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The 8/5 versus 7/5 Debate

14 May 2022

Stickman,

Consider this hand: 9, T, J, Q, 9 unsuited.

The right play on a Jacks or Better, or 8/5 Bonus Poker game is to hold the low pair over a four-card open-ended straight. However, on 7/5 Bonus Poker, why is that incorrect?

Why on 7/5 Bonus Poker is a four-card open-ended straight preferable to a low pair?

Dan

Hi Dan,

That is a very good question.

Since the only thing that has changed is the pay table, the answer has to lie there. The 8/5 game pays 8-for-1 for a full house and the 7/5 game pays 7-for-1 for the same full house.

In either game, the odds of getting any specific hand after the hold of either a low pair or four cards of an open-ended straight are the same regardless of whether it is a 7/5 or 8/5 game.

Let’s look at the numbers.

8/5 Bonus Poker:
• Holding the low pair returns 4.0675 credits on average for the five credits bet.
• Holding either 9 and the T, J, Q returns 4.0425 credits on average for the five credits bet.
• Holding the low pair returns 0.025 credits more than holding an open-ended straight.

7/5 Bonus Poker:
• Holding the low pair returns 4.0167 credits on average for the five credits bet.
• Holding either 9 and the T, J, Q returns 4.0426 credits on average for the five credits bet.
• Holding the low pair has a 0.0259 disadvantage to holding an open-ended straight.

Now let’s look at the possible resulting hands from the two holds since the answer must lie there.

Holding a low pair (9’s in your case) has a total of 16,215 possible results. 11,559 of those possible results are worthless.

That leaves 4,656 winning hands. They are:
• Two pairs (2,592)
• 3-of-a-kind (1,854)
• Full house (165)
• 4-of-a-kind (44)

Holding four cards of an open-ended straight (9, T, J, Q in your case) has a total of 47 possible results with 33 non-winners.

The 14 possible winners are:
• Jacks or Better (6)
• Straight (8)

The returns for holding a low pair vs holding an open-ended straight are very close.

Reducing the pay for a full house by 12.5 percent (1/8) doesn’t affect the return for holding for a straight, but it reduces the return from holding a low pair by enough to make holding the open-ended straight the preferable move.

Hopefully that clears it up for you.

As always, may all your wins be swift and large, and your losses be slow and small.

Jerry “Stickman”

Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack, video poker and advantage slot machine play. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. He authored the video poker section of Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Pai Gow Poker! You can contact Jerry “Stickman” at stickmanjerryg@gmail.com
Jerry Stickman

Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com
Jerry Stickman
Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com