Note the provision that there are no other face cards in the hand. If we have Ace-King- Queen or Ace-King-Jack, we bet if any of our five cards match the dealer's face-up card, and with Ace-King-Queen, we bet even with no match if our fourth highest card outranks the dealer's up card.
How much does all that gain us? Very little. With the strategy given here, you'll face a house edge of about 5.23 percent of the ante or 2.56 percent of total action. According to Michael Shackelford's outstanding Web site, wizardofodds.com, if you bet with Ace-King when any of your five cards matches the dealer up card, the house edge is 5.33 percent of the ante or 2.62 percent of total action.
By far the most important component of Caribbean Stud strategy is to bet with all pairs. I've seen many players fold with a pair of 2s or 3s. Those aren't necessarily winning hands, but in the long run, you'll lose more money by folding and forfeiting your ante than you will by betting the hand and accepting that you'll win some and lose some.
Fewer trips to the bonus round means more of your time will be spent paying to play. Wagering 15 coins on one line, you will actually risk more money per hour than if you spread the same 15 coins across 15 lines.
None of that will make any difference in your long-term payback percentage. On most non-progressive video slot machines, that will be the same either way. You'll get that payback in a different way if you concentrate your play on one line. That adds volatility to the game. You would have many more losing spins than winners, but no wins would be smaller than your bet. Just as on three-reel slots, you'd win big more often, but you'd risk more fast losses.
Losing fast is not a possibility I'd take lightly on a video slot. Most video slots have lower payback percentages than most reel-spinners to begin with. If it's added volatility you want, you're usually better off betting three-quarters at a time on a three-reel game than 15 nickels on one line on a video slot.
If you want all that volatility, that's your choice. But by diminishing your trips to the bonus round and wagering more money per hour, you'll lose more money per hour on a video slot by betting 15 coins on one line than one coin on each of 15.
Listen to John Grochowski's "Beat the Odds" tips Saturdays at 6:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 7:41 p.m. and Sundays at 8:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 10:42 p.m. on WBBM-AM, News Radio 780 in Chicago, streaming online at www.wbbm780.com, and to his casino talk show from 7 to 8 p.m. Saturday on WCKG-FM (105.9).
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