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Fifty Play Wild Royal Dilemma

11 June 2002

One of the great joys of playing Deuces Wild video poker is to be dealt a wild Royal Flush. The payoff is a cool 125 coins. Playing strategy can get complicated, however, depending upon the number of deuces you are dealt to the wild royal. To hold or not to hold? That is the question.

Now how about this for a dilemma: You're playing nickel Fifty-Play Deuces Wild video poker, max coins per spin (250 nickels or $12.50). All of a sudden you are dealt four-to-a-royal with a deuce for a Wild Royal Flush. At 125 coins per line that's 6,250 nickels or $312.50.

Sounds like it's a no-brainer to hold all the cards and collect your bird in the hand money. But wait a minute! You've got fifty hands to play with. Maybe you should hold the four-to-a-royal and hit deal in an effort to rack up some 4,000 coin natural royal payoffs.

The mathematical odds against catching that fifth card on any one of the hands are 46 to one. With 50 hands to play, the percentages are with you to catch at least one natural royal. But is it enticing enough to risk the sure thing $312.50?

My friend Jeff Gillespie in Las Vegas was in the hot seat with this predicament. He wound up holding the Wild Royal and collecting. Was that correct strategy?

I posed this question to video poker expert John Robison, author of the newly released The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots published by Huntington Press of Las Vegas, Nevada. John holds a Master's Degree in computer science from the Stevens Institute of Technology and is one of the nation's leading authorities on video poker.

John writes:

"This turned out to be an interesting question. My gut reaction was that you'd probably hold the 4-card royal because in 9/6 Jacks, you hold 4-card royals unless you have a straight flush, which is worth more than the wild royal flush in Deuces Wild. I checked the beginner's Deuces Wild strategy on Bob Dancer's card and it said to hold all paying hands, except always hold a 4-card royal flush when you have a hand with one deuce. The recreational strategy, however, says not to break a Wild Royal Flush for a natural 4-card royal flush. Hmmm. I checked the hand using WinPoker and it's not even close. The better play is to take the wild royal flush."

John used the paytable for full-pay Deuces Wild for the calculation. He is pretty sure the nickel 50-play machine at the Gold Coast, which is the machine Jeff played, is not full pay.

My buddy made the correct play to hang on to his wild royal flush after all. Not knowing what the correct mathematical strategy was, I surely would have been tempted to break it up and try to get lucky with some draws for natural royals. Then I would have started thinking about the $312.50 I was guaranteed by holding the wild royal. Decisions, decisions.

CASINO NEWS: Harrah's Joliet and Harrah's East Chicago are offering customers a chance to win $1 million in a new promotion, the "Game of Life $1 Million Giveaway". The promotion is being held in conjunction with Harrah's exclusive introduction of the "Game of Life" slot machines.

Twelve Chicago-area Harrah's customers will be among 150 players from around the country eligible for the $1 million grand prize drawing on Sept. 22, 2002. Customers from each of the 25 participating Harrah's casinos nationwide will take part in the drawing via satellite from Las Vegas.

Three finalists will be indetified via random prize drawings, with one winning a luxury cruise, one winning a luxury automobile, and the third taking home the $1 million grand prize.

Harrah's Joliet and Harrah's East Chicago will host a total of 38 drawings leading up to the big day to give away cars, jewelry, and a dream vacation for two.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp