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Last Updated: June 16, 2013

Ultimate X Video Poker

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Introduction

Ultimate X is a video poker variation I noticed at the MGM Grand on February 15, 2009. The thrust of the game is that if the player doubles his bet, and gets any paying hand, then he will also win a multiplier, to be applied to the following hand. Following are the full rules.

Rules

The game is an optional feature to 3-play, 5-play, and 10-play video poker. If the player declines the Ultimate X option, the game will play like conventional multi-play video poker.

If the player makes a max coin bet of 10 coins per line, then he will activate the Ultimate X feature. In Ultimate X mode any paying hand will both pay immediately and earn a multiplier for the following hand in the same position. The player is not required to pay for the Ultimate X feature to take advantage of a previously earned earned multiplier.

To make a comparison, imagine a coffee shop sells a cup of coffee for $1. If you buy the $1 for a cup immediately, they will also sell you a voucher for a cup tomorrow for 50 cents. If you planned to buy a cup for 2 or more consecutive days, you should pay for the voucher every day, except the last one. Likewise, in Ultimate X you should make a max bet for the future multipliers every hand, except the last one. On the last hand, only bet 5 coins per hand.

Let's look at a real example. In the screen-shot below I had earned a 2X multiplier on the bottom hand from the previous hand. In this hand, I lost the bottom hand, so that multiplier didn't help me. However, I did get a three of a kind in the top hand, which earns me a 4X multiplier for the top line of the next hand.


Click on image for larger version.

The next screen-shot shows the next hand. In the top hand I got a pair of jacks. Normally that would pay 5 coins, but the 4X multiplier increases that to 20 coins. The middle and bottom hands did not multiply, but I did earn multipliers for the next hand (2X for the top and middle hands, and 3X for the bottom hand), because I bet the max 30 coins.


Click on image for larger version.

The multiplier depends on the game, hand, and number of hands played. For a given type of game, for example Jacks or Better, the multipliers will not vary according to the pay table. However, the greater the number of hands played, the greater the multipliers on some hands. The following tables show the pay tables available from IGT, the game maker, and the optimal strategy return.

Jacks or Better Return Tables

Jacks or Better 8/6

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Royal flush 800 2 2 7
Straight flush 50 2 2 7
Four of a kind 25 2 3 3
Full house 8 12 12 12
Flush 6 11 11 11
Straight 4 7 7 7
Three of a kind 3 4 4 4
Two pair 2 3 3 3
Jacks 1 2 2 2
Nothing 0 1 1 1
Return 0.992978 0.994008 0.994220

Jacks or Better 8/5

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Royal flush 800 2 2 7
Straight flush 50 2 2 7
Four of a kind 25 2 3 3
Full house 8 12 12 12
Flush 5 11 11 11
Straight 4 7 7 7
Three of a kind 3 4 4 4
Two pair 2 3 3 3
Jacks 1 2 2 2
Nothing 0 1 1 1
Return 0.978730 0.979671 0.979795

Jacks or Better 7/5

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Royal flush 800 2 2 7
Straight flush 50 2 2 7
Four of a kind 25 2 3 3
Full house 7 12 12 12
Flush 5 11 11 11
Straight 4 7 7 7
Three of a kind 3 4 4 4
Two pair 2 3 3 3
Jacks 1 2 2 2
Nothing 0 1 1 1
Return 0.967211 0.968142 0.968267

Jacks or Better 6/5

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Royal flush 800 2 2 7
Straight flush 50 2 2 7
Four of a kind 25 2 3 3
Full house 6 12 12 12
Flush 5 11 11 11
Straight 4 7 7 7
Three of a kind 3 4 4 4
Two pair 2 3 3 3
Jacks 1 2 2 2
Nothing 0 1 1 1
Return 0.955694 0.956615 0.956740

Bonus Poker Return Tables

Bonus Poker 7/5

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Royal flush 800 2 2 4
Straight flush 50 2 2 4
Four aces 80 2 2 4
Four 2-4 40 2 2 4
Four 5-K 25 2 3 3
Full house 7 12 12 12
Flush 5 11 11 11
Straight 4 8 8 8
Three of a kind 3 4 4 4
Two pair 2 3 3 3
Jacks 1 2 2 2
Nothing 0 1 1 1
Return 0.992828 0.993408 0.994034

