- Player 1 (we’ll call him Rob) is inexperienced, has no particular affiliation to any New England Casino, but has a players card from them all.
- Player 2 (we’ll call him Bin) favors a few, has been playing for years and also has played at the all with a players card from them all, but favors two.
- Both players, amazingly, know how to play table games, video poker and likes playing slots in the same way. Favorite table games include Pai Gow Poker, Craps & Blackjack in that order.
If you ask Video Poker players “what is the best video poker to play?” don’t expect an answer before they ask you some questions. It’s not a black & white answer – there’s a lot of grey area in consideration. Some questions might include:
- What’s your bankroll?
- Have you played before or are you a newbie?
- Do you prefer volatile games (bigger payout possibilities with an expected quicker loss in bankroll) or do you prefer to play longer with less volatility?
- Are you interested to learn the correct strategy to maximize your time and reduce the house advantage or do you just want to play for fun and figure it out as you go?
So Many Games to Choose From. Each game has different pay tables, denominations and can be played on a single line or multiple lines. Let’s use Jacks or Better as our base game for this post.
First Consideration – Denomination & HOW MUCH MONEY DO I NEED?
This is where your bankroll comes into play. Remember, a bankroll is a totally separate amount of money dedicated to casino gaming – not to the money to pay bills, or even the amount in your pocket. It’s a totally separate amount!
.You can play single line games at nickel (hard to find outside of Nevada), quarter, fifty cents, $1, $2, $5, $10, $25 and even $100 machines. Keep in mind that this depends on your bankroll and, in this player’s opinion, playing max bet of five coins. For more info on playing Max Bet, click on “Video Poker & Max Bet.”
If you are interested in multi-line games, such Triple Play, Five Play, Ten Play, Twenty-five Play, Fifty Play or One Hundred Play, you may want to drop down from quarters to nickels or even pennies, depending on the number of lines.
So, you probably want to know how much is needed to give you the best chance of a winning play.
According to 888Casino, “The first rule of thumb most players hear when it comes to video poker is that for the long term you need about three to four times the amount won when you hit a royal flush on your game and denomination of choice. Specifically, if you are planning to play a 25 cent Jacks or Better game (standard game, not a progressive) where the royal flush pays 4,000 credits (which comes to $1,000), you need three to four times that amount or $3,000 to $4,000 dollars………If, instead you plan on playing a standard dollar Jacks or Better game where the jackpot once again is 4,000 credits, you will need $12,000 to $16,000 since the dollar amount of the royal flush is now $4,000.”
Please note that this for standard JOB. The higher the volatility (Bonus Poker, Double Bonus & Double Double Bonus as examples), the higher your bankroll should be.
new TO VIDEO POKER? A FEW BASICS
If you are new to video poker, the first thing you should understand that while it uses poker card rankings for the basis of pay out, that’s really where the comparison ends. You can’t bluff the machine or figure out OPTIMAL STRATEGY by yourself.
So, how does this game work? A Random Number Generator (RNG) deals 5 cards from a 52 card deck. (Some games use more, such as Joker Poker). The player chooses the cards to keep, presses draw to get replacement cards for those discarded to make the second and last 5 card hand which decides the payout. Most VP machines deal the draw cards from the continuous RNG.
Again, I refer to 888Casino concerning three major differences from slots, real poker and video poker:
- Unlike slot players, video poker players have a say in the outcome of the game.
- Because the player has a choice in video poker play, it is possible to play the hands in a way that is most beneficial to the player.
- Only a mathematically derived video poker playing strategy will get you the most from your video poker play.
VIDEO POKER LEARNING AIDS
John Grochowski. In one of the many publications he writes for, suggested the following software programs to help improve your strategy and speed.
To practice hundred’s of Video Poker games, and the newest multiline games, go to VideoPoker.com. Subscribe monthly and you will get a trainer to help you play most games with correct strategy.
The staple to any VP beginner’s book library would be John Grochowski’s “The Video Poker Answer Book.” It’s a great place to start.
Want to know what casinos have the best Video Poker, or if they have any playable VP? Go to vpFREE2, the “preeminent online resource for serious video poker players.” Their goal is to provide a complete inventory of the best video poker games available and make that information available for free to our users. Check out all eight New England casinos and the video poker they offer, as well dollars in for points, where the games are in the casinos, and more
Steve Bourie’s American Casino Guide offers free strategy cards you can print at home. The ACG website covers all of America’s casinos, games and strategies. The annual American Casino Guide also offers coupons for gambling & dining for casinos all over, with the vast majority to be used in Las Vegas. It’s a wonderful resource. For free VP Strategy cards, click HERE Remember, strategy cards are easily available and legal to use in the casino.
A very simple rule when looking for the best video poker game for your play is to look at the full house/flush payouts. Those two numbers with the specific game will usually determine the expected payout %. Another part of the payout structure to look at is the pay for four-of-the-kinds (quads). You will find that the higher the quad payout is, the more volatile the game can be, and so, a larger bankroll is needed.
Recreational gambling is about being prepared and having fun. Video poker can be a grind, so if it’s not fun, move on to something else. But the more prepared you are, the more fun it will be.
Remember, “When gambling, embrace the math, not the myth”
I love the Wizard of Odds website. If you are a gambler of any game, experience, or status, you should have this site bookmarked. It is my number one resource for:
- Game odds, strategies & calculations
- General Gambling info – definitions, money management, etiquette and FAQ’s
- Playing simulations for free and learning correct strategies
About The Wizard of Odds himself – Michael Shackleford
This site was born on June 19, 1997. At first it was titled Mike’s Gambling Page. It was a good time to start a web site about gambling, as there were few good ones at the time. With plenty of shelf space, the site quickly became popular and took on a life of its own. The Wizard of Odds is Michael Shackleford, a former professional actuary who has made a career of analyzing casino games.
He writes most of the content for this site, drawing on his training in mathematics and actuarial science. It started out as a hobby, then as it grew and became more popular he moved it to its own domain and had it professionally designed. Michael writes, “I’m proud to have built something that’s used by thousands of people every day and is known around the world for providing quality, authoritative information.”
Today’s “Monday Link”
Our link is not to be underestimated in its importance to all who gamble – whether professional or recreational. Please heed the Wizard’s
You’ll be a better gambler, and a better person if you do!