Submission Type

Presentation

Submission Title

Video poker with persistent bonuses - Mathematics

Session Title

Session 1-3-D: Cards and Dice

Location

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Start Date

28-5-2019 1:45 PM

End Date

28-5-2019 3:10 PM

Disciplines

Probability

Abstract

Action Gaming has created a number of new video poker variations that contain persistent bonuses. These are bonus features that are available through multiple rounds of play and whose value and frequency depend on decisions made by the player. A typical example of such a game is the popular Ultimate X Bonus Streak game. The optimal strategies for such games are obtained by modelling the game as a controlled Markov chain (Markov decision problem), but there are technical challenges created by the very large state-spaces in these chains. This presentation will briefly cover the mathematics of analyzing these games, but will mostly discuss how one can determine the optimal hold strategy for some very specific dealt hands, and how this strategy will change due to the current state of the persistent bonus. The presentation might also discuss a new persistent-bonus game currently under development for which the optimal holds are completely counter-intuitive to one's common sense, at least until the mathematics leads one to see hidden value in a feature of the game that is not obvious at first glance.

Keywords

Markov chain, video poker, Ultimate-X, optimal play

Author Bio

W. George Cochran is an Assoc. Prof. of Mathematics at Louisiana State University. He has been a mathematical consultant in the gaming industry for 25 years, and was instrumental in the design of the original mathematical analyses of the Action Gaming video poker games discussed in this presentation.

Funding Sources

Action Gaming, Las Vegas NV, funded the original investigations into the games discussed. Action created the game concepts and I and three colleagues computed the optimal game returns and determined the final pay-tables and multiplier schedules.

Competing Interests

None.

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May 28th, 1:45 PM May 28th, 3:10 PM

Video poker with persistent bonuses - Mathematics

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Action Gaming has created a number of new video poker variations that contain persistent bonuses. These are bonus features that are available through multiple rounds of play and whose value and frequency depend on decisions made by the player. A typical example of such a game is the popular Ultimate X Bonus Streak game. The optimal strategies for such games are obtained by modelling the game as a controlled Markov chain (Markov decision problem), but there are technical challenges created by the very large state-spaces in these chains. This presentation will briefly cover the mathematics of analyzing these games, but will mostly discuss how one can determine the optimal hold strategy for some very specific dealt hands, and how this strategy will change due to the current state of the persistent bonus. The presentation might also discuss a new persistent-bonus game currently under development for which the optimal holds are completely counter-intuitive to one's common sense, at least until the mathematics leads one to see hidden value in a feature of the game that is not obvious at first glance.