John Grochowski

John Grochowski John Grochowski John Grochowski John Grochowski

I received an email recently from Mark, a video poker player who just found this column recently, but who said he’s been skimming an online archive to see what he’d missed.

“What caught my eye were some columns you’d done a while back on players who had jackpots close together,” he wrote. “I wanted to add my story to your collection.”

This is topic near to my heart. I once won $1,200 jackpots for four Aces on White Hot Aces video poker within five hands of each other. Another time, I drew two royal flushes within half an hour of each other at the old Stardust in Las Vegas.

A video poker player told me in 2010 of drawing a royal at 11:25 p.m, then after midnight when it became his birthday, he drew another. Earlier, a player named Linda told me of back-to-back royals, and then there was Pete, who witnessed a woman winning jackpots for three Double Diamonds on consecutive slot spins.

Mark joined the club when he drew two royals within three spins — or 11 royals within three spins, depending on how you look at it.

I’ll let him tell the story:

“I love the multiple-hand video poker games — Triple Play, Five Play, Ten Play. I love them all. But I can’t really afford to play them at the level I like to bet. I want to play at least quarters. The pay tables on nickels usually aren’t so hot.

“So I usually start by playing single-hand games. That’s what I was doing in early February at a casino that had 9-7-5 Double Bonus Poker.”

For non-video poker players, 9-7-5 Double Bonus returns 99.1 percent with expert play. A rare version, 10-7-5 Double Bonus pays 100.2 percent, but the version that reduces full house payoffs to 9-for-1 while keeping the 7-for-1 on flushes and 5-for-1 on straights is the best most players are likely to see.

“Double Bonus can be streaky, but I was doing pretty well,” Mark wrote. “I bought in for $40 and was down to $5 on the meter, but drew four Jacks and was back in business.”

Given a five-coin maximum bet, four Jacks pays 250 coins on Double Bonus, just like any quads from fives through Kings. Four 2s through 4s pays 400 and four Aces 800. On a quarter game, Mark’s 250-coin payoff would put $62.50 on the credit meter, so he was back ahead of the game.

Back to Mark:

“It was about 10 hands afterward that I got my royal. I held King, Jack and 10 of clubs. I don’t remember the discards. Up popped the Ace and Queen. A thousand dollars!

“I wasn’t going to give all that back, but I wanted to play Ten Play. On a quarter machine, the maximum bet is $12.50. That’s normally too rich for my blood, but I decided to take a $400 shot, leaving me $600 to take home for sure. With $400 on Ten Play, I saw it as the equivalent number of hands as $40 on single-hand.

“So, I put my $400 in and chose Bonus Poker. Betting that much at once, I wanted the 2-for-1 on two pairs instead of the 1-for-1 on Double Bonus.

“On the first play, none of that mattered anymore. In order, I saw, Jack, King, 10, Ace, Queen of hearts. Royal flush, and since I didn’t need a draw, I got it 10 times — $10,000! Unbelievable!”

So is that two royals within three hands, or 11? Either way, I’d take it. Congrats to Mark.

Look for John Grochowski on Facebook ( and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).

Sign up to receive the area's top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every Thursday.