Should You Play Off Your Credits When Lower Than a Max Bet or Cash Out?

 Should You Play Off Your Credits When Lower Than a Max Bet or Cash Out?

Multi-hand video poker games are among my casino favorites, and have been ever since Triple Play Poker was introduced in the late 1990s.

With the games, there is a temptation to players. On a quarter Triple Play machine, a maximum-coins wager is $3.75. What happens if your credits dwindle to less than that? Do you make a bet for less than full coins? Royal flushes pay only 250-for-1 with a bet of less than the max, compared to 800-for 1 with a max bet.

The recommended play is to cash out and avoid settling for the lower payback percentages that come with the reduced-pay royal.

But the temptation is there to play off the credits. One of my regular readers, Ronnie, gave into the temptation recently and shared his experience.

“I’ve always joked about the time coming that sometime, I was going to get a royal flush with less than the max and I was going to get mad at myself,” he said. “It finally happened. I was down to my last $2.50 on quarter Triple Play, and I bet it. It gave me a four-coin bet on the first hand and three-coin bets on the second and third to make up the $2.50 total.

“It was on the second hand that I drew the royal. I kept King and Queen of hearts, and I drew the other three. With the three-coin bet, the payoff was 750 quarters, or $187.50. That’s OK, but I’m still kicking myself. For another $1.25 bet, I could have had $1,000.

“Can you say anything that will make me feel better about this?”

Ronnie didn’t make the best percentage play in the world, but he did win $187.50 that he wouldn’t have won had he just cashed out the $2.50 ticket. Besides, had he added money and bet the max, his timing would have been different and he probably wouldn’t have drawn the royal.  The random number generator would have moved on to a new result.

If you want the best payback percentage at video poker, it takes max-coins bets. However, if you don’t want to cash out the small amounts and are determined to play off all the credits, then you have to be mentally prepared to accept a royal flush at less than the max payoff.  

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