How Many Coins?
To Max or not to Max: The everlasting question
So Video Poker gives us a choice, just as slots does, of how many coins per
hand we want to play. Is the question as clear-cut as in Slots though?
Most of the time, just like slots advice, Video Poker players say you
should always play the maximum number of coins on every hand. In Slots
failing to do so robs you of the possibility of hitting the largest available
jackpots. Even if you hit the combo, you simply don't get paid. Avoiding
that heartbreak situation alone is enough to convince most.
In Video Poker playing max coins qualifies you for the jackpot hand,
which is usually the Royal Flush, so it's no surprise most books advise
playing the max. There's a little more to the story though.
If you were to play a classic 9/6 Jacks or Better machine for one hour
on a dollar machine (godda love simple math), at a 99.54% payback rate.
With five coins per hand, after that hour you'd probably be down about
$11.50. With one coin per hand, after that hour you'd only be down $8.15.
You're down an extra $3 and change. Why's that? Well, since 9/6 Jacks
or Better is a negative expectation game, you can expect to lose less
if you bet less. To increase your playing time and slow your losses when
the house has the advantage, you can play one coin.
But this logic fails to put a price on the psychological and entertainment
value of getting the big jackpot. It will hurt to have only deposited
one coin if you hit a royal flush. If you are basing your play on money
and not time, you should always play the maximum number of coins. Most
people don't say to themselves that they want to play $500 worth of Video
Poker though, they say they want to play an hours worth. Another variable
to consider in both online play and land-based casino play, is comps.
Player frequency comps are higher the more you play through, and can make
the difference between max coins being worth it or not.
Always play max coins if you're on a machine with a greater than 100%
return rate and you know the proper strategy for it. If your bankroll
can't weather the fluctuations of a machine at max coins, consider a lower