Before you decide what video poker game to play, there are a few things to ask yourself. Different pay tables, denominations, single line or multiple lines, and bonus features are all awaiting you. Choosing The Best Video Poker Game For You looks at those considerations before you sit down to play.
Ask Yourself These Questions.
- What’s your bankroll? (The amount of money you wish to spend at that session)
- Have you played before, or are you a newbie? (Here’s a hint: If you don’t know the difference between JOB and Bonus Poker, you’re a newbie!)
- If you have played before, which games do you have a strong understanding of the right strategy? Which should you stay away from?
- Are you interested to learn the correct strategy to maximize your time and reduce the house advantage, or do you want to play for fun and figure it out as you go?
- Do you prefer volatile games (stronger payout possibilities with an expected quicker loss in bankroll), or do you prefer to play longer with less volatility and smaller payouts?
- Do you prefer multi-line games or the usual single-line game?
The Deal and the Random Number Generator
Most video poker is based on one game – Poker, Jacks, or Better. Therefore, we will use Jacks or Better (JOB) as our base game for explanations.
If you are new to video poker, you notice that it uses live poker card rankings for the payout hierarchy – pair, 2 pair, 3-of-a-kind, and so on. But that’s where the comparison ends.
We will use Jacks or Better (JOB) as our base game for explanations. 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, and presses draw to get replacement cards for those discarded. The last 5 card hand decides the payout. These days, Video Poker machines use the RNG to deal with the first five and the draw cards.
CHOOSING VIDEO POKER GAMES – Video Poker vs. Slot Machines
While Slot Machines and Video Poker Machines both use random number generators, there are major differences. First, skill is involved. A mathematically derived video poker strategy will give you the most enjoyment and longer and more successful play. Second, the player chooses the best possible strategy making it possible to play the hands beneficially.
Denomination and Bankroll
Your casino bankroll is the money you bring with you for your casino session. It’s best to keep it separate from your household funds to pay bills and family necessities.
The denomination is the value of each base bet. Most beginners play at the 25-cent level or lower.
Your bankroll should help determine the game you play. Usually, a rule of thumb is your bankroll should be three to four times the royal flush payout amount. So, for example, if you plan to play a 25 cent JOB (standard game, not a progressive) where the royal flush pays 4,000 credits ($1,000 on a quarter machine), you need three to four times that amount or $3,000 to $4,000.
For more info on more casino games and video poker, read When Planning Your Bankroll How Much is Enough?
VOLATILITY & PAY TABLES – Choosing Video Poker Games
Volatility refers to the ups and downs of winning and losing, which directly affects your bankroll.
An important part of the payout structure is for four-of-the-kinds (quads). The higher the quad payout, the more volatile the game. The more volatile the game, the larger your bankroll must be.
The Big Payout – The Royal Flush
A Royal Flush is the best hand you can get unless you play Joker Poker in Atlantic City. However, there is a dramatic difference in the Royal Flush payout if you are not playing Max Bet. Play max bet of five credits to have a chance to get a Royal Flush, which jumps to 4000 credits with max bet. Without max bet, the payout is 250 credits per credit played.
“On average, you will hit a royal flush once in every 40,000 hands.” But, of course, the word “average” means a whole bunch of sets of 40,000 hands. In other words, in any given set of 40,000 hands, you could hit more than one royal flush or, heaven forbid, possibly no royals. In fact, you have a 36.8% chance that you won’t get a royal in one cycle (40,000 hands) and a 13.5% chance after two cycles (80,000 hands).Henry Tamburin, Casino Player Magazine
Play 1-4 credits if your bankroll dictates that, or drop in the denomination. For more info on playing the Royal Flush, click on Don’t Rush the Royal Flush.
Multi-line Video Poker vs. Single Line Video Poker
Normal video poker machines are called “single-line play” – one game at a time. However, more and more video poker machines enable you to play three, five, 10, 50, and even 100 games at a time.
These “multiple-play” games deal the same hand to three, five, 10, 50, or 100 hands. The player then decides which cards to save for all the hands dealt. The strategy for playing a multi-play game is the same as when playing a single-play game. However, the volatility increases due to the number of hands played.
Also, most casino multi-line games have slightly poorer paytables, depending on the denomination.
The Final Draw
For some, fun is the priority. But for me, I’d like my fun to last as long as possible. Recreational gambling is about being prepared and having fun. The more prepared I am, the more fun it will be, and the longer my sessions will last. I suggest practicing at Videopoker.com, or even better, pay for a subscription to get training. It’s invaluable.
Related Post – Video Poker Mistakes & Myths
Remember, “When gambling, embrace the math, not the myth”