I enjoy video poker. Period. It’s fun, and it’s a relaxing escape. It keeps me engaged enough to be excited about every hand but isn’t overly taxing on the brain.
Throughout the years, I’ve tried out many video poker machines, experimenting with different games like Deuces Wild, Double Double Bonus, and Super Double Bonus.
I’ve also tried out the various features and concepts like Spin Poker, Super Times Pay, Dream Card, Wheel, Hot Roll, and many others.
While I probably wouldn’t walk away if one particular game were the only thing available, I have developed preferences. I prefer Bonus Deuces to any other game, but I also dabble at Triple Double Bonus from time to time.
When it comes to game variations, I enjoy Spin Poker, Wheel Poker Deluxe, Five-Play, and occasionally, I’ll play Super Times Pay if the denomination is low enough.
I like the little additions that these newer types of games provide. It’s exciting to have multiple ways to win each time or have my payout be doubled and tripled.
But there are some of the games that I’ve tried that I just can’t seem to embrace like the others. One is an actual game, and it may be a surprise inclusion, and the other three are video poker variations.
The premise of Multi Strike is that you pay for four hands. But you play them one at a time and have to win on your current hand to play the next one. That sounds a bit confusing, so let me try to simplify it a bit more.
The Multi-Strike game board looks different than a traditional video poker game. It has four lines, each in a different bold and bright color and representing a brand-new hand.
Four Individual Hands
Unlike Triple Play or other multi-hand games, you don’t get dealt five cards and then your hold cards then apply to all of the other hands. With Multi-Strike, each of the four hands is a brand new one. There are four 52-card decks used in the game.
A new round starts with you being dealt a hand on the bottom line. You’ll play it just like regular poker, holding and discarding as usual.
If you win, you then get to move up to the second line and play a brand-new hand. If you lose, though, your game is over, and you’ll need to place another bet to try again.
As it is a four-line game, the maximum bet is 20 credits each time. That 20 is in place regardless of whether you play just one hand or you’re lucky enough to get consecutive wins that will take you all the way to the top line.
So why would anyone bet 20 credits and sometimes only get to play one or two hands out of the four? Because as you win and new hands are opened up, those additional ones come with multipliers attached.
Your first hand is paid at the standard prize levels. Second-hand prizes are doubled, third hands are quadrupled, and that elusive fourth hand has an eight-times multiplier attached to it.
Remember, though, that you have to win on every line to get to that fourth one. You can only continue playing if you have some type of current win in place.
You may think that it sounds like fun, and it certainly can be entertaining and exciting. I’m not a big fan, though, because it’s just way too volatile for me. You have to really have a hefty bankroll to play for a while unless you get lucky right out of the gate.
While those four- and eight-times multipliers can really boost your credit balance significantly, it’s difficult to get there. Then, even when you do, it can be disappointing to be in the running for a big prize only to end up with zero for the hand.
For me, anyway, those disappointing hands come way too many times compared to the winners, so I’m just not a devotee. If I’m going to pay 20 credits for four hands, I want to be able to play all four hands every time.
Quick Quads is another game that sounds like it has a fun premise. It’s designed to boost your four-of-a-kind hands.
Three Becomes Four
The way that Quick Quads works is that it can magically turn a three of a kind into a four of a kind.
It happens if your final two cards of the five total add up to the value of your three-of-a-kind cards.
For example, if you have a hand like 8-8-8-5-3, the five plus the three equals your fourth eight, and you get paid for four 8s.
You may be thinking, “Why wouldn’t anyone like that?” Well, many people do like it, but I’ve never had much luck playing Quick Quads.
First of all, it only works with numbered cards (2s through 10s). Face cards and aces won’t work, but aces do provide you the value of “one.” So they can be part of the Quick Quads tally, but there’s no way to create four aces aside from just having all four of them in your hand.
Secondly, Quick Quads does come in Triple- and Five-play versions, so you would think that you’d end up with several opportunities to convert your three cards to a quartet. But in my experience, it’s more challenging than you’d think.
Strategy Change Required
Now, that could be a result of my gameplay. For optimal play, you do need to switch things up a bit, and I’m used to playing hands a certain way.
Experts advise holding on to lower cards and playing flushes slightly different. I’m sure if I were more meticulous at following the guidelines, I would have a better outcome. But instead, it just frustrated me.
