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The real deal on video poker is random
Casino Scene

The real deal on video poker is random

Slot machines

Readers frequently ask questions pertaining to how the random nature of slot machine play differs from that of video poker.

A video poker game’s computer-generated virtual deck of cards is constantly being “shuffled” between plays. Every hand you are dealt and every card you draw is as random as a computer program will allow and as close to shuffling and dealing your own game with a real deck of cards.

Four Magellanic penguin chicks, hatched in May, toured the Shedd Aquarium's "Oceanarium" section to become familiar with the sights, sounds and smells, staff said. Video provided by aquarium staff.

When you initiate a play by hitting the “deal” button, the shuffling ceases and five cards are dealt from the top of the virtual deck. The cards pop up one-by-one, left to right on the screen. During the time you make your decision on which cards to hold and which to discard, the cards remaining in the virtual deck are being shuffled.

When you hit the “draw” button, the cards stop shuffling and whatever number of cards you require to fill your hand come off the top one-by-one and occupy the vacated positions.

Contrary to what some players think, five new cards do not pop up left to right on every draw creating “shadow” cards behind the ones they held. If you hold the cards in positions one, two and three, for example, only two cards will come off the top of the remaining deck and pop up left to right to fill the fourth and fifth positions on the screen.

In other words, the only cards that are dealt on the draw are the number of cards that are needed to fill the vacant positions.

When video poker was first introduced, some manufacturers developed games in which 10 cards came out on every deal: Five up and five behind. In others, five cards were dealt off the top and the virtual cards remaining were stagnant for the draw.

It is highly unlikely from a random mathematical perspective that the two cards a player may need to complete a royal would be there had the player broken up a flush on the previous hand.

The outcome isn’t pre-determined; the two cards weren't sitting out there waiting for the player to decide. At the moment a player hits deal for the next hand, the cards just happened to be the first two cards off the top of the virtual deck.

To illustrate the point, assume you are dealt three cards to a royal in positions one, three and four on the screen. You discard the other two cards, and accidentally you also discard the card in position one. When you hit “draw” you get the five of spades in position one while the two cards that you needed to complete your royal pop up in positions two and five.

Many players assume that had the mistake of tossing out one of the royal component cards not been made, the player would have hit the royal. The fact of the matter is, they wouldn’t have hit it anyway because the card that would have occupied position two would have been the five of spades.

Becoming knowledgeable about games is the best defense players can have against the casinos.


FOUR WINDS: There’s still time to earn entries for the 80th anniversary limited edition Jeep vehicles that will be given away in separate drawings at all Four Winds Casino destinations on Saturday, April 17. The entry period will continue through the day of the promotion. The “Great Gladiator Giveaway” will take place in New Buffalo. Drawings will be held throughout the day for a share of $12,000 in cash or instant credit prizes. The grand prize is an 80th anniversary Limited Edition Jeep Gladiator. The “Jeep Journey” will be held at Hartford and Dowagiac. Win a share of $12,000 in cash or instant credit prizes or the grand prize 80th Anniversary Limited Edition Jeep Compass. The “Play, Drive, Win” promotion will be held in South Bend. In addition to a share of $12,000 in cash or instant prizes the grand prize is an 80th Anniversary Limited Edition Jeep Cherokee.

Editor Marc Chase interviews Sarahi Unzueta, part of the "Hoosiers We've Lost" project.

MAJESTIC STAR: In preparation for the late-spring grand opening of Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana, the Majestic Star Casinos in Gary will be closing the doors for the final time at midnight on Sunday, April 18.

In celebration of this event, the property is holding special $75,000 25th Anniversary drawings. Ongoing daily through April 16, you can win a share of $2,500 when 10 winners will each be awarded $250 in free slot play 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Earn entries for slots and table game play starting at 6 a.m. and then activate your entries before 7:55 p.m.

Majestic Star’s farewell grand finale promotion will take place on Saturday, April 17, and Sunday, April 18. Every hour from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., five winners will be randomly selected to win $250 in free slot play. Earn entries for slots and table game play starting at 6 a.m. and then activate your entries before 7:55 p.m.

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