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HOME > STRATEGY > Strategies & Tips > Altering video poker payouts

Altering video poker payouts

3 February 2018

By Jerry Stickman

Hello Stickman,

There are 9/6 Jacks or Better progressives at two Indian casinos in Oklahoma that appear to be class III (based on previous articles you have written regarding class II vs III). They are IGH Game Kings (see below).

My question is, can these machines still be altered in a way despite being class III? Or does the manufacturer not allow manipulation of class III? My concern is that these are being represented as class III machines but are not playing out like Vegas-style ones.

I signed up for a player’s card and ran through $40,000 in action (no royal or straight flush) and I was given $1,200 back in free play as a mailer. This strikes me as odd that they would give me back two thirds of my losses while playing on a machine paying 100.50% (progressive was around 6k) if the machines were random. Also, the fact that the progressive was up to 6k (under 10% chance) seemed suspicious. I understand the variance in a royal, but I would like your input before I play these machines regularly.

Please let me know your thoughts on this topic.


Hi John,

The difference between class II and class III machines is in how they operate. Class II machines are all controlled by a central server running a virtual bingo game. Because there is absolutely no skill in playing a class II game, sometimes what the player saves has to be corrected in order to have the proper payout.

Class III games each have a random number generator (RNG) that determines which cards appear. In this case, skill is involved, as whatever is held helps determine the result. Every class III game of which I am aware must be dealt “randomly” or as close to randomly as is possible for a machine. The gaming commissions inspect the randomness of games to insure their integrity.

Your tales of video poker woe do definitely happen. You did not mention the denomination of the game you were playing. The denomination is important in determining the number of hands played. If you ran $40,000 through a $10 game ($50 per hand) that is only 800 hands. On a dollar game, you are talking 8,000 hands. You would have played 32,000 hands on a quarter game. While you should have seen a few straight flushes in that many hands, a royal flush only appears approximately once every 40,000 hands, so nothing out of line there.

In response to the $1,200 free play, it does seem (extremely) generous. If I interpret your numbers properly, you lost about $1,800 while playing $40,000 through the game. That amounts to about a 4.5% loss. Normally casino gives a certain percentage of the “theoretical loss” back in free play. If this game is a true full-pay Jacks or Better game – meaning all the other winning hands were paid at the proper rate – this is a fantastic progressive machine!

About the best I have seen for a progressive game is 8/5. Game King is not famous for having full-pay games, either. Assuming, however, that the game is a true full-pay 9/6 Jacks or Better game, the theoretical loss would be 0.46% or a mere $184. The $1,200 free play is truly out of line. I would really check the pay table closely to verify that you are playing the game you think you are.

While it is frustrating to go through a dry spell such as you have (I know, I have been there), I think your experience is well within random expectations. I could be wrong, but I am of the understanding that class III games must be random. The randomness cannot be changed by the casinos. They can change the pay tables which will affect the return, but the long-term results must closely approximate the math of the game. If the casino affirms that these machines are, indeed, class III, they cannot change the randomness of the game.

May all your wins be swift and large and all your losses slow and small.

Jerry “Stickman”

Jerry “Stickman” authored the video poker section of Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Pai Gow Poker! You can contact Jerry “Stickman” at stickmanjerry@aol.com.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

Jerry Stickman
Jerry  Stickman
Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

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