Video Poker payouts across different softwares

ChopleyIOM

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Following on from Balthazar's post here - https://www.casinomeister.com/forums/threads/screen-shots-that-suck.6715/ - which itself came off the back of me lamenting missing a Royal Flush five times in multi-hand VP at 3Dice, I started to take a little look into Video Poker and its payouts.

I already kind of knew that it was all fixed by the pay tables (assuming a totally fair deck of cards), but had never really had cause to look into it before. (Balth did have a link to a video in his post, but that's gone now for some reason.)

As ever a bit of Googling around quickly yielded some results, and there are extensive pay tables readily available at several sites. All you need to do is look down the list for the relevant VP game, until the paytable of the VP you're playing matches the pay table in the list.

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The very first one I looked at, Deuces Wild, offering surprising results, as documented here - https://www.casinomeister.com/forums/threads/screen-shots-that-suck.6715/

Outdated URL (Invalid)

However, since this isn't 'screenshots that suck' now, and since I think it's quite an interesting topic in its own right, I've started a thread about it.

As you can see in the link above, there's a BIG difference in the payout for Deuces Wild between 3Dice and 32Red. (I assume 32Red are running a global 'MG setting' so I'm not picking on them specifically, they're just the only MG casino I have left installed on any PC in the house.)

3Dice (and Galewind, who I also checked) - are running Deuces Wild at 98.91%, 32Red are running it at 96.77%, that's a seriously large variation IMO.

One of the big draws about VP (as I understand it anyway) is the very high RTP compared to slots, and yet here we have a VP paying what would be a 'standard slot payout' for Netent's slots, and is fully 1.23% lower than what Galewind's slots pay!

I realise this probably isn't a revelation to most folks, but what sort of variations in VP payouts are there out there? Where are the best paying video pokers, and where are the worst? Also of course, correct playing strategy is required to achieve the optimal RTP, so where a software auto-holds, we have to assume that it plays optimal strategy for the player.

It's interesting to me that 3Dice (a small US facing operation) can manage to run a VP at an RTP substantially more generous RTP than that mustered by MG!

3Dice at 98.91%

3dicedeuce.JPG

32Red at 96.77%

32reddeuce.JPG
 

ChopleyIOM

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And then for Double Double Bonus Poker, 32Red have a better payout than 3Dice. (Although that slight tweak in the payout for a Flush seems to make a big difference to RTP!)

So it appears that it makes sense to check the paytable on a game-by-game basis!

doubdoub.jpg
 

Mousey

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Well... yes...

even in B&M casinos same game (such as DDB) can have different pay tables on different machines. Last B&M trip, I sat at one machine with 9/6 DDB... and the machine beside it had 8/5 DDB. A small payout difference in only one ranking hand makes a big difference in the overall payout percentage of the game.

Serious VP players should not only learn strategy for the different games, but also for the different paytables for each of those games.

I have an old software (that doesn't work on my win7 machine :p) that was indispensable for learning VP. You put in the paytable #'s for a specific game, and it gave overall payout % for that game, could print out cheat sheets of correct game play, etc. Then you could play the game and it would correct your play as you went, and/or would tell you how you were doing.

Someone tell me what's it's called so I won't have to get up and go look on the shelf.... LOL ... ah! just remembered... WinPoker.

Editing to add: top heavy games like DDB are a bit like the more volatile slots in that you sacrifice payouts on the bottom end (DDB, you only get even pay on 2 pair) but quads have a heftier payout than 'safer' more boring games like JoB.
 

Balthazar

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(Balth did have a link to a video in his post, but that's gone now for some reason.)

I deleted it because it didn't really belong to the SSTS thread, but here it is:

 
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Nifty29

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The paytables at 3Dice are appalling. Even the All Aces variant is bad.

Its a shame because I like the actual gameplay.

Reputation and quick payouts isn't enough to offset differences in TRTP like that I'm afraid.

In my experience, RTG has the best VP paytables. Club World and Inetbet use full pay versions which are great, and are my casinos of choice for VP play, although I do play All Aces and DDB at 32Red.

