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Poker Dictionary - Terms and Definitions

Bonus Poker - Several Video Poker machines out there today have larger payouts for some big hands. For example, a larger payout is awarded for Four Aces. Of course, there is going to be a smaller payout for some smaller hands in order to compensate. A common example would be a smaller payout for holding two pairs. These machines are usually games called Bonus Poker or Double Bonus Poker.

Cash Out Button - Each Video Poker machine has a Cash Out button that when pushed, the coins (credits) that the player has accumulated will dump into the machine's hopper.

Complete Hand - A hand that is defined by using all five cards. A straight, flush, full house, four of a kind or straight flush are all complete hands.

Comps - Compensations (Comps) are rewards that a Casino pays you for continuously playing at and staying loyal to their casino. At land based casinos they will give you a plastic card that you insert into the Video Poker Machine while you are playing. The Casino can then track your play, and rewards you accordingly (although you must ask for your rewards). Some examples of comps are; cash back, free meals, and free rooms. Tracking players’ activity online is much easier as their technologies are very advanced. By remaining a loyal patron with an online casino, typical comps come in the form of free cash or free trips.

Credits - The Video Poker Machine doesn't dispense coins each time you win a hand. Instead it keeps track of the coins won, and displays on the screen the amount of credits (one per coin) you have accumulated. When you put more money into the machine, you are adding to your credits. For example, if you deposit $20 in a 25 cent machine, you will receive 80 credits. When you reach zero credits (or you’ve “exhausted” your credits), you will have to put in more money in order to continue playing.

Cycle - The statistically predicted average number of hands per royal flush (or other top jackpot). In other words, a "cycle" is simply the reciprocal of the probability of obtaining a royal flush on the next hand. But remember, the games are random, so don't expect to get exactly one royal flush per "cycle." The Poisson Distribution tells us that there is only a 63.2% probability of at least one royal in one cycle (but this is balanced by the chances of two or more royals in one cycle).

Denomination - The denomination of each card is its number from two through ten, or is Jack, Queen, King or Ace.

Discard Buttons - Under the display on the video poker machine are five buttons, one for each card. By pressing these buttons you are indicating which cards you want to hold and which you want to discard. Press a button repeatedly to switch between Hold and Discard.

Draw - In video poker, the draw is a set of replacement cards for those cards not held from the original hand dealt.

Draw Dead - Trying to make a hand that, even if made, will not win. For example, If you're drawing to make a flush, and your opponent already has a full house, you are "drawing dead". Of course, this is a bad condition to be in.

Edge - The advantage in a game based on mathematical expectation. The house edge means that the house has the advantage to win. And similarly, The player's edge means, the player has the advantage to win the hand..

Flat Top - A video poker machine that does not have a Progressive Jackpot. Therefore, the Jackpot amount remains flat.

Full Pay Machine - A video poker machine where the Maximum Average Payback is close to 100%. For example, a Full Pay Jacks or Better machine has a Maximum Average Payback of about 99.5%, and a Full Pay Deuces Wild machine has a Maximum Average Payback near to 100.7%

Garbage Hand - A bad hand, with which you will win nothing.

Hand - Refers to a collection of up to five cards. The cards you are dealt at the start of a game refer your original hand. If there is more than one way to play your original hand, then each combination of your cards is also called a hand. Your goal is to pick the hand with the highest Average Payback.

High Card - A Jack, Queen, King or Ace (the top cards). If you are playing Tens-or-Better Video Poker, then a 10 is also considered to be a high card.

Hold Buttons - Under the display on the video poker machine are five buttons, one for each card. By pressing these buttons you are indicating which cards you want to hold and which you want to discard. Press a button repeatedly to switch between Hold and Discard.

Hopper - The internal tray that holds the coins. The hopper electronically counts coins to be paid and releases them into the player's tray when the player “cashes out”.

Jackpot - A special bonus paid when you hit the highest hand possible on a video poker machine.

