Imagine video poker as a type of slot machine with a need for strategy. Instead of the pure luck and randomness of slots, video poker actually offers some of the very best odds in the casino, and there’s even a big jackpot looming in the wings. Sound interesting? It should!
Video poker has rapidly grown in popularity in casinos around the world for a variety of reasons, but the most important is that, if played correctly, the odds of increasing the size of your bankroll in most video poker variants are difficult to top. Let’s take a closer look at the game as a whole.
How to Play Video Poker
To start each game, you’ll be dealt five cards. Any seasoned poker player will recognize this formula, and it will, no doubt, begin to eliminate any feelings of uneasiness experienced by testing the waters of a new game. Of those five cards, you’ll be tasked with selecting which you’d like to keep, and which need to be replaced. Unlike traditional poker games, there are no other players with whom to compete. Instead, there’s a straightforward pay table, normally ranging from a pair of Jacks or Better all the way up to the mighty Royal Flush. Depending on the pay table of your machine of choice, the house advantage can vary between slim and nonexistent, but only if you follow a perfect strategy. Remember, in order to collect on the jackpot, which comes in the form of a bonus payment for a Royal Flush, you’ll need to have placed the maximum bet. For this reason, always play a machine that you can afford to bet the max on each hand.
Choosing a Video Poker Machine
All video poker machines are not created equally, in fact, far from it. Casinos will commonly offer machines that feature returns topping 99.5 percent alongside machines featuring returns of 97.3 percent. While it may sound insignificant, the small difference could be huge for your play!
On the second machine mentioned for instance (97.3 percent) players will lose money six times faster than on the first machine. So, why does this variance exist? Put simply, most players don’t care to check the odds before playing. It is absolutely vital to your success to check the odds, however, as they could spell the difference between big winnings and a depleted bankroll.
Playing a Video Poker Strategy
Depending upon the type of video poker you decide to play, your strategy will likely vary. In this example, let’s take a look at 9/6 Jacks or Better, which is one of the most popular machines available. Using a simple betting strategy, savvy players can expect returns of 99.46 percent, which tops nearly every bet in the casino. This strategy comes in the form of a simple list of 16 possible hands. To start, you’ll go down the list until you find the hand that matches yours. With that done, you’ll discard the remaining cards and play the odds on your way to victory. Sound simple? That’s because it is.
Enjoy the game, and, with a little luck, you’ll be a big winner on your next trip to the casino!