If 3Dice picked up their game and became competitive in the VP area, I would play there almost exclusively.

Thanks for the information Sir Spinach and Balthazar.
 

Balthazar

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Did anyone actually test this on various softwares? I'm a bit suspicious.

Well it didn't take long to answer my own question. 5 hands in free money mode is all I needed to find out that MGS' auto hold does NOT (I repeat: NOT) use optimal strategy. Therefore, you cannot count on auto hold to reach the maximum RTP on MGS.

In the following case (4 to an outside straight with 3 high cards), optimal strategy is to keep unsuited JQK and drop the 10 and the 8. MG auto held the 10, thus reducing my TRTP. Shameful.



Capture.jpg
 

pmutts

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Excellent Thread ChopleyIOM -- Thanks for starting.

:thumbsup:I love the slots--when I'm lucky at least. They are so much fun when your running hot. They are fun when you get to play for a long time on your money and considerably more fun when you actually catch a real WIN! They aren't much fun at all when you blow through your entire deposit plus the bonus if any in 10 or 15 minutes and we all know this happens and happens frequently to me.

Video Poker is the only form of gaming served up electronically besides Blackjack (perhaps to a lesser degree) where skill, knowledge and your decisions have a true effect on the outcome of the game.

To even have a prayer at winning in these games you must understand the odds and know the correct play strategies. Sure, anyone can get lucky and hit a royal on a 6/5 Jacks or Better machine who doesn't even have a clue what a 6/5 machine is and less of a clue that a 9/6 machine is sitting right next to him.

But that is the exception. People who play regularly must know how and where to play. Sometimes I like my gambling to be mindless but more often, I prefer games that require a little brain power. Make no mistake about it--all games have a luck factor and no amount of skill in the world will change the streaks of "luck" we see over the course of our gambling life into the world of what truly defines long-term versus short-term probabilities.

Although I learned to play Blackjack on a professional level by the age of 23, I didn't know what a "9/6 Jacks or Better" machine was until about 15 years ago and I had by that point played quite a bit of Video Poker. I was at the Las Vegas Hilton in the Sports Book standing by a machine when this woman came up and asked me if I was playing that machine. When I said no she quickly sat down and said, "Thanks, this is the only 9/6 machine in the place."

I said "huh?" She explained it to me and the rest is history. That was the seed of me actually doing some "serious" gambling on a machine as opposed to a Blackjack Table.

So ChopleyIOM, by starting this thread you will without question enlighten many people who enjoy this game but don't play it because they seldom win due lack of knowledge.

Personally I rarely play multi-hand video poker because the pay tables are consistently lower for multi hand than single hand. One hand at a time is quite enough for me thank you very much. There seems to be a lot of false misconception out there that playing multi-hand improves your odds is some way which is of course utter nonsense. If playing multi hand cost me going from 9/6 to 8/5 it cannot possibly be to my advantage to play three or more hands.In fact, I will lose all that much faster due to the increased bet combined with the increase house advantage.

Hopefully others will share and contribute their video poker knowledge and experiences and help keep this tread alive, informative and healthy.
 

pmutts

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Have you noticed this Nifty?

The paytables at 3Dice are appalling. Even the All Aces variant is bad.

Its a shame because I like the actual gameplay.

Reputation and quick payouts isn't enough to offset differences in TRTP like that I'm afraid.

In my experience, RTG has the best VP paytables. Club World and Inetbet use full pay versions which are great, and are my casinos of choice for VP play, although I do play All Aces and DDB at 32Red.

If 3Dice picked up their game and became competitive in the VP area, I would play there almost exclusively.

Thanks for the information Sir Spinach and Balthazar.

Thanks for pointing out poor pay tables at 3 Dice. That is one thing about Video Poker that is so interesting--that there are so many variations in the games, the pay tables, and proper play strategies for any given game.

I believe the only Video Poker I have played at 3 Dice are the games I play most often (because I know how to play them properly). Those games are Jacks or Better, Bonus Poker, and Double Double Bonus Poker. As far as I can remember, pay tables on these games--single hand only as I do not play multi-hand--are optimal.

I also agree that RTG has the best VP. I play VP at all the CWC Group EXCEPT Club World USA. Have you noticed at Club World USA the pay tables on all games across the board are one credit less than an optimal 9/6 for the Full House and the Flush? I wonder why CW has made a decision to do this at their "flagship" casino.

Also, at Inetbet, DDB pays $1600 for 4 Aces with the Kicker as opposed to $2000 but only when play $1 or $5. This one "little" difference doesn't seem like much but if playing DDB on $1 credits it's $400 so I don't generally play that game at Inetbet unless playing for 25 or 50 cent credits. I personally never bet less than max of 5 credits.
 

ChopleyIOM

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Well it didn't take long to answer my own question. 5 hands in free money mode is all I needed to find out that MGS' auto hold does NOT (I repeat: NOT) use optimal strategy. Therefore, you cannot count on auto hold to reach the maximum RTP on MGS.

In the following case (4 to an outside straight with 3 high cards), optimal strategy is to keep unsuited JQK and drop the 10 and the 8. MG auto held the 10, thus reducing my TRTP. Shameful.

Interesting, I guess that there it's auto-holding for the straight which is the higher paying result and probably 'looks right' to most people, but in actual fact the most financially beneficial strategy for the player is to keep the J-Q-K because there's more chance of getting a pair (or better) on those which returns the player's stake.

This is a fascinating area that we're into now, as we have a VP that is, by design, lowering the player's expected return on the game by deliberately employing a sub-optimal strategy.

EDIT - Looking at the pay strategy you've linked to there Balth (and it's entirely possible I'm reading it wrong, VP is a bit of a black box to me), but doesn't unsuited TJQK rank higher than 4 to an outside straight, so holding the TJQK is the right thing to do?

Admittedly though that's 4 to an outside straight with 0-2 high cards, and what you've got there is 4 to an outside straight with 3 high cards which doesn't appear on the list at all, therefore it should never be played and thus holding the JQK is the right thing to do?
 

pmutts

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I would have been shocked if you have had to play 10 hands to confirm :)

Well it didn't take long to answer my own question. 5 hands in free money mode is all I needed to find out that MGS' auto hold does NOT (I repeat: NOT) use optimal strategy. Therefore, you cannot count on auto hold to reach the maximum RTP on MGS.

In the following case (4 to an outside straight with 3 high cards), optimal strategy is to keep unsuited JQK and drop the 10 and the 8. MG auto held the 10, thus reducing my TRTP. Shameful.


View attachment 39282

Indeed it is "SHAMEFUL." LOL! I just wish I could have run that test myself. Oh well, stuck with RTG until thing change.
 

Balthazar

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Admittedly though that's 4 to an outside straight with 0-2 high cards, and what you've got there is 4 to an outside straight with 3 high cards which doesn't appear on the list at all, therefore it should never be played and thus holding the JQK is the right thing to do?

Exactly. Having 3 high cards changes the maths: the chances to get a high pair (or another straight) with JQK is overpowering the chances to get the original straight (or a high pair) with 10JQK. In other words, if you play that hand 1000 times in a row, you'll have more money at the end if you drop the 10 than if you keep it.

The reason it's not on the list is because it's never a good choice to keep the 4th card if you have 3 high cards, therefore you must move on and the optimal choice with that hand is keeping JQK.
 

ChopleyIOM

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Exactly. Having 3 high cards change the maths: the chances to get a high pair (or another straight) is overpowering the chances to get the original straight. The reason it's not there is because it's never a good choice to keep the 4th card if you have 3 high cards, therefore you must move on into the list and the best choice is keeping JQK.

Ahhh right, good, that makes sense :)

So then, we're not talking about some exotic VP variant here, we're talking about Jacks Or Better which is about as basic as it gets, and we've got MG, the mega-super premier world class software provider kicking it out of the door with a sub-optimal auto-hold strategy that will lower the player's expected return for the game.

Surely that's, y'know, wrong.
 

Balthazar

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Indeed it is "SHAMEFUL." LOL! I just wish I could have run that test myself. Oh well, stuck with RTG until thing change.

