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Dispelling Notions of Rigged Video Poker Machines

By Jerry “Stickman” Stich


I’ve mates who firmly consider that casinos “repair” their video poker machines. They really feel the casinos are dishonest by not giving a random recreation, and in help of their beliefs, they cite among the following observations:

Have you ever ever observed whenever you’re dealt three of a form, you nearly by no means get the fourth?

What about whenever you’re dealt 4 of a flush—you nearly by no means full it.

How about 4 of an open straight? You would possibly as properly overlook about finishing it, proper?

And what number of occasions have you ever saved 4 playing cards, and redraw solely to get the identical rank as the cardboard you discarded? You discard the three of hearts and get the three of diamonds, discard the 8 of golf equipment and get the 8 of spades, discard a jack, get a jack, and so on.

So are the machines rigged? Are they probably not random? Are the casinos dishonest you? Let’s take a extra detailed take a look at these phenomena, and get to the reality.

You might be dealt three of a form. What are the percentages of drawing to 4 of a form? 5 playing cards of the 52-card deck have been dealt. Three of these 5 are your three of a form, so there may be one card within the 47 remaining that can full your 4 of a form.

Nonetheless, you’ve gotten two playing cards to attract. The precise odds of finishing a 4 of a form when you have already got three of them is 1 in 23.5. Solely as soon as in almost 24 makes an attempt will you full the 4 of a form. Mix this with the truth that you’re dealt three of a form solely as soon as each 424 arms, and it’s a uncommon incidence, certainly.

Now let’s take a look at whenever you’re dealt 4 of a flush. There are 13 playing cards in every swimsuit. Since 4 playing cards of 1 swimsuit are already within the hand, there are 9 playing cards of the identical swimsuit within the remaining 47 playing cards that haven’t been dealt. Meaning you’ve obtained a couple of one in 5 probability of drawing a card that completes the flush. Whereas one in 5 doesn’t appear all that unlikely, one other issue comes into play: one in 5 occurs over the long term, and folks have a tendency to recollect what they don’t count on to occur.

You could go 5 occasions earlier than finishing the flush, or chances are you’ll go 10 occasions, 15 occasions, or 20 occasions or extra. You then would possibly full the flush two, three or 4 occasions in a row.  The actual fact is, it won’t be as soon as each 5 occasions, however as soon as in 5 occasions on common. After we see a hand having 4 of a flush, we count on to finish it. The human thoughts, being what it’s, will are likely to overlook the occasions the flushes full incessantly (as a result of it’s anticipated) and keep in mind the occasions it doesn’t full. Over hundreds of arms we’ll get near the mathematical expectation, however we don’t keep in mind it that method.

The identical scenario exists when being dealt 4 of an open straight. (This can be a straight with no gaps that may be accomplished on both the low or excessive finish.)


Examples embody:





Within the first instance, both a 3 or eight will full the straight. Within the second instance, an eight or king will full it, and within the ultimate instance an ace or six will full the straight.

There are eight playing cards within the remaining 47 that can full the hand when dealt 4 of an open straight: 4 on the low finish, and 4 on the excessive finish. Eight out of 47 playing cards will full the hand, or just a bit greater than as soon as each six occasions. As with 4 of a flush, we count on to finish this hand. After we do, we are likely to overlook about it. After we don’t, we have a tendency to recollect it. Over hundreds of arms it’ll work out as the mathematics dictates.

What in regards to the scenario the place you discard one card and it’s changed with the identical rank? On this case, there are three playing cards out of 47 that can work—or about one in 15 occasions. Once more, the human thoughts tends to recollect issues that aren’t the norm. We keep in mind the large wins and overlook the smaller losses; when nearly certain issues fail to occur, that sticks in our brains. And, we keep in mind when issues that shouldn’t occur do occur.

This is perhaps notably true for playing cards of the identical rank. When the draw button is hit, we count on the discard to alter. When it’s changed by a card of the identical rank, little or no modifications. We do not forget that as a result of it’s not the norm. That is very true if the substitute is identical colour because the discard. Nonetheless, in case you hold good data, you’ll discover that after hundreds of arms you get the outcomes the mathematics dictates.

No, the casinos aren’t dishonest us by “rigging” the machine to not be random. We simply appear to recollect it that method.

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Author: Austin Moore