Jun

14

2016

# Does Winning with a Royal Flush in Video Poker Depend on Denomination?

I’ve been playing video poker for more than 25 years, and I’ve had royal flushes on penny, nickel, quarter, dollar and \$2 games. The penny royal came on a memorable hand of Hundred Play Poker – 100 hands at once. I was dealt four parts of a royal, and drew the fifth part 11 times – far exceeding the 1 in 47 chance of completing a royal with a one-card draw.

That the big hand came when playing for pennies didn’t bother me at all. My bankroll wouldn’t cover Hundred Play at higher denominations anyway. It’s a \$5 max bet even on pennies.

It is natural for players to wish they’d been playing for more money when the big hands hit. One player wrote to me to say she’d drawn a royal on nickels, and wondered if the odds would have been the same on a quarter or dollar game.

“It seems I get more royal flushes on nickels, which I assumed the casino doesn’t have to pay out as much that way,” she wrote.

I explained to her that the odds of drawing royal flushes change only with your strategy, not with the coin denomination. Nickel games do not deal more royals than quarter games.

Random number generators are programmed the same way for video poker games, regardless if whether you’re playing for nickels, quarters, dollars or any other denomination. In fact, on many multidenominational machines, the same RNG is used regardless of which coin denomination you’re playing.

All the RNG does is generate numbers that correspond with cards. Those numbers are applied in such a way that every card has an equal chance of appearing on every hand. Odds of drawing any given hand are the same as if a physical deck were in play.

That’s why we can calculate payback percentages on video poker games.  Given a specific strategy, we know how often each hand will occur over a very long time.

If the pay tables are the same, the frequency of royal flushes and the overall payback percentage will be the same regardless of whether you’re playing for nickels, quarters, dollars or any other denomination.