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 Henry Tamburin

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Sometimes it pays to discard a winning hand in video poker

7 August 2009

This is a true story that happened to my father-in-law, Pete. I've written about him before and his love of video poker. At age 90 he is, in fact, one tough player. Quarter Jacks or Better is his game, and he learned how to play correctly by practicing on video poker training software on my computer (he practices often). He also always brings a strategy card with him when he plays, just in case.

Pete and my mother-in-law Helen visited us in Las Vegas. Knowing that he loves his Jacks or Better, I took him to a local casino that offers the highest-paying Jacks or Better pay schedule (so-called 9/6 Jacks or Better, where the full house pays 9 coins and the flush 6 coins per coin played). But as luck would have it, Pete wasn't doing well the first week he played. He had already endured a half-dozen losing sessions, and he wasn't happy about it. It wasn't because he wasn't playing accurately; he just wasn't getting the cards. And this short-term blip in his bankroll is normal for the game, albeit it can be frustrating. Then it happened.

One evening, out of the blue, Pete asked me about a hand that he had played earlier in the day that bothered him. He was dealt the 6, 10, jack, king and ace in clubs, meaning he was dealt a winning five-card flush that paid 30 coins. He also realized at the last second that he also had a four-card royal in the same hand, but because he had been on such a prolonged, week-long losing streak, he decided to take the sure-paying flush. Keeping that tempting paying flush, however, was a mistake and he should have thrown the 6 of clubs away and drawn to the four-card royal.

Even though the four-card flush paid 30 coins, the expected value for drawing to a four-card royal is almost 92 coins, meaning holding the four-card royal is by far the more profitable play to make in the long run. Pete knew better and, of course, after he reviewed his strategy card he realized what a big mistake he made. The strategy card clearly states "break a FLUSH or STRAIGHT for a four-card royal flush," so he should have discarded the 6 of clubs and drawn one card. He was beside himself that he forgot such a critical play and made the wrong play. I told him to forget about, the hand is history, just learn from your mistake and never keep a paying flush (or straight) if you also have a four-card royal flush in the same hand.

Fast forward two days. I went to watch some friends play in a blackjack tournament and Pete came along. He quickly got antsy and wanted to play some video poker. Fortunately, I found a 9/6 Jacks or Better machine in the sports bar, so after getting him settled, I left him to play video poker while I went to watch the blackjack tournament.

A short while later I saw him out of the corner of my eye sitting next to a slot machine. I couldn't imagine why he was there and not playing video poker, so I approached him to find out if there was a problem. He was all smiles when he pulled his TITO ticket out of his pocket and flashed it front of me. It was for slightly more than a grand. I said, "Don't tell me you hit the royal?"

His response was, "Yep, and you wouldn't believe what happened." I couldn't imagine what he was referring to.

It turned out he was dealt -- Would you believe? -- the same hand he got a few days earlier, except in spades. It was a 6 of spades and also the 10, jack, king and ace of spades. This time, however, he discarded the 6 and the sure-paying 30-coin flush and instead held the four-card royal. He needed to draw a queen of spades, a one in 47 shot, and he nearly died when it popped up on the screen for a $1,000 royal flush.

The moral of this story is: When you play video poker, a bird in the hand is not always worth more than two in the bush.

Do you agree, Pete?

Recent Articles
Best of Henry Tamburin
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 www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com 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 www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

> More Books By Henry Tamburin

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 www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com 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 www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

> More Books By Henry Tamburin