Investigating the Big Video Poker Payout

Today’s post is for those Video Poker players who yearn for that elusive Royal Flush. Some of my best friends and community members still haven’t hit “the Big One.” Others feel it isn’t a “real royal” unless it’s on a single-line $1 video poker machine. Some want it so badly they will roam away from perfect strategy, but I say “ney, ney.” So Don’t Rush the Royal Flush!

Don’t Rush the Royal Flush!

Royal Flush
Royal Flush

Give it time, and it’ll happen when you least expect it – so don’t expect it. Instead, work on your perfect strategy, find the best pay tables for longevity, and let it come to you. Now, take a deep breath, and let’s look at what it is and what we can do.

Don’t Stray Away From the Strategy Way

While we are tempted to keep two or three cards to the Royal, ultimately, it will be your demise if it isn’t part of the proper strategy for that game and that paytable. You might win a battle, but the cost of waging war before that battle will be far more costly and a much shorter war in the long run.

What is a Serious But Recreational Video Poker Player?

The earnest video poker player is usually an introvert. However, a methodical gambling predator combines science, math, and patience to whittle away at the house’s edge with perfect or near-perfect strategy. To increase your chances, here are six things to follow:

  1. First, identify the game you wish to play the most.
  2. Then, learn the perfect strategy for that game.
  3. Use an online tutor. I suggest because the Gold Membership for only $9.00 a month gives you special customizing tools, such as paytable variations and corrections in your play when mistakes are made.
  4. Don’t stray from the strategy you’ve learned.
  5. Don’t believe in VP myths, and don’t listen to false pros.
  6. Play for enjoyment. Embrace those 4-O-A-K’s, and play to win.

You Can’t Rush the Royal Flush!

The solitary play of a video poker player.
The solitary play of a video poker player.

Many recreational players seem to get impatient for the big prize to appear. I heard a discussion on one of my favorite podcasts – “You Can Bet On That,” it was upsetting to hear. It started when a caller asked, “why not change from a perfect strategy and “help” the Royal Flush appear? “Well, here’s the answer.

Each play is a single play on a slot or VP machine and has nothing to do with the next hand, the next 40 hands, or the next 40,000 hands. Thus, a Royal flush has the probability of appearing once every 40,390 hands – probability means probable, not definite. And this is the flaw in the “help the Royal” strategy.

Anyone, even a trained monkey, can get a Royal Flush dealt with them. The probability of a dealt Royal is once in 650,000 hands. Is it possible to get one before then? – YES. Is it possible never to get one dealt? -YES! Is it PROBABLE that it will occur around 650,000 hands – YES, but don’t count on it, just like you shouldn’t expect a Royal after the 40,000 hands. It probably doesn’t mean “it’s due.”

Consider this: The Random Number Generator deals with one game simultaneously. It does not remember who played before or how long you have to play that day. Likewise, the RNG doesn’t remember your previous play on its cousin machine down the row. It is about possibility and probability, not “due” or “definite.”

Possibility vs. Probability

That’s the key – possibility vs. probability. Video Poker is all about reducing the house edge to lengthen your bankroll. The perfect strategy is found mathematically to increase the probability of lengthening your bankroll. Lengthening your bankroll improves the probability of larger payoff hands appearing, thus allowing more hands to be played. When you have more chances to play, you have a higher probability of hitting that Royal.

$1300.00 at Foxwoods December 2020

Do My Mistakes Reduce The Chances Of Hitting a Royal Flush?

It does not. Jerry, “the Stickman” Stitch, wrote an article about it at Casino City Times. But, he says, “it may improve the chances of hitting a royal flush – maybe not by much, but an improvement nonetheless.”

Mostly, mistakes in strategy just cost some winnings.

Successful Video Poker is like getting to Carnegie Hall. How do you get there? Practice, Practice, Practice. Practice sessions are essential. But, with each probable mistake, the appearance of a royal flush never decreases. It only stays the same or increases.

“The mistakes in playing strategy that pop up in your play do not cause fewer royal flushes. Randomness does. Random is random. It is part of the game.” – Jerry “the Stickman” Stitch

Here’s a Suggestion

Play multi-line video poker. Try it at a $.05 denomination. Even if it’s a nickel denomination, a  Royal is STILL a ROYAL! I have had 23 Royal Flushes in the last five years at nickel, dime, quarter denominations, and different games. So break the ice – enter that portal of firsts. By the way, playing Ultimate X with multipliers (watch out for the volatility) at the nickel denomination, a Royal with a 10X multiplier gets you 40,000 nickels, or $2000.

Some think these are not “Real Royals.” (not mentioning any names or acronyms like YCBOT!) But it still feels good when you get one, even at nickel level or multiline games.


If you always try for the Royal Flush, you decrease the length probability of your session. It might slightly increase the draw for a Royal on that hand, but how long will you be able to play using that strategy? The answer is NOT VERY!

Video Poker Strategy is a skilled game that can give you longevity with the correct strategy. However, there are always exceptions to the rule. Stick to it. Even if you don’t get the Royal Flush, it will increase the probability of playing longer, with more modest losses and other perks such as more reward points and increasing your Average Daily Theoretical.

THIS POST DOES NOT APPLY TO VIDEO POKER TOURNAMENTS OR VIDEO POKER PROGRESSIVES (especially when the progressive return has made the game a positive EV.)