I've not tested RTG but it wouldn't surprise me if the auto-hold wasn't set for optimal RTP either. Having a not-so-perfect auto-hold is an easy way to get more money for a casino, only hardcore VP players will notice the flaw anyway (same players that wouldn't need it in the first place).
 

pmutts

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RTG does not have Auto-Hold

I've not tested RTG but it wouldn't surprise me if the auto-hold wasn't set for optimal RTP either. Having a not-so-perfect auto-hold is an easy way to get more money for a casino, only hardcore VP players will notice the flaw anyway (same players that wouldn't need it in the first place).

I have never seen an auto-hold option at any of the RTGs. Most have optimal pay tables (9/6) for Jacks or Better, Bonus Poker, and DDB but NOT all and this only applies to single hand.

My recollection of MG Auto-Hold was that it made the wrong choice at any time one could easily see what appeared to be logically correct, but in reality the wrong play. Surprised anyone???? :D

There are so many VP variations and I am the first to admit I do not know exactly correct play strategy for ANY game except Jacks or Better. I know I'm close on Bonus, and DDB. I also play Aces and Eights on occasion. In fact, I don't even know where to find optimal play strategy or what defines optimal payout tables for most available games.

Does anyone know of a reliable and updated source for this information?
 

Nifty29

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I have never seen an auto-hold option at any of the RTGs. Most have optimal pay tables (9/6) for Jacks or Better, Bonus Poker, and DDB but NOT all and this only applies to single hand.

My recollection of MG Auto-Hold was that it made the wrong choice at any time one could easily see what appeared to be logically correct, but in reality the wrong play. Surprised anyone???? :D

There are so many VP variations and I am the first to admit I do not know exactly correct play strategy for ANY game except Jacks or Better. I know I'm close on Bonus, and DDB. I also play Aces and Eights on occasion. In fact, I don't even know where to find optimal play strategy or what defines optimal payout tables for most available games.

Does anyone know of a reliable and updated source for this information?

Winpoker is very good. I used it a lot years ago but have memorized it all for the most part now.

Consider this:

Ad Kd Qd 4d 7s or Ad Qd Jd 9d 2c

What would you hold?
 

pmutts

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I'm assuming this is Jacks or Better...

Winpoker is very good. I used it a lot years ago but have memorized it all for the most part now.

Consider this:

Ad Kd Qd 4d 7s or Ad Qd Jd 9d 2c

What would you hold?

Hand number 1, I'm keeping Ad, Kd, Qd.

Hand number 2, I'm supposed to hold, Qd, Jd, & 9d.

Admittedly though, I would be just as likely if not more tho hold the Ace, Queen, and Jack in hopes of getting the Royal over the Straight Flush. What is correct according to Winpoker?
 

Nifty29

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Hand number 1, I'm keeping Ad, Kd, Qd.

Hand number 2, I'm supposed to hold, Qd, Jd, & 9d.

Admittedly though, I would be just as likely if not more tho hold the Ace, Queen, and Jack in hopes of getting the Royal over the Straight Flush. What is correct according to Winpoker?

Example 1

HAND = Ad Kd Qd 4d 7s


6.9334 AKQ__

6.7021 AKQ4_


Example 2

HAND = Ad Qd Jd 9d 2c

6.9334 AQJ__

6.7021 AQJ9_

3.4320 QJ9__


* MGS VIDEO POKER HOLDS *

Example 1

AQJ4_

Example 2

AQJ9_


Conclusion

If you going to use MGS autoplay, be sure to CHECK before you hit DRAW. In other words, don't play super speed and rely on the autohold, because it is taking you for a ride.

pmutts...you got the first one right, but it is interesting how it is easy to think the SF is the best hand to try for, when in fact even the Flush is a better bet, and the RF is the best (which you indicated you might hold). I actually thought I was doing the WRONG thing holding the AQJ on Example 2, as I always do, but turns out I was not!

We learn something new every day. I have today!

You can get a demo version of winpoker from xhttp://www.zamzone.com/
 

pmutts

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I over or under thought that one.

