2 Ways Royal Video Poker

2 Ways Royal Video Poker

For a simple game of video poker that adds only one high money flourish, 2 Ways Royal is probably as good as it gets. Although there are no wild cards, you can win a "Lo Royal flush" when dealt a 2-6 hand from any one suit.

The Lo flush pays as much as the regular (Hi) flush. This game is also known as Split Way Royal and uses the same rules when played under that name.

2 Ways Royal Video Poker Basics

With a perfect strategy, you can expect to achieve about a 99.8% payout due to the game's player friendly rules. If you know how to play Jacks or Better you can pick up 2 Ways Royal in a heartbeat. You only have to remember to watch for that Lo Royal flush.

If you win a hand you'll be given a chance to double your money. The dealer shows one card and deals you four. You pick one of your four cards. If your card is higher than the dealer's card then you double your money.

Each game designer sets their own pay tables. The typical royal flush payout is 4000 for 5 coins.

The video game is designed to work like a hand-dealt card game where the deck is shuffled every time you play. A random number generator determines which cards are dealt per hand. It's conceivable but extremely unlikely that you could be dealt the exact same hand two or three times in a row. It's not uncommon in video poker to see the same card dealt for two consecutive hands.

Many players prefer video poker to slot machine games because the video poker pay table provides you with all the information you need to estimate the probable payback percentage. A slot game's pay table doesn't provide enough information because the machine could use reels that have 12, 15, 25, or even 256 (or any other number of) "slots". The payback percentages for slot machine games can be varied through regulated changes in the programming, but the video poker machine cannot change its pay table, and each hand is played against a deck of 52 cards.

How to Play a Video Poker Game Like 2 Ways Royal

There are only a few differences between the various types of video poker games you'll find online and offline. Among offline games, older machines require you to deposit one or more coins (or tokens). Modern video poker machines accept tickets or paper money.

Another difference you'll find in land based casinos is how "credits" are computed depending on the base coin value of the machine. 1 credit = 1 coin, so you have to be careful to look at the dollar value of your game balance. $100 on a 25 cent machine equals 400 credits. $100 on a $1 machine equals 100 credits.

Online video poker games usually offer a "Play mode" or "Practice mode" where you don't risk any money and you cannot win any money. It's only a way for you to decide if you like how the game plays.

Each game accepts 1 to 5 tokens or coins. How much you bet determines how much you win. You can change the amount of your bet in-between hands but once you click on "Deal" you are locked into whatever bet level was set.

You can click on "Max Bet" to play all 5 coins at once. Betting more or less money per hand has no effect on the outcome of the game. However if you look at the example pay table below you will see that the game pays a premium to players who bet the max. Winning a royal flush even once makes a big difference.

After you have been dealt your five cards, you decide which cards you want to keep by clicking the "Hold" button on the card. If you are dealt a natural winning or pat hand, the game may automatically hold some cards for you. You have the option of changing that decision if you disagree with the computer's picks.

When you have made your choices about which cards to hold, you click on the "Draw" button. You are then dealt new cards to replace those cards you did not keep. The game scores your hand according to the pay table.

What Is a Payback Percentage in the Context of 2 Ways Royal Video Poker?

All gambling games get their money from the same source: the bets that players make. The casino (or "house") has to cover the maximum possible prize paid on any wager, but they expect to recoup that money from other wagers made by players. As such we generally just divide the percentage of player wagers into the expected returns for house and player.

  • The expected house return is usually just called the "house edge".
  • The expected player return is usually called the "payback percentage" or "return to player". (The two expressions are used interchangeably.)

Whether players lay down $1 million in wagers or $1000 in wagers, the house edge is always expected to be about the same percentage. In practice a casino often takes in more than its probabilistic return because of mistakes by inexperienced players, or just really random bad luck for the players.

What makes gambling interesting for players is that on any individual game a player might beat the house and pull in a big win. If the player walks away when he is ahead, the house loses. If the player continues to play and puts all the money back in, the house wins.

The lesson to keep in mind is that no matter how great the payback percentage on a game looks, only you decide how much money you will put into a game before you walk away. The casino only needs to make a little bit of money per player per day in order to stay profitable. If you only lose 10% of your initial stake per day the casino is having a great day. If you double your money, you have a great day. And the casino just waits for another player to have a bad day.

With a game like 2 Ways Royal video poker you don't need to keep asking yourself "am I .2% down?" You'll know when you are ahead and you should have an idea after 10-20 hands if you are using a good strategy or a bad strategy.

