Game: Ultimate X Poker
Advantage play potential: High
What Makes it Special: When a winning hand lands on a given hand of video poker, a multiplier, based on the hand, will carry through to the next hand. The multiplier stays around even if the previous player cashes out.
While IGT is definitely making waves with a variety of persistent state slot machines that open up opportunities for Advantage Play, one of their earliest persistent state games is actually connected to Video Poker.
Ultimate X Poker has a persistent state capability that can unlock some immediate benefits, given it’s a single turn to burn off a multiplier, which means a very predictable bet. Video poker has a high hit rate for pays, so the chances of winning are higher too.
This article will focus on the specifics of Ultimate X, and not Video Poker in general, so this presumes a basic knowledge of the game when you sit down.
Understanding the Game
Ultimate X Poker is a variant of video poker that can be found in both single hand and multi-hand variants. Playing Ultimate X with the multipliers active requires a 5-coin premium over the 5-coin standard bet that you would normally need to make to get the full payout of a Royal Flush.
For multi-hand games, that 10-coin is multiplied by the number of lines. Denominations will vary, and machines can be found as low as nickel denomination and to $1 and above in high limit rooms.
When the Ultimate X feature is activated through a 10-coin bet per hand, if a winning hand is achieved on a line, the pay is made and a multiplier added for the next hand. The multiplier awarded varies by game, and ranges generally from 2-12x. It will indicate next to the winning hands which multiplier will activate on the next hand.
If you win on the next hand, the pays will be paid, and again multipliers issued for the next hand. As you can see above, I won on a multiplier hand, got paid with the existing multiplier, and a new multiplier appears for the next hand.
This continues on as long as you keep winning hands. Eventually, if you lose on every hand, you start back with no multipliers.
The multipliers are persistent state, so they last even if a player cashes out. Each type of video poker has its own persistent state multipliers, and if there’s multiple denominations, each game/denom pairing has its own persistent state.
Understanding the Advantage
The multipliers being left behind by a previous player is a clear, and quite helpful advantage. Since only one hand is required to play off the multipliers, the amount to invest is clear, based on the denomination and the number of hands the game presents. The more hands with multipliers, and the higher the multiplier on each hand, the better the advantage will be.
The benefit of this Advantage Play is clear – you’re getting a free multiplier. Of course, you then need a winning hand to convert the play, but the cost is quite contained since it’s a single hand.
Since most Ultimate X Poker machines have multiple denominations, hand counts and game types, there is generally quite a few permutations you can work through on the machine to hunt for advantages. If a casino has a few active Ultimate X Poker machines, and players are not savvy enough to understand what they’re leaving behind, that could be quite helpful indeed.
How to Convert the Advantage Play
You are not required to bet 10 credits to play off the multiplier, only 5. If your intent is to wring out any value and move on, you can play a single hand at 5 credits per hand, complete the cycle and move on. There will be no multipliers if you win because you have not paid the additional bet to get new multipliers. But you are able to play off the ones already earned in the previous hand. (h/t to APkid7 on Twitter, who pointed out my previous explanation of this was quite incomplete. This has been updated accordingly to be much more clear, and accurate, about how to maximize the play.)
If you choose to bet the 10 credits per hand, and you win, you will get more multipliers, and can play on with those multipliers. But you can choose to go down to 5 credits per hand if you’re ready to stop, and play off the remaining multipliers, exactly as described above.
I tend to do the latter as being a Casual Advantage Player, I don’t have the interest in bouncing around constantly to find multipliers, but I certainly understand others are aiming to maximize value while looking for Advantage Plays. So I’ll play with them on so I can keep going, while others may want to hit and run. Choose your path accordingly, based on your goal.
But you should always end a session with either a loss, which would leave behind nothing, or if you’re done and want to make sure there’s no multipliers left, you can lower the bet to five coins per hand to disable the multiplier award for future hands, and play one last hand to use any multipliers left on the board.
Watch and Learn
Steve and Matt Bourie of the American Casino Guide book (and who also have an excellent and informative YouTube channel) put together a great video recently on the topic of Ultimate X Video Poker, including how to convert the Advantage Play, which you can watch below: