How to recognize fake video poker games that rip off 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
The Problem with Fake Video
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.
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
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.
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
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