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Every casino game has streaks. Keep in mind that winning and losing streaks are a normal and necessary part of any gambling activity. It is one of the by-products of randomness.
Players happily accept winning streaks, but what happens when a long losing streak occurs while playing video poker?
It seems that each pundit, player, and video poker bartender has his or her recommendation when it comes to manipulating video poker play. Some typical advice includes:
- Switch games on the current machine, play a few hands, then switch back.
- Switch machines.
- Switch to a hot machine that a previous player left.
- Decrease the amount bet.
- Increase the amount bet.
- Increase the bet for several hands, increase again for several hands, increase one more time for several hands, return to the original bet.
- Switch to a game that favors hands that not been appearing such a four-of-a-kind.
Dozens, if not hundreds, of variations and combinations of these themes are readily offered as cures for the current losing situation. Do any of them work?
Proper video poker play is based on math. The chance of hitting a specific winning hand is based on math. It means that each hand played on a video poker game has the same chance of hitting a specific winning hand as any other video poker hand that is played. For example, the chance of hitting a four-of-a-kind is about 400-to-1 for every hand played.
The expected return from each paytable for each game is also based on math. The chance of hitting each winning hand is compared with the payout of that winning hand to determine the expected outcome of the game.
Is any of the above advice based on the reality of randomness and the math of the game?
Let’s look at each recommendation in more detail.