Video Poker Tips
Video poker is unique in that it offers players different prizes on the same game. This is controlled by the casino that’s running the video poker game and it can vary greatly, which as a result has an impact on your expected return when implementing the best strategy. The following guide of Video Poker Tips is aimed at helping you understand this strategy. Make sure you shop around for video poker games that offer the best odds. These are known as full pay tables. Finding these in live casinos will be difficult these days, although many can still be found online.
Use Your Money Wisely
Place the Max Bet
You must max bet, which is known as betting five coins when you’re playing video poker. The royal flush, or equivalent major prize, will pay out at a bonus rate if you hit it when betting max coins. This means that you’ll get a better return over time by including this in your video poker tips repertoire. If you can’t afford to bet max coins at the denomination you’re on, then drop back to a lower denomination and max bet at that level. Over the long run, you’ll be more profitable and can expect a better return. You must do this when playing video poker if you want to improve your chances as much as possible.
Set Goals & Budget
It’s always a good idea to have clear goals and a budget set for each video poker session. Many video poker tips suggest you should have a set amount of money to use for the sessions and a target in mind in respect to winnings. This will guide you when to walk away and finish for that particular session. If you don’t have a plan then quite often you’ll end up losing too much, or not walking away when you’re up. Having some clear goals will help you be more successful in the long run and make playing video poker more fun.
Watch Your Losses
Calculating your hourly loss rate is a good idea in video poker. This video poker tip will assist you in determining what your goal profit is and when to walk away in the session. To work out your loss rate simply multiply the house edge and the bet size and the hands you play per hour together. It should only be a few dollars, which is much smaller when compared to slots or other games. If you have played for 45 minutes and you’re up $100 or $200 then consider walking away. As you hourly loss rate would dictate, you’ll soon start heading downwards.
Use Proper Bankroll Management
Another video poker tip that applies with most gaming, you need to choose a game and denomination that suits your bankroll. You don’t want to be risking a huge chunk of your bankroll on every hand, as this just isn’t sustainable and will result usually in a quick loss. As you need to bet max coins in video poker, choose a denomination that gives you some room to move. You need to ride out the swings in order to choose the opportune time to walk away. Allow your bankroll to assist you in doing this, instead of fighting against it.
If you’re lucky enough to get a hand pay when playing video poker in a live casino generally it’s expected that you tip the video poker attendant. This is completely up to you, though, if you’ve had a horrible day and the jackpot is only allowing you to break even then you may not tip. If you’ve had a great day, consider giving up to 1% of the jackpot as a tip.
Don’t Drink & Play
Although it’s great fun to play your favorite video poker game and to have a few drinks while doing it, try to keep the amount you drink in check. Most video poker games require optimal implementation of strategy to ensure that you get the best possible odds. Being too heavily under the influence will have a negative impact on your ability to make the right decisions and be on top of all of the cards you’re dealt. The most important part of this video poker tip is that you may be more likely to go over your budget and limits, which is never a good idea.
Join a Players Club for Extra Rewards
Regardless of which game, you’re playing it’s always a good idea to join a casino player’s club. Sometimes it’s called the slot club. This club will track your play and give you comp points which can be redeemed for a number of things in the casino including bonus cash. You’ll also get access to bonuses and promotions via the player’s club so it will stretch your dollars further. Another benefit is that all your play is tracked which means if you do get a big win and the casino withholds tax, you can use your player statement to show all of your wins and losses when working out the difference with the tax man.
If you’re playing video poker in Las Vegas, remember that the best place to play is at the bar if you’re in it for a good time. The good thing about this video poker tip is that you’ll be comped free drinks at most casinos and some will even give you top shelf beverages and cocktails. If you’re after free drinks while you play, then this is by far the best place to play. Some casinos may require you to play a minimum of $1 or $2 per hand, however, others will comp you even when you’re betting a quarter each hand, we’re looking at you Hooters. Just remember to tip the bartender $1 per drink and to also not let the alcohol have a negative impact on your play too much.
Online Casino Bonuses
Many reputable online casinos offer you a bonus when you deposit to play video poker. Some people with a lot of times on their hand have actually calculated the odds of your return in respect to this bonus and how much bankroll you may part ways with before you achieve the bonus. You can determine this information with the payback percentage of the game you plan to play and the bonus clearing details.
