12 Jul

Pull-Tabs are Not Video Poker Machines!

How to recognize fake video poker games that rip off players.

How to Recognize Fake Video Poker Games that Rip Off Unaware Players

The legislative laws that pertain to gambling vary greatly all across North America. Some places have legalized all forms of gambling. Others only permit certain “classes” of gambling. Then there are those that prohibit gambling outright. Last but not least, we have mixed jurisdictions, where the type of permissible games depends on where they are located.

For example, in some US states, slots and video poker machines are illegal, but bingo games are okay. Slots are classified as Class III gambling, while bingo falls under the Class II definition. So if a Native American tribe in a Class II jurisdiction of North America decides to open a casino, it cannot install Class III slots or video poker games. It can, however, install Class II electronic bingo games that look exactly like slot machines and video poker.

Be warned, these are not what they appear to be! It may look and feel like you’re playing these games, but you’re not. You’re actually playing what the industry refers to as Pull-Tab machines. Here’s a brief explanation as to why, and how to recognize and avoid the disguised bingo machines.

The Problem with Fake Video Poker Games

Throughout history, what’s made video poker so popular among strategic gamblers is the low house edge. When a game has the right pay table and rules in place, the RTP could be as high as 99.9%. It’s rare to come across any casino game that delivers odds so close to an even 50/50 chance for the player. You’ll have to follow perfect strategy to get that theoretical pay rate, but for any video poker pro, it’s worth it.

Pull-Tabs are Not Video Poker Machines!

Such odds are achieved not because the manufacturer of the game programmed the machine to deliver 99.9% payouts, but because the rules and pay table of the game, and genuine probabilities of drawing each card from a randomly shuffled deck, demand it so. If a real deck has a 1 in 13 chance of dealing an Ace, then the Video Poker game has the same 1 in 13 chance.

Unfortunately, class II machines do not carry the same real-life probability rates. In fact, the cards that are displayed are only for show. What’s really happening is the equivalent of a bingo game. When you press the play button, you’re actually being given a bingo card, and all at once, the bingo numbers are drawn. If your card wins, your screen will reflect a winning card combination that pays out equal to the value of your card’s win. If not, you’ll be dealt a losing hand.

As such, the cards mean nothing, and the RTP of the game is unknown. All we do know is that the RTP is nowhere near as generous as a genuine video poker game would be.

How to Recognize Pull-Tabs in Disguise

The easiest way to tell you’re playing a Class II pull-tab game is to look on the borders of the screen. The casino cannot completely hide the fact that it’s really an electronic bingo game. Therefore, they must display the bingo card you’re really playing each time you press play. Top or bottom, left or right, somewhere on the screen will be a depiction of the bingo game in progress.

Pull-Tab Machines Depict Bingo Games

If you see this on a slot machine or video poker game, don’t play. At least, not if you were hoping to get the usual low house edge of real Class III gambling machines. Remember, bingo is just another a lottery game, and the odds of winning any lottery are abysmal. Therefore those fake video poker games are going to eat through your bankroll far worse than a genuine Class III gaming machine.

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