Reasons to Play Video Poker Beyond the Pay Table

Here are Reasons to Play Video Poker Beyond the Pay Table. This post is NOT to tell you what to do, as compared to what to consider. I agree with the Bettor Life in saying play what you want to play – recreational playing should make you happy. HOWEVER – if you are  a recreational video poker player, then there are many things to consider if you want to give yourself the best chances to win, play longer and/or earn more comps.

Video Poker Machines at Mohegan Sun

Video Poker Machines at Mohegan Sun

Why do you play video poker?

Could it be any of these many reasons?

  • “playing games with a low house edge”
  • “I like playing with no casino “heat” “
  • “playing only what’s available in my local casinos.”
  • “I prefer to play at a certain pace.”.
  • “Free Drinks”
  • “social time with a friend”
  • “I like playing by my self instead of a community setting”
  • “the skill and strategy involved”
  • “I like to pass the time slowly (low denomination, no max bet, relaxing)
  • “To play off my free slotplay”

I’m sure there are other reasons I haven’t thought about. I know depending on the situation, I might play any one of these.  The fact is, recreational gambling can be for many other reasons besides beating the game, no matter what the game is.

Now, before some of you serious gamblers yell “BLASHEMY!” and stop reading (you know who you are -you’re good, but you’re no AP) , give me a chance to explain.

First, a public service announcement.

A Casino “Don’t” For any casino Game

No matter what game you play, unsolicited criticism or advice is just a “no-no.” Unless someone asks you for help, just keep your mouth shut. Video Poker is definitely a game full of “experts” that feel they need to share their myths & superstitions. With so many game options and configurations with different paytables, giving unwanted advice to the person next to you is just wrong.  Bob Dancer, the ultimate VP expert, wouldn’t even bother you.

Brief Story About VP Contentment

One of my best friends enjoys playing 8/5 JOB on one credit at a bar top at Mohegan Sun to relax while his wife plays slots. He recently hit his first Royal Flush on $0.25, and was proud of the accomplishment. No remorse, no regret because he was comfortable with his choice – a 97% game with out Max bet (diminishing the % to 95%) with little comp earnings & no extra multipliers or promotions.

Some would shout “for shame,” but his priorities are comfortably set. No criticism here because he enjoys Video Poker on his terms. For all those who criticize, remember another video poker player may have different expectations  – and there’s nothing wrong with that

DOESN’T IT SEND THE CASINO THE WRONG MESSAGE?

I admit, I once thought that playing VP with poor pay tables sent the message to casino management that as players we condoned decreasing conditions and increasing house edge. That was then, this is now.  They don’t care what you play, as long as it means for money for them. The belief that if we don’t play the poor games, the casino bean counters will be fearful and return to higher paying slots, more full-pay video poker, exclusively 3:2 blackjack and single zero roulette is just crazy.  There will never be enough players interested in putting in the work or time to play only the best games, so move on…….get over being entitled to receive great low & medium roller games that keep the players’ bankroll in mind – it just ain’t gonna happen.

reaching your personal VP Nirvana

Royal Flush – almost!

Depending how much practice & thought is part of your  Video Poker play, there are many aspects to your play to ponder, such as:

  1. What games are available at your casino that you prefer? -This could be a major reason beyond the pay table.   JOB, Bonus, DB, DDB, Ultimate X, etc……
  2. How large is your bankroll? – bankroll does matter, depending what game you are playing.  For example, the money suggested for a successful session of Double-Double Bonus is more than Jacks-or-Better (JOB) because of the higher volatility. Also, denomination complicates it further depending if you are playing nickels, quarters or dollars.  Finally, playing multi-line machines like Triple Play, 5-Play & Ten-Play not only changes the denomination but also alters the game chosen.
  3. what are you willing to compromise? I enjoy playing at Foxwoods Play bar in the Cedars Casino.  It has decent nickel multi-line games and quarter single line games, but not great. However, the service is great and the bartenders make you feel like you just entered “Cheers.”  It’s a compromise I’m willing to make for the enjoyment aspect of the session. Do you make compromises playing lower percentage games for your enjoyment?  Many of us do.

IS THERE MORE?

  1. what is your “casino currency”?  This is a term Eric Rosenthal used on the Bettor Life. It refers to the value placed on other things besides the game itself. It may be that a worse paytable gives your more comp points. If tier credit, tier level, and comps are as important (or more) than the game itself, it is part of your casino currency. Video Poker is notorious in earning 1/2 to 1/3 of the points slots accrue, so other things make be accountable to what you play and when. Some casinos give very little back to VP players, or may even be given little in tier gains, points, and attention in offers, because casinos makes little money off of JOB full pay tables, for example. Eric mentions, “Considering what the machines cost to run, usual casino costs, and very little money made off of you, there is nothing in it for them if all you play is full pay JOB….no need to court you…..better off playing lower paytables to appear less astute…..the benefits may mean more than payout percentage.”
  2. low rolling full pay brings little to the player – consider this: playing full-pay JOB at quarter level may not earn as much as playing one or two credits on a $1 8/5 JOB machine. Also, according to Bob Dancer, be careful of single line machines with many games. A machine that has a full pay game may earn the same minimal pittance in tier and reward points on other non full-pay games such as 8/5 DDB or lower pay Deuces Wild. It might be better to check for for  ulti game machines or single game machines that will accrue a higher reward.
  3. should you play with/without a card?  I have a confession to make – sometimes my sessions are short, or even worse for player’s EV, I play…..wait for it…..VIDEO KENO!  When that occurs, I play without a card so that I don’t damage my ADT (Average Daily Theoretical). I may know that time is short or bankroll is small, so why not? Consider doing the same and using your card only when playing big.
  4. what? practice?  – Yes, practice.  If you truly want to win more, give yourself a chance to win more by practicing on the many apps, software and websites that provide for instruction. Without perfect strategy on your favorite game,  the EV/ payout % will be decreased – even if it’s full pay!  Even playing 8/5 JOB using the perfect strategy of 9/6 makes a difference, not to mention using the strategy 9/6 JOB on a  9/6 DDB

