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.


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Las Vegas Writer, Marketer, Consultant. I love Vegas and everything about it. When in Vegas do 3 things: eat, drink & gamble.

Author: Marc

Las Vegas Writer, Marketer, Consultant. I love Vegas and everything about it. When in Vegas do 3 things: eat, drink & gamble.

7 thoughts on “Video Poker Pay Tables – Do They Matter?”

  1. Maybe so, but if I’m going to play a VP machine that returns like a slot (albeit a higher denom slot like $1), I’d like to be comped like I was playing a slot. But, of course, HET requires twice the VP play, regardless of paytable.

  2. keep in mind I’m not saying all the VP in the casinos should be full-pay (9/6 for JoB). What I’m saying is that smart VP players will either go elsewhere or just quit rather than play poor paytables. They should have enough so that no one is ever waiting for such a machine.

    Also, while I’m playing 9/6 JoB, my buddies are grinding it out over at the 21 table, losing their shirts. Or maybe my wife is playing a progressive with money her dad gave her. I’m sure it’s the same with other VP players – they bring enough people with them to make donations to the casinos.

    Full pay VP, like blackjack with good rules and smaller shoes, brings people in the door.

  3. JMP, I don’t disagree with you at all. The purpose of this post was for me to actually learn the difference in returns. I will always search for best pay tables in VP and only gamble higher denominations with full pay machines. Video Poker is only one of the games I play blackjack, 3 card poker, slots and craps.

    As I get closer to my trip to Vegas at the end of April I’ll share more video poker and blackjack payouts. Hopefully you and the other readers enjoy.

    TC

  4. can you do a comparison where you run the numbers on the left for 9/6 JOB and 7/5 JOB and on the right run 3:2 21 vs 6:5 21 (for simplicity’s sake, make everything else equal – DAS, hit S17, etc)? I’m curious how they stack up.

  5. “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.”

    I do not understand this comment. It seems you are suggesting the difference is representative of coin in, where it appears to me that your $3,740 is the difference in actual losses. In other words obtaining diamond renewal on 9/6 JOB has theoretical loss of $506, whereas 7/5 has a theoretical loss of $4,250. This is substantial in my opinion and the reason you are seeing so many complaints regarding the downward movement of pay schedules.

  6. JLS

    I was not speaking of coin in, but the actual cash to obtain the coin in difference. This was an approximation based on my win/loss from 2008.

    I have the theoretical listed in the shaded area of the post. My bottom line was how this would effect my pocket.

    Like everyone else, I don’t like the negative movement in pay schedules, but my actual cash out of pocket doesn’t come close to matching the theoretical loss and I was surprised (a lot) by that.

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