Make sure you understand a bonus or promotion through an online casino fully before signing up. Some online casinos; those that have a less than shiny reputation, will have amazing bonuses and promotions, and it’s only when you read the fine print that you realize achieving the terms and conditions to receive that bonus is nearly impossible. This should be part of your important video poker tips. Do a little bit of research before signing up to these types of bonuses, and make sure you always research the online casino where you plan on playing. You can start by looking at our reviews of reputable online casinos.
Picking the Right Machine
You’ll be able to find many video poker games online and at live casinos. A very useful video poker tip to keep in mind is to make sure you thoroughly learn the game variant that you’re playing. Although they’re all collectively video poker games, they’re quite different and will all have different rules. You can’t implement the same strategy across all games because it won’t work and you’ll end up losing a lot of your hard earned cash. So make sure when you choose a game to play that you know the rules and how to implement the best possible strategy when playing.
At a Live Casino
When you’re playing in a live environment try to select a machine that’s clean and comfortable. Some machines are in very poor condition with the touch screen and buttons not functioning properly. Not following this video poker tip could cost you in a crunch moment in the game, so try to avoid these all together.
Unlike many other casino games, you’ll need to implement a strategy to do well in video poker. It’s not just a game based on luck, as skill is heavily involved. In some games, you can even be profitable in the long run if you implement the optimal strategy. Each game variant has different strategies involved and you can usually find a basic strategy to get you started before you move into the more complex optimal strategies.
If you’re a beginner to video poker, consider starting out with Jacks or Better. This is the easiest and simplest game to learn. On top of that, the basic strategy for this game is quite easy and you’ll be able to pick it up quickly. Many video poker variants have a similar gameplay to jacks or better, so if you nail this game you’ll be able to transfer your experience, skills, and knowledge to a range of other games.
For Experienced Players
For seasoned professionals and those wanting to extend their play, the best possible video poker game you can play is full pay deuces wild. This game is positive expectation, meaning that when you implement the perfect strategy you can theoretically achieve long term profit. Good luck finding this, though, as very few casinos offer a true full pay version anymore. Of course, implementing perfect strategy is quite difficult in this game and by even making just a few small mistakes the game will fall back into negative expectation territory.
Pick the Game Based on Pay Table
Sometimes you’ll come across video poker games with seemingly random numbers in front of their name, like 9 / 6 Jacks or Better. What these numbers represent are the payout rates for a full house and a flush. So for 9 / 6 the full house will be paid out 9 coins to each 1 wagered, and for the flush, you’ll receive 6 coins for each 1 wagered. This number indicates what kind of pay table the machine will have with 9 / 6 being considered full pay in the above example. Sometimes a third number will also be used to indicate another payout. This varies from game to game depending on which hands pay out overall.
If a game title features “or better” in the second half of its name, chances are it’s a jacks or better variant. Whatever number of card falls before the or better is the lowest possible pair that you can make in the game to be paid out. In jacks or better, you’ll win with a pair of jacks, albeit a modest amount, and you won’t win with a pair of tens. In tens or better, you would win with a pair of tens. So when you come across a game with a similar name to this it’s most likely a derivative and the name indicates the lowest qualifying winning hand.
Sometimes video poker will be placed in the same category as slots. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Slots are purely based on a luck and are programmed to retain a fixed percentage of the money wagered on them over time. This means you can never win at slots. On the other hand, video poker is based on luck and skill and you can win in the long run on some types of games. On others, you can often have winning sessions due to the tiny house edge that the casino has over you. It’s all about choosing when to finish up in a session. Next time you hear someone compare slots to video poker, you can remember this video poker tip and politely correct them.
Play Video Poker at Online Casinos
When you’re playing video poker online and come across games with progressive jackpots, tread carefully. Quite often these games will have extra cards placed in the virtual deck which allows you to hit the jackpot, or at least go for it. Unfortunately, this will decrease your chances of hitting other hands that will usually provide modest but dependable payouts in the game. Thus the house edge goes up making it harder for you to win. The odds of winning the progressive jackpot are astronomically high and although a million dollar pay day sounds good, as part of our video poker tips, we recommend playing a game without this. Good pay tables are becoming rarer and rare in live casinos, especially in Las Vegas on the strip. Consider playing online next time you feel the need for some video poker action. Online games will often have better odds and much more variety due to the low overheads these casinos have. On top of this, the bonuses and promotions will quite often be far better online than in a live casino. So make sure you add this to your video poker tips, and take advantage of these if you play online.
