Q. I’ve been playing a lot of Super Times Pay lately, usually for quarters on Five Play. Do you know, is there any change in the odds of drawing a royal flush in regular games, on Super Times hands without the multiplier, and on Super Times with the multiplier?
A. Let’s start with an explanation for those who haven’t played Super Times Pay. It’s an option available in Triple Play, Five Play and Ten Play formats.
Instead of the usual max bet of five coins per line, it takes a sixth coin per line to activate the Super Times feature. The benefit is that at random times, one of the cards will show a multiplier before showing you a card value. You’ll see a multiplier an average of once per 15 hands.
The available multipliers are two, three, four, five, eight and 10, so that if you get 2x multiplier, any winners bring twice the normal payoff, 3x winners bring triple the payoff and so on.
The odds of drawing royal flushes are the same in Super Times Pay as in any other video poker game.
If you’re playing 9-6 Jacks or Better strategy, you’ll draw a royal an average of once per 40,391 hands regardless of whether a Super Times multiplier has appeared in the hand.
If you are dealt four parts of a royal and draw one card, your chances of drawing a royal are 1 in 47 — the one remaining royal card vs. the total 47 cards available after the first five have been dealt. If you are playing Five Play, the chances of completing a royal with a one-card draw are 1 in 47 for each of your five hands. And if a Super Times multiplier as has appeared during the initial deal, your chances of completing royal still are 1 in 47 in each hand. Multipliers do not change the odds of drawing winning hands. Those odds change only with your playing strategy.
Q. Does the dealer bust more often if he stands on soft 17? If not, then why does the house edge increase when the dealer hits soft 17?
A. No, dealers bust more often when they hit soft 17, since they risk busting soft 17 hands. When the dealer stands on all 17s, he busts about 29.1 percent of the time, and that increases to 29.6 if he hits soft 17. However, a dealer who stands on soft 17 can’t improve the hand. That’s important because if a player makes a hand of 17 or better, the best the dealer can do is push. Hitting soft 17 gives the dealer the chance to make the 18, 19, 20 and 21 hands that can win on their own against a player pat hand. This comes into play most often when the dealer’s face up card is an Ace and basic strategy players hit until they have 17 or better. The house will win when players bust, regardless of the final dealer hand. But against players still in action at the end, a dealer who stands on soft 17 can’t win and a dealer who hits soft 17 can.
If the dealer’s up card is 6 — or lower in the case of a soft 17 consisting of three or more cards — some standing hands will be 16 or less. A dealer who stands on soft 17 can beat them. But against players with two-card totals of 17 or more, the situation is the same as above: A dealer who stands on soft 17 can’t win and a dealer who hits soft 17 can.