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Frugal Fridays

by Jean Scott
author of The Frugal Gambler - 2nd edition, More Frugal Gambling, Frugal Video Poker, Frugal VP Software

JUNE 27, 2003

Last week I had to take to my bed in the middle of my discussion of Multi Strike Poker, due to an upper-respiratory infection exacerbated by a 7-hour session playing said game in a smoky casino. Well, I did recover physically -- due to regaining my common sense and staying out of smoky casinos for a while. So now I’ll give you information on the game that might help you play it smarter.

First, this is a very difficult game, because you only use the basic game strategy for the 4th line (which you don’t get to play too often) and any line where you already have a “Free Ride” to the next one. Because it’s so valuable to get to the next line and earn a bonus payoff, you need to change your strategy the rest of the time. And that’s the sticky part. You need three different strategies for lines 1, 2, and 3. This will be a hurdle for many players, some of whom think it’s a bit much to have to learn a different strategy for every new game they play. However, this common player attitude is the very thing that will, hopefully, allow the casino to offer looser pay schedules, and the few VP students who take the time to learn all  four strategies (one basic and three adjusted) will have a good shot at winning long term, especially if they use slot club benefits.

Most experts agree that you can get a reasonably close adjusted strategy for lines 1, 2, and 3 by inputting the basic one-coin paytable into a VP software program, then adding 6, 4, and 2, respectively, to each payline of the pay schedule. In other words, add 6 to each line when you are doing the schedule for Line 1, add 4 when doing Line 2, and add 2 when doing Line 3.

For example, for 9/6 Jacks or Better, the paytable for Line 1 would look like this:

Royal Flush 806 (800 plus 6)  (NOTICE CORRECTION HERE)
Straight Flush 56 (50 plus 6)
Four-of-a-kind 31 (25 plus 6)
Full House 15 (9 plus 6)
Flush 12 (6 plus 6)

The paytable for Line 2 would look like this:

Royal Flush 804 (800 plus 4) (NOTICE CORRECTION HERE)
Straight Flush 54 (50 plus 4)
Four-of-a-kind 29 (25 plus 4)
Full House 13 (9 plus 4)
Flush 10 (6 plus 4)

The paytable for Line 3 would look like this:

Royal Flush 802 (800 plus 2)  (NOTICE CORRECTION HERE)
Straight Flush 52 (50 plus 2)
Four-of-a-kind 27 (25 plus 2)
Full House 11 (9 plus 2)
Flush 8 (6 plus 2)

You can program the paytables very quickly with the Frugal Video Poker software, then practice each strategy with the software telling you when you make an error. Frugal VP also gives you the capability to print out all three strategies (plus the basic one, if you wish) that you can take to the casino to refer to while you’re actually playing the game.  

I predict recreational players will love this game, even if they don’t know the exact strategy changes, because it’s so much fun. Trying to get to that top line so you can score with an 8x bonus is a challenge that holds your interest despite many setbacks on the way up. It’s a very volatile game and you need to have a big enough bankroll for some long losing streaks, but there are many opportunities on the way up the lines for a big score that can get you out of a financial hole fast. And there’s always hope for the top-line royal, which pays eight time the single-line jackpot! On quarters, that’s $8,000 -- a heart-stopper for sure.

Next week I’ll finish up this series by giving you some more advice and some resources that will make you a better Multi-Strike Poker player if you decide to tackle this game.

Special announcement: For those who have bought the Frugal VP software, good news. There’s now a free update that includes the Pick 'Em machine. Go to


Past Frugal Friday articles are available in our Archive

Books by Jean Scott are available at Shop LVA