This pretty much speaks for itself:
Someone playing a $2 full-pay max-coin Double Double Bonus Poker hits an $8000 Royal Flush starting from a 2-Card Royal! Without knowing who hit it (and I don’t), we really don’t know to what extent this Player follows Expert Strategy. For all I know, he discarded a Pair of Jacks to go for the 2-Card Royal. But, lacking this information, I’m going to use this picture to demonstrate some key components of Expert Strategy.
Play the right machine – Well, Double Double Bonus isn’t exactly the ideal machine to play with its 98.8% payback. However, it multiple jackpots (Royal and 4 Aces w/kicker) has made it immensely popular. From the picture we can see that the Player chose to play one that is full-pay (1/1/3/4/6/9). Before the payout on this hand, the Player had about $535 remaining in their bankroll. If they play a short-pay machine, perhaps the bankroll is exhausted before they have the opportunity to win the $8000!
Know the right strategy – This is really the crux of this column. We don’t know what hand the Player was dealt, but we do know that he held the suited J-A. 2-Card Royals make up about 7-8% of our playable hands. Misplaying them can be rather dangerous to your bankroll. When my father, Lenny Frome, developed his first strategies for video poker, one of things that surprised him was that most 2-Card Royals outranked 3 High Cards. Given the unlikely odds of hitting a Royal, intuitively, one might think that you’re better off having 3 High Cards increasing your chances of a Jacks or Better or a Straight. But by holding 3 off-suited cards, you eliminate all chances of a Flush, reduce the likelihood of Trips and eliminate Quads and the Royal.
‘Unlikely’ is also a relative term. The actual odds of hitting a Royal from a 2-Card Royal is ‘only’ 16,215 to 1. In the grand scheme of the casino, this isn’t really all that rare. If one out of 13 hands is a 2-Card Royal and 1 in 16,215 of these will result in a Royal Flush, then we’re talking about 1 in 210,000 hands will have this ‘fate’. At 700 hands per hour, this means about 300 hours of play. Depending on how serious of a Player you are, this might take weeks or months, but in a casino with hundreds of video poker machines being played 10-15 hours day each, it’s happening every day all over the place. So, why not you?
Of course, you increase your chances of it being you if you play your 2-Card Royals correctly. This will, of course, depend on the specific game and paytable you are playing. In the case of Double Double, here are some key pointers:
- A 10-A 2-Card Royal is NOT playable. We hold only the Ace if we have no alternatives.
- We Play J-Q-K-A (off suit) over a 2-Card Royal
- Pay attention to all of your cards and don’t just focus on the 2-Card Royal. You might be dealt 4-5-6 of one suit and a J-Q of another. The 3-Card Straight Flush outranks the 2-Card Royal by a considerable margin.
- Do NOT discard any Pairs to go for a 2-Card Royal
This list is hardly meant to be comprehensive. If while reading it you realized that you didn’t know these things, you might want to brush up on your game before you spend real money. As always, it is important to learn the strategy table of the game you intend to play and stick to it.
This way, maybe next time I post up a picture of a big jackpot, you can sit back and say “That’s MINE!”