A pay table is the complete listing of the payouts for each hand for a video poker game. The pay table-- and the pay table alone-- sets the return (of the base) video poker game. So, if you have the pay table you can not only precisely compute the return of the game but also the strategy needed to obtain that optimal return.
There should be absolutely no guesswork involved with your video poker play. Video poker is not a slot machine with playing cards instead of fruit. The decisions you make when you play a video poker game matter. To play optimialy, you need to know the correct strategy. That strategy is derived from the pay table. Video poker games always show the pay table and that fact makes all the difference gambling outcomes.
If you have been to a casino lately, you may have noticed a profliferation of game options that require "additional wagers" to activate, such as ultimate X or multistrike. Rest assured, if you choose to make additional wagers, the game's return will never decrease from the stated pay table. In other words, those additional wagers are not included in the pay table. So think of the pay table as governing the return of the "base" game, not including the myriad of other game variations available today. Again, everything that makes video poker a better gaming option than many other choices in the casino begins with the pay table.
Every pay table consists of exactly two columns of data: a "Hand" column representing the final hand and a "Payout" column. Very often mulitple pay tables are combined when displayed in a casino. If so, they always represent variations on the same game. We'll cover that later. Here's a simple example:
|JACKS OR BETTER |
|4 OF A KIND......||125|
|3 OF A KIND......||15|
|JACKS OR BETTER..||5|
|Bet 5 Coins|
In general, hands are listed in pay tables approximately in order of their frequency of occurance or probability, not payout. The most common wining hand (highest probability) is listed on the bottom of the pay table (ex "Jacks or Better") and the least common (rarest and highest rank) hand is listed on the top of the pay table (ex "Royal FLush"). Usually, but certainly not always, the payouts in the table increase as the frequency decreases. Again, this isn't always the case. The example above is for a game often called "Full Pay Jacks or Better". It has a return of 99.54% with optimal strategy. According to the pay table, the payout for the most common (lowest rank) "winning" hand "Jacks or Better" (that is, a pair of Jacks, Queens, Kinds or Aces) is 5 coins. Since you bet 5 coins and the payout was 5 coins-- it's not much of a win at all-- in fact, it's really only a push or tie. Fun fact: with optimal play 99.54% JoB, the probability of a flush is somewhat higher than a straight-- yet the flush payout is 50% larger!
|JACKS OR BETTER |
|4 OF A KIND......||25||50||75||100||125||150||175||200||225||250|
|3 OF A KIND......||3||6||9||12||15||18||21||24||27||30|
|JACKS OR BETTER..||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10|
99.54% JOB :
100.76% DW :