All American Video Poker
The attractiveness of All American Poker is one of the best kept secrets in video poker today, even though it is perhaps the best game available in many parts of the country.
All American has never caught on even though its payback (100.72% with perfect play) and variance rival the very popular Deuces Wild. The reason is pretty obvious – most players tend to use common Jacks-or-Better strategy, which is definitely a losing proposition.
All American video poker is a game that was based off the popular video poker game Jacks or Better. All American is played with a standard 52 card deck with players dealth 5 cards of which the player chooses with they want to keep or replace.
The differences between All American and Jacks or Better are the payout tables. All American video poker has never been quite as popular as some might have expected even though it offers a payback over 100% if played with perfect play.
It was pointed out long ago that the payoffs for Jacks-or-Better didn’t seem to jibe with the final hand probabilities. With optimum play, the Straight, Flush and Full House all have very nearly the same frequency of occurrence in Jacks-or-Better, yet the payoffs are 4-, 6- and 9-for-1, respectively. Why not equalize the payoffs for hands with nearly the same probability? Well, All American does just that, and you can see the result. The optimum strategy (see below) changes dramatically, causing the probabilities of these three hands to be more as we would expect in live poker. It just goes to show that it’s hard to predict the effects of payoff changes.
The optimum strategy
The enhanced paybacks on the Straight Flush, Flush and Straight more than make up for the reduction on Two Pair, but optimum strategy to achieve maximum payback is complex and not intuitive. Most recreational players find the game too difficult to play successfully, and because casinos are reluctant to offer unpopular games, All American is often hard to find. Perhaps to boost interest in the game, Ballys has put All American on some Bally GameMaker machines with quads paying 50-for-1 instead of 40-for-1. This adds 2.25%, making it one of the highest payback video poker games available.
As you can see, All American requires a very detailed strategy which, as for Double Bonus, is too complex to be reduced to Precision Play rules. Do not attempt to play this game with Jacks or Better strategy, as the payback will be only about 97.34%.