Stay Focused on Your Gameplay
It’s very easy to get caught up in the moment when you’re playing video poker and to go for the big hands based on a gut feeling. This isn’t a good idea. You should always make decisions in the game based on the odds and strategy you’re implementing, never your feelings. Although many people will try to tell you otherwise and will brag about the times they went for it and hit that royal, one thing is for certain; they forget very quickly and don’t tell you about all the other times they did that and lost. Remember these useful video poker tips, and play the odds, not feelings.
Don’t Chase Losses
In every form of gaming, it’s never a good idea to chase your losses and this is no different when it comes to video poker. A losing session is inevitable from time to time and the key is restricting how much you lose so that when you have a winning session it evens out. If you start chasing your losses aggressively you’ll simply blow this out of the water and hurt yourself financially. Many video poker tips mention that when you sit down to play just accept the fact that you’ll have a losing session from time to time. If you accept this, you won’t chase your losses.
Video poker is a purely solo game that’s played only in an effort to achieve certain hands. To be able to play well, though, you still need to have a good understanding of basic poker. If you have never played poker before, we suggest looking up the rules, getting a good understanding of the hand rankings, and reading our video poker tips before starting to play the game.
Use the Right Strategy
At the fundamental level, when you’re playing video poker you only have a single decision to make. This is which cards to keep and which cards to discard before drawing. This is where you can implement strategy and make decisions that impact how well you do profit or loss wise. It’s very important to remember this video poker tip when you’re playing. You can’t implement any other decisions that impact you positively. Bet sizing shouldn’t change, unless you increase or decrease denominations. You should always be betting maximum coins.
Basic, Intermediate, & Advanced
When you’re implementing strategy, consider first starting with a beginner strategy, then moving to intermediate, and the finally to optimal. It’s better to implement this video poker tip this way because if you start with optimal and make mistakes, those mistakes will cost you far more in respect to the house edge, and your pocket for that matter, than if you were using basic strategy. A mistake can often cost you 1 – 2% whereas the difference between basic and optimal strategy is fractions of a percent. To learn more about this, and other video poker strategies, visit VegasClick.
One of the best ways to learn strategy is to use a strategy list or strategy card. Instead of any complicated if and then procedures, a strategy list is a hierarchical order which you work your way down, or up, until you find what you hold. It will then tell you what to do based on this. You can find the lists mentioned in these video poker tips readily available online. You can either print them off, open them on your phone, or have them open in a second window or on a second monitor if you’re playing online.
Try for the Perfect Strategy
One of the most important tips for you, when you play video poker and are hoping to do well and implement the perfect strategy, is to minimize your distractions as much as possible. You need to be constantly concentrating when you’re playing this game, particularly if you’re playing at a high hand rate. If you’re playing online then turn off the music and don’t have another web browser open doing something else, unless you have a strategy guide on it for reference. If you’re playing in a live environment, try to choose a machine this’s secluded or far from other people and distractions.
Playing Multiple Hands
When you’re after more action when playing video poker, consider playing multiple hands at once. In these games, you get dealt the standard five cards. From these, you can then hold cards as in a normal game. When you hit draw you can be dealt more than one hand, up to fifty or a hundred hands, to see how many times you can win. Of course, you’ll have to place a wager for each extra hand you’re playing. Each hand is from an independent deck of cards with the cards you’ve already held being removed before your extra cards are dealt.
When you play multi-hand video poker remember that you’ll need a much larger bankroll to be able to play. You’ll need to make one wager for every single hand that you play so it can end up being $50 per hand very quickly. Keep this in mind and don’t play the multi-hand versions of the game if you only have a small bankroll.
Pay Tables & House Edge
When you’re first looking at a pay table it may seem quite confusing. Basically, each column represents the winnings you’ll receive for hitting hands. The first column lists winnings for a 1 coin bet, the second is a 2 coin bet, third is a 3 coin bet, fourth is a 4 coin bet and the far right column for a 5 coin bet. You should only focus on the 5 coin bet column as you should always bet max coins when playing video poker. On average, the house edge in video poker is 3%. This means that for every $100 wagered the house will retain $3 for themselves as revenue. This is quite low when compared to other games, particularly automated ones. Of course, that is only an average and you’ll be able to find games with far smaller house edges, such as full pay jacks or better and even positive expectation games such as full pay deuces wild. Like some other video poker tips, be wary, though, as the game involves skill and decision making and you’ll only be able to achieve these edges’ if you’re implementing a perfect strategy without making any mistakes.
