Can a Video Poker Game be Manipulated so That it Shows a 9-6 Game but Gives a Reduced Payout?

 Can a Video Poker Game be Manipulated so That it Shows a 9-6 Game but Gives a Reduced Payout?

My email recently brought a question from a video poker player who sounded like he’d probably had a tough run of luck. “Can a video poker game be manipulated so that is shows a 9-6 game but gives a reduced payout?” he asked. “Is there a legal way for the casino to lower the payout or restrict certain hands from appearing and still display the traditional pay table?”

Not in Mississippi, and not in most gaming states. Manipulating programming so that high pay tables appear on the screen but certain winning hands are repressed or payouts otherwise altered is illegal, and would be caught by the testing labs before the game was licensed for casino use.

There are exceptions. Some Native American casinos have what are known as Class II games, which are really electronic bingo machines even if they have a video poker interface. They are recognizable by a bingo logo on the screen or glass. On such games, your result is going to be whatever the electronically drawn bingo balls say it should be. If you make a strategy mistake, the machine will fix things so you get the credits the bingo draw says you should get. On such games, strategy does not matter.

But in most jurisdictions, video poker is programmed and regulated so that every card has an equal chance of appearing.

That doesn’t mean you’re going to get the full theoretical payback percentage every time you play, or even most times you play. Sometimes you’re going to run into tough luck. That’s a time to conserve your bankroll and cut your session short. Other times, you’ll draw a royal flush, or enough four of a kinds for a big winning session. Over a long time, they balance out.

Big wins, fast losses…they’re all part of the game.


Leave a comment