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Feb

28

2017

$5 Single Hand Games vs $1 Triple Play in Video Poker

Sizing your bets properly and making sure you don’t overbet your bankroll are important parts of playing any casino game.

Sometimes there are tax considerations, too. A video poker player wrote to me recently to ask advice on playing $5 single-hand games vs. $1 Triple Play.

Those games are out of my own range. I shop for the best pay tables and stick to quarters and occasionally dollars on single-hand games, and keep it on quarters on Triple Play or Five Play.

But this reader was wavering between Double Double Bonus Poker options, with the same pay table on $5 single-hand and $1 Triple Play.

I’ve had more royals on the Triple Play, and my money goes farther on the Triple Play, too,” he wrote. “On the other hand, royals on the $5 game are really something. A $4,000 payoff for a royal on one line on the Triple Play is nice, but when I drew a royal for $20,000 on the $5 game I was walking on air for a week. I could barely contain the butterflies in my stomach.

“Can you think of other reasons to go with either $5 single hand or $1 Triple Play?”

 The obvious difference is that the max bet on a $5 single-hand video poker game is $25, and on $1 Triple Play it’s $15. You’re more likely to get extended play when your bet is $10 less than on the other game.

Another big factor is the payoffs on four of a kinds and straight flushes. Typically, a straight flush or four 5s through Kings will pay 250 coins for a max bet. On the $1 Triple Play machine, that’s $250. It’s just added to your credit meter and you play on. But on a $5 game, that’s $1,250 and exceeds the IRS reporting threshold. The casino is required to have you sign an IRS form W-2G before it can pay you.

The deal is similar with the 400-coin payoffs on four 2s through 4s, 800 on four 2s through 4s with an Ace, 2, 3 or 4 kicker or 800 on four Aces, no kicker. Payoffs are below the IRS threshold on $1 games and above it on $5 games.

The potential for tax paperwork is something to consider before choosing a $5 video poker machine.

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