Frugal Fridaysby Jean Scott
author of The Frugal Gambler - 2nd edition, More Frugal Gambling, Frugal Video Poker, Frugal VP Software
JULY 4, 2003
This is my third and last column in this series on the fascinating 4-line video poker game, Multi Strike Poker.
I think almost everyone will enjoy the unique sound effects of this game. You soon learn to “read” your results with your ears, as the sounds build up the excitement by moving up a key when you progress to a higher level.
A danger for recreational and serious players alike: You need to really concentrate and keep track of where you are. A couple of times (in the later hours of the much-too-long session I described in Part One), I threw away a hand without holding anything because I didn’t realize where I was in the game. Especially if you’re switching strategies on each line (as I said in Part I, you need to do this if you want to get the best possible return), take care to be sure what line you’re playing. The game clearly labels the next line when you’ve earned a Free Ride, but it’s easy to forget when you should go back to basic strategy.
The biggest danger for players may be the tendency to play this fun game without checking the paytables. There are many available for casinos to choose from when they put in these machines, and many of those have very low returns. If you play your usual denomination, remember you’re betting four times the money as on a single-line game. So if you play these low-return pay schedules, you especially need to carefully limit your session loss to what your entertainment budget allows. Don’t go on tilt and chase your losses just because the game is so much fun and there are several possibilities for catch-up jackpots. You may go broke before these miracle hands show up!
Players who want higher returns will look for the better tables. As a rule of thumb, a pay schedule in a normal VP game will return about .2% more if you find it in Multi Strike and adjust your strategy as you move from line to line.
As I so frequently write, the more you study, the “luckier” you’ll be. Here are some resources if you want to have more luck in your play of Multi Strike Poker.
No currently available software offers Multi Strike Poker yet. But to practice playing this game, you can go to www.ledgaming.com. Larry DeMar, president of Leading Edge Design who designed this game, wrote to me: “It’s a practice version of Multi-Strike poker, which is nearly identical to the experience on the casino game. It’s provided to allow players to become comfortable on the game and to experience its volatility before putting their money at risk on the real game.” This is not a tutor, so it won’t warn you when you make strategy errors, like Frugal Video Poker and other software, but it will give you a good idea how the game works.
For a good introductory article on Multi Strike Poker by Bob Dancer that includes a simplified JoB strategy, go to www.igtproducts.com/IGTproducts/GameReview/MultiStikePoker/MultiStrikePoker.htm. Included is a valuable chart (which I printed out and carry with me when I go to casinos), showing all the pay schedules that return more than 98% if you use optimal strategy. You can also get helpful information by reading his June 10th and 17th articles at http://casinogaming.com/columnists/dancer/.
You can always trust the math information put out by Michael Shackleford. Go to his Web site www.wizardofodds.com/games/multistrike/index.html for a discussion of this game and a strategy for the best Multi Strike Deuces game paytable.
www.gamemasteronline.com/indexa.shtml?VideoPokerContent.shtml has very detailed information on the game.
Oh, by the way -- people have asked us how we came out during that original seven-hour session. We were playing quarter Deuces Wild and got some lucky hits: 4 deuces on line 1, lots of straight flushes and other good hits on line 3, and a dirty royal and 5-of-a-kind on line 4. We ended up winning $1,052.
Did we lose in the health department? Probably. I already had a bad upper respiratory infection when I started playing and<
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