Daily News Poker News Online Gaming News Investor News Vegas News Featured Articles
Strategies & Tips Books & Movies
Gaming Life Gaming Tips Comps & Promos
Strategies & Tips
HOME > STRATEGY > Strategies & Tips > Are VP Odds Always the Same?

Are VP Odds Always the Same?

16 May 2020

By Jerry Stickman


I met you years ago at a seminar in AC, but my question today concerns video poker. I can't help thinking it's a dumb one, but I'm going to take a shot anyway:

I've read and understood many articles by you and others discussing perfect play and the odds of certain outcomes occurring (like a royal) over a given number of trials. The question that's always nagged at me is, does the act of switching machines (different machine, but same game) or walking down the street to a different casino really have no influence whatsoever on a player's odds? It seems to me doing so would introduce another new variable or two to a player's expected outcomes, although I've never read any reference to such a thing from any expert such as you. So, I'd have to assume that how many times you switch to the next machine in the row, or change casinos, has no effect on one's probabilities, but I hate to assume. By the way, I play Triple Double Bonus exclusively when playing video poker.

Many thanks if you can clear this up for me!


Hi Paul,

Your question is definitely not a dumb one. I must believe the same question has gone through the minds of every video poker player who played more than a few dozen hands. I know I certainly questioned it when I was a relative newbie.

The most frustrating thing for me was playing a particular machine for a period of time and getting nothing. I would move to another machine and someone would sit at my old machine and have fantastic luck. It got to the point that if I was going to move to another machine and the games were somewhat crowded, I would either move to a game nowhere near the original one, go to another casino, or simply quit playing for a while.

I doubted every choice I made when it came to switching machines - or even games on the same machine.

It is said that with experience comes wisdom. While not everyone learns from experience, some do.

Since those times past, I have played millions of video poker hands and I have come to see the patterns - patterns that are recognizable after they occur, not anything upon which you can capitalize. Just because someone else took your old machine and does well, doesn't mean you would have done the same had you stayed.

The math of the game rules. You have exactly the same odds of getting a royal flush with each and every hand you are dealt. The odds are the same whether you play the same game, several games in the same casino or games in several casinos. With perfect play on a 9/6 Jacks or Better game, the probability that a hand will score a royal flush is 0.002 percent. Also, with perfect play you will get a royal flush once every 40,390.55 hands - on average. The key phrase is "on average,"

There have been times for me where nearly 200,000 went by without a royal flush appearing. Other times royals have happened nearly back to back. I lived through those fluctuations and they are all within the realm of randomness.

It is extremely difficult to ride through a long period of losses. You doubt yourself. You doubt the randomness of the machine. You doubt everything you thought you knew about the game.

That is why any responsible video poker player will make sure he or she has an adequate bankroll to ride through those sometimes extremely long losing periods. It may still be difficult on the emotions, but at least you can afford the losses until the winning hands begin flowing once more.

Sorry for the bit of rambling, Paul.

The bottom line is, you have exactly the same chance on each and every hand you play on a video poker game in Las Vegas, A.C. and other regulated gaming venues. All that you can do is make sure you are picking the best game there is, playing perfect strategy, and making sure you have a large enough bankroll to ride through the losing periods.

By the way, the game you select to play can have a huge impact on bankroll requirements. You mentioned that you play Triple Double Bonus exclusively. I am guessing the game you play pays 9-for-1 for a full house and 6-for-1 for a flush. Let's compare this game with Jacks or Better.

9/6 Jacks or Better has a return of 99.54 percent and a variance of 19.51. Variance is an indication of how much bankrolls will fluctuate as the game is played. The higher the variance, the more bankrolls will fluctuate. 9/6 Triple Double Bonus returns 98.15 percent and has a variance of 100.11.

The variance of your game is more than five times that of Jacks or Better meaning you bankroll requirements are significantly higher. Also, the Triple Double Bonus return is about one and a third percent lower than the 9/6 Jacks or Better game. This also means you will lose at a somewhat quicker rate.

I cannot tell you what game to play. It is your money to use as you wish. I just want to make sure that you know what you are doing to yourself by your choices.

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

Jerry “Stickman”

Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack and video poker and advantage slot machine play. He 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" 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.

More about Jerry Stickman
More articles by Jerry Stickman

Jerry Stickman's Websites:

Sign up for Casino City's Newsletter and a Chance to Win an exciting Casino City Prize