A shuffle through the Gaming mailbag:
Q. Is choosing a video poker game online any different than choosing one in a live casino?
Years ago, I started walking around the casino first and checking out the video poker pay tables. I didn’t play until I found which machines had the best pay tables on the games I liked to play.
Mostly, that’s Double Double Bonus Poker, though I like Double Bonus, Super Double Bonus and Super Aces, too. Jacks or Better doesn’t do it for me. It bores me with the low four of a kind payoffs, so I’ll settle for a little lower payback on a more exciting game.
The other side of the coin is that I don’t like the game to be too up and down either. I don’t like Triple Double Bonus because it pays only 2-for-1 on three of a kind.
But within the group of games I like, I want the best pay table.
A. The online version of your walk through a live casino would be to visit online sites in your jurisdiction and checking out the video poker pay tables. You’d want to jot down the tables available so you can go back to the sites that have the best versions of your favored games.
I can’t give you any shortcuts. Online gambling remains illegal in the state where I live, so I don’t have access to legal sites in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware to compile a list.
Your method of checking out machines before you play in live casinos is smart. I once found 25-cent Double Bonus Poker machines with 10-7-5, 9-7-5, 9-6-5, and 9-6-4 pay tables in the same casino. At a different casino, I found 9-6 Double Double Bonus Poker with a progressive jackpot less than 20 feet away from 7-5 DDB with no progressive.
I can’t guarantee you’ll find differences that large in an online comparison, but it seems worth a look.
For players in most states, we just have to hurry up and wait. We have no legal for-cash video poker options until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Q. I’ve read the warnings about double-zero roulette and avoiding the bet on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3 because it has a higher house edge than the other bets.
What about single-zero roulette or those triple-zero games that have I’ve read about in Las Vegas? Do they have any bets that are worse than the others?
A. No. All bets have the same 2.7 percent edge in single-zero roulette. All have the same 7.69 percent edge in the triple-zero game.
On a double-zero wheel, the house edge on the five-number basket of 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3 is 7.89 percent, higher than the 5.26 percent on other wagers.
On other bets, payoffs can be set in whole numbers to yield a 5.26 percent edge. But a basket is the only five-number combination bet available. The payoff is 6-1, but a 5.26 percent edge would require a payoff of 6.2-1. Instead of making change on winners, the house rounds down the payoff to the nearest whole number.
In single- or triple-zero games, betting the zeroes plus the top row of 1, 2 and 3 does not result in an unusual number set. With 0, 1, 2 and 3, you have a four-number bet that can be paid 8-1, just like a corner. With three zeroes, 1, 2 and 3, you have a six-number bet that can be paid 5-1 just like any double-street.