Full Pay Deuces Wild, the 15-9-5 pay schedule, returns 100.76% with perfect play. Further, close-to-perfect strategy is easier on this game than most others. In the mid-90s, this game was regularlyBob Dancer is one of the world's foremost video poker experts. He is a regular columnist for Casino Player, Strictly Slots, and the Las Vegas Review-Journa land has written an autobiography and a novel about gambling. He provides advice for tens of thousands of casino enthusiasts looking to play video poker. Bob's website is www.bobdancer.com
found for dollars at the Frontier, Fiesta (now known as Fiesta Rancho), and Santa Fe (now Santa Fe Station) for awhile.
As players grew more knowledgeable in accurate play, mostly due to the wide availability of good video poker software
and teaching material, the games disappeared. Casinos got very tired of losing $400 a day to the same group of players over and over again.
Even the quarter game is largely disappearing, although it still exists at most Station Casinos, both Fiestas, Sam's Town, Palms, and perhaps a few other places. These games aren't making money for the casinos, and they are kept for bragging-rights purposes only.
Casinos aren't as afraid of quarter FPDW as they are dollar FPDW for a few reasons. One is the obvious reason that a player can put four times as much money through a dollar machine as he can a quarter machine. But there is a far more subtle reason involved too, and that is the best players don't play quarter games.
While there are some quarter players who play FPDW essentially perfectly, most players that good have moved up to dollars and higher. Casinos have been throwing money at players for so long that good strong players now have the bankroll
and ability to play more lucrative games. Quarter FPDW rarely amounts to more than a $10 per hour opportunity, even with good slot clubs. Since higher returns abound in higher-denomination games, most of the best players have moved up. (There are tax reasons why a strong player could be content playing a quarter game. I have retired friends who are essentially "set" financially who play video poker for entertainment, and play a strong game of quarter FPDW because they don't want the tax hassles.)
In 2005, there were two instances of casinos offering dollar FPDW for a short period of time. First there was Wynn, and more recently Arizona Charlie's Decatur. I personally did not frequent either casino during the relevant time periods (dollar games don't interest me in the slightest), there have been enough reports over the Internet that the scenario at both places is fairly clear.
What happens is that when the word gets out, groups of players monopolize the machines. It might be that Andy takes the 6 a.m. to noon shift, Barry takes the noon to 6 p.m. shift, Charlie then checks in, only to pass it off to David later. If the "team" has enough members, it can monopolize the machines when they get on them. This team may be an ongoing group designed to take advantage of gambling opportunities all over town, or it may be an ad hoc group put together just for this occasion.
The net result is that many other players wanting to play the games are shut out. They wait patiently for hours and find out that when they finally go on a bathroom break, the exchange takes place. Then their patience runs out and typically they complain to management and the casino removes the games as much to keep the peace as because the games are losing money.
This result is very predictable. A few players end up with most of the winnings, the casino loses, and many other players end up irritated that they weren't able to get their share. Blaming the "dirty rotten pros" or maybe the "awful team members" is common. And to be sure, some of these players exhibit behavior that is quite blame-worthy. But there's more going on than that.
Even if teams didn't monopolize the machines, the demand for the games was simply greater than the supply. More players wanted these $40 per hour opportunities than machine-time was available. Even if some sort of "first come first served" rotation was devised, and enforced, it would sometimes take several hours to get to the top of the line. You might get a turn or two, but even a slower-than-average slot director would be able to figure out that if that many players wanted to play these particular machines, he was probably giving away too much.
Whenever a casino is giving away a substantially better deal than its competitors, it will attract far more of the business it doesn't want than it can handle. This would be true of any kind of store. A home builder who prices his houses at $200,000 under normal retail for the area will find he gets rid of his inventory in no time at all --- often to greedy people looking for good deals.
Since this column is mostly read (and written!) by greedy people looking for good deals, the idea of dollar FPDW gets some salivating. Because these players think that THEY will get to play these games. A lot. But it simply doesn't usually turn out that way. The game never lasts very long. And it brings more disappointment to the ones who where shut out than it brings joy to the ones who got their shot at it.