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About All American Video Poker

By: Ryan Alders, Tuesday March 30th 2010
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All American Poker is a popular video poker variant. In some Microgaming online casinos, which list the games according to the amounts wagered during a specified period, All American Poker records more wagering than even Jacks or Better. This may come as a surprise to many because Jacks or Better is the standard video poker variant. A comparison of the two games reveals some more surprises but also indicates the reason for the popularity of All American Poker.

Both of these video poker variants list identical poker hand rankings in the pay table. The lowest paying hand for both games is a pair of jacks or better and the highest paying hand is a royal flush. All the other hand rankings follow the standard poker formats. However there is considerable difference in the payouts for the different hand rankings. But these payouts have been so configured that the ultimate average payout ratio is more or less the same for both games. All American Poker has an average payout ratio of 99.3% and Jacks or Better has an average payout ratio of 99.5%. These payout ratios assumed that players will be engaging in optimal play. Because the average payout ratio for All American Poker is lower than that for Jacks or Better, even though marginally, one finds it difficult to understand the significantly greater popularity of All American Poker.

One has to examine the issue more deeply and look at the actual payouts offered in both the games. The payouts discussed below pertain to the games offered at Microgaming online casinos and for a bet of five coins. Royal flush pays out 4000 coins in both cases. Straight flush pays out 1000 coins in All American Poker and 250 coins in Jacks or Better. Four of a kind pays out 170 coins in All American Poker and 125 coins in Jacks or Better. Full house pays out 40 coins in All American Poker and 45 coins in Jacks or Better. Flush pays out 40 coins in All American Poker and 30 coins in Jacks or Better. Straight pays out 40 coins in All American Poker and 20 coins in Jacks or Better. Three of a kind pays out 15 coins in both cases. Two pairs pays out 5 coins in All American Poker and 10 coins in Jacks or Better. Jacks or better pays out 5 coins in both cases.

The pay out is greater in four hand rankings for All American Poker. It is significantly greater in the case of a straight flush. But the straight flush occurs very rarely, only 0.0109% of the time. Therefore players will reap the rewards of the larger payout very rarely. The payout is greater in two hand rankings for Jacks or Better. The key hand ranking in this case is two pairs. Two pairs occur 12.93% of the time. So even though the payout is greater by only 5 coins, the high frequency of occurrence contributes significantly to the average payout ratio.

In conclusion one can say that Jacks or Better video poker will be chosen by players who like the stability of small absolute returns that are delivered more frequently. Whereas, All American video poker will be chosen by players who like volatile returns. This means that they do not mind if they do not win most of the time, but when they do they want large payouts. Given the popularity of All American video poker one can say that most online video poker players must be of the second type.

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