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Gaming Guru

 

Should We Always Play Coin Limit?

20 May 2004

For some unknown reason, many players consider it mandatory to play all Video Pokers at coin-limit, usually 5 coins. This is not always the smart play. Even if we follow the directions given about finding the only machines to play, those that pay the full-pay schedule which returns from 99.6 to 100.6 percent (without a progressive jackpot), we should consider some other factors.

BANKROLL--If we are not adequately bankrolled, even favorable pay schedules may not save us from the Gamblers Ruin phenomenon, which wipes us out early with just a few short cold streaks. We should bankroll at an 80-bet level, but if we can't come up with this, then we are better off playing below limit-coin level, at minimum level is best, and hope that we'll be able to close the gap. Of course, that's one big advantage of playing in casinos where the full-pay machines are available at several denominations, so we can stay coin-limit at some lower denomination.

EXPERTISE--If we are novice players and have not come up to the expert play level, we should stay below coin-limit while we are in the learning process. Playing as a hacker can be costly so we recommend a good book or home computer tutor software as an excellent investment. The MASQUETM Video Poker Strategy Pro is an example of what's available so players can sharpen up while playing at home. Poor play can take a few percentage points off any game, making casino practice-time expensive.

RETURNS BELOW COIN LIMIT--Nearly anyone can use a few simple calculations to help decide what level to play at. All games reward the 5-coin player with a bonus payout on Royals. The most common pay 4,000 for 5-coin play (800 for 1) but only 250 for 1 on play of one to four coins. Royals occur about once in roughly 40,000 hands. This varies very little from one version to another; 46,000 in Deuces Wild at the worst to 38,000 in Tens or better. When paying 800 the player expects 2 percent of the overall payback to come from the Royals. At 250, the payback from Royals is reduced to 0.63% so the machine is paying out 1.4 percent less overall. A 99.6 Jacks machine is at 98.2 when played below coin-limit. Still the player is experiencing a lower loss- rate at one-coin (.018 coins per play) than at 5-coin (.004 times 5 which is .020 coins per play). These are very close to a toss-up so you can't go wrong at one-coin unless your marriage is too fragile to survive a $62.50 Royal which could have been $1,000.

POSITIVE PAYBACK GAMES--these should always be played at the limit coin level provided we are reasonably bankrolled and are not novices. Deuces Wild, with its full-pay version (5 for 1 on Quads) offering 100.6 percent payback is the best. Expert skill level is the easiest to attain and the dependency on Royals is the lowest of all current versions. The mini-jackpot of 200 for 1 on 4-Deuces is hit 10 times more often and is paying flat on one to five coin play. Right behind Deuces Wild, there is the full-pay 100.4% Joker Wild (pays Aces and Kings). It's a harder game to master, but with the MASQUETM Video Poker Strategy Pro type of tutoring help, this game as well as Deuces can be learned rapidly. Of course, with positive-edge games, some small lack of skill is more tolerable.

PROGRESSIVES--these should always be played at maximum coins regardless of bankroll or skill level, but if short in either aspect, they are best if avoided unless the jackpot is especially high. Paying a couple of percent lower, these are usually at a 97.3 percent payback level at coin-limit play and at below 96 percent at below-limits. This leaves no leeway for learning or skimpy bankrolls.

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