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HOME > Gaming > Changing Denominations Doesn't Matter

Changing Denominations Doesn't Matter

14 September 2012

By Bill Burton

Last week I was on a business trip in the South and stopped by one of the casinos on the Mississippi River. I decided to play a little video poker and I sat down at one of the multi-denomination/multi-game machines.

The first thing I do when I sit down at one of these machines is check out the denominations of the machine. This particular machine had the option of playing for either quarters or dollars. The next thing I do is to look at the games offered and then compare the pay tables of each game to see if there is any difference in the payout based on the denomination of the game selected. In some casinos there will be a lower pay schedule on the lower denomination games.

The pay schedule turned out to be the same for the quarter and dollar games on this machine but as I was running through each game checking the pay schedule, I started to think how the multi-game technology has really made it easier for both the player and the casino.

Several years ago each machine on the casino floor housed only a single game. If you wanted to play Jacks or Better you had to look around the casino for machine offering that game in the denomination you wanted to play. If you wanted to change the denomination or game you were playing it would involve cashing out and walking across the casino to a different bank of machines.

The major disadvantage with the single games machines is that it limited the amount of games that the casino could offer because of the physical space a single machine takes up on the casino floor.

The machine I was playing offered nine variations of video poker and four different video keno games that could be played for quarters or dollars. So this machine essentially replaced 30 single-game machines. This is a win/win for the casino and the players because you can switch games and denominations with the push of a button.

Sometimes being able to switch denominations on the same machine might present a problem for some players. I witnessed this when I was playing during my recent trip. I was sitting at one end of a three-bank machine and there was a man playing at the machine on the other end. The machine in the middle was empty. I was concentrating on my game and was not paying attention to the other player. All of a sudden he slammed his hand his hand down on the counter of the empty machine and let out a curse.

I jumped and looked over expecting to see that he had missed a four royal or some other high paying hand. To my surprise I saw that he had just hit the royal flush. I congratulated him on his nice win.

He swore again and said that he had just switched from dollars to quarters two hands ago and if he had stayed with dollars he would have had a $4,000 jackpot instead of “only” a thousand bucks. I just shook my head and went back to my game. It had been a while since I have gotten a royal and I would have been happy with one at any denomination.

Hitting a jackpot after you switch to a lower denomination game does not mean that you would have hit it if you had stayed playing the game at the higher denomination. Some video poker machines use a different program for each denomination game and others use the same. There is one way to tell if the machine you are playing uses the same program. The way to do this is to play a hand at one denomination and note the cards that were dealt after the hand is complete. Then switch the denomination of the game and see what cards are on that screen. If the cards are different, the machine is using a separate program. If the cards are the same, then it is using the same program. Of course this is only true if you compare the exact same game at different denominations. Deuces Wild, Joker Poker and other variations all use separate programs.

However before you get upset if you hit a jackpot on a machine where the cards are the same, you have to realize that you would probably not have hit it if you had kept playing at the higher denomination.

This is because machines have a computer chip inside that runs the Random Number Generator (RNG). The RNG is continuously cycling through numbers even when the machine is not being played. When you hit the draw button, the RNG picks the combination of cards to be dealt at that given microsecond. If you had stayed playing at the higher denomination, it is highly unlikely that you would have stopped the RNG at the exact time needed to display that same combination of numbers. In the time it takes to switch denominations to the new game, the RNG has cycled through thousands of combinations.

I did not mention this to the fellow who had just hit the royal but after he left I did compare the quarter to dollar denominations and found that this particular machine did indeed use the same program. I’m sure that if he knew that he would have been convinced that he missed the big one. Maybe it was karma but during my playing session I finally hit a royal flush and was more than happy to take the win even if it was only on a quarter machine.

Until Next time remember:
Luck comes and goes.....Knowledge Stays Forever.

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.

Bill Burton
Bill Burton is a gambling expert and best-selling author of Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em and 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets. He writes for several national gaming magazines and newsletters. These publications include: Casino Player, Strictly Slots, The Southern California Gaming Guide, Midwest Gaming and Travel magazine, Southern Gaming and Destinations magazine, Midwest Player and Blackjack Insider.

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