4 Major Differences Between Slot Machines and Video Poker

By in Video Poker on
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Video Poker and Slot Machines With a vs Logo in Between

If you’ve been exposed to the casino industry or are a gambling enthusiast, then it’s no surprise for you to hear that slot machines and video poker are the single most popular forms of video-based gaming and gambling.

Oftentimes, people that don’t want to think too hard when playing table games, or they might be intimidated by the level of strategy necessary for table games and will often turn to the simplicity of slot machines.

Likewise, for people that love strategy or are put off by the simplicity of slot machines, video poker is a viable alternative. People can also turn to video poker after taking a consistent beating time and time again playing the slots.

With that being said, there are many differences worth pointing out that make both video poker and slot machines separately unique. Here are 4 major differences between slot machines and video poker.

1- Video Poker Requires More Strategy Than Slot Machines

One of the major and more obvious reasons that video poker is different from slot machines is the fact that video poker requires more strategy. Video Poker is something that has grown in popularity exponentially in countries all around the world and brings a virtual way to enjoy many popular card games that have been enjoyed inside casinos and poker rooms around the world.

When video poker was introduced in the 1970s and was still struggling for acceptance, the video poker machines were usually referred to as “poker slots.” Right out of the gate, people could recognize how much slot machines and poker had in common. They were both easy to use and required no interaction with a dealer or other players.

Today, after several decades passing since the birth of video poker, the differences between video poker and slot machines have become more and more apparent.

While both video poker and slot machines are popular today, video poker adds something slot machines don’t have, and that’s an element of skill. So we have a game of skill versus a game of chance. In video poker, players have decisions to make that will affect the outcome.

The cards are required to be dealt from a randomly shuffled deck of usually 52 cards, and to a lot of people’s surprise, due to the possible combinations being known by more advanced players, players can try to calculate if and when a certain combination will be played by the machine.

When someone plays at a slot machine, the only real strategy necessary is money management while playing, as well as picking a slot machine that has better odds than others. The only other skill necessary is hitting the spin button.

Video poker is way more complex and requires serious experience in understanding probability. Patience and discipline are also needed on a much larger scale while playing both traditional and video poker Above all else, a poker player is disciplined in not only the ability to wait for good hands, but also the ability to play (in this case, a virtual sense) the winning hand at the right time.

4 Aces in Video Poker

The difference between skill and luck becomes massive over time. Because you have no influence on what happens at the slot machines, you’re at the mercy of those odds, and because those odds only really balance out over long periods of time, you’re certain to lose money in the long run unless you get really lucky (and that doesn’t happen very often).

However, with a solid video poker strategy and a lot of practice putting that strategy into action and learning from your mistakes, you’ll have a reasonable chance of doing well and cutting down the house edge to practically nothing. In fact, there are a handful of video poker games where, with the right strategy, you can actually knock the house edge into the negatives, but all this means is that over time you will make slightly more money than you lose, and that time period required to make your money might be very long, so you need to be ready to be in it for the long haul.

2- Video Poker Offers Better Odds but Requires Strategy

For some people, comparing video poker and slot machines and differentiating which one is better than the other can be a somewhat difficult task, especially since both are at the top of the list as the best casino games a person can play around the world.

Slot machines have been a serious hit ever since the first modern-day slot machine came into existence in 1894, invented by a man named Charles Fey. Charles Fey and his gambling machine set the precedent for all of the electronic games you see in casinos today, video poker included.

If you’re planning on going to a casino for the first time, and maybe you’re planning to play on a budget and are curious about which virtual game has better odds, then hopefully you’ll find this tidbit of information helpful—video poker almost always has better odds, but you need a solid video poker strategy to take advantage of those odds.

If we are wanting to understand which game has better odds, the first thing we’ll want to look at is the differences in odds between both slot machines and video poker. When it comes to understanding the odds of different video poker and slot machines, it really depends on the specific machine that you’re playing.

3- Video Poker Odds and Slot Odds Can Be Massively Different

Video Poker has many different variations of virtual poker with different odds. When you get into conversations about poker odds, it’s inevitable that you will hear of a term called “house edge.” The house edge is a term used to define the advantage that the casino has over the player in each game. Some games have a higher house edge than other games.

In contrast to other popular casino games, slot machines included, you’ll find that the house edge in video poker is pretty low, if not into the negatives with the right strategy. So with that being said, that provides the potential opportunity for players to win more than they would at slot machines.

Video poker machines may not offer the opportunity to get rich, but you can rest assured that they will usually offer better odds than slot machines.

Not only does video poker offer better odds to the player, but the player also has a much higher chance of winning compared to playing the slot machines.

4- Slot Machines Are More Fun & Relaxing To Play

Like mentioned previously, playing video poker requires a heck of a lot more strategy than when playing slot machines. Slot machines can be a lot more relaxing for people who aren’t too attached to strategy or care about getting the better odds that can be available when playing video poker.

For the sake of illustrating the point on a deeper level, I will walk you through the process of playing both slot machines and video poker.

When playing slot machines, the first step is to select your bet size, and once that’s decided, you simply spin the reels. Sometimes after you spin the reel, you can trigger a bonus round or free spins. While many slot machines can have more complex versions of how this all works, that’s pretty much all there is to it when you boil down what you’re actually doing—there’s no skill involved.

When it comes to video poker, the process is a lot more elaborate. Once you walk up to the video poker machines, the first thing a player will need to do is select their bet size. Once the bet size is picked, the player will receive a hand. Once the hand is dealt, the player will then need to take some time to think critically and figure out how that hand needs to be played.

This step of deciding how to play your hand is one where people have spent countless hours trying to perfect the understanding of the whole poker odds concept that I mentioned earlier. This step puts a huge gap in between the level of thought required in slot machines, where generally there’s no thought at all.

If you want to have a more relaxing virtual playing experience in the casino, slot machines are without a doubt the easiest going game of the two to choose between.


Do you prefer playing video poker, or do you like to play slot machines? Let me know in the comments.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

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