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7 Reasons Why You Should Play More Video Poker

Video Poker

Video poker is far from the first choice among players who enjoy electronic gaming. Instead, many gamblers prefer slot machines, which have evolved to offer better graphics and more features.

Video poker, on the other hand, has been stagnant in these areas. Many video poker machines are the same ones that were introduced in the 1970s and 80s.

It’s easy to see why gamblers are attracted to the sights and sounds of slot machines. But these same players are overlooking video poker attributes that slots can’t match.

Keep reading to find out 7 reasons why you should play more video poker on your next visit to the casino.

1 – Video Poker Gives You a Strong Chance to Win

Video poker may not compare to slots in terms of 3D graphics, detailed bonus rounds, and multimillion-dollar progressive jackpots. But one decided video poker advantage is a higher return to player (RTP).

Many machines pay at least 99% or higher when good strategy is used. This means that a knowledgeable player can win back $99 out of every $100 wagered.

Of course, you don’t have to settle for just 99% payback. Instead, you can find video poker machines that feature close to 100% RTP or even better.

Understanding that different games pay more than others is the first step to finding video poker variations with high RTP. For example, Jacks or Better offers up to 99.54% payback, while Bonus Poker delivers up to 99.17% RTP.

Both of these are outstanding payout percentages when compared to the gaming world as a whole. But you can see that JoB has a decided advantage.

After familiarizing yourself with the different games, you need to find the “full-pay” the versions. Full-pay simply means the top paytable for a specific variation.

Jacks or Better’s top paytable is the 9/6 version (99.54% RTP). The 9/6 refers to how this version pays nine coins for a full house and six for a flush.

9/5 JoB, on the other hand, pays nine coins for a full house and just five for a flush. This one coin difference drops the highest possible payback to 98.45%.

The next step is to find out which land-based and online casinos offer video poker variants that pay well. VPFree2.com is the best tool for doing so when it comes to a land-based casino.

This website offers filters that allow you to find out what video poker games are offered in a specific casino destination. If you want to look up Atlantic City, for example, you simply choose this from the available filters.

Online casinos are a different story, because you want to focus on the software providers. If you’re playing at a casino with Realtime Gaming (RTG) video poker, then you know that the games offer the same payback across all RTG-powered sites.

I encourage you to look up your favorite software providers and see what video poker RTP they offer. Here are the best-paying variations that I’ve found:

  • Microgaming All Aces (Double Bonus) = 99.92% payback
  • RTG 8/5 Aces & Eights = 99.78%
  • Bovada Double Jackpot = 99.63%
  • RTG 7/5 Aces & Eights = 99.63%
  • 9/6 Jacks or Better (offered by many providers) = 99.54%

2 – You Can Win Big Payouts

Big prizes attract gamblers in large numbers. If you’re part of this crowd, then you’ll appreciate how video poker machines offer big payouts.

The size of payouts depends upon how much you wager per hand. Refer to the Bonus Poker paytable below for an example:

8/5 Bonus Poker Pay Table

Hand 1 coin 2 coins 3 coins 4 coins 5 coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1,000 4,000
Straight flush 50 100 150 200 250
4 aces 80 160 240 320 400
4 2s-4s 40 80 120 160 200
4 5s-Ks 25 50 75 100 125
Full house 8 16 24 30 36
Flush 5 10 15 20 25
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
3 of a kind 3 6 9 12 15
2 pairs 2 4 6 8 10
Jacks or better 1 2 3 4 5

You stand to win the following large payouts when risking the 5-coin maximum:

  • Royal flush payout worth 4,000 coins.
  • Four aces prize worth 400 credits.
  • Straight flush payout worth 250 coins.

You’ll also notice that the royal flush payout increases disproportionately when betting four versus five credits. This disproportion increase means that you should wager five coins every time to get the maximum value from your bets.

Royal flush and straight flush prizes aren’t the only big payouts available in the video poker world. Some games feature progressive jackpots just like slot machines.

The largest video poker jackpots don’t grow as large the biggest progressive slots payouts. Even still, I’ve seen prizes worth thousands of dollars.

Your odds of getting a royal flush are approximately 1 in 40,000 depending upon the specific game. But these odds are far better than your chances of hitting a progressive jackpot on the average slot machine.

3 – Video Poker Involves Stimulating Strategy

One of the biggest divisions when it comes to casino games is whether or not they involve skill.

Most skilled games give players a better chance to win, because they actually have to put in effort to improve their odds. Some gamblers really appreciate this aspect since using strategy keeps them more engaged.

If this accurately describes you, then you’ll love how video poker offers some of the most-stimulating strategy in gambling.

Your decisions on every hand will impact your long-term odds of winning. Specifically, you need to make the correct holds and discards during the draw round.

The idea is to keep hands together that give you the best chance to win long-term profits. Of course, this is difficult when considering that optimal strategy changes based on the game and paytable you’re playing.