Compromise is Thy Middle Name

Here are examples of where I play and why. Notice it isn’t full-pay or nothing:

Encore Boston Harbor – Single line Full Pay $5 JOB, but that’s beyond my bankroll.  However, lots of 8/5 multiline games, with new games included in the fun, like Stack The Deck multiline, will get me to sit and play.

Mohegan Sun – Bars that include 9/6 JOB ($1), Cleopatra Video Keno ($.25, no rewards card), Triple Play 9/5 DDB & 8/5 JOB ($.25 or $1, depending on bankroll) Ultimate X 10 play ($.5) . Good service, decent paytables and full pay for big plays. Expecially good on multiplier days.

Foxwoods – 9/5 Ultimate X 5 Play ($.5), 8/5 JOB & 9/5 DDB TP($.25 & $1) Great service at Play bar. Cedars casino also offers nickel Ultimate X Tp, 5-Play, & 10-Play (only 10-play at nickels at all bar tops)

MGM Springfield – Not much here to offer. Compromises abound.  7/5 JOB ($1) and 8/5 DDB ($.25), only on multiplier days.  9/6 Double Bonus is available at $.25, but perfect strategy in one of the most difficult to learn.

Plainridge Park – Ultimate X DDB 10-play ($.5).  Not much play here, but I do find this casino fun.

Tiverton Casino – talk about compromises, I love this little place – but not for the VP.  The VP is horrible, just like its parent company Twin River Casino.  But one thing separates it from the rest – the iPourIt Wall.  26 self-serve beer & wine taps served by the ounce, however you’d like it.  This makes 8/5 DDB a winning compromise in my book.

RELATED POST – Tiverton Casino Hotel – Our Last Summer Trip Report

Conclusion

Play what you enjoy – casino, location, bar, craft beer, great drinks, bartenders, etc may mean more than just the best pay tables. Look at big picture.  Play what and where you get the biggest bang for your buck, or play where you enjoy it the most.

by the way, remember not to be that guy that gives unsolicited advice. Accept players for their recreational video poker play at what ever level they choose.

And remember, even the best of us compromise our pay table play at times. So chill out and enjoy putting the “recreation” back into recreational gambling.

Binbin

 

 

When Video Poker Machines Hesitate – What Does It Mean?

Royal Flush – almost!

We have all been there – those of us who play Video Poker and Slots.  You’re playing along, things are going well, and then it happens……the machine pause for a moment!  What does it mean?  Was I winning too much?  Did someone in the “Office Upstairs” turn on that switch that changes winning into losing?  Conspiracy thoughts abound.

Well, you know what it means?  NOTHING!  At least it isn’t a reaction to ant success you’ve had previously.

Just Catching up to itself

Yes, we think it might have stopped our winning momentum, or the rhythmic luck we had our mojo in, but nope – it doesn’t have a clue how much you were winning or how your mojo was – it’s a machine and it doesn’t have the consciousness or emotion to care!

A 1980 IGT Video Poker machine.

So, what DOES IT MEAN? Well, when Video Poker Machines Hesitate – especially certain generations of Video Poker machine manufactured by IGT – they do so often to do it’s accounting.  In other words, the counting of hands played, coin in & coin out, for example, are kept in short term memory.  On the IGT VP machines, for example, every 100 hands, it is downloaded into long-term memory, much like your computer does at times.  The more games and denominations on a single terminal, the longer it may take – a single game with a single denomination would be barely noticed.

You will find fewer and fewer machines with that hesitation these days, due to better software upgrades. But when Video Poker Machines Hesitate admittedly, it’s is frustrating.

Of course we, as human beings, may notice it happen when we are winning, and shortly after we start losing.  “They must have known I was winning!!!!” you might yell.  But, seriously, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Related Post – The History of Video Poker

Related NETG Post – Video Poker Bars – 6 Considerations for a Great Experience

That’s all for now.

Binbin

Choosing the Best Video Poker Game for You

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. That’s why today we introduce Choosing the Best Video Poker Game for You. Some considerations 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.

The deal – A FEW BASICS

The solitary play of a video poker player.

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.

I refer to 888Casino concerning three major differences from slots, real poker and video poker:

  1. Unlike slot players, video poker players have a say in the outcome of the game.
  2. 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.
  3. Only a mathematically derived video poker playing strategy will get you the most from your video poker play.

Considering Denomination & bankroll

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.

Super Times Pay Video Poker

Super Times Pay Is an example of Multi-Line Video Poker

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.

The Draw

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.

Related articles:

Video Poker Considerations for Lower Pay Tables – Jerry “Stickman” Stitch

Video Poker Players – Don’t Rush the Royal Flush

Slot Machine & VP Etiquette – Final Part

Binbin – Remember, “When gambling, embrace the math, not the myth”