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Jul

20

2012

Frequency of Royal Flushes in Joker’s Wild Video Poker

Nearly all video poker games are based on five-card draw poker. In licensed casinos, every electronic card in a 52-card electronic deck has an equal chance of appearing on every hand. That enables us to calculate odds telling us the big payoff on royal flushes occur once every 40,000 hands or so, depending on the game and our strategy.

There are differences, of course, in Joker’s Wild, with a 53-card virtual deck, and Double Joker’s Wild with a 54-card deck.

With no jokers in the deck, there are 2,598,960 possible five-card combinations. That rises to 2,869,685 if one joker is in play, and 3,162,510 with two jokers. The chances of drawing a royal flush on the initial deal are 1 in 649,740 with no jokers, 1 in 717,421.25 and 1 in 790,527.5 with two.

But, of course, the initial deal isn’t the whole game. The strategies we use in Joker’s Wild and Double Joker’s Wild actually get us very close to non-wild card games in frequency of natural royal flushes — the royals with no wild cards that bring us the big-paying bonanzas.

In 9-6 Jacks or Better, with its 52-card deck, royals pop up about once per 40,391 hands, while in full-pay Joker’s Wild, Kings or better it’s 1 in 41,214 and in full-pay Double Joker’s Wild it’s about once per 44,931.

Those numbers change as our strategy chances in different games at different pay tables, but adding jokers doesn’t put any crimp in our chances of hitting the big natural royal that will send us home with fattened wallets.

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