If you come across a jacks or better machine with an 8 / 5 pay table, that is a flush is paid out at 5 coins and a full house at 8 coins, run in the opposite direction. These are the worst games for you to play and you’ll be giving up a full 2.35% to the casino that you’re playing in. As players, we must vote with our feet and avoid these pay tables. If we do, then the casinos will be forced to put the more favorable pay tables on the floor. If you’re playing online, then you should never even touch these pay tables. You won’t have to go far online to find full pay tables so make sure you only play on these machines.
Lower House Edge
On a full pay deuces wild game if you implement the perfect strategy you’ll be looking at a return of 0.77%. While this sounds great and it’s excellent that there’s finally a game that offers the player a chance to win, it will still take a long time to get a return and it will be modest at best if you break it down by how many hours you had to play. Remember that it’s only on a super long time line that the theoretical return equals the practical return. You’ll need to lose enough hands to cover the winnings you’ll get when you finally hit that royal flush. So just be wary of this before you quit your day job to take up video poker full time.
Getting Good Hands
The big hand in video poker is the royal flush. Sometimes you’ll be able to find machines with progressive jackpots for the royal. These are great and will improve your odds of winning even further if they grow to a large enough amount. The odds of hitting a royal flush are around 1 in 40,000. So you’ll need to be playing hands non-stop for 8 hours a day and for 8 days before you’re looking like being assured of hitting one. Once again, this is just the average, so you may sit down and get a royal with your first hand, or you may not hit one for 10 years.
A four of a kind is a nice little hand to hit, especially when you’re playing jacks or better. Generally speaking, if you play hands at a decent rate you’ll hit a four of a kind once every few hours. This will give your bankroll a bit of a boost. If you can hit a few four of a kind’s early in a session this will set you up nicely for the remainder of the time you spend playing.
Start with Video Poker Free Play
Before you jump onto a real money video poker game, make sure you play some practice hands first. Online you’ll be able to find hundreds of sites that offer free games and even some that teach you basic strategy and stop you from making errors so that you can learn as you play. Take advantage of these as they’ll help you to win more and lose less in the long run. It’s never a good idea to start playing a game wagering real money the first time. Our video poker tip is that if you’re playing jacks or better, or a similar variant, you should usually always keep a low pair if you don’t have any high cards. This is because your chances will be good in respect to drawing to two pairs or a three of a kind, or better of course. The only time you should really discard a low pair is when you have other major draws like a flush or straight flush.
Pick the Right Video Poker Variation
Although you have plenty of choices when it comes to video poker games and variations, you should try to stick to one or two games and play them well. Most players hone their skills on jacks or better games and deuces wild. If you stick to these two games and play perfect strategy with our video poker tips, then this will pay off for you in the long run.
Try to find machines that are linked and have a progressive jackpot for the royal flush. Remember that this jackpot will only be in play for you if you’re betting max coins. When you play on machines with progressive jackpots you’re increasing the odds in your favor even more, which we all know is a great thing in video poker because the odds are already great. Additionally, find more information on video poker house edge on the Wizard of Odds.
Jackpots are Your Friend
If you end up playing a machine with a progressive jackpot, try to sit down and play when the jackpot is high, not when it’s just restarted. With this video poker tip you’ll be more likely to win the jackpot when it’s high, and you’ll also win more money, which is what we’re all aiming for ultimately.
When you’re playing bonus poker you should look for pay tables that pay 10 coins for a 1 coin bet for the full house and 7 coins for the 1 coin bet for the full house. This way you’ll be getting better odds and will be more successful in the long run.
Specific Video Poker Tips
Jacks or Better Tips
If you’re playing jacks or better video poker then you’re better off holding kings, queens, or jacks when you have the option between them and an ace. This is because with those cards you’re more likely to get a straight because you’ll have more cards above and below these cards, which can assist you in making that hand.
One of the most important tips we can offer is to make sure you’re always focused when you play video poker. This means making sure you have held all the right cards and are discarding the right ones. It always pays to double check this. Don’t get caught up in the moment and accidentally discard the cards you want and keep the ones you don’t want. When you get dealt an amazing hand it’s easy to get carried away and do this. You would be surprised at how many people don’t follow this video poker tip and make this mistake, so make sure you concentrate and double check you have done exactly as you wanted to before you hit that draw button.
Deuces Wild Tip
When you’re playing deuces wild video poker, keep in mind that about 1 in every 5 hands you’ll be discarding all five cards and drawing an entirely new hand. This is normal as per optimal strategy. It may start to feel weird and that you’re doing the wrong thing, however, this video poker tip is the correct move and will pay off in the end.
