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All American (Microgaming)

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If you are not familiar with video poker, then you may be asking yourself what's with all the different versions? After all, poker is poker, right?

Video poker is based on draw poker, which was the most popular form of poker (check any cowboy movie) until Texas Hold'em kicked most other forms of poker off the poker table. Some video poker games add jokers, and others wildcards like deuces, and others slightly alter the payouts for winning hands.

All American Video Poker was actually invented by the US-based slot machine manufacturers Bally, or so it is alleged. The game plays no differently to the standard 'Jacks or Better', but has different payouts. The payouts are increased for flushes, straights and straight flushes, but the rewards for obtaining a full house or two pairs are reduced.

In this cheap and cheerful version from Microgaming, the payouts are as follows:

Jacks or Betterx1
Two Pairsx2
Three of a Kindx3
Straightx8
Flushx8
Full Housex8
Four of a Kindx34
Straight Flushx200
Natural Royal Flusx250/x800

*The x800 value is only available if you bet at the highest level.

This game is not great to look at, but that's not really the point. It plays perfectly adequately, but it has an annoying tendency to automatically hold the cards. All pairs are held – even non-winning pairs – and so are tens and face cards. There must be a way of turning this 'feature' off, but we couldn't find it. You can un-hold all held cards of course, but it soon becomes annoying if you have to do so time and time again.

With perfect play, the house edge of this version of video poker is a tiny 0.62% but as with all versions of video poker, perfect strategy is not easy to master.

Conclusion

This is not one of Microgaming's best efforts. The game looks as if Noah used it to while away his time on the Ark, and the 'helpful hold' feature soon becomes an annoyance. If you can master best play strategy for All American video poker then brilliant, but there are better versions than this one.

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