Bonus Poker 6/5

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Royal flush 800 2 2 4
Straight flush 50 2 2 4
Four aces 80 2 2 4
Four 2-4 40 2 2 4
Four 5-K 25 2 3 3
Full house 6 12 12 12
Flush 5 11 11 11
Straight 4 8 8 8
Three of a kind 3 4 4 4
Two pair 2 3 3 3
Jacks 1 2 2 2
Nothing 0 1 1 1
Return 0.981242 0.981817 0.982439

Bonus Poker Deluxe Return Tables

Bonus Poker Deluxe 8/6

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Royal flush 800 2 2 7
Straight flush 50 2 2 7
Four of a kind 80 2 3 3
Full house 8 12 12 12
Flush 6 11 11 11
Straight 4 7 7 7
Three of a kind 3 4 4 4
Two pair 1 3 3 3
Jacks 1 2 2 2
Nothing 0 1 1 1
Return 0.995712 0.996777 0.997022

Bonus Poker Deluxe 8/5

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Royal flush 800 2 2 7
Straight flush 50 2 2 7
Four of a kind 80 2 3 3
Full house 8 12 12 12
Flush 5 11 11 11
Straight 4 7 7 7
Three of a kind 3 4 4 4
Two pair 1 3 3 3
Jacks 1 2 2 2
Nothing 0 1 1 1
Return 0.981052 0.982014 0.982169

Bonus Poker Deluxe 7/5

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Royal flush 800 2 2 7
Straight flush 50 2 2 7
Four of a kind 80 2 3 3
Full house 7 12 12 12
Flush 5 11 11 11
Straight 4 7 7 7
Three of a kind 3 4 4 4
Two pair 1 3 3 3
Jacks 1 2 2 2
Nothing 0 1 1 1
Return 0.969549 0.970502 0.970658

Bonus Poker Deluxe 6/5

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Royal flush 800 2 2 7
Straight flush 50 2 2 7
Four of a kind 80 2 3 3
Full house 6 12 12 12
Flush 5 11 11 11
Straight 4 7 7 7
Three of a kind 3 4 4 4
Two pair 1 3 3 3
Jacks 1 2 2 2
Nothing 0 1 1 1
Return 0.958050 0.958993 0.959150

Double Bonus Poker Return Tables

Double Bonus 9/6/5

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Royal flush 800 2 2 4
Straight flush 50 2 2 4
Four aces 160 2 2 4
Four 2-4 80 2 2 4
Four 5-K 50 2 3 3
Full house 9 12 12 12
Flush 6 10 10 10
Straight 5 8 8 8
Three of a kind 3 4 4 4
Two pair 1 3 3 3
Jacks 1 2 2 2
Nothing 0 1 1 1
Return 0.988866 0.989590 0.990359

Double Bonus 10/6/4

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Royal flush 800 2 2 4
Straight flush 50 2 2 4
Four aces 160 2 2 4
Four 2-4 80 2 2 4
Four 5-K 50 2 3 3
Full house 10 12 12 12
Flush 6 10 10 10
Straight 4 8 8 8
Three of a kind 3 4 4 4
Two pair 1 3 3 3
Jacks 1 2 2 2
Nothing 0 1 1 1
Return 0.984517 0.985227 0.985987

Double Bonus 9/6/4

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Royal flush 800 2 2 4
Straight flush 50 2 2 4
Four aces 160 2 2 4
Four 2-4 80 2 2 4
Four 5-K 50 2 3 3
Full house 9 12 12 12
Flush 6 10 10 10
Straight 4 8 8 8
Three of a kind 3 4 4 4
Two pair 1 3 3 3
Jacks 1 2 2 2
Nothing 0 1 1 1
Return 0.973059 0.973764 0.974517

Double Bonus 9/5/4

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Royal flush 800 2 2 4
Straight flush 50 2 2 4
Four aces 160 2 2 4
Four 2-4 80 2 2 4
Four 5-K 50 2 3 3
Full house 9 12 12 12
Flush 5 10 10 10
Straight 4 8 8 8
Three of a kind 3 4 4 4
Two pair 1 3 3 3
Jacks 1 2 2 2
Nothing 0 1 1 1
Return 0.959471 0.960118 0.960810

