Video poker is widely regarded as one of the most-favorable casino games in terms of odds. Many variations feature less than a 1% house edge.
Therefore, you might automatically assume that video poker gives you a much stronger chance of winning money than, say, Caribbean stud. The latter is one of the least-favorable games when it comes to your chances of winning.
Caribbean stud carries a 5.22% house edge even when you use perfect strategy. This high house advantage ranks right near American roulette (5.26%), which is also considered one of the worst games as far as odds go.
However, You might be interested to know that you stand to lose far more money with Caribbean stud and video poker. I’ll explain more on both games below along with why Caribbean stud is actually the better deal.
Video Poker Has Higher RTP
The reason why video poker has such a favorable reputation is due to its high return to player (RTP). 9/6 Jacks or Better—one of the most common video poker games—features 99.54% RTP (0.46% house edge).
Only the best blackjack games and craps with odds bets can compare to this RTP. Amazingly, you can find video poker variations that pay even more than this.
Here are payout percentages for some of the highest-paying video poker games:
Deuces Wild – 100.76% RTP
Joker Wild (Kings or Better) – 100.65%
Double Bonus – 100.17%
Double Double Bonus – 100.07%
One Eyed Jacks – 99.98%
Super Aces – 99.94%
Triple Deuces Wild – 99.92%
Illinois Deuces – 99.91%
Not So Ugly Deuces (NUSD) – 99.73%
9/6 Jacks or Better – 99.54%
8/5 Bonus Poker – 99.17%
You can see that some games even boast over 100% payback. Video poker is the one exception when casinos offer a game that you can beat without card counting or another advantage gambling method.
Of course, you must use perfect strategy to achieve the top RTP on that particular game. You can employ various methods to improve your skills and become an expert player.
Video poker strategy charts are available for some of the most-common games, such as Bonus Poker, Jacks or Better, and Deuces Wild. These charts show what hands/cards you should keep in each situation.
If you can’t find a chart for the game that you’re interested in, you can always use a video poker trainer. A trainer is a program that points out correct and incorrect moves as you play. The idea is that you’ll eventually overcome your mistakes and play perfectly.
Free video poker trainers exist for common games. You can also purchase trainers for prices ranging from $40 to $60. The latter allow you to make your own pay tables and practice a larger variety of games.
Caribbean Stud Has a Slower Play Rate
As mentioned before, Caribbean stud’s house edge is quite high. You have to play perfectly just to achieve an optimal 5.22% house advantage.
Therefore, Caribbean stud looks terrible on the surface compared to video poker. But it does have one key advantage—a slower play rate.
The average Caribbean stud table only sees 40 to 50 hands per hour. This means that even though you’re facing a much higher house edge, you’re also seeing far fewer hands.
You always hope to win money, no matter what casino game you’re playing. But in the end, you’re playing negative-expectation games.
This means that you’re probably going to lose money if you continue playing hands. Assuming luck doesn’t go your way, you’re better off seeing fewer decisions in each round.
Video poker presents a stark contrast regarding the number of hands per hour. If you play at a normal speed, you’ll probably log between 500 and 600 hands every hour.
This rapid play rate won’t hit you as hard if you’re playing Caribbean stud for 500 rounds. However, it will gradually eat away at your bankroll.
Comparison Between Land Based Video Poker & Caribbean Stud
You can see that Caribbean stud and video poker move at much different speeds. But how exactly does this impact your theoretical losses?
Here’s an example on how much you stand to lose in land-based Caribbean stud per hour:
You’re facing a 5.22% house edge.
You bet $5 per hand.
You play 40 hands per hour.
40 x 5 x 0.0522 = $10.44 in hourly losses
Here’s an example on your theoretical losses with video poker:
You’re facing a 0.46% house edge.
You play a multi-line game that allows up to five hands per round.
You bet $1.25 (five coins) on four hands ($5 total).
You play 500 hands per hour.
500 x 5 x 0.0046 = $11.50 in hourly losses
You can see that Caribbean stud is slightly less expensive to play when the bet sizes per round are equal. It moves at a slower pace and doesn’t expose you to the house edge as much.
Of course, video poker offers you as much stronger chance to win on a per-dollar basis. But it also encourages you to play quicker due to its fast nature.
You can always take more time in between decisions and frequent breaks to slow the game down. But you’ll also find it unnatural to force yourself to play slower.
Online Gaming Changes Everything
Everything that I’ve discussed up to this point involves playing Caribbean stud in land-bases casinos. A lot changes, though, if you play at online casinos.
The biggest reason why video poker plays faster than land-based stud comes down to two reasons:
The software deals cards electronically within a split second.
You’re the only person at the virtual video poker table.
Land-based Caribbean stud requires a human dealer to physically shuffle, deal cards, collect losing wagers, and pay out winning bets. While dealers are typically fast at their jobs, they still need time to complete all of these actions.
The dealer’s work, combined with players making decisions, is what makes stud tables play slow. If seven six other players are at your table, you’ll probably only see 35-40 hands per hour.
Much like a video poker machine, online Caribbean stud is a different matter. It also uses a virtual dealer that handles the dealing and other tasks in a split second.
Internet stud moves just as fast as a video poker game. You can easily log 500 hands or more per hour when playing at a decent speed.
That said, online Caribbean stud is extremely dangerous to your bankroll. Its fast play encourages you to log far more hands—and at a 5.22% house edge or higher!
Of course, you may still consider the internet version for jackpot purposes. After all, some online Caribbean stud jackpots are worth over $250,000. But if you’re worried about bankroll management, then you’ll find the internet game to be much more dangerous.
Which Game Is the Safer Choice?
Everything regarding how much you lose in video poker or Caribbean stud is relative to how fast you play. On average, you’ll probably lose less playing stud in brick-and-mortar casinos.
You’ll see far fewer hands and will likely suffer fewer losses as a result. Caribbean stud’s slow play rate is enough to overshadow its immense house edge.
Everything changes, though, if you play the online version. Internet stud moves just as fast as video poker, only with a larger house advantage.
Video poker is a great game to play if you want action and a low house edge. 9/6 Jacks or Better, for example, only carries a 0.46% house advantage.
The key thing that you need to worry about, though, is the play rate. Video poker wastes almost no time in between hands and will goad you into playing more rounds.
However, you don’t have to take the bait. You can, instead, play at a slower rate by taking more breaks and or/extra time in between hands.
Video poker is easily one of the most-favorable games in the casino. You can find Jacks or Better at many casinos and enjoy 99.54% RTP (0.46% house edge).
However, video poker also encourages you to log more hands each hour. That said, it’s not always the most-friendly game on your bankroll.
Caribbean stud only offers 94.78% RTP (5.22% house advantage) when you use perfect strategy. But it also runs much slower in brick-and-mortar casinos and doesn’t expose you to the house edge as much.
You should definitely win more money per dollar wagered with video poker. However, Caribbean stud isn’t a bad choice either when you’re playing it in land-based establishments.
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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