Even at long odds, miracles do happen
By Henry Tamburin
Depending on how frequently you play, it may take weeks, months, and sometimes (heaven forbid) years before you hit one. Nevertheless, you might just get lucky and hit a royal or two rather quickly.
When we play video poker, we are hoping to get a royal flush. Sometimes we get lucky and hit one but more often than not we come up empty-handed. That’s not to be unexpected because the odds of hitting a royal flush are long (1 in about every 40,000 hands, on average); therefore, depending on how frequently you play, it may take weeks, months, and sometimes (heaven forbid) years before you hit one. Nevertheless, you might just get lucky and hit a royal or two rather quickly. Think that’s impossible? Read on because I’m going to share with you a remarkable streak of royal flushes that happened to me. (I’m doing this not to gloat or boast about my good fortune but rather to show you that it can happen, even with long odds.)
My streak of royal flushes began on September 10, 2014, in Mississippi when I hit a royal flush on a 9/6 Jacks or Better single-line progressive machine. Five days later on a subsequent trip to the same casino, I hit another royal flush. Hitting two royal flushes on consecutive trips to the same casino is certainly exciting but it’s nothing compared to what happened next.
On September 30, my wife and I flew to Las Vegas for a two-week vacation. During this time, we played mostly 9/6 Jacks or Better single-, triple-, and five-line machines (and some NSU Deuces Wild; although coincidentally, not a single royal was hit playing this game). We hit an incredible five royal flushes in nine playing sessions (I hit three royal flushes, my wife two). We happily left Las Vegas (with a lot of cash), flew to Albuquerque, NM, for a reunion with friends, and arrived back home on October17.
Following our vacation in New Mexico and our good luck in Vegas, I played a video poker session in Mississippi on Oct. 20, in the same casino in which I hit my first two royals at the start of my streak. Bingo, I hit another royal flush (that’s #6 for me). Five days later, I returned and hit another royal flush (#7). Two days later, back again, and I hit royal flush #8. One week later, I hit royal flush #9. Nine days later, I remarkably hit another royal flush (#10), which will be memorable because it appeared on the deal. (I was dealt J-10-K-Q-Ace of diamonds, bucking odds of 1 in 649,740.) Five days later, back again, and bingo, I hit another royal (#11).
I’m writing this column the day after I hit #11, so my streak is still intact. Right now the score is an amazing 11 royal flushes for me, and two for my wife, over a span of only eight weeks (discounting the one week of R&R in New Mexico).
The table below summarizes the royal flush streak (the details are from my Gambling Log … you do keep one, don’t you?). Several personal milestones that my wife and I achieved during this amazing streak are as follows:
- We frequently take two-week trips to Las Vegas every year. Although we’ve hit several royals in one trip in the past, getting five of them was a record for us.
- I was dealt a four-card royal flush only once during an entire session on three consecutive trips, and each time I drew the one card I needed for a royal flush.
- I hit four royal flushes on four consecutive trips to the same casino, then played a session without getting a royal, and then played two consecutive sessions, where I hit a royal in each of them (total of seven royals in eight consecutive trips to the same casino).
- My wife hit two royals on the same machine on two consecutive trips to the same casino.
- I hit a royal in 11 out of 18 consecutive playing sessions (nearly two-thirds).
- Three of our royals occurred with three-card draws (bucking odds of 1 in 16,215).
- My dealt royal flush was only the second in my 20 years of playing video poker, and the first on a single-line game.
- I hit 11 royals over a period of about eight weeks. What makes this really astonishing is that most of my play (15 out of 18 sessions) was on a single-line game. (It’s much easier to hit a lot of royals in a short period if you play multi-line games rather than single-line games.)
- The combined 13 royal flushes that my wife and I hit in just eight weeks is a record for us.
Right now you’re probably thinking to yourself that there’s no way that you can get a royal flush streak like mine. Well then, let me introduce you to my friends Bob and Jayne, who sometimes accompany us to play video poker. Bob was playing next to me when he hit a royal flush (right after I hit one during my streak). The slot attendants paid him his winnings, and within minutes after they left, he amazingly hit another royal flush on the same machine. Remarkable as this was, there’s more to this story. Exactly one week later, on their very next trip to the same casino, Jayne hit a royal flush, and after the slot attendants paid her off, she astonishingly hit another royal flush minutes afterwards (also on the same machine). That’s two royals back-to-back for each of them in two consecutive casino trips. But wait, there’s more. On a subsequent trip to the same casino (the session that I hit my memorable dealt royal flush), Jayne astoundingly hit her own memorable dealt royal flush shortly after mine. (Trust me; I’m not making this up.) Do you think, maybe, my friends have started their own royal flush streak?
I know it can be frustrating when you play a game that has over a 99.5% expected return (ER) with perfect playing strategy and you just can’t hit that royal flush. However, if you have enough bankroll to weather the royal flush droughts (been there, and had them), you’ll still be in the game when they finally come. Just don’t abandon the ship; stay the course by playing only games with ERs greater than 99.5%, and keep practicing the playing strategies to eliminate costly playing mistakes. With this approach, and a little luck, you’ll have the best chance at starting your own royal flush streak. Good luck!
Table1: The RF Streak
|Date||Casino Site||Player||Game||RF Draw|
Games: A= 9/6 JOB single-line progressive; B= 9/6 Triple Play; C= 9/6 JOB Five Play; D= 9/6 JOB single line
Henry Tamburin is a blackjack and video poker expert. He is the host of the smartgaming.com website and the editor of the Blackjack Insider newsletter (for a free three-month subscription, visit www.bjinsider.com/freetrial). For a free copy of his Casino Gambling Catalog, which contains books, strategy cards, and software for casino players, call toll free 1-888-353-3234, or visit the web store at smartgaming.com.