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Best of Mark Pilarski
Maximum coins in = maximum advantage out21 April 2006
Dear Mr. Pilarski,
For almost all multiple-pay and multiple-play machines, the maximum coin line tends to yield a better percentage payback. Note on the pay table the proportional difference in the size of your payoff. Example: One coin inserted pays 500 coins; two coins: 1,000 coins; three coins: 4,000 returned. You clean up when that third coin is played. Play fewer coins, E. W., and the casino advantage rockets north. That is why esteemed sources, and myself in the past (love that! Good company...), suggest playing the maximum coins allowed to yield a better payback percentage. If playing the maximum amount happens to be a budget buster, those same esteemed sources and Yours Truly will also recommend switching to a lower denomination machine. Can’t hack playing $3 a yank? ...Play 75¢ instead.
There are, however, a few machines that do return 500 for one coin inserted, 1,000 for two coins, and 1,500 for three coins. If you happen to come across this sort of proportional pay table, you wouldn’t need to play the maximum amount of coins to get full value from this machine.
For inquiring minds, what Mike meant by a “9/6 machine” is that it’s a Jacks or Better machine paying 9 for a full house, 6 for a flush, with one coin inserted.
Jacks or Better video poker with maximum coin play has a house edge of 0.5%. Excluding the royal flush, the casino’s advantage would be approximately 2.5%. Here’s a barnyard math way of viewing it. If, for instance, you were to play 600 hands per hour on a $1 Jacks or Better 9/6 machine, you can expect to lose about $75 per hour, on average, for each hour you play without hitting that phantom royal flush.
The secret to baccarat, Sally, is that there is no secret, so long as you stick
to the Banker or Player wagers. You will not break your “lose everything,
win nothing” track record by betting on a high vigorish proposition bet
such as the tie wager, when the two other, far less punishing, alternatives
Statistically, a tie appears every 10.5 hands, but the casino is willing to pay you only 8:1, which gives the house a 14.4% edge on a tie wager.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Why keep betting more when you are
losing? Only idiots do that and there are plenty of them around.”—Mike
Goodman, “How To Win”
Best of Mark Pilarski