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# Ask the Slot Expert: How big a bankroll do I need for Triple Double Bonus video poker?

21 August 2024

Question: Here is a challenge for you!

I am playing 25 cents (1.25 a hand) on Triple Double Bonus video poker twice a week for 5 hours each session. What should be the minimum size of my bankroll? Further info is that I play pretty fast — typically at the rate of 800 to 900 hands per hour.

P.S. Missed four months due to health but back to playing. Since end of June have had 3 royals (I know, not supposed to be). This past Saturday had one of the royals (held one and drew four) and four 2,3,4’s with kicker hands. Lucky, of course.

I wonder whether your postscript was subconsciously rattling around in my brain when I was playing NSU a few days ago. Twice I was dealt a straight with a deuce. Twice three of the other four cards were of the same suit. In NSU, as painful as it is, you give up a straight in favor of a 4-card outside or inside straight flush.

Twice I gave up a straight. Twice I got the straight flush. Twice I thought, Sometimes what's supposed to happen happens.

Then I realized that whatever happens is what was supposed to happen. It's just that sometimes what happens isn't the outcome you want. Getting a straight flush wasn't necessarily what was supposed to happen; it's just the outcome I desired. Even when I end up with a bust hand in the same situation, that is what was supposed to happen.

What was supposed to happen? In the long run, the probability of each of the remaining 47 cards in the deck is supposed to get closer and closer to 1/47. Some of those cards are better for me than others.

Your getting three royals is what was supposed to happen. It's not that it wasn't supposed to happen. It's just not likely to happen. As you said, lucky.

Moving on to your question about bankroll, there's a simple answer. If you're running out of money before you're running out of desire to play, bring more money.

It's not really that flippant an answer. You've been playing for a while, so I bet you have a pretty good idea how much you need to bring to have a good chance of not running out of money.

Nevertheless, let's come up with some numbers.

When I need to calculate bankroll requirements, I use Dunbar Risk Analyzer, an Excel spreadsheet I learned about from Henry Tamburin (How to analyze your risk playing video poker, A frustrated video poker player looks for help). The spreadsheet was created by Dunbar who, like Cher and Madonna, seems to have only one name.

The spreadsheet has a few required parameters. First, paytable. It has three predefined Triple Double Bonus paytables. I choose 9/5 (97.02%), the lowest-paying paytable available to be safe.

I'm skeptical that you play at 800 to 900 hands per hour, especially not for five hours. That's like running a 100-meter dash pace for an entire marathon. (Sorry, still in Olympics withdrawal.) I entered that you wanted to play 800 hands/hour for five hours.

I tried to calculate a long-term Risk of Ruin (RoR), but I couldn't. Because you don't have an advantage playing, your long-term RoR is 100%. I had to use the short-term section.

The short-term section estimates your RoR for a given bankroll and number of hands (desired to be)played calculated from hours and hands/hour.

For a starting bankroll of \$1000, Dunbar estimated an RoR of 16%, or running out of money roughly 1 in 8 sessions.

Let's try \$1500. That drops the estimate to 0%.

Hmm. Does that make sense?

Your \$1500 bankroll is enough to fund 1200 hands, and your goal is 4000. You'll get a push or better on a little less than half of those hands, so that brings us up to 1800 hands. Some of those hits will be better, even much better, than a push, so having the funds to almost always be able to play 4000 hands seems reasonable.

What can decrease your bankroll requirement? Playing a less volatile paytable, playing more slowly, playing for less time, and being willing to accept some risk of running out of money. These are not mutually exclusive.

Now, you asked about minimum bankroll. I can't really answer that without knowing how willing you are to run the risk of running out of money?

Here are some RoR percentages for a few bankrolls:

 \$1500 0% \$1000 16% \$500 60%

You can figure out what RoR you are comfortable with and get an estimate of the bankroll you should have.

If you would like to see more non-smoking areas on slot floors in Las Vegas, please sign my petition on change.org.

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