Video Poker is one of the most popular slot games in casinos everywhere. In Atlantic City, Reno and Las Vegas, the main U.S. gambling towns, you will find these machines in quick-stop stores, bars, restaurants and even in the hospital lobbies. In the more traditional towns and cities, you will find them only in Casinos and Racinos.
When video poker was first introduced in casinos, the only game in town was a simple Jacks or Better Draw Poker. Today, there are more than 100 different poker games available in casinos. Regardless of the game, you are allowed to draw up to 5 cards to better your hand. The difference between Video and Card Room Poker is that you can only draw those cards at the ONE point after the deal.
Video Poker introduces the classic 5 Card-Draw Poker, so the rules are practically the same. But before you drop your money into the slot, you should read the instructions on the machine so that you know the rules of the game you are playing. There is nothing worse than thinking that you won with a pair of Jacks only to find that the game requires 3-of-a-kind or better.
Royal Flush Flourish for Me!
Good news! Every video poker game has the top jackpot set for the famous – or infamous – Royal Flush. This makes it easy to know what the biggest hand has to be to rake in the money. In addition, every machine is programmed +/- to payout on a Royal Flush 1:40,000. So, regardless of which machine that you play, your chances are just as good.
Now, before we go any further, it’s important that you know how machines actually perform. The one in 40,000 plays for a Royal Flush to appear does not mean that the machine counts 40,000 spins and then produces the royal. It only means that 1 out of 40,000 players get a Royal when all the plays of every machine in the world are averaged together.
In turn, that means that every time you hit the play button, your chance of winning a Royal is 40,000 to 1. It also means that you could get a Royal on a machine, play 3 more times and hit another one. Or, you could play 180,000 times in a row and never get one.
How to Play Video Poker
Jack, King, Queen, Ace and Ten are the high cards. These are the cards to keep most of the time. There are exceptions.
- If you have a pair of 3s and your highest card is a 5, you want to keep the pair and hope to draw another one.
- If you have two pair of anything, you only need one card.
- If you have no cards that are in sequence (2,3,4,5) and no face cards, you might as well draw 5 new cards because a pair of 3s is no better than the hand that you hold.
One the other hand, if you are playing Deuces Wild, and you have a run of 2,4,5,10,J then you have a pair of Jacks to start and want to discard the 4 and 5 and possibly the 10.
Cards of the same suit and cards that are not of the same suit can change the way you discard.
- If you have 2 High cards Unsuited, discard the lowest 3
- If you have 3 High cards Unsuited, discard the high cards and hold the low ones
- If you have 2 High cards of the same Suit, discard the lowest 3
The most important thing that you can do to better your chances of winning, is to learn what hands win in poker regardless of the game and play accordingly.
A Few Tips to Create Your Own Strategy
- Know how much money you will be playing if you hit the “full credit” button – it could $5 or $100
- Know the difference between Full Pay and Short Pay
- In spite of some advice playing maximum bets every time, don’t. It does not increase your chances of a win.
- Don’t be Ace blind. K, Q, J is more important when playing Jacks or Better
- Understand how progressive machines work and know that they may be scattered throughout the casino before you drop coins into that slot. It is more difficult to win with a straight on these machines than it is on machines that are not progressive.
- When playing a machine that allows wild cards – deuces or jokers – if you have the chance to make a straight flush, go for it. On these machines, the payouts are higher for this hand only.
- You will spend more money playing a Deuces Wild or Joker Wild before you get a win; however, the amount that you win will be noticeably bigger when it hits.
- If you join the casinos’ club for players, you can get discounts or free play on the video poker machines in the house.
- Don’t always play for a Royal Flush. Play for the best possible hand with what you are dealt.
If you are dealt 5 cards that have nothing in common and none are face cards, don’t be afraid to toss them. The very worst outcome is that you win with a pair of Jacks or better.
Winning Strategy: Play the Way that Locals Play
Set the amount that you are willing to Lose and don’t take more than that with you. Every time you get a payout on the machine, set it aside in a separate bucket. Play only the money you entered the casino with. When that money is gone, take you bucket of payout coins to the cage and cash them in. If you have more than you did when you walked through the doors, you are a winner.