The same strategy that works on Bonus Poker won’t be optimal on Deuces Wild. Likewise, perfect strategy for 9/6 Jacks or Better is different from what’s needed for 9/5 JoB.

If you’re looking for a starting point when learning strategy, then I highly recommend Jacks or Better. JoB features a simple pay table and forms the basis for every video poker variation.

Looking at a strategy chart is the easiest way to learn JoB in the beginning. A strategy chart shows what hands you should keep in order of their expected value (EV).

Below you can see a strategy chart for 9/6 JoB:

  1. Royal flush, straight flush, 4 of a kind
  2. 4 cards to a royal flush
  3. Full house, flush, straight, 3 of a kind
  4. 4 cards to a straight flush
  5. 2 pair
  6. High pair (aces to jacks)
  7. 3 cards to a royal
  8. 4 cards to a flush
  9. Unsuited K-Q-J-T
  10. Low pair (10s to 2s)
  11. 4 cards to an outside straight with 0-2 high cards
  12. 3 cards to a straight flush
  13. Suited Q-J
  14. 4 cards to an inside straight with 4 high cards
  15. Suited K-Q; K-J
  16. Suited A-K; A-Q; or A-J
  17. 4 cards to an inside straight with 3 high cards
  18. 3 cards to a straight flush
  19. Unsuited K-Q-J
  20. Unsuited Q-J
  21. Suited J-T
  22. 2 unsuited high cards with king high card
  23. Suited Q-T
  24. 2 unsuited high cards with ace high card
  25. Jack only
  26. Suited K-T
  27. Queen, king, or ace only
  28. 3 cards to a straight flush

You’ll notice how the chart advises keeping partially made hands over made hands in some cases. For example, you want to keep four cards to a straight flush over a two pair and high pair.

Partially made royal flushes and straight flushes have better EV when compared to a high pair or two pair.

Video poker training programs offer another way to learn the game’s strategy. These programs point out when you make mistakes while you’re playing.

Here’s an example:

  • You’re dealt: 9s-2h-Qh-4c-4d
  • You hold Qh.
  • The trainer shows that you should’ve held 4c-4d instead.

Regular video poker machines don’t alert you to these mistakes, which is where a training program’s value comes into play.

Using trainers begins with picking the desired game and paytable. Your options vary based on if you’re using a free or purchased program.

Free trainers include the most-popular variants, such as All American, Bonus Poker, Double Bonus, and JoB. Free trainers are perfect if you play any of these games.

But you’ll need to purchase software if you want to practice a larger variety of machines. Some of these programs even allow you to customize pay tables to practice any existing variation.

Video Poker for Winners ($49.95) and Optimum Video Poker: Advantage Trainer for Windows and Mac ($59.95) are examples of software that you can buy.

These programs help you naturally learn what is and isn’t a correct play. You’ll eventually master the strategy as you gain more repetition through trainers.

4 – You Can Enjoy a Large Number of Video Poker Games

Video poker has numerous games within itself. Each of these variations presents a different paytable that can offer bonuses prizes, larger payouts, or more-frequent small prizes.

Check out the JoB and Double Bonus tables below for comparisons:

9/6 Jacks or Better Pay Table

Hand 1 coin 2 coins 3 coins 4 coins 5 coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
Straight flush 50 100 300 400 500
4 of a kind 25 50 75 100 125
Full house 9 18 27 36 45
Flush 6 12 18 24 30
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
3 of a kind 3 6 9 12 15
2 pairs 2 4 6 8 10
Jacks or better 1 2 3 4 5

10/7 Double Bonus Poker

Hand 1 coin 2 coins 3 coins 4 coins 5 coins
Royal flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
Straight Flush 50 100 150 200 250
4 aces 160 320 480 640 800
4 2s-4s 80 160 240 320 400
4 5s-Ks 50 100 150 200 250
Full house 10 20 30 40 50
Flush 7 14 21 28 35
Straight 5 10 15 20 25
3 of a kind 3 6 9 12 15
2 pairs 1 2 3 4 5
Jacks or better 1 2 3 4 5

Double Bonus is an exciting game, because it offers bonuses for various four of a kinds. The drawback, though, is that you receive one fewer credit for a two pair.

JoB is nice in that it offers a more-even payout distribution, giving you a stronger chance to win in the short term. But the downside is that it doesn’t offer many big prizes beyond the royal flush and straight flush.

Video poker is filled with different games that allow you to find a paytable that suits your tastes. Here are more examples of different variations:

  • Aces & Eights
  • All American
  • Bonus Poker
  • Bonus Poker Deluxe
  • Deuces Wild
  • Double Double Bonus
  • Double Jackpot
  • Joker’s Wild
  • Loose Deuces
  • Pick’em Poker
  • Super Aces
  • Tens or Better
  • Triple Double Bonus

You can also look forward to unique video poker variations that include special features. IGT has made a number of these games over the years.

One example is Hot Roller Poker Multiplier, which sees dice roll randomly after wins. The dice combination determines what multiplier you receive.

