Las Vegas Video Poker Experiencing a Recent Downturn

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Over the years, Las Vegas has maintained its reputation as the ultimate destination for top-notch video poker. However, recent times have witnessed a decline in this captivating gaming experience, albeit it remains unparalleled.

BConnected players club decreased rewards for video poker games.

About two years ago, Boyd Gaming decided to revamp its players club, bringing about some significant modifications. Of all the alterations, the ones that had the greatest impact were on video poker enthusiasts. Unlike in the past, these players would no longer start earning points until they reached the coveted Ruby tier, a level that demands a substantial accumulation of 750 base points. Unfortunately, this alteration came with a rather disappointing drawback: the return for free play was slashed in half, plummeting from its previous rate to a mere 0.05%.

Skyline eliminated the option for playing full pay Deuces Wild.

In early 2019, the coin games at Skyline Casino made a significant change by removing full pay Deuces Wild. It was quite disheartening to see this popular game option disappear. Previously, there used to be a designated area called the Deuces Wild Corral, located at the rear of the casino, which housed around 20 quarter 10-coin max machines. These machines were quite special as they would drop coins and necessitate a hand pay whenever a player hit four deuces or a natural royal flush. Despite the changes, the machines themselves are still present in the casino, albeit with a modified pay table that is roughly 2% less favorable.

I decided to make a daring move and placed a bet of 10 coins, a wager that held the same value as a half-dollar denomination. This bold choice set it apart from the rest, as I soon discovered that all the other Deuces Wild games in town only accepted five-coin quarters.

Aliante Casino discontinued offering full pay Deuces Wild and other games with a 100% payout.

Boyd Gaming took ownership of Aliante Casino back in 2016, marking the beginning of a new era for the establishment. As time passed, the once-abundant selection of full pay machines gradually diminished. By 2019, the unforgiving hands of progress had swept away the last remnants of full pay Deuces Wild, Loose Deuces, and Double Bonus. However, amidst the changing landscape, a glimmer of hope remains, as three quarter 10/6 Double Double Bonus machines continue to stand defiantly.

Station Casinos eliminated full pay Deuces Wild and Joker Poker from their gaming offerings.

In early 2020, Station Casinos made the decision to remove full pay Deuces Wild from all of its casinos, leaving many players disappointed. Sadly, the casino also decided to eliminate full pay Joker Poker, which had been available at a few of their properties. These popular video poker games, known for their favorable odds, were particularly beloved by players who enjoyed the quarter denomination. However, their absence now leaves players searching for alternative options and missing the excitement that these games once brought.

Quarter denomination Loose Deuces, along with full pay Double and Double Double Bonus Poker in quarter, half-dollar, and dollar variations, are still available. However, it's important to note that these games no longer reward players with points as they did in the past. Prior to the temporary closure, points were granted to players on a discounted basis.

Sam's Town, the last remaining Las Vegas casino offering full pay Deuces Wild, made a strategic decision that left other establishments in the dust. Meanwhile, over at Plaza, they proudly claimed the title of being the ultimate destination for full pay Joker Poker enthusiasts. What's even more intriguing is that both of these elusive games can only be enjoyed in the quarter denomination. So, if you're seeking that exhilarating rush and the chance to outwit Lady Luck, Sam's Town and Plaza are the go-to spots for your gambling escapades.

Circus Circus recently concluded its last remaining video poker game with full payout on the iconic Las Vegas Strip.

In February, the only remaining 100% game on the Las Vegas Strip was taken out by Circus Circus. This one-of-a-kind Aces and Eights game, which offered a return of 100.25% before factoring in the progressive jackpot, has been removed from the casino floor.

Station Casinos significantly reduced the payouts for video poker on its Boarding Pass program.

Boarding Pass is the players club at Station Casinos, which I found out when they reopened in June. It was quite surprising for video poker players like myself to see a significant change in the perks that were offered. Previously, if you had a qualifying tier or swiped your card at a kiosk, you could earn 0.3% on video poker play. On multiplier days, that amount would even double, giving players a nice boost.

During the month of June, the Boarding Pass program made some changes to its video poker rewards system. Instead of the previous rate, where players earned one point for every $2 they wagered, the new rate dropped significantly to just 0.05%. This adjustment has positioned the program as one of the least favorable options for video poker enthusiasts. However, the program offers occasional multiplier days which can elevate the return to its previous level or even slightly higher.

Plaza eliminated larger bills from their 100% games.

For well over a decade, Las Vegas Club and later Plaza have been offering half-dollar full pay Joker Poker. However, just recently, the machines underwent a significant change: the half-dollar denomination was eliminated. Reflecting on the situation, it appears that the modifications made by Station Casinos to both their games and players club have rendered the Plaza machines more appealing to skilled players. As a result, these games have seen an influx of expert action, surpassing their capacity to accommodate. Thankfully, the quarter denomination remains intact.

In the Plaza, you can find two 10/7 Double Bonus machines, offering a range of up to $1 denomination. However, in early 2019, the $2 denomination was eliminated from these games.

El Cortez discontinues all 100% games.

Over the past few years, I've noticed a decline in the quality of video poker at El Cortez. The most significant change I've observed was the removal of the last 100% game on the property during the summer. This game, known as 10/7 Double Bonus, was a favorite among players. Unfortunately, there isn't a single game on the property that offers a payout of 99% or better. Furthermore, none of the machines at El Cortez utilize the convenient ticket-in/ticket-out system. Instead, all of the remaining good games are coin droppers, which some players may find nostalgic but can be less convenient.