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Crazy Times Pay Poker

Crazy Times Pay Poker is a video poker variation where you can get multipliers next to certain winning hands after the deal. Like a lot of these newer video poker games, it’s not really a new game itself—it’s a feature that’s attached to a base game.

Of course, you don’t just get these random multipliers for free. You have to double the size of your bet to activate this feature. The multipliers range from 2X to 5X.

This page offers specific details about how to play Crazy Times Pay Poker. We’ve also include what information we could glean about the pay tables and payback percentages for the game, as well as strategy advice and recommendations for playing online.

How to Play Crazy Times Pay Poker

Let’s start with the basics of video poker in general, then we’ll get into the specifics of how this variation works.

In almost any VP game, you’re dealt a virtual hand of 5 cards on a computer screen. Picture a solitaire game you’d play on your computer, but one with only 5 cards dealt face up in front of you. You get to choose which of the cards to keep and which ones to replace. When you get your final hand, you’re paid off based on the pay table for the game.

There are a couple of interesting wrinkles to this, though. For one thing, you’re able to bet anywhere from 1 to 5 coins per hand. But you should always bet max coin (5 coins).

  • Here’s why:

The royal flush pays off at 800 to 1 if you’ve made a max coin bet. But if you’ve only bet 4 coins (or fewer), the payoff for this hand is only 250 to 1.

Sure, the hand doesn’t come up very often, but the difference in the payoff is large enough to have a major effect on the overall mathematical return for the game.

Also, you should understand that video poker only resembles a slot machine on the surface. The big difference has to do with the odds. Both games pay off based on a combination of symbols that you wind up with after placing a bet.

But in video poker, you know the odds of getting those symbols. Slot machines are opaque. You have no idea how likely you are to get a particular symbol.

This leads into the other major difference. Video poker is a game of skill. On any given hand, you have 32 ways to play, depending on how many and which cards you want to keep. Only one of those choices is the mathematically optimal choice. If you can make the best decision mathematically on a consistent basis, you can enjoy one of the best games in the casino, odds-wise.

All video poker games pay off based on the poker hand ranking of your final results, but Crazy Times Poker adds an interesting feature—the random multipliers we talked about earlier.

  • Here’s how they work:

You double the size of your bet.

The game then adds multipliers to the size of the prizes for random hands.

Example

You might get a multiplier of 5X on the flush. Maybe that hand normally pays off at 9 to 1, but with the random multiplier, the hand pays off at 45 to 1.

Do you see why this makes the game more interesting?

Every hand your strategy changes to adjust to what is essentially a new pay table.

This increases the volatility of the game dramatically. Many video poker players are going to be uncomfortable with this—they prefer a minimum of volatility when they play, in general.

But other gamblers—action and adrenaline junkies—might really take to this game.

Crazy Times Pay Poker Pay Tables and Payback Percentages

Let’s start this section by looking at a common pay table for a Jacks or Better video poker game. This is the classic, plain-vanilla version of VP that almost every gambler is already familiar with. The lowest paying hand is a pair of jacks or higher, which pays off at even odds. The best paying hand is a royal flush, which pays off at 800 to 1.

Here’s a common pay table:

Crazy Times Poker Video Poker Game Pay Table

This is called an 8/6 Jacks or Better game, because it pays off at 8 to 1 for a full house and 6 to 1 for a flush. The payback percentage for this game is 98.39%, assuming you play with perfect strategy.

That payback percentage is easily calculated, by the way. It’s just the expected value for each possible hand added up. The expected value is calculated by multiplying the probability of getting that hand by the payoff for that hand. You add all those up, and you have the estimated predicted return for the game.

Over the long run, the casino expects to pay out 98.39% (or less) in winnings for every bet a player makes on this game. And when we say the long run, we’re talking about tens of thousands of trials. Most people only get into the long run over the life of their gambling career, not during a single trip.

And that’s what keeps players coming back, in fact—the chance that they might beat the odds and go home a winner. That happens because of standard deviation in the short term.

But what happens in Crazy Times Pay Poker is that random multipliers are added to various hand types in exchange for doubling your bet. This sounds like a great deal when you first hear about it—after all, you get a chance to win bigger prizes on your hands than you normally would.

But there are 2 problems with this:

  • The first is that you have to double the size of your bet. This compensates for the multipliers, but it’s still not ideal.
  • The second is possibly more important—when you throw in the multipliers at random, you effectively change the pay table on every hand.

Since the pay table is what determines the appropriate strategy, you have to have a lot of skill at making mathematical decisions to even come close to figuring out what the correct play is in various situations.

Crazy Times Pay Poker Strategy

We honestly don’t have much insight into the appropriate strategy for this game, other than to pay attention to the hands which get the 5X multiplier added to them. You should adjust your playing strategy accordingly and go for the hands with the multipliers more often in order to take advantage of that.

This will mean deviating from the normal strategy chart you’d normally use for these games. 8/6 Jacks or Better has a strategy, but it’s based on the pay table above. Since the payoffs are going to change on every hand, your approach might need to change, too.

Where Can You Play Online for Free or for Real Money?

We don’t know of any online casinos which offer Crazy Times Pay Poker for real money, but if you want to try a free version, VideoPoker.com has one. We don’t really recommend spending a lot of time on it, though.

  • Here’s why:

You can find a lot of video poker games with lower variance and easier to learn strategies than Crazy Times Pay Poker. With this kind of deviation built into the game, you might as well be playing a slot machine. We’re assuming that most video poker players like this game because of its differences from slots rather than its similarities.

Casinos like Bovada, Ignition Casino, and Slots.lv offer a wide variety of traditional video games with reasonably low variance and generous pay tables. More importantly, each of those gambling sites has a reputation for paying off winnings in a timely manner. With online casinos, that might be more important than any other quality.

Conclusion

We’re admittedly not big fans of the concept behind Crazy Times Pay Poker. It seems like it was designed to add confusion and make a simple game more complicated. Any time a casino makes a gambling game more complicated, it usually means that a player is going to lose more often.

On the other hand, some personality types might really enjoy the adrenaline rush of going after these bigger hands. Some intellectual types might enjoy the challenge of trying to adjust to the constantly changing pay tables, too.

Our Recommendation
We’ll probably just stick with full pay Jacks or Better and “not-so-ugly” Deuces Wild, though. Crazy Times Pay Poker just smells too much like a casino game designed to separate us from our hard-earned money. Sure, all casino games are like that, but some are worse than others.