Double Double Bonus Poker Return Tables

Double Double Bonus 9/6

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Royal flush 800 2 2 4
Straight flush 50 2 2 4
Four aces + 2-4 400 2 2 4
Four 2-4 + A-4 160 2 2 4
Four aces + 5-K 160 2 2 4
Four 2-4 + 5-K 80 2 2 4
Four 5-K 50 2 3 3
Full house 9 12 12 12
Flush 6 10 10 10
Straight 4 8 8 8
Three of a kind 3 4 4 4
Two pair 1 3 3 3
Jacks 1 2 2 2
Nothing 0 1 1 1
Return 0.997261 0.997928 0.998663

Double Double Bonus 9/5

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Royal flush 800 2 2 4
Straight flush 50 2 2 4
Four aces + 2-4 400 2 2 4
Four 2-4 + A-4 160 2 2 4
Four aces + 5-K 160 2 2 4
Four 2-4 + 5-K 80 2 2 4
Four 5-K 50 2 3 3
Full house 9 12 12 12
Flush 5 10 10 10
Straight 4 8 8 8
Three of a kind 3 4 4 4
Two pair 1 3 3 3
Jacks 1 2 2 2
Nothing 0 1 1 1
Return 0.983633 0.984253 0.984940

Double Double Bonus 8/6

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Royal flush 800 2 2 4
Straight flush 50 2 2 4
Four aces + 2-4 400 2 2 4
Four 2-4 + A-4 160 2 2 4
Four aces + 5-K 160 2 2 4
Four 2-4 + 5-K 80 2 2 4
Four 5-K 50 2 3 3
Full house 8 12 12 12
Flush 5 10 10 10
Straight 4 8 8 8
Three of a kind 3 4 4 4
Two pair 1 3 3 3
Jacks 1 2 2 2
Nothing 0 1 1 1
Return 0.972266 0.972859 0.973521

Double Double Bonus 7/5

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Royal flush 800 2 2 4
Straight flush 50 2 2 4
Four aces + 2-4 400 2 2 4
Four 2-4 + A-4 160 2 2 4
Four aces + 5-K 160 2 2 4
Four 2-4 + 5-K 80 2 2 4
Four 5-K 50 2 3 3
Full house 7 12 12 12
Flush 5 10 10 10
Straight 4 8 8 8
Three of a kind 3 4 4 4
Two pair 1 3 3 3
Jacks 1 2 2 2
Nothing 0 1 1 1
Return 0.960969 0.961531 0.962175

Deuces Wild Return Tables

Deuces Wild 25/15/9/4/4/3

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Natural royal flush 800 2 2 4
Four deuces 200 2 2 4
Wild royal flush 25 2 2 4
Five of a kind 15 2 3 3
Straight flush 9 12 12 12
Four of a kind 4 7 7 7
Full house 4 5 5 5
Flush 3 5 5 5
Straight 2 3 3 3
Three of a kind 1 2 2 2
Loser 0 1 1 1
Return 0.991282 0.992657 0.994362

Deuces Wild 20/12/10/4/4/3

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Natural royal flush 800 2 2 4
Four deuces 200 2 2 4
Wild royal flush 20 2 2 4
Five of a kind 12 2 3 3
Straight flush 10 12 12 12
Four of a kind 4 7 7 7
Full house 4 5 5 5
Flush 3 5 5 5
Straight 2 3 3 3
Three of a kind 1 2 2 2
Loser 0 1 1 1
Return 0.979863 0.981217 0.982817

Deuces Wild 25/16/13/4/3/2

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Natural royal flush 800 2 2 4
Four deuces 200 2 2 4
Wild royal flush 25 2 2 4
Five of a kind 16 2 3 3
Straight flush 13 12 12 12
Four of a kind 4 7 7 7
Full house 3 5 5 5
Flush 2 5 5 5
Straight 2 3 3 3
Three of a kind 1 2 2 2
Loser 0 1 1 1
Return 0.969387 0.970777 0.972477