Example 1

HAND = Ad Kd Qd 4d 7s


6.9334 AKQ__

6.7021 AKQ4_


Example 2

HAND = Ad Qd Jd 9d 2c

6.9334 AQJ__

6.7021 AQJ9_

3.4320 QJ9__


* MGS VIDEO POKER HOLDS *

Example 1

AQJ4_

Example 2

AQJ9_


Conclusion

If you going to use MGS autoplay, be sure to CHECK before you hit DRAW. In other words, don't play super speed and rely on the autohold, because it is taking you for a ride.

pmutts...you got the first one right, but it is interesting how it is easy to think the SF is the best hand to try for, when in fact even the Flush is a better bet, and the RF is the best (which you indicated you might hold). I actually thought I was doing the WRONG thing holding the AQJ on Example 2, as I always do, but turns out I was not!

We learn something new every day. I have today!

You can get a demo version of winpoker from xhttp://www.zamzone.com/

A couple of years ago I bought a book, Video Poker - Optimum Play (9/28/2004) by Dan Paymar. That book has been missing for about 6 months. I almost went with holding the AQJ on the 2nd hand because . . . .HELLO we are talking about a $4000 payout. I am pretty certain it says keep AQJ on #2 but it's you Nifty--I thought you might be attempting to trick me. LOL

The author's writing style is terribly boring but the strategies and mathematics behind them are extremely well documented and the Optimum Play Strategy for Jacks or Better is really quite easy to memorize with a bit of effort. The only other games he covers are Deuces Wild where you can presumably actually have an advantage over the house it you play on machines with an optimum pay tables. He also covers Joker Poker.

Deuces Wild with optimum pay tables that will allow you to gain that long-term tiny advantage does not exist online to my knowledge. In Las Vegas, at some of the off strip places you can find the 25 cent machines that offer this advantage for forget about $1.00. The minute those strategies got out the number of 25 cent machines was drastically reduced and the dollar ones eliminated.

I have never seen a Joker Poker machine with a pay table that would be considered optimal anywhere--online or B & M. Mr. Paymar recommends against DDB and really claims BP w/ 8/5 is still inferior to 9/6 Jacks or Better but lets get in touch with our human side here. Playing only Jacks or Better at Optimum strategy gets boring pretty damn fast--especially if the luck isn't there. In fact ALL gambling gets boring at best when the luck is not there.

Speaking of luck this is another problem I have with Dan Paymar's book. He's the type who doesn't believe in luck. BS, it is ALL about luck IMO. This depends on how you want to define luck. If you have not won a single credit after 10 hands in a certain game of VP, or perhaps sitting at the same machine you may seriously consider changing the game or moving to another machine--or quitting all together. But he says you can change machines if you wish but it won't help or hurt you and that it will not change a thing. I understand where he's coming from with that but I completely disagree.

I would definitely like to learn a few new games and verify some of my plays in DDB and BP so I will be downloading that trial. Now I think I'm going to sign out and play some Video Poker-----but where??????????????
 

ChopleyIOM

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Speaking of luck this is another problem I have with Dan Paymar's book. He's the type who doesn't believe in luck. BS, it is ALL about luck IMO. This depends on how you want to define luck. If you have not won a single credit after 10 hands in a certain game of VP, or perhaps sitting at the same machine you may seriously consider changing the game or moving to another machine--or quitting all together. But he says you can change machines if you wish but it won't help or hurt you and that it will not change a thing. I understand where he's coming from with that but I completely disagree.

When it comes to random numbers, and if we're talking about TOTALLY fair random numbers from a TOTALLY fair and random RNG, then indeed it makes no difference which machine you play and for how long.

Obviously however, you always need luck to make money playing a random game with a house edge :)

I guess all gamblers have a bit of the old 'lucky rabbit's foot' about them, sometimes if I have a good run on, say, Bruce Lee, I might switch over to Fortunes of the Caribbean - even though I know the slots are straight clones of each other.

I would definitely like to learn a few new games and verify some of my plays in DDB and BP so I will be downloading that trial. Now I think I'm going to sign out and play some Video Poker-----but where??????????????

If you're playing your own holds then I'd recommend Galewind VPs at the Pinnacle casino. (If you're just playing for fun just launch the demo casino from Galewind's own site.)
 

