A shuffle through the Gaming mailbag:
Q: One thing I see a lot in Deuces Wild video poker is four of a kind and full houses paying the same amount. If you bet five coins you get 20 back. Sometimes you see full houses pay only 15, and I’m told four of a kind can pay 25, though I’ve never seen it.
I know Deuces Wild odds can be lot different than other games because of the wild cards, but can four of a kind really come up somewhere close to as often as full houses? I don’t get how they can pay the same.
A. Four of a kind comes up more often that full houses in Deuces Wild — a LOT more often.
Imagine you start with 2-2-5-5. In non-wild card games, you’d be hoping to draw a 2 or a 5 to complete a full house. In Deuces Wild, you already have four of a kind and if you draw a 2 or a 5 you’ll have five of a kind.
What if you start with 5-5-2? You can draw a full house by drawing two same-ranked cards that are not 5s or 2s. But if you draw two more 2s or a 5 and a 2, you don’t have a full house, you have five of a kind.
In “Illinois Deuces,” a 98.9-percent return game that pays 4-for-1 on quads and full houses alike, expert play brings four of a kind an average of once per 16.3 hands, more than twice as often as full houses at once per 38.2.
In that version, quads bring 24.5 percent of your overall payback, second only to three of a kind at 26.8 percent. No other hand tops 20 percent, and the only others over 10 percent are straights at 11.5 and full houses at 10.5.
Four of a kind is a prime hand needed to keep you in action while you wait for one of the big payers.
By the way, the game that pays 5-for-1 on quads, 25 coins for a five-coin bet, is the one players refer to as “full-pay Deuces.” It was the first version of Deuces Wild and once was common in Nevada. With a 100.8-percent return with expert play, it’s rarely been seen in the rest of the country and even in Nevada now exists in diminished numbers.
Q: I saw a roulette display that said No. 22 had come up three times within five spins. I get that doesn’t necessarily mean a hot number will keep being hot, but I decided to play with the three streets around it — 19-20-21; 22-23-24; and 25-26-27. I figured maybe if 22 didn’t win again, the numbers near it would.
I got a couple of wins, but lost money, so it didn’t help, really. Was that the right way to go about it?
A. Roulette numbers aren’t predictors of numbers to come. Assuming the wheel is in balance, every number is equally likely on every spin.
Any number set you pick is as good as any other. If you’d find it fun and interesting to see if there’s a wheel bias in favor of numbers that have come up recently, that’s fine.
However, if there was a bias in favor of the ball dropping in the vicinity of your chosen number, keep in mind the surrounding numbers on the layout aren’t the same as the surrounding numbers on the wheel.
On a double-zero wheel, ,the four numbers to the left of 22 are 5, 17, 32 and 20. The four numbers to the right are 34, 15, 3 and 21.