Video Poker

Smart Bets in Video Poker

The closest relative to video poker is slots, but there are some very important differences. Sure, the machines look similar and there are bright lights and sound effects, but with video poker, skill is a significant factor and it is possible for the player to have a long-term edge over the house. In order to achieve this, you must learn a lot about strategy and the payout schedules of the different machines, two factors that drive down the house edge.

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Video Poker as a game is based on five-card draw poker. Players receive a five card hand and are given one chance to discard any number of them to be replaced new cards. Instead of using traditional poker skills, however, the successful video poker player must become intimately familiar with hand rankings and the combinations that will yield the best long-term expectation. Video poker machines pay out different amounts of coins based on the poker hand you hold after the draw. These pay schedules differ depending on the video poker variety you are playing. In addition to this, the pay schedules even vary from machine to machine playing the exact same game! This means that you must be very attentive when you are selecting your machine and you must know which ones offer the lowest house edge.

Jacks or Better – This is the most basic and one of the most popular video poker variations. It is a simple game in which you get paid off for having at least a pair of jacks in your final hand after the draw. There are no wild cards or other gimmicks. The pay tables will vary, and this in turn will greatly affect the house edge. The best version is known as “full pay” or “9/6” since it pays out 9 coins for a full house and 6 for a straight. You will come across other pay tables that pay out 8 and 5 or lower. While this doesn’t sound too bad, since all the other payouts are the same, it adds up significantly in the long run so be sure to hunt for the best machines.

Deuces Wild – Deuces wild is the second of the two most popular video poker varieties. The rules are the same as Jacks or Better except that deuces are wild and you can be used to represent any card. Full pay deuces wild is one of the extremely rare occasions in the casino where the player can have the advantage over the house.

There are many other varieties of video poker out there; some offer decent house edges while others are poor investments. Always study the pay table carefully before sitting down.

Video Poker Smart Bets

9/6 Jacks or Better – 0.46% house edge with perfect strategy. To learn how to play Jacks or Better perfectly, take a look at our strategy table below.

Full-Pay Deuces Wild – 0.76% PLAYER edge with perfect strategy. To become a Deuces Wild expert and ensure that you will have the advantage over the house, study our strategy table below.

Deuces Wild Strategy Chart

Worst Video Poker Bets

8/5 Jacks or Better – 2.7% house edge with perfect strategy. A machine that pays out only 8 for a full house and 5 for a flush has a much higher worse edge than its “full pay” counterpart.

7/5 Jacks or Better – 3.85% house edge, even with perfect strategy. Casinos offer more machines with less than full pay, and these always result in a much higher house edge.

Selecting the most profitable video poker machines is very important to your success, but since the differences are very minute, many players fail to act accordingly. In order to illustrate this, consider the chart below.

As you can see, even though only two payouts differ by one coin, the house edge skyrockets. Casinos will offer countless different varieties of video poker, so be sure to carefully study the pay table since small discrepancies mean big changes to the house edge.

Building Your Video Poker Bankroll

Video poker is one of the few games in the casino in which you can experience an advantage over the casino, although this requires the right machine and a lot of advanced strategy. Even with machines that don’t give you a positive expectation, the house edge will normally be very small, among the best of any casino game. Video poker players should still seek out a casino or online casino that offers bonuses, VIP deals and comps. These additional incentives can add a great amount of value to an already profitable game and help you build your bankroll.