Like many newer video poker variations, Chase the Royal can be best understand as an option tacked on top of a traditional game like Jacks or Better or Triple Bonus. The gimmick with this option is that you can exchange any pair of face cards for 3 cards to a royal flush. The appeal of this should be obvious to anyone who’s familiar with video poker in general.
But if you’re not, here’s why this is so important:
The royal flush is the best possible hand in any game of video poker. The payoff for this hand is 800 to 1 if you’re playing for the max coin bet. By giving players the opportunity to trade in those high pairs for 3 to a royal flush, the casinos and game designers are giving players an opportunity to get that huge jackpot more often.
This page examines the odds and probability behind this variation. It also offers tips for how to play with the best strategy and where to find this game online for free and/or for real money.
The basics of video poker apply to Chase the Royal. Here’s a quick description of how to play almost any video poker game:
Chase the Royal is usually available in what’s called multi-line mode. Here’s how that works:
In many video poker games, you can opt to play more than one hand at a time. These are usually set up so that you can play 3, 5, or 10 hands at once. Your initial hand is duplicated across all these lines, and each bet on each line is treated separately. You get paid off on the final value of each hand, but the discards on these hands are replaced separately, so you’ll usually have different results on different lines.
You do have the option of seeing which 3 cards to a royal flush that you’re going to get before deciding to “chase the royal”. Once you have decided to chase the royal, the game automatically discards the other 2 cards and replaces them, too. It’s seamless.
The payoffs for the following hands are increased:
These higher payouts only apply when in “chase the royal” mode. When you’re not in that mode, these hands pay out based on whatever the base game and pay table is on the variation you’re playing.
The game has one other wrinkle that’s interesting. If you’re dealt a royal on your initial deal, you get a 2000 to 1 payoff instead of an 800 to 1 payoff.
The pay tables for Chase the Royal are based on the pay tables for the base game on which the individual game is based. For example, if you’re playing a 6/5 Jacks or Better Chase the Royal Game, the pay table will look like this:
The payback percentage on this version of the game is 96.67%, which is nothing to write home about, especially when compared with other video poker variations with better pay tables. Keep in mind, too, that this pay table and payback percentage take into account the royal flush feature.
But don’t despair. Chase the Royal is available with better pay tables in other base games. The best version is 8/5 Triple Bonus with the following pay table:
If you’re already familiar with Triple Bonus, you’ll know that the game reduces the payoff for 2 pairs and 3 of a kind in exchange for offering massive payouts for various 4 of a kind permutations. This version of Chase the Royal, played with perfect strategy, offers a payback percentage of 99.14%.
If you’re unfamiliar with the phrase “payback percentage”, we’ll explain that briefly, too.
Video poker resembles a slot machine game in the sense that you get paid off based on a combination of symbols. But when you’re playing a slot machine, you have no clue what the probability of getting a cherry in any particular spot is. It could be 1/5, 1/10, 1/20, or any other number you can think of.
But in video poker, the symbols aren’t just based on playing cards. They’re also dealt out with the same probability they would be if you were playing an actual card game. Each card has a probability of 1/52.
When you combine this information with the payoff information for each hand, you can use a computer to determine the overall payback percentage for the game. It’s just another way of saying “expected return”. This number is a percentage.
The payback percentage for a video poker game is the long term expected results expressed as the percentage of each bet that’s going to be returned to the player.
If you’re playing a game with a 99.14% payback percentage then, over a LONG period of time, you can expect to lose 86 cents for every $100 you bet.
But in the short term, anything can happen. You can lose all your money really fast, or you can win big right away. The long run doesn’t show up until you start getting into the tens of thousands of spins range.
Chase the Royal, by the way, is available with other base games, too, including:
Generally speaking, you’ll follow the same strategy you would for any of these video poker variations. You can find strategy charts for those specific games on our pages devoted to those games. These are always listed as a list of hands from best to worst. You should start at the top and stop when you get to the hand you have—then hold those cards.
But there’s one major exception based on this game’s gimmick:
You should ALWAYS chase the royal if you can.
Doing this will result in you seeing a royal flush once every 8000 hands instead of once every 40,000 hands. That sounds like a longshot, and it is, but it’s far less of a longshot than in any other variation of video poker.
What this does is increase the volatility for this variation of the game. You’ll go longer times with bigger losing streaks, but you’ll also hit bigger jackpots more often to make up for it. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, Chase the Royal might be the perfect VP variation for you.
Like many of the newer and more complicated variations, Chase the Royal hasn’t really caught on with Web based casinos. You can play for free at VideoPoker.com, but we don’t know of any online casinos where you can play this game for real money.
That being said, we do recommend playing video poker for real money when you can. All the base games encompassed within this variation are available at some of our recommended online casinos. We recommend caution when choosing an Internet casino, but we do have a few properties that we like very much. These include:
You can find a wide selection of VP games with generous pay tables at any of those properties. Our experience with these casinos is that they pay out winnings in a timely manner, too.
Chase the Royal is an exciting variation of video poker with a lot of volatility. The single strategy difference (always chase the royal) is easy to remember. Unfortunately, it’s a tough game to find online for real money.
We like this game because you see the big hand—the royal flush—almost 5 times as often as you would in any other variation of video poker. We like excitement, and if you do too, then Chase the Royal video poker might be a good game for you to try, too.