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Video Poker Pay Schedules Explained

I am sure that many Video Poker Players out there are familiar with the expressions ‘full pay,’ ‘short pay’ and ‘partial pay’, but others may ask, “What does that mean”?

The explanation and examples given below should be required ‘reading’ before play on any VP machine. ‘Reading the pay schedule’, that is. We begin with a basic ‘plain vanilla’ VP machine pay schedule for Jacks or Better (Jacks+). This version is usually the choice of newbie VP players. Following is a full-pay 9/6 regular VP pay schedule for Jacks or Better: Multiply by 5 for maximum coin play.

Pair--Jacks or Better returns the bet. Two pair (2 PR) pays 2-1 (exception with Bonus machines). Three-of-a-kind (3/kind) pays 3-1 Straight (ST) (sequence, not same suit) pays 4-1 Flush (FL) (non-sequential, same suit) pays 6-1 Full house (FH) (3 of a kind and a pair) pays 9-1 Four-of-a-kind (quad) pays 25-1 Straight flush (SF) (in sequence, same suit) pays 50-1 Royal flush (RF) pays 250-1 (except with max. coins, pays 4000 or the rarely seen 4700.)

If you bet 5 coins, all winning hands are paid out multiplied by a factor of 5, except for the Royal Flush. This is a bonus amount designed as an incentive to play five coins. All those players who play less than max. coins are setting up the best payoffs for those who do.

On 8/5 machines, a full house pays 40 for a full house and only 25 for a flush. You may think that 5 coins doesn’t make that much difference, well, think again, you are now playing a short/partial pay machine.

You are looking at a distinct casino advantage with partial pay machines. Calculate that loss of winnings/hour and it’s not a pretty picture as shown below.

9/6 Jacks+ expected loss playing 5 coins per hand is $13.20/hour; 8/5 Jacks+ costs over $20/hour; and 6/5 VP’s over $30/hour. Knowing which slots to play saves you about $7-17/hour. Choose carefully.

In fact, casinos hold 2% more money on VP’s because players do not play strategically.

At one Vegas casino, the Mega Poker machines were offering a $29,000 jackpot. The big jackpot was hit quickly the first time, but management noticed that the second big payoff was slow in coming--little jackpots only--what was happening? Then they discovered the reason, gamblers were not playing the maximum coins. These players were one or two coins away from $29 grand--an expensive lesson learned!

Now you have learned how to avoid these pitfalls in VP land.

In conclusion, may all your VP choices turn out to be ‘royalty’.

Gayle Mitchell More about author This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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