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by Dunbar

Dunbar is a professional gambler with a strong mathematical background and a Ph. D. in biophysics. In 2005 he created his acclaimed software Dunbar's Risk Analyzer for Video Poker 1.0, which enables video poker players to assess risks and bankroll requirements for short- and long-term trips. Now Dunbar's Risk Analyzer for Video Poker 2.0 is available for about $20 from any of these fine establishments:,, and


If you have ever planned a trip to a casino to play video poker, you have probably asked yourself this question: "How much bankroll should I bring?" The reason is obvious: you don't want to run out of money during the trip, and you don't necessarily want to carry extra cash with you (because bringing, say, a $1000 bankroll that you will most likely not need has its own risks).

How much bankroll you need depends on many factors, including game choice, bet size, how long you plan to play, how fast you play, how well you play the game's correct strategy, cashback, and your risk tolerance. Let's look at how game choice affects a video poker player's bankroll needs.


Meet "Bob." He's traveling to Las Vegas for a four-day trip and planning to play video poker four hours per day. So how much bankroll does he need if he wants to play 25˘ Jacks or Better ("JOB") for a total of 16 hours, assuming he plays the basic playing strategy accurately at a rate of 500 hands/hour? Would $700 be enough? How about $1000 or perhaps $6000?

Actually, we don't have enough information yet to determine how much bankroll he should bring with him. We need to know which "kind" of 25˘ JOB he plans to play. For example, is Bob going to play the full pay 9/6 JOB or a short-pay table, such as 8/5 JOB? Is he going to play a single-play machine or multi-line machine? Is he going to play a "traditional" five-coin machine or one of the off-shoot versions like Spin Poker or the six-coin-per-hand Super Times Pay? Depending on the choice, a $700 bankroll could be enough. With a different choice, $6000 might not be enough.

Let's say Bob's going to play a single-line, 25˘-denomination, 9/6 JOB single-line with five-coins bet per hand. If he brings a $700 bankroll, he'll have a respectable 2% ROR. ("ROR" stands for ‘risk of ruin', which is the chance of going broke.) Would $700 be enough if he played 8/5 JOB instead of 9/6 JOB? Not really-his ROR with 8/5 JOB would increase from 2% to 14%. If Bob wants his ROR to be no more than 2% while playing the short-pay 8/5 JOB, his bankroll should be $900 instead of $700. That's not surprising, since his average result playing 16 hours of 8/5 JOB will be about $200 worse than playing 9/6 JOB.


What if Bob thinks single-line is boring, and he decides to play a 10-line 9/6 JOB? Then he'd better...

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