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Is He Diamond Jim Brady?

22 May 2022

Reader Brady got lucky and drew a big, winning video poker hand during an early May morning. He just isn't sure how to feel about it.

"I should know better by now," Brady said. "I've been playing video poker long enough, almost 40 years. Since I retired last year, my wife and I play just about every week, but I changed video poker machines without checking the game."

That can be a problem. Nearly all modern video poker machines have a menu of games. It's up to you to choose Jacks or Better, Bonus Poker, Deuces Wild or any of the other games offered.

Best drawing strategies vary according to game and pay table, so playing a different game than you intend can have consequences. Brady found one of those consequences.

"There was a whole row of Game King machines with lots of different games. Deuces Wild is my favorite, so that's what I was playing.

"After a while, my wife Elena decided to play with me. She usually sticks to slots, but once in a while will play video poker. There was no seat next to me, but down the way there were two open together. So, I moved and we took those two.

"I looked at the screen and saw it was on quarters, the same as I'd been playing, so I didn't need to make a change. That was brain cramp No. 1 on my part."

It seems Brady had checked only the denomination and not the game the previous player had chosen. Games and pay tables make a difference in strategy, and there can be consequences.

"Brain cramp No. 2 came when I was dealt a 2 along with a 5, 8, Jack and Ace of mixed suits," Brady said. "I reflexively held the 2 and tossed the rest like any good Deuces player.

"On the draw, I got three more 2s and a 9. Hooray! I had four deuces. But only 400 credits were added to the meter instead of the 1,000 I was expecting.

"What happened? It turns out the player before me was playing Double Double Bonus Poker."

A Double Double Bonus player would have celebrated that draw. Brady wasn't celebrating.

"I was kicking myself and at the same time trying to convince myself I was really lucky," he said.
"The four 2s on Deuces Wild would have been worth 1,000 quarters instead of 400. But if I had switched the game to Deuces Wild, I probably wouldn't have been dealt the same hand or gotten the same draw. My timing would have been completely different."

He also would have made a different draw. In Double Double Bonus, the highest average return with that start is to hold the lone Ace, and the next best play is to hold Ace-Jack.

"I was really trying to be happy, but Elena could see it was really eating at me. She said, 'All right. You got lucky and you know it. You could have gotten nothing on that draw, and probably should have since you held the wrong card for the game. You need an attitude adjustment. We're taking an early lunch.'

"So we did. There was one restaurant open, a sports pub, and we went for sandwiches. My wife said I had to buy with my winnings to get in the winners’ celebration frame of mind.

"I still don't think it works that way, but it's too late to return the sandwiches."
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.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

The Craps Answer Book

> More Books By John Grochowski

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.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski