Without Wheels Video Poker

Introduction

Without Wheels plays exactly like conventional Jacks or Better video poker, except A-2-3-4-5 (known as the "wheel") does not count as a straight. The game can be found at Internet casinos using Soft Magic Dice software. These Internet casinos that have the game don't call it "Without Wheels," but rather by the following titles:

• Jacks or Better
• Moonlight Poker
• Science of Cards
• Royal Poker
• Genie of the Lamp

Going by the online rules, these games would all seem to be conventional Jacks or Better video poker. The rule that aces cannot be scored as low is not stated, nor denied, in the rules. To distinguish this game from normal video poker, I created the name Without Wheels since the A-2-3-4-5 straight is known by the poker term, "the wheel."

Rules

As mentioned in the introduction, the rules are the same as conventional video poker, except there is no such thing as an A-2-3-4-5 straight. In other words, aces are high only. Here is a screenshot showing such a straight that paid nothing.

To provide further evidence of this very unorthodox rule, I quote from an email a disgruntled player received after complaining about not being paid for the straight in the screenshot above. If you're confused by their reply, I think Laura was confused between what constitutes a straight versus a flush.

"Thank you for choosing to play in our casino.

Regarding your request, I must inform you that our rules state that the ace is not considered to substitute one, within a flush. We understand your frustration and in the future we will look to see if we should change something within the rules.

Have a great day!

With kind regards,

Laura.

Analysis

The following table shows the probability and contribution to the return for every possible outcome in Without Wheels, based on a 9-6 pay table. The lower right cell shows a return of 99.25%.

Without Wheels — 9-6 Jacks or Better

 Royal flush 800 494,149,020 2.5e-05 0.019832 Straight flush 50 1,922,873,904 9.6e-05 0.004823 Four of a kind 25 47,127,024,588 0.002364 0.059106 Full house 9 229,682,770,092 0.011523 0.103703 Flush 6 216,538,813,956 0.010863 0.065179 Straight 4 204,916,873,572 0.01028 0.041121 Three of a kind 3 1,486,329,874,824 0.074565 0.223696 Two pair 2 2,581,692,027,264 0.129517 0.259034 Jacks or better 1 4,305,098,939,220 0.215976 0.215976 Nothing 0 10,859,427,170,760 0.54479 0 Total 19,933,230,517,200 1 0.992471

The return for conventional 9-6 Jacks or Better video poker is 0.995439. Thus, the reduction in the return due to the "no wheels" rule is 0.30%.

Strategy

Just out of common sense, I would not hold three to a straight flush, ace low. Just keep the ace if there is no better play.

Update

Effective early July, 2015, the Mission2Game casino now pays for the wheel straight.

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