Single Vs Multi-Hand Video Poker

The question often comes up - Which is better, single or multi hand video poker? There is really no correct answer as both have their pros and cons. This article covers the differences between the games and should give you enough information to decide whether you want to play single or multi hand games.

Pay Table Differences

One of the first things to consider when comparing a single and multi-hand version of a game are the pay tables. In general the best pay tables are found on single play versions. The same pay tables can be found on three and five hand games but as you get into the 10, 50 and 100 hand games the full pay versions are few and far between. Going for the better pay table is always a good idea.

Odds of Winning, Strategy and Volatility

It is a myth that you have a better chance of winning by playing more than one hand at a time. The odds do not change if you play one or one hundred hands on games with the same pay table. For example if you are playing triple play full pay Jacks or Better the pay back is 99.54% - the same as single play.

Many players change their strategy when they go from a single to a multi play game. This is the wrong move if both of the pay tables are the same. Just because you are playing more hands at once does not mean you should break away from the correct strategy. This is also helpful as if you learn one or two games perfectly you can switch across to multi play with no problems.

You will hit a royal flush roughly every 13,500 games but again this is simply because on each game you are playing three hands instead of one. Multi play machines also tend to be more volatile then single play games. Basically what this means is that the good and bad runs are amplified on multi play games.

Win Size and Bankroll Considerations

Another point to keep in mind when choosing between a single or multi play game is the cost and possible wins. In general players tend to keep the same max bet level so for example if you play $1 machine with a max bet of five you might play a four hand machine with a 25¢ coin size for a total bet of $5.

The difference here is you are swapping the chance of a big pay for the royal on the $1 machine for the chance of a smaller pay for the royal flush on the quarter machine - unless of course you get one dealt pat which happens quite rarely. It gets even more extreme when you look at multi hand games with coin sizes such as a nickel as the win for a royal can be as low as $200.

If you want to keep playing at the same bet level when you move to a multi-play machine you will find that while you will get more of the smaller wins you will win less when you hit a royal flush. It is these things that you have to keep in mind when selecting the type of machine you want to play.

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