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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

What's That Video Poker Progressive Worth?


I retweeted this jackpot photo recently, and @JustinNomura pointed out that the paytable was weak. But the Royal Flush progressive was sky high.

So how do you quickly calculate what the return of a progressive video poker game is?

Let's do a case study on this White Hot Aces game.

We'll start by taking a closer look at the game, and the jackpot. That doesn't mean pressing your nose up against the glass, it means investigating!

Congratulations Sarah! You made the blog!
Suppose you had been wandering through the California and saw that this bank of quarter video poker machines had a Royal Flush progressive of $2,084.

You know that the paytable is going to be trimmed a little bit to cover the progressive jackpot.

In the majority of cases, the payback of a VP game can be measured by the return for the full house, and the flush. Typically, these values change from paytable to paytable for the same game type, but the other hands pay back a standardized amount.


On this version of White Hot Aces, the full house pays back 8 credits, and the flush pays back 5.

The best (non-progressive) White Hot Aces paytable is a little different than what Sarah was playing, and it has a return of 99.8%. Not too shabby!

It pays 100 for the straight flush , and 9 for the full house, instead of 80 and 8 on Sarah's game.

Here's a little Flushiepants rule of thumb.

For each credit reduction in the full house and flush,  take about a percentage point off the total return.

Here's where it gets more interesting.

I use WinPoker to calculate these sorts of paybacks. I created a custom paytable for Sarah's White Hot Aces game, with a standard 4000 coin Royal, and ran the game analysis.


The base game comes in at 98.495% - about a percent and a third drop from the full pay paytable described above.

So! There you are at the Cal, tummy full of oxtail soup, and you're wondering how high does the Royal progressive have to be to make it worth playing this game?

Another Flushiepants rule of thumb:

Each 2000 credit increase in the Royal adds about a percent to the return.

Here's how you can figure it out exactly with WinPoker (or any number of other VP simulators). Just create a custom game that has the right number of credits for the progressive hands that reflect the  progressive value you're interested in.

In this case, I took the progressive amount of $2,084 and multiplied it by 4 to get the number of quarter credits for the Royal. That came out to 8,336 coins.


With the 8,336 coin Royal, the progressive White Hot Aces game Sarah chose to play had a theoretical return of a whopping 100.97%.

In other words, this was a positive play. The fine print is that you have to hit the Royal at some point to get the total return.

Sarah, you are a savvy, savvy player.

So, having memorized that 9/6 Jacks returns 99.5439% (right?) you come across a bartop that has quarter 7/5 Jacks on it, and you're thirsty.

What's the return on this game?

We're going from 9/6 to 7/5 - so subtract 2% for the drop from 9 to 7 for the full house, and another 1% for the drop from 6 to 5 for the flush. You're looking at a game that pays back roughly 96.5%.

Run far, far away, unless the drinks and the company are extra good.

Say that same game has a progressive of  $1700 on the Royal. Worth playing? Well, how many extra credits is that? It's 700 x 4 = 2800. Each 2000 credits on the Royal adds a percent.

Add back a percent and a bit to get 97.7% or something - still not worth playing.

What would the progressive have to pay back to make this a positive game?

I'll leave that to you to figure out!



    1 comment:

    1. ITS All server based and payback can be changed. They obviously are trying to lure in players from Hawaii and Im sure she won based on her zip code. Math wise players play the high denoms because they have a lower hold. Payouts in vegas can go as low as 75%- so id try to figure out which casino has the highest payout. That way youll have a better chance overall.

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