MOST VIDEO POKER PLAYERS know that all games are not created equal. The tendency, however, is to look at the pay schedule and expected return (ER) to determine the best game available. But you've then overlooked the gameâ??s risk to your bankroll or variance. This figure is readily available and appears in many tables along with the gameâ??s ER. In order to put this data in proper perspective, Iâ??ve chosen four different Deuces Wild games that have the same winning hands; you will notice, however, that the payouts for these hands are different. Players fail to understand the full and real impact of the gameâ??s variance on their bankroll for a single session. Once you comprehend the true impact of the gameâ??s variance youâ??ll probably stop accusing the casino of cheating when you choose a highly volatile game, like Loose Deuces, and quickly run out of money. And hopefully, you will also learn to carefully consider both the gameâ??s ER and variance before finding a seat. NOT-SO-UGLY DEUCES & LOOSE DEUCES Winning Hand/ 5-Coin Bet Not-So-Ugly Deuces (NSUD): #1 Loose Deuces: (LDW) #2 Royal Flush/No Deuces 4000 4000 4 Deuces 1000 2500 Royal with Deuces/Wild Royal 125 125 5 of a Kind 80 60 Straight Flush 50 45 4 of a Kind 20 20 Full House 20 15 Flush 15 10 Straight 10 10 3 of a Kind 5 5 Expected Return (ER) 99.7283% 99.5952% Variance 25.78027 70.05136 GAME VARIANCE: This is a measure of the gameâ??s volatility and indicates the likelihood that short-term results will deviate from the theoretical expectations. The higher the variance, the more likely short-term results will differ from the theoretical ER. COMPARING NSUD AND LDW Deuce Frequency: From the table, you see that LDW returns 2500 coins on a 5-coin wager for 4 Deuces, while NSUD returns 1000 coins for the same hand. That difference is the reason many players are attracted to LDW. However, 4 Deuces occurs once every 4,700 hands in LDW and once every 5,367 hands in NSUD. You may wonder why it occurs more in LDW than in NSUD. Itâ??s because correct strategy requires that you go for deuces more in LDW due to the increased payout. Even though you get 4 Deuces more often in LDW, itâ??s still a very infrequent hand. Now the next question is, how costly is it to the gameâ??s ER if you fail to get 4 Deuces during your playing session? Thatâ??s answered in the next section. Percent of Er From Deuces: The percent of the ER from 4 Deuces in NSUD is 3.73%, but for LDW itâ??s a whopping 10.64%. Making this point clearer, if youâ??re playing NSUD and fail to get deuces your ER is 95.9983%, but in LDW your ER without the deuces is 88.9552%. So itâ??s really not surprising that, without the deuces, you have no staying power in a volatile game like LDW. Final Thoughts: Although LDW and Double Double Bonus (DDB) are fun to play theyâ??re also risky to your bankroll. You may want to allocate a portion of your budget to high risk choices and then switch to less volatile games like NSUD or 9/6 Jacks or Better (ER 99.5439%, variance 19.51468) for the rest of your play. Always keep in mind that any game with a low ER is a bad play. BY LINDA BOYDÂ | SOUTHERNGAMING.COM LINDA BOYD, a long-time table game player and knowledgeable video poker player, writes for Southern Gaming, Midwest Gaming and Travel and Arizona Player. Her videos are available for viewing on YouTube or on American Casino Guideâ??s website. Her book, The Video Poker Edge, includes free removable pay schedules and her free strategy cards for the most popular games. The Second edition, published in 2010, can be found on amazon.com and at various bookstores. Kindle edition is available.