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Video Poker Questions

4 October 2014

By Henry Tamburin
I’m receiving a lot more questions from players on video poker than other games lately, probably because more players are realizing that video poker is a much better gamble than playing slots or most table games. What follows is a sample of questions and my answers.

QUESTION: What are the odds of getting a royal flush?

ANSWER: I’ve received several questions dealing with the odds of getting a royal flush. Below are the calculated odds depending upon how many cards to the royal flush that you have in your hand prior to the draw.

Holding four cards to the royal. Odds of hitting the royal are 1 in 47.
Holding three cards to the royal. Odds are 1 in 1,081.
Holding two cards to the royal. 1 in 16,215.
Holding one card to the royal flush. 1 in 178,365.
Holding no cards to the royal flush. 1 in 383,484.

You might be discouraged with the above long odds, especially when you are holding only one, two, or three cards to the royal. However, anything that can happen when you play video poker, even with long odds, eventually will happen.

For example, I’ve personally gotten a royal flush holding only one high card, and in another instance, only two suited high cards. In fact, on a recent trip to Las Vegas, I held a suited K-Q, I hit the draw button, and was dealt the three cards I needed for a royal flush (with odds of 1 in 16,215). There is more to this story. Two days later at the same casino and on the same machine, I was again dealt two-suited high cards, which I held, and surprisingly, I received the three cards I needed for another royal flush. This scenario will probably never happen to me again during my lifetime but I’m happy it happened once. (So don’t get discouraged!)

QUESTION: A friend of mine was dealt a royal flush. What are the odds of this happening in the first five cards?

ANSWER: The odds of being dealt a royal flush right from the get go is 1 in 649,740. An average recreational player plays roughly 500 hands per hour. That means a typical player can expect to be dealt a royal flush once every 1300 hours of play on average. Of course, you never know if the royal will hit during the first hour of play, the second hour, or the 1300th hour of play (or any hour between or after).

QUESTION: There are so many different types of video poker games in a casino, how do you know which machine is the best one to play?

ANSWER: What determines which video poker game is the best one to play is its expected return (or EV). What determines a game’s EV is its pay table. For example, a Jacks or Better game that pays 9 coins for a full house and 6 coins for a flush (per coin played), has an EV of 99.54% (meaning in the long term if you play every hand perfectly, and you bet the maximum of five coins, you can expect to win $99.54 for every $100 you wagered).

If the same Jacks or Better game pays only 8 and 5 coins respectively for the full house and flush, the EV of this game is only 97.30%. Every game (e.g., Bonus Poker, Double Double, Deuces Wild, etc.) has different pay tables and it behooves you to know what the best pay table is for whichever game you want to play.

QUESTION: I like to play Multi-Line video poker games. Do I have to change my playing strategy?

ANSWER: No. You should use the same playing strategy that you would use on a single-line game when you play a three-, five- or ten-line game. However, here’s something to keep in mind. You need less bankroll to play, say, a $5 single-line game compared to a $1 ten-line game, even though the total amount wagered per round is the same ($25).

More questions next month.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at


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Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at

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