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# Full houses and flushes

21 August 2016

QUESTION: Your article on different Deuces Wild payoffs reminded me of something I’ve wanted to ask. You say that in non-wild-card games, percentages usually are adjusted by changing the pay tables on full houses and flushes. But there are lots of other changes, especially the fours of a kind. Double Double Bonus four of a kinds pay more than Bonus Poker, and Bonus Poker more than Jacks or Better, and so on.

Almost every game has its different four of a kinds. So where is the “usually” on full houses and flushes?

ANSWER: That full houses and flushes are the usual hands for altered returns to change payback percentages refers to differences within game families. Double Double Bonus Poker isn’t just a game; it’s a game family. Within that family, payback percentages usually are adjusted by changing paybacks on full houses and flushes.

That’s why we can refer to games within a family as “9/6” or “8/5” machines, or some other combination of two numbers. The first number refers to the payback for a one-coin bet when you draw a full house; the second number is the payback on a flush. So a 9/6 Double Double Bonus Poker is a DDB machine that pays 9-for-1 on full houses and 6-for-1 on flushes.

In non-wild card games, these game families usually are defined by their paybacks on four of a kind. Jacks or Better games pay 25-for-1 on all quads, regardless of rank – though some Triple Play JB games pay 26-for-1. The Double Bonus family pays 50-for-1 on most quads, 80-for-1 on four 2s, 3s and 4s, and 160-for-1 on four aces. The Double Double Bonus family starts with the Double Bonus payoffs, but ups to the return to 160-for-1 on four 2s, 3s or 4s if the fifth card is an ace, 2, 3 or 5, and to 400-for-1 on four aces accompanied by a 2, 3 or 4.

So yes, Jacks or Better has different four of a kind pays than Double Double Bonus, and there are many other games with their own four-of-a-kind quirks, but those quad pays define the family. Within the family, payback percentages usually are adjusted by changing returns on full houses and flushes.

Each unit change in the payback on a flush or full house raises or lowers the overall payback percentage with expert play by a little more than 1%. To use Double Double Bonus as an example, the 9/6 version pays 98.98% with expert play, 9/5 DDB pays 97.87% and 8/5 DDB pays 97.79%.

QUESTION: A question about roulette. I keep reading not to make the five-number bet 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3 because the house edge is 7.89% instead of the 5.26% on other bets. Why not just change the payoff so it has the same edge as the rest?

ANSWER: Double-zero roulette is set up that way in the interest of ease of payoff. To reduce the house edge to 5.26%, the bet would have to pay 6.2-1 instead of 6-1. To the house, it’s not worthwhile to make change or keep denominations of tenths of a chip.

You can bet those numbers and get the 5.26% house edge, but it takes more than one chip to do it. The way that uses the fewest chips is to bet one chip on the 0-00 split and one on the 1-2-3 street. That would bring a 17-1 payoff on a winner 0 or 00 or an 11-1 payoff on a 1, 2 or 3.
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John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.