Deuces Wild 20/10/8/4/4/3

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Natural royal flush 800 2 2 4
Four deuces 200 2 2 4
Wild royal flush 20 2 2 4
Five of a kind 10 2 3 3
Straight flush 8 12 12 12
Four of a kind 4 7 7 7
Full house 4 5 5 5
Flush 3 5 5 5
Straight 2 3 3 3
Three of a kind 1 2 2 2
Loser 0 1 1 1
Return 0.962942 0.964295 0.965889

Joker Poker Return Tables

Joker Poker 50-17-7-6-5

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Natural royal flush 800 2 3 4
Five of a kind 200 2 3 4
Wild royal flush 100 2 3 4
Straight flush 50 2 3 4
Four of a kind 17 2 2 2
Full house 7 7 7 7
Flush 5 6 6 6
Straight 3 5 5 5
Three of a kind 2 4 4 4
Two pair 1 3 3 3
Kings or better 1 2 2 2
Loser 0 1 1 1
Return 0.989856 0.990144 0.990445

Joker Poker 50-16-7-6-5

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Natural royal flush 800 2 3 4
Five of a kind 200 2 3 4
Wild royal flush 100 2 3 4
Straight flush 50 2 3 4
Four of a kind 16 2 2 2
Full house 7 7 7 7
Flush 5 6 6 6
Straight 3 5 5 5
Three of a kind 2 4 4 4
Two pair 1 3 3 3
Kings or better 1 2 2 2
Loser 0 1 1 1
Return 0.98119 0.981474 0.981771

Joker Poker 50/15/7/6/5

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Natural royal flush 800 2 3 4
Five of a kind 200 2 3 4
Wild royal flush 100 2 3 4
Straight flush 50 2 3 4
Four of a kind 15 2 2 2
Full house 7 7 7 7
Flush 5 6 6 6
Straight 3 5 5 5
Three of a kind 2 4 4 4
Two pair 1 3 3 3
Kings or better 1 2 2 2
Loser 0 1 1 1
Return 0.972528 0.972808 0.973102

Joker Poker 40/20/5/4/3

Hand Pays Multiplier
3-Play
Multiplier
5-Play
Multiplier
10-Play
Natural royal flush 800 2 3 4
Five of a kind 200 2 3 4
Wild royal flush 100 2 3 4
Straight flush 40 2 3 4
Four of a kind 20 2 2 2
Full house 5 7 7 7
Flush 4 6 6 6
Straight 3 5 5 5
Three of a kind 2 4 4 4
Two pair 1 3 3 3
Kings or better 1 2 2 2
Loser 0 1 1 1
Return 0.963942 0.964201 0.964472

Strategy

Strategies are available from the following games. Despite the fact that optimal strategy depends on the exact multipliers for the current hand, just a single strategy per game has near optimal performance.

A huge advantage can be had if you find a game abandoned with multipliers! If you see this, play one hand at five coins per line, and then cut and run. Likewise, never leave a game with multipliers on it. Either wait for a losing hand on all lines, or bet five credits per line on your last hand. Don't risk abandoning a game with a multiplier by making a max coin bet with the last of your money. You never want to have to leave a game with a multiplier because you don't have enough money to make another bet.

Methodology

It isn't often I rely on outside help for my analysis, but this is one of those times. This would have been a very difficult analysis, and nobody would have cared, other than me, if I cracked it. So the above tables have been kindly provided by IGT (the game maker), who I thank. All I know is that they did an "exhaustive" analysis, meaning they looked at the billions of possible game states to arrive at a return.

Here is how I would do it. From linear algebra, we know that we can solve for x unknowns if we have x equations. Such is the case with this game. From my video poker appendix 2, there are at least 86 possible total wins in 3-play, 183 in 5-play, and 361 in 10-play. If we assume a pay of cm*w+nm-1 (see above) for each hand, then we could get an equation for each game state, and then solve in a huge matrix. Even that will not give a truly optimal return, but I think that is as good as anybody is going to get.

Ultimate X Poker Analysis by Gary J. Koehler (437K) is a 17-page academic paper on the methodology behind analyzing Ultimate X.

There is a very realistic Ultimate X game that can be played at VideoPoker.com. A free membership is required.

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