Why Full Pay Video Poker?

Full Pay Video Poker the only kind to play

by Randy L Ray – Video Poker 365

Video poker players need to learn how to spot a full pay video poker machine. Whether you play in brick and mortar casinos or online, make sure you choose only full pay games.

Full pay does not mean the game promises to pay back your full investment. Full pay means you are getting the highest standard payout for the type of machine you are using. Specifically, this means you are getting the maximum benefit for wins on the full houses and flushes when playing video poker. There are major differences in the payouts on these two hands from one machine to another.

The “full pay” benefit on a Jacks or Better poker machine is 9/6. When you see a term like 9/6, it tells you two things. The first number tells you the odds you’ll get paid on a full house. The second number tells you the odds you’ll get paid on a flush. On a full pay video poker machine, you’ll get 9 for 1 odds on a full house and 6 for 1 odds on a flush.

Short pay machines are found in every casino. Oftentimes, you’ll find more short payers than you will find full pay machines.

A common short pay video poker game is the 8/5 machine. You’ll get 8 for 1 odds on full houses and 5 for 1 odds on flushes. This may not seem like much of a difference, but it is huge in the world of video poker. 8/5 machines return about 97.3% on your investment, while the 9/6 machines return about 99.54%. So for every hundred dollars you wager, you can expect to lose an extra two dollars if you’re not playing a full pay video poker machine. Over the months and years, you’re giving away hundreds of dollars.

  • 99.5% gives the house a 0.5% edge, on the 9/6 machine.
  • 97.3% gives the house a 2.7% edge, on the 8/5 machine.

You calculate theoretical loss by multiplying the average wager times the number of wagers times the house edge.

An average video poker player will play 600 hands in an hour. A quarter machine, which is typically the lowest denomination you can find, has a maximum bet of 5 coins, or $1.25.

  • Average wager = $1.25
  • Number of wagers = 600
  • House edge = 0.5% for 9/6 and 2.7% on 8/5.
  • Theoretical loss per hour on a 9/6 machine is $3.75 per hour give or take a few cents.
  • Theoretical loss per hour on an 8/5 machine is over $20!

On a dollar video poker machine, those numbers are multiplied by 4, so you’re losing $15/hour on a 9/6 machine, but over $80 per hour on the 8/5 machine. I don’t even want to think about theoretical hourly loss on a 7/5 machine, and believe me there are plenty of those out there too.

All jacks or better games with a progressive jackpot always have the inferior 8/5 (or worse) paytable. In order to get the same expected return as on a non-progressive 9/6 game, the jackpot would have to be at around 8,000 coins – twice the normal amount. Rarely does a progressive jackpot grow that high. Stick to a full pay 9/6 game, don’t bother with progressives.

9/6 isn’t the only criteria to look for when trying to find a full pay video poker game. Make sure four-of-a-kind pays 25 per coin wagered. The payback on machines paying only 20 for quad fours is reduced to 98.36%!

Also look to see what the odds being paid for two pair are. If it is 1 to 1, you’ll need to look closer at the pay table. Those odds might mean you are on a Double Bonus Jacks or Better game. If so, there are other stipulations that make up for the fact you’re getting less of a payback on your lesser (and therefore more frequent) wins. If not, the machine is ripping you off and cheating you out of a few percentage points.

As I said at the beginning: Make sure you play only full pay video poker games.