CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Volatile video poker games comes with a price

14 May 2008

Choosing to play video poker during a casino outing is not as easy as it may seem. There's a wide variety of games from which to choose, some of which are better than others in respect to long-term payback based on expert play.

The most important fact to take into account when selecting a game to play is the value of the pay table. A close second is your personal level of expectation.

Many serious players gravitate toward a good Jacks or Better game, while others prefer the premium hands and "kickers" associated with games such as Double Bonus, Double-Double Bonus and Triple-Double Bonus Poker.

Jacks or Better is video poker with no frills. Games with the "bell and whistle" hands mean sacrificing stability for volatility. Waiting for aces with a kicker to appear on Double-Double Bonus at the expense of getting paid half of what you receive for two pair on Jacks or Better is an example of the price you pay.

A reader and avid video poker player, Richard Gaddini, phoned to tell me about a volatile game that he enjoys playing called Black Jack Bonus Poker. Contrary to what the name implies, it has nothing to do with getting a "blackjack" (21). With this game, the two black jacks (the jacks in clubs and spades) are the kickers.

There's a good reason you may not be familiar with Black Jack Bonus Poker. It was available on the old IGT 4.3 Game King platform, but then it disappeared as an option on two generations of newer platforms. It has returned on the menu of games from which operators can choose on IGT's newest 6.0 Game Maker platform.

When I placed a call to John Daley, IGT's director of video poker, and inquired about the game, even he was taken off guard. At first he thought I had it confused with video blackjack, but when I insisted it was a video poker game, he said he'd have to get back to me with information.

"That's one of our older games," Daley called to tell me an hour later. "It has returned to the menu on the new Game Kings and will also be part of our forthcoming AVP platform in which it'll be possible to install 48 video poker and 14 keno games from which players can choose."

Black Jack Bonus Poker pays (with the maximum five-coin bet) 4,000 coins for a royal flush and 4,000 coins for four aces with a black jack kicker. It pays 2,000 coins for quads in 2s, 3s or 4s with a black jack kicker, and 800 coins for 4-of-a-kind in 5s through kings with the kicker. Four aces or jacks pay 800 coins; deuces, treys and 4s without the kicker pay 400 coins, and a straight flush pays 250 coins.

One of the heavy prices you pay for the perks is the fact 4-of-a-kind in 5s through 10s, queens and kings pays just 125 coins, half of what you get on most other games.

This fact alone should make you think twice about investing serious money in such a volatile game, but gamblers who make infrequent visits to the casino will find it to be a very entertaining alternative to conventional slots.

Black Jack Bonus Poker with a 9/6 pay table (9 coins for 1 for a full house, 6 coins for 1 for a flush) has an expected return with optimum play of 98.10 percent. The 8/6 pay table dips to 97.09.

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