Winning at Video Poker
Many people are under the false impression that video poker is nothing more than a different type of slot machine. The first hand shown is random and is thus no different from your winning or losing play at a slot machine. The difference is in the fact that you get to choose which cards to throw out and which to keep. This brings strategy into play and thus makes video poker far different from the slot machines.
Which Video Poker Machine to Play
All video poker machines are not created equally, in fact nothing could be further from the truth. First of all, look for a Jack or better machine, these will generally have the best pay-outs. Once you find the Jacks or better, check the pay-out tables. These are generally at the top of the display and will show how much you will be paid for each winning hand. The key pay-outs here are for the full house and flush. You want a machine which will pay 9 for a full house and 6 for a flush. This is known as a 9-6 machine. These machines will pay out a very healthy 99.5%. A machine which only pays 8 for a full house and 5 for a flush is an 8-5 machine and will have a payout of 97.4% In terms of casino odds, that is a very large difference.
The big prize in video poker is the royal flush. Most casinos pay out a very large sum for a royal flush and many offer a progressive jackpot which can be worth millions. This is another reason to play the 9-6 machine. A 9-6 machine will hit a royal flush approximately every 40,000 hands. An 8-5 machine will hit a royal flush every 45,000 hands. Again, a major advantage to the 9-6 machine.
Wagering at Video Poker
Wagering is the easiest part of video poker. Always play the maximum number of coins, usually five. On many casino machines now there are known as credits since the machines no longer pay out coins. The same rule applies, always play the maximum number of coins to maximize your earning potential.
The large jackpots mentioned for a royal flush are only paid out if the player played the maximum number of coins/credits. Anything less will still be a winning hand, but will a far lower payout and a much higher frustration level.
Video Poker Strategy
In video poker you are playing to get a royal flush. This is not to say you do not take the winning hands along the way. The trick to video poker is to play for a long time, a very long time. The longer you play the higher your chances of hitting that 1 in 40,000 hand and having a picture of yourself holding a giant check posted at the casino entrance. Take the wins as they happen to help finance your overall effort and to help you keep playing for longer.
If you are dealt a pair, don’t keep a kicker such as a jack. This lowers your chances of winning and is a poor bet.
If you have nothing, always draw to the royal flush. Keep a winning five card hand unless that hand is one card away from being a royal flush. In that case, go for the royal. You also do not want to break up a straight to try for a straight flush, again a poor wager. You have a winning hand and you are not improving to a royal flush, so don’t shift the odds back in the casino’s favor.
Find the right machine, play correct strategy and always play the maximum number of coins/credits and you will have found perhaps the best odds in the casino. Good luck.