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Reprinted here by the author.  2004, c carley, all rights reserved.  No reproduction in any form allowed without express written permission from the author.

A Discussion of Microgaming's
Aces & Faces Video Poker with Autohold
Published Oct. 15, 2004 - Dedicated to my friend, MrRacetrack

I have a Love-Hate relationship with this game. What can I say? I love Microgaming casinos, but I don't love their video poker game selection. I'm not a Deuces kind of girl, and left Jacks or Better behind me years ago, so I'm really only left with Aces & Faces and Joker Poker at Microgaming casinos. While I feel that MGS's Joker Poker is the best Joker Poker video poker game on the net and love the fact that I can frequently (enough) pull the top 3 hands, Aces & Faces can leave me feeling really used and abused.

Aces & Faces is merely a basic Jacks or Better game that pays a slight bonus for getting 4 face cards, with the 4 Aces paying 400 coins. So why, then, is it so hard to get even a minor 4 of a kind in this game? Many, many times over the years I've found it easier to get a straight flush, even more than one in a session, than it is to get a 4 of a kind. I find myself sitting there sometimes asking the deck if it even has 4 of the same cards in it? Now, I know it does; I'm not in any way suggesting that Microgaming's game isn't honest, because I know it is. But the way this game plays is unreal. I'm a huge Double Double Jackpot video poker player, both on & off line, so I'm very familiar with how the game should play; Aces & Faces defies normalcy despite the fact that I know it accomplishes its payout percentages.  To be fair, it does have its runs from time to time, and I've had my share of those, which is why I still play it.

Then.... along came Viper's Autohold function. I hate to admit this, but I've lost a ton of money over the last year or so, just experimenting with this function on the Aces & Faces game. I have allowed myself to lose hundreds of hands just watching what happens when I let Autohold have its way.

This is a face card focused game, yet it puts the strangest holds
on some deals that I've ever seen. It wants to insist on holding a 10 with a single face card, seriously reducing your chances of pulling 4 face cards for the bonus payout. It'll hold 2 pairs, with one pair being face cards (bonus payout for 4 of a kind) and the other pair low - completely obliterating your chance for the bonus payout. It does pay 10 for the 2 pairs, but how many 4 of a kind face card bonus payouts do you miss for that 10? And the one consistent hold I have the biggest problem with is Autohold's efforts to pull a straight flush. It'll hold 3 low, suited cards, and drop an Ace or other face card, in order to pull the "higher ranking", but not higher paying, hand. Maybe I've missed something and I just haven't figured out how the Autohold strategy works with this game? Or perhaps it truly is programmed to hold for the "highest and best hand", despite what the payout is or what it may do to the player in the meantime? Once in a while it hits the big hand it's trying to, but not enough to make it cost effective over the long run, at least in my book.

Perhaps this is just a case of my difference of strategies - the "perfect strategy" vs. "realistic expectations". My realistic expectations tell me to get as many bonus payouts as I can, so I can keep riding the game on the same money until it's ready to hit the Royal.  Or perhaps it's applying a straight Jacks or Better strategy to a Bonus Video Poker game, something I personally don't agree with.

It sure is easy, though, to be lulled into just hitting that Deal/Draw button
when you've been playing for a long session and are tired, bored, or distracted. Dangerously (and expensively) easy, at which point it becomes more like a slot game than video poker. I get lulled into it myself - click/click, click/click, click/click, click/click - then watch something go by that I should've changed the hold on, and get mad at myself for being too lazy to turn Autohold off. So there you have it - the 2 edges to the same sword.

Overall, though I hate it at times, I have to say Aces & Faces is definitely a game worth playing at Microgaming casinos which is why I play it, but my advice is to either not use Autohold, or to stay on your toes when you're using it, so you can change the holds that need to be changed.

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2004, c carley, all rights reserved.  No reproduction in any form allowed without express written permission from the author.

 

 

 

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