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Which Casino Offers a Better Opportunity?

By Jerry "Stickman" Stich

Using a Casino Player’s Card for Video Poker

By Jerry Stich

All casinos today have some sort of slot player’s club. By joining the club and inserting your player’s card when you play video poker, points are added to your balance. These points typically are redeemed for food, drink, merchandise, free play or cash. Players who earn enough points in a set period of time (usually six months to one year) earn elite status good for additional amenities including the ability to earn two or three times the points per dollar earned as the base players club member.

When these programs started many years ago, each casino offered their own individual program with their own set of rules. Over time, corporations acquired independent casinos. In the hope of drawing additional customers to their stable of casinos, corporate management combined individual slot clubs under one corporate umbrella. Gamers could now earn points at a local casino and use them at another anywhere in the country.

Most video poker players are unaware of the specifics of the players club at the casinos where they play. This can be a mistake. Video poker players can add up to a percentage point or even more to their return by playing at the right casino.

If you are a typical knowledgeable recreational video poker player who goes to a casino and plays several times a year, you tend to go to the same few casinos owned by the same corporation. You know the games and machines that offer the best payback. You typically play only one or two different video poker game types.

Consider the following two actual players clubs. Both are from casinos owned by the same corporation. Both casinos offer full pay Jacks-or-Better (99.54 percent payback with perfect play).

Casino One:

Points earned per dollar played - 1

Points required for one dollar cash back - 1,000

Points required for top tier benefits - 200,000

Point multiplier at top tier - 3 times

Additional casino video poker offers – 4 of a kind bonus – Scratch card good for $2 to $5,000

Casino Two:

Points earned per dollar played – 2.5

Points required for one dollar cash back – 1,000

Points required for top tier benefits – 350,000

Point multiplier at top tier – 2 times

Additional casino video poker offers – None

Let’s analyze these two casinos. Even though they are a part of the same corporation they have very different rules.

Casino One:

Cash back adds one tenth of a percent. At the top tier it becomes three times that, or three tenths of a percent.

To reach the top tier you must play $200,000 through the machines in six months. On a dollar machine, that is 40,000 hands – or 80 hours of play at 500 hands per hour.

The 4-of-a-kind bonus scratch card adds approximately one tenth of one percent assuming all you win each time is $2.

Total cash back percent benefit – 0.4 percent.

Casino Two:

Cash back adds 0.25 percent. At the top tier it becomes double that, or half a percent.

To reach top tier you must play $140,000 through the machines in six months. On a dollar machine that is 28,000 hands – or 56 hours of play at 500 hands per hour.

Total cash back percent benefit – 0.5 percent.

Comparing the two results, Casino Two is the clear winner offering 20 percent more cash back than casino one. Payback on full pay Jacks-or-Better is 99.54 percent with perfect play. Including cash back, payback for full pay Jack-or-Better is:

Casino One – 99.94 percent

Casino Two – 100.04 percent

Casino Two’s more generous cash back actually makes the game positive!

When deciding to commit your hard earned dollars to video poker play it is wise to consider all aspects of the casino where you choose to play them. Your bankroll will thank you.

Deuces Wild Strategy with Three Deuces Dealt

By Jerry "Stickman" Stich

Deuces Wild is a popular video poker game. The payback for full pay deuces wild is more than 100 percent, the variance (which directly affects how much bankroll is required) is relatively small and the playing strategy is reasonably simple. But the real attraction of Deuces Wild is the additional bonus you win for getting four deuces.

Because of this, strategy charts are ordered by the number of deuces that are dealt. If you are lucky enough to be dealt three deuces, there are very few choices to make. If fact, there are only three possible plays depending on what other cards were dealt with them.

If you are dealt a wild royal, you always keep it.

If you are dealt 5-of-kind (a pair along with the three deuces), deciding whether to save it or not depends on the payback of the game. For any game other than full pay deuces, save any 5-of-a-kind. If, however, you are playing the full pay game, save for a 5-of-a-kind only if they are 10’s through Aces. If they are anything lower (3’s through 9’s), save the deuces only.

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