How NOT to Win at Video Poker

Five fast ways to ruin your chance of winning video poker.

Five Fast Ways to Ruin Your Chance of Winning Video Poker

Did you know that video poker is one of the very rare gems at a casino that can afford a house edge of less than 0.5%? That’s a theoretical return to player (RPT) of 99.5% or better! Find the right rules and pay table, and that could rise to 99.92%. Even a perfect blackjack strategy can’t harvest that kind of RTP – not without a precision card counting team.

That 99.92% RTP is about the best you’ll find online (Microgaming’s All Aces VP), but a few land-based casinos do still offer machines that pay over 100%. The highest I’ve seen is 100.76%. They are insanely rare, but they’re out there.

5 Ways to Ruin Your Chances of Winning Video Poker

As generous as some of these games can be, it’s very much possible to win at video poker. Even online, all you’ll need is a smidgen of luck to beat those odds. That is, if you don’t make these common mistakes… The following is a list of 5 easy ways to ensure you will not win playing video poker.

#1 Overlook Pay Table Value

The pay table in a video poker machine is the most important piece of information for players. It holds two key things to look for.

First are the payouts for a Full House and Flush. A Full House should pay 9, and a Flush 6/ This is called a 9/6 Full Pay. Second is the progressive value of a Royal Flush per coin wagered. Betting 5 coins should offer a payout higher than the 5x multiple of a 1 coin payout. (Hint: Bet all 5 coins!)

Win at Video Poker with a 9/6 Full Pay and Max 5-Coin Payout Multiplier

The image above shows a 5-coin wager is worth 4,000 coins, as opposed to an even multiple of 1,250. If the payout is 1,250 for a Royal Flush, or the Full House/Flush pays are anything less than 9/6, do not play the game… unless it’s got wild cards (see below).

#2 Only Play Jacks or Better

Despite popular belief, Jacks or Better isn’t the only good video poker game on the casino floor. In fact, with the right pay table, Deuces Wild, Joker Wild, Aces & Eights and Double Bonus machines can all pay over 100% RTP. And, as I mentioned earlier, the best online video poker game is All Aces by Microgaming.

#3 Ignore Video Poker Strategy

There are three basic ways to play video poker.

1) You can randomly click cards to hold.
2) You can rely on your gut instinct to decide what card to hold.
3) You can employ a video poker strategy that determines exactly what cards to hold for the highest possible odds of winning.

If you want to win, the third option is the only way to go. There are some really good hand calculator apps out there for VP strategy, too. Find one that offers the same rules/pay table as your machine, input each hand as it’s drawn, and the app will tell you exactly how to proceed. It really is that easy.

#4 Not Knowing Where to Play

Visit a casino often enough, and you’ll realize the layout rarely changes. Be extremely observant, and you’ll notice that, despite the unchanging layout, the machines themselves tend to move. The most popular games move the most, which means that video poker machine you found last month that paid so well, probably won’t be in the same spot next time you go.

Thankfully, there’s this amazing website called www.vpFREE2.com. This website provides a searchable list of casinos all over North America. It lists the video poker machines they offer, including their RTP and exact location in the casino! It’s updated daily by actual players who visit these casinos and play the games. Pretty amazing, right? You’re welcome 🙂

#5 Don’t Use a Player’s Club Card

To get the maximum value out of any casino experience, you have to join the rewards club. At online casinos, it’s usually automatic. Land-based casinos, however, require a bit of work on your part. You’ll have to visit the Player’s Club desk and give them your basic info to receive a card. Swipe this card in every machine you play before inserting money, and the casino will track your play. Doing so will earn you casino comps – everything from a free meal to a weekend stay in the penthouse suite!

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