Strategy for Video Poker (JoB) with Gamble Feature ?

Discussion in 'Other Games Tournament Strategy' started by PlayHunter, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. PlayHunter

    PlayHunter Active Member

    In this tournament, unless you don`t catch a Royal you stand no chance at winning anything without using Gamble Feature. (Gamble Feature consist in dealer revealing a card and you to pick another card from 4 face down cards: - if you pick higher than what the dealer shows you win, if you pick equal rank its a tie and if you pick lower you lose) (The game is Jack or Better - so no jokers, no wild cards at the gamble feature)

    My question would be how to use this gamble feature ? Try doubling anything and hope to win 8-9 consecutive winners or use it in 3 of a kind or even higher rank hands for only 5-6 gamble winners ?

    For example lets say the max bet is 50 and you start with a 200 balance. And your target is 10000.

    For unlimited re-buys, how many re-buys would you need on average to reach your 10000 target if you try and double in anything that comes up, and how many times would you need if you do a hand selection ?

    And, if to go with the hand selection would be the optimal strategy, how would look this hand selection ? Paytable returns are as follow: Jacks or better - 1xbet , two pairs - 2xbet , 3 of a kind - 3xbet , straight - 4xbet , flush - 6xbet , full house - 9xbet , 4 of a kind - 25xbet , straight flush - 50xbet , royal - 800xbet.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013
  2. KenSmith

    KenSmith Administrator Staff Member

    For those who are unfamiliar, this Gamble feature is usually called "Double Up", and as PlayHunter describes, it is a one-card draw game where the highest card wins.
    There is no house edge to the double-up feature.

    I feel fairly confident that to reach your target, doubling every payout is the best approach.
    The only exception might be if a double gets you very close to your payout but not quite there.

    Bet size is an interesting question.
    Off the top of my head, I can't decide whether it is best to bet the max, or an amount meant to maximize the chance of reaching your specific target.
    For example, an initial bet of 13 units means that a royal will reach your target, trips puts you 8 doubles away from 9984, and a flush puts you 7 doubles away.
    For the same reasons, bet amount of 26 and 39 are interesting.
    If your target is guesswork, it's probably not worth targeting specific numbers. Instead, just bet the max.
    But you really need a simulation to get exact optimal details.

    The next point may not be relevant to you, especially if this game is an online casino as I suspect.
    Be aware that some video poker machines have a built-in limit on the doubling.
    I have used this feature as a valuable option several times, but on a few occasions I have been thwarted by a limit.

    In one case, the machine stopped offering the double up option after any 5 consecutive winning doubles.
    (If that's the case, you would need to double up only payouts of 313 or higher to try to reach 10k.)

    In another case, the machine stopped offering the double up as soon as the payout would have exceeded $1200.
    (No easy way around that one, but doubling as often as you can is still a powerful strategy because it dramatically increases variance.)
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  3. KenSmith

    KenSmith Administrator Staff Member

    In re-reading my post, I see one point where my intention is not clear so I wanted to clarify:

    I wrote that doubling every payout is the best approach and "The only exception might be if a double gets you very close to your payout but not quite there".
    What I mean by that last part is this: What if you have doubled a few times and have reached a total of 9900? If there are several hands left to play, it may be better to collect the 9900 and hope to double your way into an extra 100 before the end of the round instead of trying to double one more time and overshooting your target by almost double.
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  4. hopinglarry

    hopinglarry Top Member

    I agree with Ken that doubling every thing is probably the best way to go and betting max is probably best.

    Over the years, Bob Dancer , has had a couple of articles on VP tourneys. The wizard , of course has all kinds of stats and calculators on VP. It seems to me that I have seen the number of hands to get a Royal on both of these sites, assuming you have an all out play for a royal (basically keep the best high card, 2 card royal, etc. and discarding everything else). That number of hands was around 21K (don't remember the exact number). That is one way to attack a VP tournament.

    The double up feature adds another option to the scenario. Assuming I have multiplied these doubling starting hands correctly with 50 bet.
    SF 2500 x 2d = 10000
    4K 1250 x 3d = 10000
    FH 450 x 5d = 14400
    FL 300 x 5d = 9600 with 6d = 19200
    ST 200 x 6d = 12800
    3K 150 x 6d = 9600 with 7d = 19200
    2P 100 x 7d = 12800
    1P 50 x 8d = 12800

    If you are always doubling then the most credits you will have to add to these numbers is 150. As Ken says you will have to make a decision on whether to take the 9600 are go for the 19200. The other doubles are not close enough to your goal to consider. Also since you say you have to get a royal flush to get anything (at 50 bet that would be 40K), I am assuming that most people do not bet the max. I must also assume then that with a goal of 10K that the numbers over 10k above would stand a very good chance of winning.

    Off the top of my head I can think of one type of hand that you might play differently. Suppose you are dealt a Straight which contains and open-ended 4 card SF.

    If you keep the straight and double away. You have one chance in 64 ( .015625) to get to 12800.
    If you just keep the 4 card SF.
    You have 2/47 (SF) divided by 4 or .01064 chance to get to 10000. You have 7/47 (FL) divided by 32 or .00465 chance to get to 9600 or .00233 to get to 19200. You have 5/47 divided by 64 (.00166) to get to 12800. If you add up the probabilities .01064 + .00465 + .00166 = .01695 this is higher than keeping the straight. It has different ending totals and assuming that you will take the 9600. (added by edit - you could have some high cards in the SF which would give you the pair probability to add in).
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
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  5. PlayHunter

    PlayHunter Active Member

    Yes, actually with 40K chips one would expect to finish in first place and with 10K in top 4. The problem is that this is not an accumulation tournament, but one with fixed prizes. So this makes it a matter of whether or not the number of re-buys I would need to hit the target is enough to make me take this deal.

    Payouts are: 1st place $300 , 2nd place $150 , 3rd place $100 , 4th place $50 , buy-in is just $1.5 and also unlimited re-buys of $1.5 - Duration: 1 month.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  6. hopinglarry

    hopinglarry Top Member

    By the way, I play a lot of VP. However, when it comes to tournaments I consider VP and Slots as equivalents. The casino would have to throw in a lot of money for me to consider paying to play a VP or Slot tournament. I think both of them are pure luck.

    I can think of one way of calculating the average cost of playing in this VP tournament. I am not sure it is correct, but here is what I would do:

    If you look at the Wizard's calculator for 9/6 Jacks a high pair has a probability of .214585. You have a 1 in 256 chance of meeting your goal. If you divide the probability by 256, you get .000838 (about 1 in 1193 tries) as the probability. I think if you calculate all the probabilities for the different hands with the doubling number and add all of them up (including the Royal prob.), then divide one by this number, you should get the average number of starting hands to meet your goal.

    This method may not be correct and someone else may have a better one.
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