If you play 500 hands, betting $5 per hand, assuming normally random distributions of cards and a perfect strategy on your part, you should lose about $5 overall.

But these are just illustrative examples. Actual results vary by game session.

How the Pay Tables for 2 Ways Royal Video Poker Create a Transparent Payback Percentage

Transparent payback percentage just means that you can figure out for yourself about how often - on average - players can expect to be dealt certain kinds of hands. As always, your experience may vary from the expected percentages.

Here is an example pay table for 2 Ways Royal Video Poker

Coins/Hand 1 coin 2 coins 3 coins 4 coins 5 coins
Hi Royal flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
Lo Royal flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
Straight flush 50 100 150 200 250
Four of a kind 40 80 120 160 200
Full house 6 12 18 24 30
Flush 5 10 15 20 25
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
Three of a kind 3 6 9 12 15
Two pair 2 4 6 8 10
Jacks or Better 1 2 3 4 5
Nothing 0 0 0 0 0

First, here is a quick explanation of a probability distribution. A probability distribution is computed by counting or summing the total number of "scores" in a set of data. For an "even distribution" you count the number of scores. For a "graduated distribution" you sum all the scores.

In the "even" or "uniform" distribution you divide 1 by the total number of scores. Take a deck of 52 cards, for example. Any one of those cards has a 1 in 52 chance of being drawn. That works out to a little over 1.9%. This is an even distribution because it's the same percentage for every card in the deck regardless of its value.

There is no formal definition for "graduated distribution", but that describes many types of distributions where the various scores or sub-groups of scores have different computed probabilities. In a graduated distribution, some scores will occur more often than others. And there is often an increasing order of likelihood among the computed probabilities. If you're familiar with the concept of power laws, those are all graduated distributions. But not every graduated distribution follows a power law.

There are far more possible ways to get a straight (any 5 consecutive cards that do not create a higher value hand) in poker than there are ways to get a (Hi) Royal flush. A royal flush can only consist of the A, K, Q, J, and 10 of any 1 suit and there are only 4 suits. There are 10,200 possible ways to be dealt a straight. Hence the probability of being dealt a straight (0.3925%) is much higher than the probability of being dealt a royal flush (0.000154%).

In 2 Way Royal video poker the sum of all the probabilities for winning hands works out to just over 45%.

2 Ways Royal Video Poker Strategy Tips

Video poker strategy varies by game because of the different rules and winning hand payouts. The basic probability for being dealt a hand only changes if the number of cards in the deck changes. For example, if you're playing a joker-based variant of the game you'll have more than 52 cards in the deck and so all the probabilities change.

The general rule of thumb is to hold any high paying hand. Most experts advise you keep the four highest hands in the game. The four highest hands in 2 Ways Royal are:

  • 1The Hi Royal flush
  • 2The Lo Royal flush
  • 3A straight flush
  • 4Four of a kind

A conservative strategy suggests that if you have any winning hand better than two pair, hold it.

If you have four cards that could be part of a Hi or Lo Royal flush, a Flush or straight flush, or a straight then hold those and take one new card.

If you have three cards that could be part of a Hi or Lo Royal flush, or if you have an inside straight with three high cards, then hold those three cards and draw two.

If you are dealt a pair then hold those two cards and draw three.


The 2 Ways Royal video poker game is a good, easy game for beginning players to use as a learning experience. It offers a slightly better pay table than Jacks or Better thanks to the inclusion of the Lo Royal flush. In effect this doubles your chances of winning a large jackpot.

You do have to play five coins to win the premium jackpot, but most players quickly become comfortable playing the maximum bet. It only increases your odds of winning a big jackpot.

Compared to slot machine games, 2 Ways Royal video poker is a more stable, predictable game. It also requires the player to make some real decisions. For many video poker enthusiasts, the challenge of playing your cards right is a much more enjoyable experience than merely watching slot reels spin.

Although gambling experts like to say that blackjack is the game with the lowest house edge there are, in fact, some video poker games that have a theoretical return to player that exceeds 100%. In other words, the house expects to lose money on those games when facing a player who can play with correct strategy.

Learning to play video poker on a simple variant like 2 Ways Royal is a great way to prepare for the more challenging video poker games.

If you have only played Jacks or Better this is a good step up from that experience. Even if you don't win a Hi or Lo Royal flush you still have better chances than with the basic game. The only thing to keep an eye out for is a change in payoffs. Some variants of the game pay less than others.

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