VIDEO POKER MYTHS
By Jerry “Stickman” Stich
Video poker myths have been around since the first machines were introduced. Some myths have been phased out by technology, such as the one about the temperature of your coins influencing whether you would win or lose. (Some folks really believed that putting in cold coins would improve your results, and that if warm coins were paid out it meant the machine was “getting hot” and about to fork over a big payout.)
The advent of coinless machines rendered those myths moot, but there are still dozens of odd (and weirdly inaccurate) rumors that surround video poker. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular ones.
- You shouldn’t play a machine that hit a royal flush very recently.
This is a very common myth which might seem to make sense, since a royal is a very infrequent event. This hand is simply too rare to appear twice in short succession, right? Wrong. While the odds of getting a royal are around 40,000-1, every hand played has the same odds of hitting the big one.
- Video poker machines become “due.”
Many players believe that if a machine has gone a very long time without a royal, it must be “due” to hit soon. Like I said before, the odds of a royal happening around 40,000-1. According to the myth, the closer the machine gets to 40,000 hands played without a royal (and especially if this number exceeds 40,000), the more likely it is to happen on the next hand.
This is not true, for the same reason the previous myth is false. Each hand is an independent occurrence and is unaffected by previous hands. Each hand has a roughly one in 40,000 chance of being a royal, regardless of the result of the last hand, or the previous million hands.
- Someone else got MY royal!
Let’s say you play a video poker machine for an hour, and it’s slowly draining your money. Finally, after burning through your last $20 bill, you decide to move to another machine. Someone else sits down at your old machine and within a few hands, bang! They get a royal flush—“your” royal flush. If only you hadn’t moved, it would have been yours! It should have been yours.
Wrong again. The makeup of each hand is determined by the machine’s random number generator(RNG). The RNG is constantly cycling. The cards that are dealt are determined at the exact instant you hit the draw button. There is virtually no chance that you would have hit the draw button (twice, if the royal was not dealt in the original hand) at the exact same split-second the other person did. It’s not your royal flush.
- You should always bet the max.
This is also true, for the most part. Most games pay a bonus on the royal flush when you’re playing the maximum amount (usually five credits). If this is the case, playing maximum coin reduces the house edge, so it is best. If playing max coin strains your bankroll, play a lower denomination game.