Video Poker Pay Tables – Do They Matter?

There has been a lot of chatter on the east about Harrah’s removing most of their 9/6 Jacks or Better video poker machines.  This got me to thinking what it actually means to my pocket.

All returns courtesy of Wizard of Odds Video Poker Analyzer

9/6 Jacks or Better: Return 99.54%
8/6 Jacks or Better: Return 97.29%
7/6 Jacks or Better: 97.26%
7/5 Jacks or Better: 96.14%

The differences are not that great when you go down the list, but from top to bottom you’re looking at over 3% less returns.

Let’s look at the 3 tier levels at Harrah’s and the returns on the pay tables above.  Harrah’s has 3 premium levels for their player cards.  Platinum, Diamond, Seven Stars.  Everyone starts off at Gold, so I won’t use that.  $10 into a Video Poker machine gets you 1 point.  Here are the returns to reach each level.

Platinum – 4,000 tier credits – $40,000 coin in.
9/6 Returns – $39,816
8/6 Returns – $38,916
7/6 Returns – $38,904
7/5 Returns – $38,456

Diamond – 11,000 tier credits – $110,000 coin in.
9/6 Returns – $109,494
8/6 Returns – $107,019
7/6 Returns – $106,986
7/5 Returns – $105,754

Seven Star – 100,000 tier credits  – $1,000,000 coin in.
9/6 Returns – $995,400
8/6 Returns – $972,900
7/6 Returns – $972,600
7/5 Returns – $961,400

Let’s see what this means to me.

The following takes 9/6 returns and 7/5 returns into account.  I’m currently Diamond, so the difference in returns to reach Diamond again would be $3,740 of coin in.  Based on my play last year, this would be about $300 more play.  Since I don’t play video poker exclusively, this isn’t entirely scientific.

This isn’t a big deal to me.  With all of the complaints I would have expected a much wider gap.  Furthermore, if I switch my play to $5 machines I won’t have to worry about the lesser pay tables since those machines are still 9/6 in Atlantic City.  I’m sure that will change.

Bottom line, if my math is right, this isn’t a big deal to me.  The way I gamble the difference of $300 won’t make me change my gambling style.

Card Counting Goes High Tech

An Australian company, webtopia, has created an application for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch to help people to count cards in blackjack.


I usually play blackjack socially so I’m not much into card counting.  I’d rather focus on drinking beer or vodka while hanging with good friends.  I’m not afraid of finding a tool like this to make me a better gambler, but I’m not sure I could never get away using this at a table.  I already get yelled at…a lot…by dealers and pit bosses for using my blackberry.

There is video on the webtopia site.  My flash player isn’t being nice so I’m not going to post it here.  If you’re into this, please comment with feedback.

Slot Machine Payouts – February 15, 2009

I find slot machine payouts very interesting and my slot play will sometimes fluctuate depending on the payout number.  Below are the places I gamble most.  You can see complete information here.

Atlantic City
Borgata        91.8
Trump Taj Mahal 91.4 *
Resorts     91.3 *
AC Hilton     91.3 *
Trump Marina     91.3 *

Foxwoods    92.1
Mohegan Sun    91.4

Downtown Vegas     92.9 *
North Las Vegas    92.8*
Las Vegas Strip 92.8 *

Note: North Las Vegas: Santa Fe, Fiesta. Boulder Strip: Sam’s Town. Downtown Vegas: Fremont St casinos. Balance of County includes Orleans, AZ Charlies and casinos in Primm.

The only casino I’ll be playing any time soon will be the Borgata in Atlantic City next month.  They have the highest payouts in Atlantic City.  I’ll dig a little more into the NJ gaming commission reports to see which denominations actually pay out the best.  Of course I’ll post my findings here. Casino

Are Fantasy Games Gambling?

ESPN‘s Streak for the Cash is a fantasy sports game with great prizes.  I don’t think this  is really gambling because there is no wagering involved.  However, the action allows for a similar rush because of the cash prizes.  For someone like me that enjoys sports betting this is just another outlet with no risk.  You can only have one pick going at a time which makes pick choices very key in this game.

The prizes help define the object of the game.  The prizes are:

  • GRAND PRIZE: $1,000,000 dollars to the first entry to build a streak of 27 wins in a row.
  • 2ND PRIZE: $10,000 dollars to the entry with the longest streak at the end of the contest period (which was not the Grand Prize entrant).
  • MONTHLY PRIZE (4): $2,500 per month to the entry with the most wins.

The first grand prize was won in December.  $1,000,000 makes for a nice holiday gift.  Since then they raised the streak for the million dollar prize to 27 correct picks in a row without a loss.

I enjoy that the selection is mostly games that I wouldn’t bet.  I’ve found myself going back to this website often when I have free time to check if I can make another pick.  As nice as the Grand Prize is, I’m not very concerned with how my picks do.  I’m more concerned with making my next pick.  That’s probably a gamblers rush, but I just want to move on to the next pick.  I figure that the better my picks are the better my chance of getting any of the prizes.  Bottom to top.

Do you enjoy fantasy games too?  Do you find them to be gambling?

Sports Betting at