I will say, though, that even though Quick Quads isn’t for me, if you love the math and enjoy constant calculations, this may be a game that you’ll embrace. The Quick Quads feature really changes up the traditional video poker game.
So, if you’re looking for a challenge and want to employ unique strategy, then Quick Quads may be for you.
Ultimate X is a multi-hand game available in three-, five-, and 10-play. It’s a multiplier-driven game, but it’s not exactly like Super Times Pay where a random multiplier pops up from time to time.
Let’s say you’re playing Triple Play Deuces Wild, and your middle hand ends up as a three of a kind. On the next hand, that middle line has a 2x multiplier in place. So, if you ended up with the same three-of-a-kind hand, instead of being paid “5,” your payout would be doubled to “10.”
Multiple Pay Tables
There’s an entirely different paytable set up just for the multipliers, and they also depend on the game.
If you’re playing Deuces Wild, for example, most winning hands will provide that 2x bonus. But there are a few that are higher in value. A flush or full house turns into a 5x boost on the next hand. A straight flush is the top, at 12x.
Like Quick Quads, it seems like Ultimate X would be a pretty awesome game. If you get a bunch of those five times and higher multipliers, you could see a significant difference in your bottom line.
Why am I not a fan? It’s way too expensive. Did I mention that you have to double your bet? That’s double, not add a credit to each line. On a Triple Play game, you’re wagering 30 credits every time.
If you go back to that example I used with the three-of-a-kind hand in Deuces Wild, even with the 2x multiplier in place, you’re getting even money on that hand. But you also need to consider that maybe the other two hands aren’t winners, so you’re still down 20 credits for that game overall.
Not Enough in Return
Ultimate X Deuces Wild game has a 97.23% RTP. That’s a few percentage points lower than a conventional Deuces Wild game. On top of that, the volatility is up there. Your highs are high, and your lows are low with this game.
I will admit that it can be fun to see those multipliers pop up, especially over and over again. But you also have to have the hands to back them up and create something substantial.
A 2x multiplier on a five-credit payout just isn’t enough to compensate for the double-bet requirement – at least not in my book.
Dare I Say… Jacks or Better
My last of “the least” is an opinion that won’t be shared with poker purists and professionals, as it’s a game and not a feature.
I am just not a fan of Jacks or Better. Yes, I’ve said it.
A Basic Game
Jacks or Better is the more traditional game of poker where you get paid double for two pairs, and you get a flat 125-credit prize for any four of a kind.
It doesn’t matter if you have four 4s, four 10s, four jacks, or four aces. You get 125 credits with a maximum bet in place.
Full-pay Jacks or Better is a 9/6 game. That means that full houses pay out at 9 to 1 and flushes at 6 to 1. The reason that many people love Jacks or Better is that it gives consistent payouts, for the most part. You can typically play Jacks or Better much longer. It’s not as volatile as other games.
The full-pay 9/6 Jacks or Better game has a 100% RTP associated with it. Now, of course, that doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to at least break even. But that RTP, combined with the low variance, should prevent you from busting through your bankroll too quickly.
One Big Hand
That all sounds pretty good, right? Well, it is a good game, but there’s one reason why I don’t enjoy it.
A royal flush will get you the standard 4,000-credit payout. But aside from that, your next-highest prize is the 250 credits that a straight flush will get you. I don’t know about you, but for some reason, I don’t get too many straight flushes.
The 125-credit four-of-a-kind scenario is on the low end when you’re used to playing games like Double Double Bonus that provide you with 800 credits for four aces and 2,000 if you get the kicker to go along with them.
If you’re a “slow and steady wins the race” type of person, you probably gravitate to Jacks or Better. But for me, I really like the possibility, no matter how small, of getting 500 or more credits in one hand.
We’ve certainly come a long way from the original Draw Poker machines that gave players the choice of one game and one game only.
Software developers are continuously coming up with new ways to tweak the good ol’ standbys like Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild. Multi-Strike is a perfect example of this, as you can still play Jacks or Better, but it’s not your typical one-hand game.
I really enjoy some of the newer features. I’m a big fan of Spin Poker, and I also tend to choose a multi-hand game over a single hand for the most part.
But there are few, like Multi-Strike and Quick Quads, that just haven’t resonated with me because of the increased betting that doesn’t seem to amount to much. Even though I like the excitement of multiple ways to win, I guess I’m still a bit conservative at heart.