How Is Video Poker Still Popular With Casinos Today?

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Video Poker in Casinos

Video poker certainly isn’t the most modern of casino games today. In fact, it hasn’t changed much since being introduced onto casino floors in the mid-1970s.

When you see video poker machines next to slots, it feels like comparing the original Super Mario Brothers to Call of Duty: Warzone. Video poker has a retro look that doesn’t fit with the feature-laden slot machines today.

It’s almost puzzling to ponder how video poker still finds a place on gaming floors today—but here it is. The following 7 points explain why video poker is still widely available in land-based and online casinos.

1 – It Challenges Players

Video poker may look harmless at first glance. However, it’s actually one of the most-challenging games in the casino.

Every decision impacts the return to player (RTP) to some degree. By using perfect strategy, you can look forward to the highest RTP for the variation that you’re playing.

Of course, attaining the max payout percentage is easier said than done. A simple mistake here or there could cost you a large payout that lowers the overall RTP.

Some gamblers may shy away from challenges like these. They’d rather sit back, relax, and spin the slots reels over and over again.

Other players, however, appreciate being tested like this. They want to learn strategy and be rewarded when they properly implement it.

2 – Video Poker Can Offer Really High RTP

Video poker is available in many different variations. Each variation also comes with different pay tables. If your main goal is to win money with video poker, then you’ll definitely want to look for the highest-paying games.

Here are some video poker variations with the highest RTP:

  • Deuces Wild – 100.76% RTP
  • Joker Wild (Kings or Better) – 100.65%
  • Double Bonus – 100.17%
  • Loose Deuces Wild – 100.15%
  • Double Bonus Double Jackpot – 100.09%
  • Double Double Bonus – 100.07%
  • Super Aces – 99.94%
  • Triple Deuces Wild – 99.92%
  • Illinois Deuces – 99.91%
  • Not So Ugly Deuces (NUSD) – 99.73%

The list above represents the full-pay versions of their respective games. Full pay means the best pay table for any given variation. With Jacks or Better, for example, the 9/6 version (99.54% RTP) is better than the 9/5 version (98.45%).

Given the payback discrepancies from one pay table to next, you definitely want to know the exact version you’re dealing with. This way, you can always choose the best pay tables for the games you enjoy.

3 – It’s Easy to Play

Video poker might feature difficult strategy, but it also offers simplistic gameplay. You don’t have to be a professional gambler to figure out how this game works right away. Even as a novice, you can quickly jump on a machine and begin playing real money video poker.

All you need to do to start playing is hit the Deal button. From here, you select which cards you want to hold and choose the Draw button to replace all non-held cards. Your hand will be completed afterward, and you may receive a prize based on your hand.

Video Poker

Of course, you should look over the betting options and select your desired wager too. Most video poker games allow you to risk between one and five coins per hand. If you’re playing a quarter game, for instance, then the betting range would run from $0.25 to $1.25.

Some machines also feature an option that lets you change the game speed. This option is helpful when you want to play at a faster or slower rate.

Even when you start diving into the betting and gameplay options, though, video poker is quite easy to figure out.

4 – Video Poker Features Big Payouts

Large payouts can make any casino game exciting. Video poker certainly has these big prizes, including a royal flush that pays 4,000 coins. When risking five quarters per hand, you can look forward to a $1,000 payout with his hand.

Some variations also feature other large payouts. Double Double Bonus, for example, delivers additional notable prizes for certain four-of-a-kind hands.

Here’s a look at the Double Double Bonus pay table:

Coins/Hand 1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1,000 4,000
Straight flush 50 100 300 400 500
Four aces + 2-4 400 800 1,200 1,600 2,000
Four 2-4 & A-4 160 320 480 640 800
Four aces & 5-K 160 320 480 640 800
Four 2-4 & 5-K 80 160 240 320 400
Four 5-K 50 100 150 200 250
Full house 10 20 30 40 50
Flush 6 12 18 24 30
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
Three of a kind 3 6 9 12 15
Two pairs 1 2 3 4 5
Jacks or better 1 2 3 4 5


This game has a standard 4,000-coin top payout for a royal flush. Where it differs from other games, though, is its payouts for the various four-of-a-kind hands.

You can win as much as 2,000 coins (on a 5-coin bet) with four 2’s through 4’s plus an A-4 kicker. Compare this to Jacks or Better, which only offers 125 coins for any four-of-a-kind (5-coin wager).

Double Double Bonus isn’t the only game that provides special payouts like this. Plenty of other video poker games also deliver additional big payouts and even wildcards in some cases (e.g. Deuces Wild).