Peek and Play allows you to see the first-available draw card before making discards. This is obviously helpful in that it allows you to make better decisions during the draw round.

The main drawback to these games, though, is that it costs more money to activate the features. But they’re still fun if you’re looking for something totally different.

5 – Tournaments Let You Test Your Skills Against Other Players

Video poker tournaments allow you to pit your skills against other players. You may even be able to win long-term profits if you’re skilled enough, because there’s no house edge.

The first skill to winning in tourneys is making correct decisions on the fly. The more hands you’re able to play within the allotted time limit, the more chances you have to win money.

Also keep in mind that the best strategy in regular play isn’t always optimal in tourneys. Those who finish first in big tournaments often get a royal flush, which only happens around 1 in 40,000 hands.

Given these facts, you should consider adopting a strategy that centers on getting royal flushes. Here are tips to execute this plan:

  • Discard all cards that won’t help you make a royal flush.
  • Examples include 3 of a kinds and 4 of a kinds that don’t include royal cards.
  • Simple tip: always discard anything with a 10 value or lower.
  • Another simple tip: keep any suited high cards.

You can practice this strategy by buying a video poker trainer and using customized royal-only strategy. Doing so helps you get used to this unorthodox method.

Even if you don’t get a royal flush, you still might be able to finish in the money by getting lucky with straight flushes and other payouts.

You can also use a conventional strategy in smaller tournaments. Royal flushes are more unlikely when dealing with small field sizes.

6 – Video Poker Offers Solitude

Some gamblers prefer the solitude offered by machine-based gambling. And their main two options include video poker and slot machines.

I covered earlier how slots are more popular than video poker. In fact, they’re vastly more popular than any other casino game.

But video poker is a nice machine-based alternative if you enjoy using skill and having a great chance to win.

You can find plenty of video poker machines in quiet corners of casinos. You and a buddy can even visit the casino together and find games that are away from the action.

Of course, online video poker is also great if you like gambling alone or with a few friends. You can access numerous online variants from your smartphone or PC.

7 – You Can Win Long Term Profits

Perhaps the most-exciting thing about video poker is that it’s one of the few games that gives you a chance to beat the house.

Of course, you must choose games that offer positive EV. Here are common +EV video poker machines:

  • Full-pay Deuces Wild = 100.76% payback
  • Full-pay Joker Poker = 100.64% payback
  • 10/7 Double Bonus = 100.17% payback
  • 10/6 Double Double Bonus = 100.07% payback

I use the word “common” lightly, because you can’t find these games outside of Nevada casinos.

Gambling establishments fully realize that video poker strategy is more prevalent than ever. Therefore, they’re less likely to offer +EV machines.

Luckily, you can still find games that deliver over 100% RTP. Refer to the VPFree2.com site that I covered in point #1 on how to locate these variations.

When using VPFree2, you’ll notice that plenty of Las Vegas casinos still have +EV video poker. The main key, though, is that you need to practice enough to the point where you’re capable of beating these games.

Most free video poker trainers don’t cover full-pay Deuces Wild, full-pay Joker Poker, 10/7 Double Bonus, and 10/6 Double Double Bonus. Therefore, you’ll need to buy software in order to practice these variants.

Another point worth mentioning is that you shouldn’t expect to make a living from +EV machines. The problem is that most of these games feature quarter denominations, meaning $1.25 is the most you can wager per hand.

Here’s an example that shows how little you’ll make per hour, even with perfect strategy and rewards included:

  • You’re playing full-pay Deuces Wild (100.76% RTP).
  • You play 800 hands per hour.
  • You’re betting $1.25 per hand.
  • 800 x 1.25 x 0.0076 = $7.60 profit
  • You earn 0.1% cashback.
  • 800 x 1.25 x 0.001 = $1 cashback
  • $7.60 + $1 = $8.60 profit per hour

Also note that it’s nearly impossible to maintain perfect strategy as you play more hours. Therefore, your profits will likely be even lower than this.

As long as you’re not expecting to get rich through video poker, then it’s fun to play and beat +EV games. Plus, the luck factor gives you a chance to get royal flushes and beat the house even further.

Conclusion

Video poker offers plenty of reasons for you to choose this game, including high RTP, stimulating strategy, variety, tournaments, and more.

My personal favorite aspect of video poker is how it gives you a good chance to win. 9/6 Jacks or Better, which is rather common, offers up to 99.54% RTP.

Most casino games don’t even come close to matching this payback, making video poker one of your best opportunities to beat the house. It even gives you a chance to win long-term profits with the right variations.

Big payouts are another entertaining element of video poker. You receive 4,000 coins for royal flushes and can even play for larger progressive jackpots.

The sheer variety of video poker games is another thing to like. You can enjoy classics such as Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild, along with unique variants like Hot Roller Poker Multiplier and Peek and Play.

If you’ve had your fill of slot machines and are looking for a new machine-based challenge, then video poker is definitely worth trying. It gives you a strong opportunity to win and offers enough game variety to keep things interesting.