Vintage Lenny Frome - A's and 8's

When I have time I'm going to try and post up some of my father's (Lenny Frome) articles here as well.  The following article is about a rarely found (but I'm told there are still a few 50-cent machines at Circus Circus) version of video poker - Aces and Eights.  Its payback is about 100.25%.  This article is probably 15-20 years old, so some of the information may be dated:

Aces and 8's--From Green Felt to Video  

             Long, long ago before the world played Video Poker, the story of Aces and Eights, the dead man's hand was abroad in the land. It always conjured up a mental image of evil-- a hand that brought fear into the hearts of men, even the roughest, who made a living with the pasteboards and reckless gun slinging.

             Leave it to the enterprising folks at CircusCircus to capitalize on this theme and then carry it out in high-tech fashion under their big top. They have come up with a sure winner in Aces and Eights, a 100% payback machine featuring four progressive Jackpots as added attractions which will frequently push the payback into positive territory.

            The pay schedule  is very straight-forward for a multi-progressive (or is it just that we are getting adjusted to the new regimen in such lengthy tables?)  It is an 8/5 schedule Jacks or Better with these four bonuses to offset the 2.3% shortfall vis-a-vis full-pay 9/6ers:
·         Four 7's pay 50 for 1 on 1 to 5 coin-play non-progressive.
·         Four 8's or Four Aces pay on a single progressive which resets at 80 for 1 (5-coin play only).                
·         A Royal Flush pays on an 800 for 1 minimum progressive jackpot.
·         Sequential Royals (either way) pay on a 10,000 for 1  minimum progressive

Looking at the payback situation, these bonuses work into the picture this way:

            Four of a Kinds in any one specified suit occur on average only  once in 5,500 hands; a regular Royal once in 40,000 and in either    sequence once in 2,400,000 hands.  The extra 25 on the 7's adds .47%. The extra 55 on the 8's adds a  minimum of 1% as does the extra 55 on Aces. The Sequential Royal gives us an extra 9,200 which is worth .38%. As the meters climb  upward the value of these jackpots further increases the payback. Together, these bonuses,  take the payback up from 97.3% to 100.15%. With some minor changes in strategy, we can pick up a little bit more.

            The first time we saw this machine, the Sequential was posting $13,204, the Royal  $1,030 and the Four Aces or Eights a whopping $154. The game was close to 102% payback. While watching it, the jackpot was hit on 8's by one of the players seated at about 50 machines on the floor.  The Aces/Eights progressive had gone an unusually long time since the last hit. We cannot expect many such generous jackpots. Frankly, we were genuinely surprised when the meter reset at $100, since that is more than three times the 25 for 1 normally paid on quads.

            Even with this liberal machine we need all the savvy we can muster to play the game expertly. The extra value of Aces and 8's dictates these modifications in the ranking order of 8-pairs: Even at minimum meter value of $100 on a quarter game (80 for 1), the pair of 8's is better than a 4-low-card flush and at $120 beats those 4-card flushes with two high cards.

            Incidentally, the player who hit the $154 would have been right in breaking up 8's full to go for the quads. I'm happy to report that it wasn't necessary to wrestle with that problem--but if it were you, what would you have done?