CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles

Gaming Guru

 

Aces Up or Down?

23 August 2004

In spite of the recent challenge by several other versions of Video Poker, Jacks or Better is still holding a comfortable lead in terms of the number of machines in play. In fact, many of the Jacks or Better machines have been upgraded to comfortable table models which provide the utmost in comfort and privacy. This has happened even while the pay schedules became more attractive, with virtually all quarter and dollar games offering the full pay table (see below). With expert play, these machines return 99.6% so, other than for a change of pace, there is little reason for players to look to the other versions. And there certainly is little cause for inept play on such machines when good instruction books are available.

The most frequent and costly mistakes most novices make involve hands in which three pay cards (Ace-King-Queen, Ace-King Jack or Ace-Queen-Jack) of non-matching suits are dealt. The problem is that most players refuse to part with the Ace, probably because of their familiarity with the table poker card game, in which the Ace is a desirable card. Consider the hand:

AD
KH
QS
10D
6S
    Do we play this as:
    (A) Draw two cards to the A-K-Q
    (B) Draw three cards to the K-Q
    (C) Draw three cards to the A-10

The player's objective is to hold the cards which offer the best chance of returning the most if all possible draws are considered. We would expect the draws to distribute as:

 
Case A
Case B
Case C
Unique Draws
1,081
16,215
16,215
Royal Flush @ 800
0
0
1
Straight Flush @ 50
0
0
0
Four of a Kind @25
0
2
2
Full House @9
0
18
18
Flush @6
0
0
164
Straight @4
12
84
35
Three of a Kind @3
9
281
281
Two Pairs @2
27
711
711
Jacks or Better @1
348
4,914
2,739
Non-Winners @ 0
685
10,205
12,264
Total Payout
477
7,727
7,140
Expected Payouts
0.44
0.48
0.44

EXPERT PLAY always goes to the highest EV. Play (B) is the correct play. We see that the Ace is a drag on the hand if held, limiting the percent of winners we can make. The value of Aces we learned at the poker table no longer apply in Jacks or better Video Poker, simply because that Ace alone can never be a winner. Incidentally, the drag caused by the Ace is even more pronounced in A-Q-J hands, because these can develop into many more straights without the Ace. The EV of the Q-J combo is .49 with the Ace out of the way.

Lenny Frome
Lenny Frome spent 40 years in the aerospace engineering business before moving to Las Vegas. During the ensuing 10 years, he became one of the most prolific gaming authors, having written 8 books, countless tip sheets and nearly 1000 articles for a variety of gaming magazines.

Lenny's ground breaking work in the area of Video Poker earned him the title of the 'King of Video Poker'. He also wrote on a variety of other gaming topics including Spanish 21, Let It Ride, Keno and others.

Besides being an author and columnist, Lenny was the premier Gaming Consultant at the time of his passing in 1998. He helped develop paytables for Let It Ride and Three Card Poker, and consulted on literally hundreds of other gaming projects.

His son, Elliot, now follows in his footsteps, as a gaming author, analyst and consultant. Their website, and a complete catalog of all their products can be found at www.vpheaven.com. Feel free to drop Elliot an e-mail at compuflyers@prodigy.net.

Lenny Frome Websites:

www.vpheaven.com
Lenny Frome
Lenny Frome spent 40 years in the aerospace engineering business before moving to Las Vegas. During the ensuing 10 years, he became one of the most prolific gaming authors, having written 8 books, countless tip sheets and nearly 1000 articles for a variety of gaming magazines.

Lenny's ground breaking work in the area of Video Poker earned him the title of the 'King of Video Poker'. He also wrote on a variety of other gaming topics including Spanish 21, Let It Ride, Keno and others.

Besides being an author and columnist, Lenny was the premier Gaming Consultant at the time of his passing in 1998. He helped develop paytables for Let It Ride and Three Card Poker, and consulted on literally hundreds of other gaming projects.

His son, Elliot, now follows in his footsteps, as a gaming author, analyst and consultant. Their website, and a complete catalog of all their products can be found at www.vpheaven.com. Feel free to drop Elliot an e-mail at compuflyers@prodigy.net.

Lenny Frome Websites:

www.vpheaven.com