Jacks or Better - With a Pair of Jacks as the minimum winning hand, Jacks or Better is the original video poker game. The Full Pay version of this game pays 9 to 1 for a Full House and a flush receives a pay out of 6 to 1. This version of video poker has a Maximum Average Payback of about 99.5%

Joker Poker - A Video Poker Game where a Joker is included in the deck and is used as a wild card.

Long Run - The point where the machine's total appearance of number values is what probability theory predicts. For a player, the long run is to play often enough that probability would even the outcomes.

Net Losses - The total amount lost after the total amount wagered is deducted from the payout.

Net Winnings - The total amount won after the amount wagered is deducted from the payout.

Odds - The likelihood that an event will happen.

Pay Off - The number of coins or credits paid, for a particular winning hand. Often expressed on a "per-coin" basis. For example, obtaining a Full House in standard full pay Jacks-or-Better with a five-coin bet pays 45 coins, usually expressed as 9-for-1. Expressed this way, you can calculate how much your pay off will be for a winning hand on a 4-coin, 10-coin or 100-coin machine, etc.

Payoff Schedule - Usually in the form of a table, the payoff schedule shows the number of coins paid for each possible final hand depending on the number of coins bet. Each video poker machine's complete payoff schedule is posted on the glass front or on the screen.

Payoff Table - The numbers correspond to the number of credits that you will receive if you draw that hand. For example, if you are playing five coins in a quarter machine with this Payoff Table, you win 4000 quarters ($1,000.00) if you get a Royal Flush. Typically, you get more credits for your money by playing the Maximum Credits.

Payout - The actual dispensing of the coins by a machine. Some of the older machines will still pay out the coins immediately for every win, however, most will accumulate credits. The actual payout will occur when the player presses the Cash Out button. And in some cases, coinless machines exist, where the payout is in the form of a printed cash voucher.

Play Maximum Credits - Each Video Poker Machine has a Play Maximum Credits button. Pushing this button will automatically deal a new hand and bet the maximum amount of coins allowed. If you don't play maximum credits, you don't qualify for the big jackpots. On most 25-cent video poker machines, the maximum credits you can play is five. Always play maximum credits if aiming to win the Jackpot. If you are playing a machine with a lousy payout, then play the minimum.

Progressive Jackpot - This is a Jackpot, usually for hitting a Royal Flush, that grows as players play. Several machines are linked together so that each bet at any of them increases the jackpot. When a player hits the Jackpot, the Progressive Jackpot is reset to a starting value, typically $1,000 for a 25 cent machine with five coins played. Important: You can't win the Progressive Jackpot unless you Play Maximum Credits.

Random - It is required by law that a Video Poker Machine must draw cards at random from a single deck. This means that no card is more likely to be drawn than any other. Casinos do not try to cheat on this (there is no rational reason), since legally, they can simply provide a poor Payoff Table or Maximum average Payback.

Random Number Generator - RNG’s are a computer program or algorithm used in a machine to generate a series of random numbers.

Spill - When you win a high paying hand that would put you over 1,000 credits, most video poker machines don't add it to your credits. Instead they start spilling quarters directly into the hopper to pay off that hand.

Strategy - A pattern or method for playing the hands.

Strategy Card - A Strategy Table that is printed on a card. It's a good idea to have a strategy card with you while playing. You can purchase strategy cards for most any available video poker game on the Internet.

Video Poker Machine - The use of a video display to simulate the real game of poker. There are literally hundreds of models of Video Poker Machines. Broadly, these may be categorized into these types: Jacks or Better, Bonus Poker (higher payoffs for certain hands), Wild Card Games (Deuces Wild and Joker Poker). It is ordered by law that the Payoff Table listing the payout for each winning hand must be posted on every machine. Also by law, each machine must operate by drawing randomly from a standard 52-card deck. There is no motivation for Casinos to try to cheat on the random draw, since there is no law against a Payoff Table with a lousy Maximum Average Payback.

Wild or Wild Card - A card that may be used to substitute for any desired card in the deck.

Winning Hand - A winning hand is one that you get paid for. For most video poker games, a Pair of Jacks is the lowest winning hand. In Deuces Wild Video Poker, the lowest winning hand is a Three of a Kind.


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