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Will Mistakes Delay a Royal Flush?

22 January 2022

Previously I wrote about a long-term stretch without a royal flush – almost 200,000 hands to be more specific.

I am sure I am not alone experiencing this phenomenon. Others have gone years without ever snagging the ultimate prize when playing jacks or better video poker.

Unfortunately, it is all a part of how random operates. On the video poker game I prefer, for every hand played, there is a 1 in 40,391 chance of getting a royal flush. It is possible to get two, three, four or more in a single trip to Las Vegas. Or, unfortunately, it is also possible to get the results I have experienced.

You may recall that to go nearly 200,000 without a royal flush puts me in a very “elite” group – the top (or more correctly the bottom) 1.4 percent of all players.

Naturally, I have mentioned my highly painful experience to others. One of the more interesting comments came in the form of a question. “Are you sure you are playing the strategy correctly?”

“Of course, I am playing the strategy correctly,” I responded. “I practice regularly with my video poker program on my computer and during that time have not made a single mistake.” The subject was dropped and the conversation went on to other topics.

Later I started thinking about mistakes that I have sometimes made. They don’t happen often and for the most part I catch them before hitting the “Deal/Draw” button. I do, however, sometimes make mistakes when I am very tired or have played for a few hours.

I like to play fairly fast and average between 800 and 1,100 hands per hour. At this rate sometimes I don’t always catch everything I should (maybe taking some of my own advice in this column is in order).

With this in mind, I thought I would explore the mistakes I tend to make and see if they could contribute to the extreme dearth of royal flushes I experienced. I strongly suspect that these mistakes are not that uncommon with other players either.

By far the most common error involves not seeing a low pair, which is a pair of 2’s through 10’s. I don’t miss a low pair if there is nothing else in the hand as I spend a bit more time searching for something. In other words, I don’t discard a hand that has just a low pair in it.

On rare occasions a low pair might be overlooked if there is one or more suited high cards in the hand. I may then hold the lone high card or two suited high cards rather than holding the low pair which is the proper play.

Does this error reduce the chances of hitting a royal flush?

It absolutely does not. It actually improves the chances of hitting a royal flush – maybe not by much, but an improvement none the less.

There are also some extremely rare instances where I will save one low pair and miss a second low pair. Okay, another mistake in strategy. Does this mistake reduce the occurrence of a royal flush? No, it does not. All it does, most often, is cost some winnings.

The only other mistake in strategy I tend to make is with a three-card straight flush that includes an ace and two suited low cards. Sometimes my hold is the lone ace.

Since re-instituting practice sessions and being especially aware of this hand, I don’t think I have made this mistake for months. But should this mistake happen, would it reduce the appearance of the royal flush?

Again, no it would not. It would, in fact, slightly increase the occurrence of a royal flush.

In each probable mistake, the appearance of a royal flush never decreases. It only stays the same or increases.

Conclusion: The mistakes in playing strategy that pop up in my play do not cause fewer royal flushes. Randomness does.

Random is random. Sometimes you will do well, other times you will not do well, and other times you will just suck. Even while playing the lowest variance machine available, you can experience gigantic losing streaks. It is part of the game.

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 and 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