Winning Streak Video Poker from WMS

 Winning Streak Video Poker from WMS

WMS Gaming has long been an innovator in slot machines, with games such as Jackpot Party and Reel ’Em In becoming casino standards, and Lord of the Rings, the Monopoly series and others taking gaming in new directions. But WMS has not been a major player in video poker, a field dominated by International Gaming Technology. WMS is trying to change that with a couple of new products, and one I find particularly intriguing is Winning Streak Poker.

It’s a new approach to multihand games. If you have a winning hand, it’s moved up a level, signifying a one-times pay table winner, and you’re dealt a second hand. Win again, and the second hand moves to the 1x slot, while the first moves up to 2x, where additional wins move it to 5x and 10x. You keep playing as long as the winning streak holds up.

That makes for an interesting difference in player psychology from IGT’s Multi-Strike Poker, which also involves qualifying for new hands and moving up a multiplier ladder. In Multi-Strike, it’s the new hands that bring a bigger multiplier. A first-hand winner brings a double pay on a second hand, and a winner there brings a 4x pay on a third, then an 8x pay if you qualify for a fourth. That puts a premium on getting any kind of winner on the early hands in order to qualify for the bigger multipliers.

Winning Streak brings the opposite approach. There, it’s the early hands that move up the ladder for potential big multipliers. If you have a royal flush — to use an extreme example — it’s going to affect later strategy decisions later as you pursue frequent wins instead of bigger winners to try to multiply that royal.

This different approach puts Winning Streak on my must-try list.

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