Still raining on your parade

Met this guy an hour or so ago walking past the video poker machines. He tells me it’s raining outside. Best place for it to rain, I reckon. But this is the kind of witty repartee I keep to myself these days. It’s the kinda comment that’s too easily misunderstood. You say that to some drunk who’s just dropped his stake money on the slot machines and is sore at the world, and some of the time, you can expect him to take a swing at ya. But, with the young fellah giving me a free rein, I guess I feel more free to let it all hang out. So I’m gonna rain on you wannabe pros a little more today.

I was telling ya all a whole bankroll can go on video poker with you never hitting a jackpot. It’s just the way the probabilities can work out. So now here’s the challenge for ya! If you’ve been paying any kinda attention to how I’ve been taking ya through all this, you’ll have noticed I never said which kinda video poker machines I was talking about. Take a minute to think about it. Talk among yourselves if you wanna.

Jack here’s still working his way through that good stuff the wannabe supplier laid on us a few weeks back. We’re mostly keeping that for our own private study. Got a particularly fine brandy here.

When I was starting out as a grease-monkey kid, I was was working on the best technology there was. Ya pulls the handle and the three reels spin. Round and round they goes. Where they stops, noone knows. Even when the new video poker technology came in, we were still talking about a single flop, decide what you’re holding, then draw the replacements from the 47 remaining cards. Now you log in to and you’re gonna find a completely different set of beasts on display. More often than not, you’re looking at four or more lines above the flop hand. Ya make the same decision about holding, but the machine repeats your decisions in the lines above. So there’s a separate draw from the virtual deck for each line. That RNG shuffles the remaining 47 cards after the flop between each draw. The Math God expects the same proper strategy that works for the single line, to work in exactly the same way for your base line and however many lines are stacked above it.

Remember what I said ’bout there being no need for the operators to cheat on video poker machines. Ya gotta believe me on that. So, we assume a random draw of cards for each line. That means the Expected Value per hand is the same, no matter how many hands there are. But, for those of you that like the math, ya gotta remember that your decisions on the flop hand are correlated to the lines above. To make the point, if ya hold all five cards in the flop, there’s perfect correlation in all the lines above. But the covariance changes. If you’re playing 9/6 Jacks or Better video poker and you play a single line four times, those are four independent events and the variance between each play simply adds. Now put yourself on a multi-hand machine with one flop and three repeated lines for a single play and the variance per base bet increases by about 30%.

Hey, guess what. If you’re gonna play these online video poker machines with multiple hands, you’re gonna need more bills folded into that bankroll of yours. The more lines above the flop ya play, the heavy that wad of yours gotta get. Kinda makes ya sick to think about it, don’t it?

Well, that’s me done again. Catch ya ’round.

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