Video poker isn’t as popular as slot machines, but when it comes to machine-based gambling it offers many advantages over slots. When you know how to find the right video poker machines, and play using the right strategy, you can play with a much lower house edge than the slot machines offer.
Use this seven-step checklist for playing great video poker to learn the strategies and tactics that the pros use. When you follow this checklist you’re always going to play on the best video poker machines with the lowest house edge.
1 – Master the Right Machine
I could go into a long-winded explanation of why some video poker machines are better than others, but instead of wasting your time, I’m going to cut right to the chase. The two types of video poker machines you need to know how to play are Deuces Wild and Jacks or Better.
If you learn how to play these two video poker variations and learn which pay tables are the best and which ones to avoid, you’re going to be able to find good games and play them well. This means you’re going to be playing video poker with a house edge of less than a half percent, which makes your bankroll last longer and gives you a good chance to win.
You can find many different video poker variations, and each variation usually has several different pay tables. All of these combinations create a different house edge, and it can be quite confusing when you’re trying to figure out the best games and pay tables.
Spend some time learning about Deuces Wild and Jacks or Better before you try to learn about other video poker variations. This way you only need to know about two pay tables and learn two strategies. You can learn more about the importance of video poker strategy in the next section.
2 – Master the Right Strategy
Once you learn about the best pay tables available for Deuces Wild and Jacks or Better video poker, the next key is to use the proper strategy when you play. When you use the proper strategy it makes the house edge as low as you can get it. It also makes the pay back percentage as high as possible.
Every possible hand for both Deuces Wild and Jacks or Better has been analyzed using computer programs. These computer programs compare the amount you win for completing paying hands with the possibility of completing these hands.
The computer program shows what the best play is every time. This is a mathematical fact and doesn’t include any guesswork.
The good news is that you don’t have to be a computer programmer to learn what the best strategies are. You just have to use the results the software spit out. You can find these on a Deuces Wild Strategy card or a Jacks or Better strategy card. You can find out more by following the link I gave you in the opening section of this page.
3 – Max Coins or Don’t Play
One of the biggest mistakes I see video poker players make is not betting the maximum number of coins. Almost every video poker machine is designed so you can bet from one to five coins. You need to always bet five coins.
The reason why it’s important to always bet five coins is because you receive a bonus pay out when you land a natural royal flush. You don’t get a royal flush often, but the extra bonus you get when you hit one helps keep the house edge low.
Playing Jacks or Better or Deuces Wild without playing five coins makes the house edge so high that you’re better off playing baccarat or craps in most cases.
If you don’t want to bet the amount a five coin wager requires, find a machine with a lower per coin value. Instead of playing on a $1 machine, look for a quarter machine or a nickel machine. You might have to play online if you want to play a nickel machine.
4 – Using Online Video Poker Bonuses
One strategy that you can use when you play video poker is to play online. It’s easier to find Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild with the right pay tables when you play online, and some online casinos give you a bonus when you make a deposit to play video poker.
When you get a video poker bonus you have to play a certain amount of hands before you can make a withdrawal, but it’s still worth getting a bonus most of the time.
The number of hands depends on the size of your bonus and the amount you bet every hand.
The comps that casinos pay for video poker machine are small. In fact, they’ve gotten so small that some players wonder if they’re even worth it.
The short answer is that yes, comps are still worth it when you play video poker. Even if they’re small, earning a free meal or entry into a special event or tournament is always better than getting nothing.
The amount that casinos pay out in comps varies from casino to casino and program to program, but you’re not going to earn enough to overcome the house edge. In other words, if you add the pay back percentage of the video poker machine to the percentage you get back in comps it’s not going to reach 100%.
One common belief is that the average comp program pays out .1% of the money you risk. .1% is one-tenth of one percent. Here are some numbers that show how much or little this is.
If you bet $5 per hand and play 300 hands every hour, you risk $1,500. .1% of $1,500 is $1.50. If you play 10 hours you earn $15 in comps. Is this great? No, it’s not great, but it’s enough to pay for a meal at the buffet in most places.
6 – Average Number of Hands per Hour
At the end of the day the fact is that when you play video poker you’re fighting a house edge that you can’t beat. This means that you’re going to lose money in the long run, even if you get lucky and win some of your playing sessions.
The reason why it’s important to understand this is because it means that the more you risk the more you lose.
Even with a house edge as low as .25% you still lose. If you use a house edge of .25% with the example listed in the last section, you lose $3.75 every hour on average.
If you get comps back at .1% and use this to offset your losses, you’re still losing $2.25 every hour you play. Your actual wins and losses are going to vary, but the long term average is going to be a loss.
This means that if you risk less you lose less. The main way to do this is to play fewer hands every hour. Keep this in mind the next time you’re playing video poker if you want to make your bankroll stretch.
7 – Learn a New Machine
After you’ve mastered Deuces Wild and Jacks or Better video poker you can start looking for new video poker variations to play. Look for machines that are readily available where you play and learn about the house edge and best pay tables.
One of the machines that I like that has a low house edge and a simple strategy is Pick’Em Poker. You can also investigate one of the bonus poker variations. Most video poker variations are based on a form of five card draw, so they’re all easy to play.
But remember that just because a machine is easy to play doesn’t mean it offers the same opportunity to win. It also doesn’t mean you can use the same strategy that you use for other video poker machines.
Playing great video poker is all about finding the right video poker game using the right strategy. Once you learn how to do this, you can always play video poker with a low house edge and a good chance to walk away from the machine as a winner.
When you follow the video poker strategies on this page, you can play longer on the same bankroll, earn comps every time you play, and use online bonuses to make your bankroll even bigger. Start using these seven video poker strategies today.
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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