Nifty29

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Example 1

HAND = Ad Kd Qd 4d 7s


6.9334 AKQ__

6.7021 AKQ4_


Example 2

HAND = Ad Qd Jd 9d 2c

6.9334 AQJ__

6.7021 AQJ9_

3.4320 QJ9__


* MGS VIDEO POKER HOLDS *

Example 1

AQJ4_

Example 2

AQJ9_


Conclusion

If you going to use MGS autoplay, be sure to CHECK before you hit DRAW. In other words, don't play super speed and rely on the autohold, because it is taking you for a ride.

pmutts...you got the first one right, but it is interesting how it is easy to think the SF is the best hand to try for, when in fact even the Flush is a better bet, and the RF is the best (which you indicated you might hold). I actually thought I was doing the WRONG thing holding the AQJ on Example 2, as I always do, but turns out I was not!

We learn something new every day. I have today!

You can get a demo version of winpoker from xhttp://www.zamzone.com/

I thought the MGS holds might have caused more consternation.

It is obviously a deliberate ploy by MGS to reduce the TRTP for players using autoplay, which I think is deplorable.
 

ChopleyIOM

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Well we sort of established that back on Page 1 Nifty, where MG auto-holds sub-optimally even in Jacks or Better :)

It's well known that I'm not exactly the biggest fan of MG, so I'm not massively surprised.

I suppose the counter-argument would be 'Well you don't have to auto-hold if you don't want to', but my opinion is that if the software is making choices for a player in a game that has a best strategy, it should always apply that best strategy.
 

aceking123

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Well we sort of established that back on Page 1 Nifty, where MG auto-holds sub-optimally even in Jacks or Better :)

It's well known that I'm not exactly the biggest fan of MG, so I'm not massively surprised.

I suppose the counter-argument would be 'Well you don't have to auto-hold if you don't want to', but my opinion is that if the software is making choices for a player in a game that has a best strategy, it should always apply that best strategy.

common choppers you know for a fact that mg casinos realy arnt user friendly ,mg casinos arnt going to add the best ways of playing anything they would be losing out on 10000ss of dollars euros & pounds hence to why its set up like this .
 

Balthazar

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I thought the MGS holds might have caused more consternation.

It is obviously a deliberate ploy by MGS to reduce the TRTP for players using autoplay, which I think is deplorable.

TBH I never thought that the auto-hold was optimal, I started having doubts when Chop mentionned in the OP that we have to assume that it is (which was true).
 

binary128

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I'll jump into this one because ChopleyIOM and I had a bit of a back-and-forth a while ago on Video Pokers and Auto-Hold systems.

I said that I didn't really want to implement an auto-hold system into our VP games because I thought that this transformed them into 2-click slots - deal, draw, deal, draw.

As pmutts said - "Sometimes I like my gambling to be mindless but more often, I prefer games that require a little brain power."

I felt/feel that auto-hold just takes the brain right out of that equation.

Anyway, this opinion I expressed a while ago was/is true. I confess, however, that it is not the entire truth.

The link to Mike's (the Wizard's)
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page posted by Balthazar (I was aware of it from long ago) shows how much of a real pain it would be to code this into the game.

Trust me when I tell you that you might be looking at 3,000 lines of very tricky and very demanding programming here.

In addition, I would need to do the same for the 5 other Video Poker games we offer.

So, another part of the truth - did I want to spend the time to do all of this work?

And, another part of the truth - running that code for every deal hand in all of the video poker games that we serve up would consume a lot of server CPU cycles - cycles that might better be spent processing another game.

And then the final bit of the truth - testing this "optimal auto hold" code would be a MAJOR pain in the butt. We're talking alien anal probe here. I can see having to create a separate application just to test the code, and even then we'd be looking at a lot of test time.

These additional bits really combine into a single point - if we can't afford to spend the time to do everything perfectly then, if possible, don't do it at all.

I can see the value of having an "auto hold hint" button in the play-for-fun casino though, as a "training aid". Still, we just don't have the time to build it.

Chris
 
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