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Video poker is one of those games that experienced gamblers usually feel like they have a pretty good handle on. There are a lot of different games out there, but the process for learning each one is pretty simple: you get a handle on the basic strategy, learn what combinations of cards you should hold, and then get as close to the optimal strategy as possible on machines that use the best pay tables.

But Ultimate X Poker is an attempt to add a little bit of complexity and excitement to this well-worn game. In this version of video poker, each machine gives you the opportunity to pay for the chance to get multipliers on your winnings. This feature has the potential to turn winning streaks into huge cashes for lucky players, while also doing just enough to change the math to make these games very different than the basic machines they are based on.

Nine Games, One Theme

Ultimate X Poker was created by IGT, and utilizes a format that’s very similar to their popular Triple Play Draw Poker machines. The electronic game actually offers nine different forms of video poker, each of which can be played in standard or Ultimate X modes.

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Ultimate X Poker

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The game selection will be familiar to any casino veteran, as these are some of the biggest titles in the video poker industry. Each of the following can be jumped into from the main menu:

  • Jacks or Better
  • Bonus Poker
  • Bonus Deluxe
  • Double Bonus
  • Double Double Bonus
  • Triple Double Bonus
  • Deuces Wild
  • Deuces Wild Bonus
  • Joker Poker

When you first jump into any of these games, you’ll see a familiar interface. Each game is designed to be played in a three-hand multihand format, where the player is initially dealt five cards, and then must choose how many of them to hold. Once the player chooses to draw more cards, the held cards will appear in all three hands. However, the newly drawn replacements will be independently determined for each of the three hands, meaning you can (and often will) get different results on each.

Most of the features are standard for these types of games. You can change the speed of the animations to move through hands more quickly or at a slower pace, and you can use a button to change your bet size. You can also quickly use the “more games” button to move to any of the other games contained in the machine, and the pay table is never more than a click away.

Multipliers Can Create Huge Wins

The one difference between this and a standard video poker machine is the presence of the Ultimate X bonus. By default, the feature is activated, though you have the option of taking it off by clicking the “bonus” button at any time. When this feature is not being used, these machines work exactly like a normal machine, with no surprises.

If you want to play Ultimate X, however, you’ll have to pay double your normal bet. If you’re in this mode and you make a winning hand, that hand will then have a multiplier on any winnings on the following deal. The size of these multipliers depend on the game you are playing and the quality of the hand that you made. For instance, in Jacks or Better, the multipliers work as follows:

  • Pair of Jacks or Better: 2x
  • Two Pair: 3x
  • Three of a Kind: 4x
  • Straight: 7x
  • Flush: 11x
  • Full House: 12x
  • Four of a Kind or Better: 2x

Remember that these multipliers come on the following hand, not the one you earn them on. They also carry over even if you don’t choose to play the added bet on the following hand (though you won’t earn any further multipliers unless you go back to paying for the feature).

Strategy Can Be Complex

One of the interesting features of this game is how the multipliers can actually impact your strategy when you are deciding which hands to keep. It is rare, but strategy guides for these games note that there are some small deviations that players should make when the average multipliers get beyond a certain point. It’s enough to keep players on their toes at all times while they play.

However, there is one simple strategy tip that’s easy to remember. Recall that we said that your bonuses carry over to your next spin, regardless of whether you take the Ultimate X feature on that next play. This means that when you’re ready to wind down your sessions, you should always play your final spin without paying the extra coins for the multiplying feature. The logic is simple: there’s no point paying twice the price for that final spin when you won’t be using the fruits of your efforts anyway. Of course, you could always play until you fail to get any wins when you’re about ready to quit, then stop right there – but we like the idea of playing your final hand at half price.

And if you’re at a live resort and walk by a bank of these machines, it’s always worth taking a look to see if anyone has left a machine with multiples in play. It’s rare, but if that’s the case, you should clearly jump in and play one spin without paying for the Ultimate X feature. You’re basically getting to play a hand of standard video poker with a multiplier on your winnings – that’s more than enough to give you an enormous edge for that one play!

A Great Change of Pace

If you enjoy playing video poker, but have started to find the game a bit stale, then Ultimate X Poker might be exactly what you’ve been looking for. The rules are set up to keep the house edge very close to the original games (though with a lot more variance), while still offering up a new strategic challenge and the potential for plenty of added excitement. If you like any of the games contained in this machine, we definitely think you’ll enjoy checking out this “enhanced” version of these classic titles.

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