5 – You Can Play By Yourself

As a new gambler, you may find land-casinos to be intimidating environments. That said, you probably won’t head straight for a table game like blackjack or craps.

Instead, you want to get your feet wet by playing casino game by yourself. Video poker is the perfect fix for this situation.

You can find an open machine and begin playing immediately. As covered before, this game isn’t hard to get started with either.

Of course, you don’t have to be new to the casino just to enjoy the solo aspect of video poker. You might just prefer to gamble alone amid the bright lights of the casino.

Assuming you don’t have time to make it to a land-based establishment, you can always play online video poker. The latter is readily available on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

6 – Video Poker Offers the Same Loyalty Rewards as Slots

Casinos give out rewards differently depending upon which game you’re playing. They’ll offer higher rewards for a slot machine versus blackjack, for example, because it has lower RTP.

Video poker presents an interesting proposition, though, when it comes to loyalty perks. Depending upon the variation, it can pay as much or more than blackjack. However, it still provides the same comp rate as when you’re playing slots.

Many casinos today offer a 0.1% comp rate for both slots and video poker. This means that you’ll receive $1 worth of rewards for every $1,000 that you wager on either game.

Given that video poker features much higher payback, though, you’re getting a better deal when it comes to VIP rewards.

Here’s a comparison on how much you’ll win with a video poker game versus a slot machine when accounting for RTP and loyalty benefits:

Slot Machines

  • You play a slot with 96% RTP.
  • You wager $10,000 total.
  • 10,000 x 0.96 = $9,600 in theoretical winnings
  • Comp rate is 0.1%.
  • 10,000 x 0.001 = $10 in comps
  • 9,600 + 10 = $9,610 in overall earnings

Video Poker

  • You play 9/6 Jacks or Better (99.54% RTP).
  • You wager $10,000 total.
  • 10,000 x 0.9954 = $9,954 in theoretical winnings
  • Comp rate is 0.1%.
  • 10,000 x 0.001 = $10 in comps
  • 9,954 + 10 = $9,964 in overall earnings

7 – Unique Variations Exist

Video poker hasn’t remained completely stagnant since entering casinos in the 1970’s. There are many different video poker variants to choose from, all with different gameplay and strategies that come with each one. IGT, the largest developer of video poker machines, has created some interesting variations.

Super Triple Play, for example, allows you to activate a bonus by wagering a sixth coin per hand. This bonus bet unlocks larger payouts for full houses and four-of-a-kinds.

Casino Games

Multi-Strike Poker is another unique IGT video poker machine. It sees you move up levels after winning hands. Each level features a win multiplier, with Level 4 offering an 8x multiplier.

Pick a Pair is one more intriguing game that differs from the norm. It sees you choose one of two cards at the beginning of a round.

The chosen card gets added to your hand, while the other card disappears. Therefore, you only get to change one card in your entire hand. The good news, though, is that you only need a pair of 9’s or better to score a payout.

Will Video Poker Ever Disappear From Casinos?

Video poker still manages to earn a spot on gaming floors for valid reasons. That said, it doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.

But will there ever be a day when video poker is completely retired from casinos? I believe that video poker will always exist in some form into the foreseeable future.

It provides the strategy, RTP, and challenges that skilled gamblers enjoy. It also has a nostalgic effect among those who’ve been gambling since the 70’s and 80’s.

The possibility does exist, though, that video poker might go the way of vintage slot machines, Faro, and other retired games.

Within the next few decades, those who have grown up gambling on video poker machines will largely be too old to visit casinos. At this point, the market will rely on players who are in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s now.

The same age ranges aren’t overly keen on video poker. That said, it’s possible that these machines could disappear from gambling establishments in the future.

For now, though, things are still going alright for video poker. It will probably retain a prominent spot in casinos for at least two or three more decades.

Conclusion

Video poker is past its heyday, when gamblers used to fill machines in search of royal flushes and great comps. However, it still manages to find space in casinos thanks to the 7 reasons covered here.

Many gamblers appreciate using their skill to enjoy some of gaming’s highest payout percentages. They can also hope for royal flushes, straight flushes, and four-of-a-kinds along the way.

Video poker delivers the same comps as slot machines too—only with much better RTP. As an added bonus, it doesn’t take much thought to get started with this game.

Of course, video poker doesn’t have the technology nor features that slots do. It may one day vanish from the gaming scene for these reasons. For now, though, it appears to be going strong and should still keep drawing gamblers.

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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