Okay, I've read all the posts so far as they pertain to the possibility of the ship staff opening up the machine and "tightening" or "loosening," as the case may be. In all instances of conversation the topic has specifically been about slots. Does anyone have any related anecdotes about video poker machines?
Rick is again correct. We discussed this in detail and somebody in the business specifically laid out the governing rules concerning casinos on ships. The ICCL adopts Las Vegas and United Kingdom gambling rules and abides by those. Now, that being said, some slots will have a payout percentage set differently from others. But they are not tampered with during the cruise.
I watched a special on gambling in Las Vegas which declared a single 52-card deck video poker machine will actually have better than a 50-50 player advantage IF the player is well versed in the game. Now that's the kinda odds I like!!!!!
Here's some key information on Video Poker. The machines use a 52 card deck with a random dealing system. The only thing that determines the house advantage is the payoffs. For "Jack of Better" the best odds you'll find anywhere is what is called a "9-6" machine, which means on a single bet you get 6 for a flush and 9 for a full house. The lower those numbers are the more the house advantage. Also, if they do not pay 4,000 for a royal flush on 5 bets they are increasing the house advantage. I don't recall exactly but as I remember with a 9-6 machine the house advantage is something like 3% provided you play the correct strategy. Don't look for a 9-6 on a Jacks or Better machine on a ship because it is doubtful you'll find one. As I recall Celebrity's machines were 7-4. Not good. I have only seen 9-6 in places like Atlantic City, Biloxi and Las Vagas. Note--these numbers only apply to Jacks or Better machines. Other machines the numbers are different but you can probably get a book at the library to give you all the details including the best strategy. There are also some good computer programs to learn the correct strategy payoff vs house advantage.
Perfect play on a "Jacks or Better 9-6" machine will return 99.54% of your money over the long run. Since you are expected to get a Royal Flush once in 40,000 hands, this is a pretty long run. There are no screws for tightening a machine. The house advantage on video poker is determined solely by the payout with the 9-6 machine as the best, but sometimes are hard to find. Machines with an 8-5 payout are fairly common, but the cruise lines have even less. Most are 7-4, but I've seen 6-4. You also have to be aware of the payout for a Royal. Most are 4000 coins, but some are progressive. Recently on a Princess Cruise, the bar had quarter progressives with a starting pot of $1700 ($2200) by the end. These machines were hardly ever full, but 15 feet away the quarter machines were always full. Same pay table, but getting a Royal there would mean about a thousand dollars less.