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Unregistered 2010-06-21 21:04

Video Poker
 
I haven't been to a casino in quite a while, but this question somehow popped into my head last night:

Would it be possible to write a program that tells you the optimal strategy for playing video poker? You'll just say what cards you got and what the payoff table is, and the program will tell you what to do (discard cards 1 and 3, discard all cards, keep all cards, etc). If you bet the maximum amount and have deep pockets, you could theoretically come out ahead in the long run if the expected return was greater than 100%.

Also, if this were possible, would you get thrown out of most casinos if you get caught using it?

sdbardwick 2010-06-21 23:56

Absolutely possible. There are video poker training programs that do what you describe.

If you used it in a (Nevada for sure, probably most others) casino, you will be arrested; they take a very hard line on cheating.

Edit: I was happy with an older version of [URL="http://www.bobdancer.com/showbook.cfm?itemnumber=1519BD"]this program[/URL].

retina 2010-06-22 06:28

[QUOTE=Unregistered;219428]... if the expected return was greater than 100%.[/QUOTE]The thing about casinos is that they never allow the expected return to be >=100%. That would be bad for business.

But learning the optimum strategy for poker is pretty simple, no need to use a computer to tell you. And even without a computer helping you, you can still get kicked out if you play too well. Just don't be a dick about things and they won't mind you playing well, but don't plan to ever get an expected return of over 100%.

Orgasmic Troll 2010-06-22 12:14

[QUOTE=sdbardwick;219448]If you used it in a (Nevada for sure, probably most others) casino, you will be arrested; they take a very hard line on cheating.[/QUOTE]

If you used an electronic aide, yes. But if you memorized optimal play, no. It's doable.

[QUOTE=retina;219466]The thing about casinos is that they never allow the expected return to be >=100%. That would be bad for business.

But learning the optimum strategy for poker is pretty simple, no need to use a computer to tell you. And even without a computer helping you, you can still get kicked out if you play too well. Just don't be a dick about things and they won't mind you playing well, but don't plan to ever get an expected return of over 100%.[/QUOTE]

False. There are video poker machines in Vegas that have slightly higher than 100% expected value [i]with optimal play[/i]. Why are casinos still in business? Several factors:

1. The overwhelming majority of people do not play optimally
2. Even with optimal play, you have to be able to withstand very wide swings
3. Even with a large bankroll, optimal strategy, and playing at a fast speed, you can expect to make... about minimum wage.

retina 2010-06-22 12:26

The only machine I have ever seen return >=100% is the change machine. And even that stops at exactly 100%, never above.

Orgasmic Troll: Please show your source for machines returning >100%.

Orgasmic Troll 2010-06-22 12:37

here's a great story about some guys who reverse engineered the RNG of video poker machines: [url]http://www.ethicalhacker.net/content/view/22/2/[/url]

Orgasmic Troll 2010-06-22 12:39

[QUOTE=retina;219491]The only machine I have ever seen return >=100% is the change machine. And even that stops at exactly 100%, never above.

Orgasmic Troll: Please show your source for machines returning >100%.[/QUOTE]

[url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_Poker#Full_pay_games[/url]

See "Deuces Wild" at 5 credits. 100.8% payout

sdbardwick 2010-06-23 02:42

[QUOTE=retina;219466]The thing about casinos is that they never allow the expected return to be >=100%. That would be bad for business.

But learning the optimum strategy for poker is pretty simple, no need to use a computer to tell you. And even without a computer helping you, you can still get kicked out if you play too well. Just don't be a dick about things and they won't mind you playing well, but don't plan to ever get an expected return of over 100%.[/QUOTE]
The optimum strategy for video poker differs radically from normal poker; one of the hardest things to learn is ignore all of your real-world experiences. The seemingly minor alterations in the pay tables can have odd impacts on proper perfect-play technique.
Back in the early 00s I practiced with the program mentioned above until I was over 99.9% (I would get $99.948 out of each possible $100.00) perfect for one specific game and one specific pay table; changing the pay table slightly (IIRC for the flush/full house payouts) dropped me to around 89%.

I think I lost about $1500 cash over 12 months on about $100,000 action. Never hit the royal flush you need to come out ahead. If you valued non-cash comps (rooms, meals) at FMV, I probably came out a tiny bit ahead.


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