Microgaming All Aces Video Poker



• Differences to Jacks Or Better
• The big four aces jackpot
• Strategy
• Terminology explanation
• Playing tips and notes
• Variance: the ups and downs
• Recommended casinos 
• Game location
• Practise!




Microgaming All Aces video poker


"All Aces" is a Bonus video poker game - basically, a variant of standard Jacks Or Better. With perfect play, the return is a creditable 99.92%, giving a house edge of just 0.08%.


Differences to Jacks Or Better


If you take a look at the paytable...


Microgaming All Aces video poker paytable


...and compare it to the Jacks Or Better paytable...


jacks or better paytable


...you'll note the following differences:

• Two pair reduced from 2 to 1
• Flush reduced from 6 to 5
• Full house reduced from 9 to 7
• Four of a kind divided up into three categories, and increased from 25 to 50, 100 and 400 respectively
• Straight flush increased from 50 to 60

The payouts on two pair, flush and full house have all been reduced. To compensate for this, the payouts on four of a kind and straight flush have been increased. 


The big four aces jackpot


One of the most unusual and attractive features of this game is the payout on four aces, which is fully half the royal flush payout at 2000 coins. It's rare to have such a high payout for any hand other than the royal - as a comparison, the payout on four deuces in Deuces Wild is only 1000 coins. The four aces "half-jackpot" is also relatively common. Take a look at the frequencies chart below: 


Microgaming All Aces video poker frequencies and returns 
(Reproduction courtesy of Winpoker)


Four aces occurs approximately every four thousand hands, compared to almost forty thousand for the royal. As such, you'll hit nine or ten "half royal" ace quads for every royal, on average. This makes for a much more fun game than Jacks Or Better, and also a better value one. 


Strategy


Since Four Aces is a Jacks Or Better variant, the strategy has many similarities with Jacks Or Better strategy. There are also several exceptions. I will assume that the reader is familiar with the Jacks Or Better hand-rank table, and outline the exceptions:


1a: Hands with one ace


If your hand contains one ace, discard the following:

• One additional unsuited high card.

• Two additional unsuited high cards, both of different suits (eg. with Ac, discard Jh and Kd).

• 10-J suited (ace different suit).

• 10-Q suited (ace different suit).

• Any two low straight flush cards (eg. with Ah, discard 2h and 5h, 3h and 4h etc).


1b: Hands with two aces


• Two pair with two aces: discard the lower pair and hold the two aces alone. 


1c: Hands with three aces, 2s, 3s or 4s


• Full house with three aces, three 2s, three 3s or three 4s: drop the full house and hold the three of a kind alone.


2: Straights


• Hold an inside straight with no high cards (if there's one high card, follow JOB strategy and hold the high card alone).

• 4 cards to an inside straight containing two unsuited high cards: hold all four cards.

• 4 cards to an inside straight spread 10 to ace, where two of the high cards are suited: hold the two suited high cards alone unless there is a flush penalty card, in which case hold all four cards. However, if the suited cards are J-Q, hold the J-Q alone. 

• 4 cards to an inside straight spread jack to ace, where the J-Q are suited: hold all four high cards. 

• 4 cards to an outside straight with 1 or 2 high cards plus low pair: hold the outside straight and discard the pair. 


3: Flushes


• k10 suited: hold both cards unless there is a flush penalty card, in which case discard the 10.

• 10-J-Q suited plus high pair: hold the 10-J-Qs unless there is a 9, K, ace or flush penalty card, in which case hold the high pair.

• J-Q-K suited plus high pair: hold the J-Q-Ks unless there is a 9, 10, ace or flush penalty card, in which case hold the high pair.

• Always hold a three royal over a four flush. 


Terminology explanation


"Suited" - of the same suit, eg. K and 10 of clubs. 

"Unsuited" - of different suits. 

"High cards" - jacks through aces.

"Low cards" - 2s through 9s. 

"Inside straight" - a straight draw with gaps, eg. 3,4,6,7.

