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HOME > > Ask the Slot Expert: Video poker gimmicks - Part 2

Ask the Slot Expert: Video poker gimmicks - Part 2

15 May 2024

By John Robison

Let's continue looking at some of the gimmicks video poker designers have added to video poker to give the game some of the excitement and sizzle that slot designers have added to slot games.

There's one more gimmick that requires only two extra credits per hand that I would like to mention. It's Triple Wheel Poker. When you bet the extra credits per hand, you enable the ability to spin either the bronze, silver, or gold prize wheel when you are dealt certain hands.

I had a bad experience on a Triple Wheel Poker machine two years ago. I was dealt one of the qualifying hands. I swiped right on the screen to say I liked what I saw and to start the wheel spinning. The wheel was spinning and spinning and spinning. And then the machine was rebooting and rebooting and rebooting. When the machine came back up, I had to swipe again to restart the wheel spin.

Now let's look at some gimmicks that require doubling your bet. There's no better segue than this letter.

Really enjoy your columns. I've been looking through the archives.

I was in AC last week and I came across Dream Card. I am hoping that someday it will complete a quad with a kicker, (I almost always play double double bonus.)

So I'm playing nickel 5 handed at the Ocean and it really did a nice thing for me. I was dealt a blank, As, Ks, Ts and dream card Js. I got one Qs for 4000. I thought that was pretty cool, but I missed the potential multiplier I might have gotten on Ultimate X.

I know Ultimate X is described as having huge variance. Is Dream Card better? It is the same doubled bet, which is a lot. My first impression was that it might be better than Ultimate X. Any comments on that?

Does anyone play Ultimate X without the extra bet?

Thanks for the kind words about my columns. It's hard to believe it's been 25 years. I'd say it was a record, but I started with Frank Scoblete. At best, I'm tied with Frank for longest-running, regularly published online column.

When you bet 10 credits per hand, the Dream Card feature is enabled and randomly triggered for a hand. When the Dream Card feature is triggered, the machine will deal four cards at random and then pick a "dream card" for the fifth. The dream card always improves the four dealt cards. For example, the dream card may turn your three-of-a-kind into a quad or, fingers crossed, complete your 4-card royal. (Actually, according to the help, if Dream Card is enabled and triggered and you're dealt a 4-card royal, the Dream Card algorithm will always complete your royal flush.)

I made a stupid mistake playing Dream Card about 5 years ago. I was at the Palms. I think I was there that day for a free bingo session promotion. I played some nickel Dream Card, maybe Ten Play.

I was dealt a good dream card. I think it might have been the same as your hand. I noticed that the machine gave me the option to change the dream card. I cycled through all the options before returning to the originally dealt dream card. Then I hit Draw.

It would have been a good idea to have held the dream card. It would have been an even better idea to have also held the cards that the dream card improved. I got so involved with playing around with the dream card that I forgot to play the hand.

I saw Jean Scott shortly after this happened. I asked her if there's anything I could have done. She said, and I'm paraphrasing greatly, the casino won't compensate you for doing something stupid.

It should come as no surprise that the Wizard of Odds has a page on Draw Poker with Dream Card. The page has a table that shows the paytables available, the probability of getting a dream card, and how much the Dream Card feature improves the long-term payback. Note that the table is over 10 years old, so the program in the machines on the slot floor today might be different.

Unfortunately, the Wizard didn't calculate the variance and I don't think I can do it. I searched online to see if someone else had calculated it and the only thing I could find is "extremely high."

Ultimate X is available in both single-hand and multi-hand. When you double your bet, you activate the Ultimate X feature. When you hit a paying hand, you also win a multiplier that will be applied to your next hand in that position. Better hands yield better multipliers. You get the multiplier on the next hand even if you don't make the extra bet.

The only time I've seen someone play Ultimate X without making the extra bet is when it was the last hand they were going to play and they didn't want to win another multiplier and feel they had to keep playing.

I agree with you that it seems like Dream Card's variance should be lower than that of Ultimate X because we're not multiplying the payoffs on hands. But then again, the money won from players who think something seems to be true has built many casinos.

Send me an email at the address below to let me know your favorite gimmick and why.

If you would like to see more non-smoking areas on slot floors in Las Vegas, please sign my petition on change.org.

Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at slotexpert@slotexpert.com. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

Copyright © John Robison. Slot Expert and Ask the Slot Expert are trademarks of John Robison.

John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming's leading publications. Hear John on "The Good Times Radio Gaming Show," broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoons. You can listen to archives of the show online anytime.

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