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# Focus is Important

22 November 2004

One of the most common hands in Video Poker is the Pair. More than 40% of all pre-draw hands will be a Pair (High or Low). Have you ever sat there getting a sense you're not getting your fair share of Trips from a Pair? Exactly, how many is a fair share? On average, a Pair will become Trips a little more than 11% of the time or 1 in 9 times. So, does this mean that every time you get a pair, you can keep track of the number of times in turns into Trips and after 100 occurrences, you can all but count on it happening 11 times?

Let's try and explain it this way. Let's say we have a 9-sided die and we keep track of the number of times we get a '9'. After 100 rolls, we mark down the number of 9's. We do this thousands of times and keep track of how many times in 100 rolls we get the '9'. Based on the fact that a 9 will occur 11% of the time, we would expect it to occur 11 times most of the time, right?

Anyone willing to wager on this? What if I'm willing to pay you \$30 for a \$5 wager every time it occurs exactly 11 times? How about if I pay \$12.50 for a \$5 wager anytime a '9' occurs 10, 11 OR 12 times? You'd be better off playing slots than taking either of these sucker bets. The first bet has a payback of 88.4%, while the second has a payback of 91.9%. Just because the 'average' is 11, doesn't mean that it will always be 11 or even be 11 most of the time. In fact, a '9' will show up 11 times only about 12.6% of the time.

So, what does this all mean to Video Poker? It means that when you're sitting there getting frustrated because it seems like the last 20 Pairs haven't turned into Trips, the machine is not broken. Admittedly, you're not exactly having a streak of good luck, but the machine is behaving well within normal statistics. Getting 5 Trips out of 100 Pairs will occur about 1.75% of the time. So, 1 out of 20 is hardly a once in a lifetime event! Getting 3 Trips out of 100 Pairs will even occur about .25% of the time, so going 30 plus hands without hitting the Three of a Kind is still well within statistically acceptable. At the same time, it would be even less common to see 25 Trips out of 100 Pairs, but I doubt you'll be complaining if you're on this end of the probability scale.

Why is this important information to know? If you start believing your machine is 'fixed' or 'rigged' then you're going to give up playing the right strategy. You'll start playing hunches or trying for outrageous draws in order to take advantage of what you perceive is a pattern in the way the cards are being dealt. When that happens, you've played right into the casino's hands. If the game is 'rigged', quite frankly, you don't stand a chance. It should also be noted that in the United States, in the major jurisdictions, Video Poker machines must use a standard deck of cards and each card must show up in its proper random probability (1 in 52 for a standard deck) in the long run.

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Elliot Frome

Elliot Frome is a 2nd generation gaming author and analyst. His father, Lenny Frome was considered one of the premier authors of Video Poker books. Titles include, Expert Video Poker for Las Vegas and Winning Strategies for Video Poker, which includes the strategy tables for 61 of the country’s most popular versions of Video Poker. Check out Compu-Flyers website at www.vpheaven.com, or drop Elliot an e-mail at compuflyers@prodigy.net.

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#### Books by Elliot Frome:

Elliot Frome
Elliot Frome is a 2nd generation gaming author and analyst. His father, Lenny Frome was considered one of the premier authors of Video Poker books. Titles include, Expert Video Poker for Las Vegas and Winning Strategies for Video Poker, which includes the strategy tables for 61 of the country’s most popular versions of Video Poker. Check out Compu-Flyers website at www.vpheaven.com, or drop Elliot an e-mail at compuflyers@prodigy.net.

www.vpheaven.com