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Video Poker with Slot-Style Action

These games might make your sessions more exciting

by Jerry “Stickman” Stich


The days when video poker meant only five-card draw poker are long gone.  Now there are all sorts of video poker variants clamoring for casino players’ money.  This article reviews a couple of these variants that have been around for a while.  If you are tired of the same old video poker, you may want to consider checking out these games.

Spin Poker

If you love slot machines and want to get some of that slot-like action into your video poker play, Spin Poker might be right up your alley.  Spin Poker looks very much like a 3-line, 5-reel video slot machine.  You can select one to nine lines and one to five coins on each line – just like most multi-line video slot machines.

To play, simply select the number of lines you want to play (1-9).  Even though there are only three lines straight across, there are nine lines available by crossing among the three lines.  Next, select the number of credits you wish to wager per line.  This should always be five to take advantage of the return for a royal flush with five credits played.  Then hit the Deal button.  Five cards will be dealt on the middle row.  As you select the cards you want to save, the same cards appear in the same position on the other two rows.  Once you have selected all the cards you want to save, hit the Draw button.  The columns where you did not select a card “spin” like they are reels on a slot machine and the remaining cards for each hand are filled.

The playing strategy for Spin Poker is exactly the same as the playing strategy of the same standard video poker game.  This means the strategy for full-pay Jacks or Better Spin Poker is exactly the same as the strategy for standard full-pay Jacks or Better.  The return for Spin Poker is also exactly the same as for the standard game of video poker.  Standard full-pay Jacks or Better returns 99.54 percent with perfect play.  Full-pay Jacks or Better Spin Poker also returns 99.54 percent with perfect play.

A very important item to remember about Spin Poker is that if you play all nine lines, you are playing nine times the money, or coin-in, with each spin.  As with multi-play (3/5/10/25/50/100 times) video poker, when you play more lines, variance can increase.  In fact, it actually increases faster in Spin Poker than it does in multi-play video poker.

Here are some examples of the variance differences between multi-play and Spin Poker Jacks or Better.  The variance for 5 Times Play is 27.4, while the variance for 5 lines played in Spin Poker is 34.8 – over one and a quarter (1.27%)  times as much.  For a standard 9 Times Play video poker game, the variance is 35.3.  However, playing 9 lines of Spin Poker has a variance of 53.0 – an increase of 50 percent!

Spin Poker can add excitement, but, like most things in life, it comes at a cost.  If you choose to play Spin Poker, make sure you are not overplaying your bankroll.  Being forced to leave the casino because you went broke definitely puts a damper on the additional excitement gained from playing Spin Poker.

Super Times Pay Poker

Super Times Pay Poker is another variant of video poker that combines a feature of slot machines with traditional video poker.  For an additional credit per hand (the player bets six credits versus the traditional five), a random “times” feature is activated.  This multiplier provides the player with a 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, 8x, or 10x bonus on any win.  The payout multiplier appears randomly during play.

According to information on the machine, the random multiplier appears once every 15 games and the average amount of the multiplier is 4.05.  If this is correct, and this writer has no reason to believe otherwise, the increase in return is 20.33 percent.  So betting an additional 20 percent gets you 20.33 percent more in return.  Adding the sixth credit makes marginal sense.

To determine the return of any Super Times Pay Poker game simply multiply the original return of the game by 1.00278.  While this sounds really good, pay tables for Super Times Pay Poker are not usually as generous as traditional video poker games, so check the pay table carefully before playing.

The play strategy is exactly the same as for the traditional video poker game, so nothing changes there.  However, variance goes up by about 50 percent.  Super Times Pay Poker can be more exciting than traditional video poker.  Just make sure you find a game with a good return percentage and have sufficient funds to play the extra 20 percent through the game, as well as, account for the increased variance.

Either of the two games mentioned in this article can provide new excitement in your video poker play.  If you have been getting bored with the same old video poker games and like the action of slot machines, give Spin Poker or Super Times Pay Poker a try.  One of these could become your new favorite game.



You are playing 9/6 (full-pay) Jacks or Better with max coin-in of five quarters. You are dealt the following hand:

Ks Ts Qh 5c 7d

How would you play it?

This hand contains two cards of a royal flush (Ks Ts), three of a straight (Ks Ts Qh), and a couple of high cards (Ks Qh).  If you chose the two of a royal, the return is not bad, but this is only the third-best save.  Holding the three of a straight is the fifth-best hold.  Holding the king alone is the fourth-best; the queen alone the second-best.  Holding only the queen is better than holding just the king because of the added chances for a straight flush (no chance holding the king because the 10 was discarded), a flush, or a straight (there are three 10’s remaining).

Holding the king and queen is the best hold by over one-tenth of a credit with an expected return of 2.4308 credits in the long run.

Is that the way you would have played it?

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