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11 January 2001

Dear John,

I so enjoy reading your articles. I've been having a great time at the casino with video poker. Yesterday I was playing 8/5 8 coin quarter Jacks/Better with a progressive of \$9,000! (I wonder what the long term payback percentage would be on that one! Probably at least 101.5%!) Anyway, I didn't win the jackpot. My friend and I lost about \$5 between us, but we did great on the comps! We get comped \$4 for every hour of play on video poker! So since we played for two hours, you could say we came out ahead! I can't wait for that free buffet!

Anyway, sorry about that, just got excited. Now my question. To play the above described machine, I brought with me a very detailed, hairsplitting 9/6 Jacks or Better strategy devised by the Wizard of Odds (perhaps you heard of him.) It's superb, but he doesn't have a strategy for an 8/5 machine. So I'm looking for a book or chart with a very intricate, hairsplitting 8/5 strategy with all those obscure penalty card rules and all. I want something I can take with me to casino (they don't mind), so I'm not interested in Bob Dancer's software (besides, I use a Mac, and his software is PC only).

I cannot thank you enough for the personal attention you give your readers.

Regards,

It doesn't get much better than that. Losing about \$5 and getting two buffets. I'd say you came out ahead.

I don't know of any detailed strategies for 8/5 Jacks. Because the house edge on the game is about 2.7%, analysts don't study the game as closely as they do 9/6 Jacks or the over 100% payback games. I know of a program that you might be able to use to create a detailed strategy, but I don't know if it can handle an 8-coin game and it's PC only.

I use Dan Paymar's 9/6 Jacks cue card. It doesn't have any penalty card considerations on it, but it gets very close to the mathematically perfect strategy. The truth about penalty cards is that it takes hundreds of thousands of hands for the "mistakes" you make by not taking them into account to have a greater effect on your results than randomness (luck).

Dan doesn't have a strategy card for 8/5 Jacks, but Jazbo Burns does (www.jazbo.com). Lenny Frome's book Winning Strategies at Video Poker also has a strategy for 8/5 Jacks progressives. I know Lenny's book doesn't deal with penalty cards; I don't know whether Jazbo's cards do. Finally, Frank Soblete's Victory at Video Poker also has a strategy for 8/5 Jacks.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John

Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@home.com.

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John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots