Advantage Play: Calculating Ultimate X

What is GREAT about Ultimate X is that the value is perfectly quantifiable.  Quantifying the return on games is fun!  A future post will discuss other video poker games with variable states similar to Ultimate X including variants like Bonus Streak, Hawwire, Moving Multipliers, and UX Spin.  As a matter of fact, the math I’m about to show you scales to several variable video poker games, and I’ll get to each one eventually.

The first thing you need to do on any poker machine to understand the payback is to evaluate the pay table.  Under the Useful Links section of this site, you can find links to Wizard of Odds tools to evaluate video poker pay tables and strategies for that game. 

Keep in mind, I’m making the assumption that you will be vulturing the machines, so you will want the pay table and strategy for a 5-coin game, not the 10-coin game. 

I also intend to write another article on how transferable video poker strategies are from one game to another, which helps with the “Easy” part of Easy Advantage Play.

Unless your Ultimate X machines are very different from mine, the return to player on a UX pay table is generally about 95%. 

That means a 10 play machine at reset should look like this to a math minded AP:

1X*.95  1X*.95  1X*.95

1X*.95  1X*.95  1X*.95

1X*.95  1X*.95  1X*.95


·         We have 10 X’s at 95% each, and the game costs us 10 bets of 5 coins each (50 coins total). 

·         10x’s * .95 = 9.5

·         9.5 / 10 bets (of 5 coins each) = .95 (95%)

This should be intuitive.  You can play a 95% game as much as you like and nothing you do will change the RTP from 95%. But, Ultimate X has variable states… 

If you find an abandoned “Next Hand 2X” the machine might look like this:*

*Note the multiplier could be anywhere, but I put it in the middle because I thought it looked best.  I also make it bold in hopes it would “pop”.  No…  I will not be your interior designer.

1X*.95  1X*.95  1X*.95

1X*.95  2X*.95  1X*.95

1X*.95  1X*.95  1X*.95


·         Now we have 11X’s at 95% each, but the game still only costs us 10 bets of 5 coins to play.

·         11x’s * .95 = 10.45

·         10.45 / 10 bets (of 5 coins each) = 104.5% RTP

But what does a 104.5% RTP mean?  It means if I’m playing a quarter machine and betting 50 coins a draw ($12.50 a game) the expected payback is just a little over $13.06, $0.56 profit with a single 2X left behind.

Not very excited?  I don’t blame you.  You won’t get rich and its work to look through machines but video poker does generate a fair amount of hand pays so maybe you’ll get lucky and grind out a small profit while you are waiting for the big one to hit. 

Speaking of which, here is a pic of my vultured royal.  I had to throw away a made flush to get it.

I like looking at this picture.


Here is another good hit.


What’s key is that you are very unlikely to lose and you don’t need much of a bankroll to get started.

You’re still not excited, I can tell… But look, if you just go in and vulture UX, and vulture UX only, you will be a more successful gambler than just about everyone else in the casino.

Let me know what you think.