"Outside straight" - a straight draw with no gaps, eg. 3,4,5,6.

"Spread" - the range a given hand covers. An example of a three straight flush "spread 5" would be 5h,6h, 9h. A similar hand "spread 4" would be 7c,8c, 10c.

"Penalty card" - a card which would be useful in forming certain hands and therefore reduces the value of the draw. For example, if you have a king and 10 of hearts and there is an additional heart card also in the hand, that additional heart reduces the chances of drawing to a flush, as there are only ten remaing hearts in the deck as opposed to eleven. As such, the card "penalises" the hand and is known as a "flush penalty card". Equally, a 9, jack, queen or ace would be "straight penalty cards", as the number of straights that the 10-K could form would be reduced.


Playing tips and notes


• The most common plays which differ from Jacks Or Better are the single ace hands, holding an ace over one or two unsuited high card. These occur very frequently.

• A very easy mistake to make is to hold two pair where one pair is aces, particularly if the software "auto-holds" pairs and made hands. A combination of the high payoff on four aces and the low one for two pair - the same as for a high pair - makes the two pair hold with ace/ace a very expensive mistake. Stay alert for this hand, and check all two pairs before you hold them.

• An even bigger mistake is holding a full house with three aces - the full house has on average just 35% the value of the three aces alone. In money terms: at the $1 level, a pat full house pays $35, but those three aces alone are worth over $100!

• Equally, a full house with three 2s, 3s and 4s is also less valuable than the three of a kinds by themselves. As with two pair, always check a full house you receive pat on the deal. If the trips are aces, 2s, 3s or 4s, remember to hold them and discard the other pair. 

I believe that by far the easiest way to learn this game, assuming you're already familar with Jacks Or Better, is to learn the strategy deviations I've outlined above. However, if you want to go to the trouble of learning the hand rank table, the only freely-available one I'm aware of is on the Beating Bonuses All Aces page. I haven't checked its accuracy, but this webmaster is generally very reliable and I would assume there are no errors.


Variance: the ups and downs


As with most high-paying video poker games, the high return is compsensated for with much greater volatility - this game is about three times more volatile than Jacks Or Better. This is because the improvements to the higher ranking and more infrequent hands - the three four of a kinds - are balanced by downgrading the lower ranking and more frequent hands. 

Consequently, in the short term you lose money much more quickly while you wait for the big hands to swing you back up again.

To get a feel for just how much volatility you're up against we need to take another look at the "frequencies and percentages" chart:


Microgaming All Aces video poker frequencies and returns


The bottom seven hands, up to and including the lowest paying of the three 4OAK, occur within what you could call the "short term", a cycle of 613 hands. Adding up the percentage of the total return of 99.92% that those bottom seven hands contribute gives us a figure of 82.33%. 

As such, a cycle of 613 hands will yield an average house edge of 17.67%, which is very high. It also represents quite a heavy loss-rate.

We have to wait an average of 4211 hands for the big 4 aces jackpot. However, by the time we can factor in all the four of a kinds, we have a much-improved return of 97.25%, or a house edge of only 2.75%.

After an average 39,112 hands the royal pops in, bringing the house edge down to a tiny 0.08% and a quite tiny overall loss-rate.

Make sure you are adequately financed to handle those large short term swings while you wait for the big hands. Although the long term is excellent, the short term return on this game is very poor, and you need to be able to withstand the hammering your bankroll will take.

Recommended casinos


♠ Dash Casino ♠

Dash is part of the 32Red group, and is publically traded on the London stock market. They pay fast and rarely, if ever, generate complaints.


Game location


Go to the "game lobby", then click on "video poker" and "all aces" to download the game. You can play the single, 10 or 50 line version.


All Aces location



Practise!


As always, tackling a video poker game for real cash when you're not sure of your play is a recipe for disaster. Get a copy of Winpoker and customise the "Bonus Poker" game with the correct paytable, by clicking on "options" and "change pay tables": 


Winpoker


Practise until you're confident your play is as close to perfect as possible. Only then should you play for real money. 


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