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Best of Mark Pilarski
Multiple ways of winning, and losing24 January 2005
What is the advantage/disadvantage of playing the multiple handed video poker machines? As more hands are played off one original hand, are the paybacks more or less in the favor of the player? Nadle
Take the popular Video Poker; multiply it by 100, and what do you get? Multi-Hand Video Poker. The math is easy so far, right?
Those good folks who have played it know the appeal of this game, especially when dealt a pat full house, or perhaps a hand one card shy of a royal flush. The first time I played a multi-hand machine I got a 10, J, Q, K, and nine of spades on a 50-hand machine. When I discarded the nine, I got FIVE, count-em, FIVE royal flushes, more than I've had in my entire lifetime before or since. Regrettably, I had been day-dreaming at the time, and it had just been my scampish left hand sneaking pennies into the machine at a penny a hand, so the total payout for my wondrous five royals didn't even pay for my prime rib buffet, a funerary celebration of my video poker triumph.
Multi-Hand Video Poker is played just like conventional video poker, except you can play "up to" 100 hands at once. You begin by choosing the number of hands you wish to play by clicking one of the numbers across the bottom of the video poker screen: 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 or 100.
Next, you place a bet — the machine being multi-denominational, it accepts
bets ranging from pennies to $1 units — and click the Deal button. If you decide
to play the maximum coin amount, just click Bet Max for five credits for every
hand you choose to play. After you click Deal, you are presented with five cards.
On the screen, each hand you are playing (from the 1st to the 100th) will contain
these same five cards. Just as in conventional video poker, you choose your
keepers. All of the favorable cards you choose to hold from the initial hand
are copied to each remaining hand played. When you're ready to draw new
cards, click the Deal button. For each hand you play, a random set of replacement
cards is drawn for each successive hand.
The odds for multi-hand video poker are the same as for the single-hand version. Playing each hand multiple times magnifies its strength or weakness, but overall, the odds don't change. Therefore, strategies for optimizing your return at the single-hand versions carry over to the multiple-hand versions, so long as you shop for the best pay tables.
So, is there a downside to Multi-Hand Video Poker? You betcha!
Speed kills in a casino, meaning, the more hands you play per hour, the more you subject your gambling funds to the house edge. Though playing one hand of video poker, you are getting 100 different results on the draw, each subject to a built-in casino advantage. And although multi-hand video poker can increase your earning potential on good hands, it also magnifies your losing potential on bad hands, evaporating your bankroll very quickly. If you are playing 5-coin single-handed video poker at a quarter a throw and are dealt "junk," all you have at stake is $1.25. With multi-hand play you would have much more invested in those same awful cards. Even if you are betting pennies, the maximum coins you will risk at 100 hands is $5 per play, which is quadruple the maximum on single-hand quarter games. Make it nickels, and you are on the hook for $25 per hand. It ain't cheap, is it? Only you, Nadie, know if Multi-Hand Video Poker is within your means.
Gambling quote of the week: "A man needs a motive to play poker. For
me it's money." poker legend Doyle Brunson
Best of Mark Pilarski