With the advent of internet gambling and the desire to keep players glued to their computer screens, gaming providers and internet casinos invented casino games to entice players to make far bigger bets than they intended to. They achieved this by creating multi-line machines, where players have the option to bet, not just on a single line of Poker action, but on three, five, ten, twenty five, or even 100 lines simultaneously.
The attraction of these games is that the base stake seems quite modest and once you figure out how the game works your chances of winning improves. Multi-line Poker games come in many variations, from standard Jacks or Better to many of the complex variations now on offer for single-line games. The difference is that you can opt to play multiple lines based on your original hold/draw decision. Let’s see how a multi-line Poker game works, starting with a 3-line video poker game namely Jacks or Better.
As usual, you select to play one to five coins (always play the maximum amount of coins to take advantage of the Royal Flush bonus for five coins). However, on this game, you will have to play three times five coins-namely 15 coins to cover all three line at five coins each. Having done so, the game deals five cards into the bottom hand. From this hand you choose which cards to hold or discard, and this choice is replicated in the other two hands above.
You now draw cards from separate decks (minus the cards you have discarded) to each of the three lines in play. All wins are paid off, the prize being indicated on the screen next to each hand before credits are added to your total. The excitement of a multi-line game is that if you have a winning combination, say a Pair of Aces-when you hold this pair it is added to the other two lines; therefore you are guaranteed a win on every line, plus three chances to make Three-of-a-Kind, Full House, or even Four-of-a-Kind. If you can hold four cards to a Straight Flush or a Royal Flush, you have three chances to hit your card for a really huge payout.
However, if you cannot hold a winning combination you could suffer a multiple line loss. In essence you win more quickly, and you lose more quickly. Generally this is not a bad idea when wagering online. If you choose to play multi-line games, check carefully the payout schedule for the game you plan to play, and reject the machine if it does not match up to the payout schedules illustrated in the previous sections. You will find that most multi-line games do not offer the best payouts, internet casinos amid all the excitement hope that you won’t notice this. Also, pay close attention to the denominations. If you play a 10-line Poker game, you are committing yourself to playing five coins on ten lines-making each bet 50 coins!
Should you decide to play a low-rolling denomination of, say 25c, this equates to $12.50 per play. That’s a high roller’s stake. At a $5 game, you are talking $250 per play! This is a huge stake and although you could be lucky and double or triple your money on the very first play, you could also lose all if your original line contains nothing worth holding.
The big trick in all of this, from the casinos’ perspective is that these multi-line games usually offer a payout schedule that is worse than optimum for the player. They justify this by claiming that the stake is so low (possibly 5c) that the payouts must be reduced to increase the house edge. Of course, if you are playing ten lines at five coins per line, this “tiny stake” is actually $2.50 per play-a perfectly decent stake per spin for the internet casino.
There are also instances of multi-line games featuring a maximum total payout per play, meaning that if you were lucky enough to get dealt a Royal Flush on your original line and you held it over to all the other lines, you wouldn’t even get paid the full amount. This is thievery. In short, we do not recommend multi-line Poker machines. You would do better to play slightly higher stake single-line machines and chase down the best payout schedules and the highest progressives available. If you want to achieve success at Video Poker you must be prepared to work hard at it.