A full pay deuces wild video poker game will pay out 9 coins per 1 coin bet for a straight flush and 5 coins per 1 coin bet for a four of a kind. So when you’re looking for this game, remember our video poker tips and make sure you’re playing a positive expectation version of the game.
Always Hold onto Deuces
If you’re playing deuces wild, you should always hold on to deuces no matter what. You won’t ever come across a situation where it’s a good idea to discard a deuce. This may seem like a simple video poker tip, but it happens all too often. When you achieve a flush with your first five cards, you shouldn’t break this in the hopes of hitting a straight flush. The risk versus reward ratio just isn’t worth it in this situation. You should break a flush to go for a royal flush though as the reward is certainly worth it in this instance.
Deuces wild is unique in the video poker world, along with some lesser known joker’s wild variations, in the fact you can get a five of a kind. This will happen when you get four deuces and any other card. Obviously, when you get this hand you would hold everything and win a nice little sum. Among our helpful video poker tips, we recommend you make sure to double check that you’ve held everything though and don’t click that draw button too quickly; many times a fortune can been lost in the moment by this.
Jokers Wild Tip
If you’re playing the jokers wild variant of video poker, then you should always try to use your wild to go for a straight flush. Useful video poker tips like this will land better payouts in the long run and is the right move according to optimal strategy. You’ll be able to find many games under the banner of jokers wild so make sure you know exactly which type of the game you’ll be playing. The best pay table for this machine will pay our 7 coins on a 1 coin bet for a full house and 5 coins on a 1 coin bet for a flush.
Go for the Royal Flush
If you have a Broadway straight with four cards of the same suit, such as 10, jack, queen, king all of diamonds and then the ace of spades, you should discard the ace of spades and go for the royal flush. Even though you have a made hand you’ll usually only win 20 coins with it. If you do draw the ace of diamonds, you’ll be paid out at 4000 coins. If you do the math on this video poker tip you’ll see it’s always worth it to go for the royal flush in this situation.
Get Rid of the Kicker
Rounding up our video poker tips, it’s kind of obvious but we will say it anyway; don’t hold on to a kicker in video poker. You won’t have any reason to hold onto a kicker unless you’re going for a specific four of a kind in bonus poker, and even then it’s rarely the right move. It might be a habit to keep a kicker like an ace, particularly if you play Texas hold’em from time to time, but in video poker, you should never do it. It’s all about trying to improve the hand you have to make it strong in itself so you’re paid out even more. If you don’t know what a kicker is, make sure to read our video poker terms page.
Random Number Generator
Video poker machines, whether online or in a live casino, operate using a complex computer program known as a random number generator. These are designed to produce completely random results that are independent every single time. This means you can’t find a hot or cold machine no matter how hard you try, even with the best video poker tips. The machines and games online can’t be set up to win at the flick of a switch so if you go on swings this is just because of the randomness of the program, not any evil or planned intervention.
Video poker games don’t become due for results when certain things haven’t happened for a while. If you don’t hit a four of a kind for three hours, that’s unfortunate, but it certainly doesn’t mean one will come along in the next few hands. It’s the same with a machine that hasn’t had a royal flush for a long time. It’s all random, and the outcomes for a particular event have the same associated chance of happening every single time, no matter what’s happened in the past.
You may be able to find video poker machines that offer a double up option when you win. It’s really up to you whether you take this option or not. If you’re looking for a big win in a short space of time, then you may want to take it. If you’re looking to grind away over a long period of time, then pass it up. Our best video poker tip for this situation is that it’s really up to you at the end of the day. However, finding a machine with this option could add that extra spice to the game for you.
Use the Buttons
To finish off our video poker tips, we recommend to use the buttons instead of the touchscreen when you’re playing in a live environment. Quite often the touch screen won’t be calibrated correctly and you may end up hitting a button or somewhere on the screen that you didn’t mean to. If you use the buttons then you won’t experience this kind of issue.
Welcome to Playing Video Poker
If you start playing video poker, then welcome to the light side. So often the game is overlooked by other gamblers who assume it’s just like slots carrying equally bad payout rates. However, as you now know, the game offers some of the best odds you’ll find in a casino. Most importantly, you should use our helpful video poker tips, and of course skill when you play. So enjoy it, learn to be the best video poker player you can be, and we wish you happy royal hunting.