Tracking Video Poker Hands

by John Grochowski  

When I play, I track video poker hands. Sometimes I'll track one-card flush draws -- how many I attempt, and how many I make. Online gaming, offline gaming --- it doesn't matter to me.
Sometimes I'll track results each time through my money -- if I start with $100 and bet $5 a hand, I'll track 20 video poker hands and see how much I have left.
Sometimes I get sidetracked and change counts in midstream. That's what happened during a session of  8-5 Triple Play Bonus Poker.
I wanted to track video poker hands per hour. I still don't know just how much slower I play Triple Play than single-hand games, because, I noticed something else.
At about play #150 -- the equivalent of 450 video poker hands -- it occurred to me that I had not yet drawn a four of a kind. That's bad news in any video poker game.

In the absence of a royal flush jackpot, the path to a winning session usually is paved by frequent quads. Given expert strategy in 8-5 Bonus Poker, a quad should occur about once per 422 hands.
Draw two sets of quads within this parameter and you have a good chance of being ahead of the game. With none, you'll be behind more often than not.
I decided to change my focus from pure speed and track the number of video poker hands before my first quad. Along the way, I also would track video poker hands with three of a kind on the initial deal, and the results.

At play No. 178, I was dealt three Jacks, but the draw failed to improve any of the three hands. At play No. 232, I was dealt three 7s, and on one hand drew a pair of 3s for a full house.
At play No. 257, I was dealt three Aces--a potential bonanza if I could draw a fourth Ace for a 400-coin jackpot. But, not to be.
At play No. 316, three 9s, no improvement. At play No. 324, three Kings, one full house.
Finally, at play no. 362, I held a pair of Queens, and the other two popped up on the third hand. My first quad!
How much money did I lose during this extreme quad-less streak? Oddly enough, I was ahead all the way and, in fact, more than tripled my original $100 investment.
Why? Because something even stranger than the four-of-a-kind dearth was happening. Sometime in the first 100 plays, I held 4-6-7-8 of hearts and on one hand drew a 5 of hearts for a straight flush and a 250-coin payoff.
At play No. 277, I held 6-7-9-10 of diamonds and drew the 8, another inside draw for a straight flush.
And on play No. 302, I was dealt 5-6-7-8-9 of clubs, a straight flush on the deal, meaning I had straight flushes on all three attempts for a total 750-coin payoff.
That's five straight flushes in 302 Triple Plays, or the equivalent of 906 video poker hands. On average, there is a straight flush once per 9,360 hands. I was seeing them more than 10 times as often.

Video poker works that way as you have found at the Learn to Play Video Poker program.
I can tell you that quads should show up about once per 400 hands in most video poker games, that blackjack players should see two-card 21s about once per 21 deals and that in the long run, any number on a double-zero roulette wheel will turn up once per 38 spins. But those are long-term statistical averages.
In the short term, we won't necessarily get what we're looking for. But if we're very fortunate, we just might get something even better.

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