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Empire City at Yonkers Raceway: Video Poker Not Legitimate

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  • Empire City at Yonkers Raceway: Video Poker Not Legitimate

    I saw the casino on my way home from visiting friends in Nanuet, so I figured I'd stop in and take a look. I play a lot of 9/6 Jacks or Better in Atlantic City and thought I heard something about their video poker being a pull tab game, but I wasn't sure. The machines looked normal, but I was surprised to see a 9/6 game that was even better because it paid 60 instead of 50 for a straight flush. If this was a legitimate game with randomly generated cards it would have a return of 99.65% and I'd probably be a regular customer, being that it's non-smoking and a lot closer for me than Atlantic City. But I was very suspicious because I figured a stand alone casino not near any competition would probably pay 7-5, or 8-5 at best. I first asked a slot attendant and he didn't know, so I found a guy in a suit who confirmed they were pull tabs. I figured it was secret but I asked him if he knew what the return was. He said he didn't know but I could find out on the NYS lottery website, but this wasn't true. When I got home and checked, all I could find out was the overall hold percentage for all games, which varies but is a little over 8%.Anyway, I got a measly $5 for signing up for the slot club, so I had to play something. No bonus or anything for having a Harrah's Diamond Card. I was wondering if the video roulette could be legitimate even with pull tabs. I figured I could bet red and black at the same time and the disadvantage (5.26% assuming no ties on 0) would most likely be less than anything else. I thought that maybe they can't really fix the hold percentage because you have many people playing with a single central wheel. Unfortunately the game I saw was full and it was a $5 minimum bet. I asked if there was something with a lower minimum but the lowest was $2, so I wasn't going to bother with my $5 free play coupon.I found a 10 cent video poker machine so I played 10 hands at 50 cents/hand. I won $1.50 so I ended up with a total of $6.50, and I'm taking that and never going back. It's too bad they don't have a legitimate game, because I'd love to have a much shorter trip, no tolls (I use the free bridges), and especially no smoking. This could be a good option for someone who normally plays slot machines, because the casino's hold percentage could be about the same as everywhere else. For a slot machine it wouldn't really matter if the game was pull tab or RNG. But a pull tab video poker game is really a slot machine with no skill involved, and this is very deceptive to someone who might think they are playing something reasonable.

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