule whereas on the other hand the pay table determines the payback of the house edge.

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The famous adage: “the house always has the advantage does not apply to video poker games. In video poker, the player can have an advantage if he looks for the most liberal pay tables, and plays them properly. The pay tables which might be in the machine’s favor can give a return of over 100%, if incentives such as mailers, free play, cash back, and other comps are incorporated.

Choices with the Player

Some of the video poker games offer a double-up feature. Two games offer the bets by which the player can make no house edge: video poker and the odds in craps. This depends upon the motive of the player while he plays the game which determines whether he plays the double-up bet or not. If the motive of the player is to play on low volatility, the player should decline it. But if the player wants high volatility, he should accept it. While if his motive is to maximize the return, then the player should accept it. If he should take, up to what point, you may ask? This is something which is left to the discretion of the player, whether how much he can tradeoff between risks vs. reward. However, some of the video poker machines pay out over 100% when played with the correct strategy and calculations.

House Advantage

The work ‘House Advantage’ literally means that if the house advantage is of 2%, that means the casino will retain 2% of the bet of the player. It represents the long run percentage of the wagered money that will be retained by the casino. The house edge can be calculated easily for few games such as roulette and craps. While for other games it requires mathematical formula and calculations. Regardless of the method used to compute it, it represents the price that a player has to pay for playing the game.

Video Poker game does not have a built in profit on every bet. This is known as the House Advantage or Edge. Every time the player plays, he has a certain probability of winning or losing. For example if we take the case of a coin; the probability of each occurrence is 0.5. In another case, if the player bets 1$ and earned 1$ at the end (his original stake), he would be paid TRUE ODDS. However if the player gets .95$ in place of a dollar, the House edge would be 2.5%. In simple terms, House Edge / Advantage are the difference between the odds and the true odds and the casino pays to the player when he wins. In Blackjack and video poker, the player gets a positive payback depending on his skills and the rules or payback table.

Video Poker odds

Video Poker odds is said to be a perfect game for players who like to play alone as this game provides possible jackpots and low house advantages [bottom right]. One more advantages that this game can provide to a new player is the fact that the player can control the pace of the game. The gambler can take his own time to learn and unlearn the game and then when he gets more comfortable, he can increase his speed.

Few of the casinos offer the option of doubling the player’s wins after he has won a hand. If he decides to double his wins, there will be five additional cards with the first one face up and the last four face down, by the machine. The player then has to select one card from the face down cards. If the card comes up with a higher valuation, he doubles his wins, and vice versa. If the player wins the double, he is usually allowed to keep doubling. There might be a case when this result in a tie, then in such a case there is no house advantage because the player’s chances of winning are .5/.5. The house advantage is a very high 5.8% if a tie counts as a loss. The overall long-term payout of a machine is not affected as there is no House Advantage in doubling the player’s wins. The reason behind this is that one cannot double his bet unless he has won the bet.

Strategy To Be Employed

This game gives a chance of winning only 5 bucks to the player if he plays without any error, but if we compare this to slot machines and other such games, it is better if the user is gaining a little that losing consistent to take perfect advantage of the poker odds and house edge. It’s best when the player carries a strategy sheet with himself to the casino and follows it. One can play correctly and give the best odds of winning, or you can play wrong and lose faster. Therefore, at every point of time in this game, one needs to make decisions, and that too wise decision.

A simple mathematical formula can be used by the player to find out about the house edge or advantage. However, this gives subjectivity to the game as Mathematics is a perfect science and an absolute number can be reached using a given formula. In simple terms, this brings variations in the results. There might be a case here, when the odds of a single, specific wager might be against the player but still the player may win the bet.

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