Lose Your VP Bankroll With Stinkin’ Thinkin’

Lose Your VP Bankroll With Stinkin' Thinkin'

Video poker is my game of choice when I go to the casino. However, all recreational video poker players must know “Stinkin’ Thinkin’.” These thoughts or bad habits can eat up your bankroll and make for shorter-than-expected casino sessions. Let’s examine seven examples of how to Lose Your VP Bankroll With Stinkin’ Thinkin’.

These Bad Habits Make You Lose Your Money

1. Royal Flush or Bust Strategy

Some games are more exciting than others. The “good ole” Jacks or Better – well, not so much. But whatever the game is, don’t try to create excitement by always going for the Royal Flush.

Related Post – Don’t Rush The Royal Flush.

Sure, the top-paying hand on most games is a royal flush (Jokers Wild with a Five-of-a-kind jackpot instead of a Royal that was popular in Atlantic City.). But other machines have a different top-paying hand, depending on the odds of hitting each hand. So don’t chase the top-paying hand – keep to the correct strategy. If the strategy is to take a smaller “already-made” payout instead of taking a long-shot draw to a royal flush, follow the strategy.

2. Speed KillsYour Bankroll

Lose Your VP Bankroll With Stinkin' Thinkin'

It’s always good to play video poker as fast as possible (and these are BIG “if’s”):

  1. You commit little to no mistakes with the game strategy, and
  2. If the game is a positive advantage (10/6 DDB, Full pay JOB, DW, etc.)

If these two criteria are not met, play at your own pace. Why? First and foremost, if you’re playing a machine where the house has the edge, you’re best off pacing your play. The more you play, the higher the house edge, and the faster you lose money.

You play too fast and make mistakes on what cards to hold. Does that need any additional discussion? I say, “ney, ney.”

3. It Doesn’t Matter If I Play Max Bet (or at least five coins)

Lose Your VP Bankroll With Stinkin' Thinkin'

One way to look at it is that video poker pay tables are designed to punish players for risking fewer than five coins. If your bankroll doesn’t support that particular game, drop in lines or drop in the denomination.

Of course, recreational VP players should be able to play video poker without judgment. But not playing max bet decreases the game’s payout percentage by about 2%. (Just saying)

4. Paytables Are All the Same

Related Post – Your Video Poker Bankroll – Pay Tables and Variance

Lose Your VP Bankroll With Stinkin' Thinkin'

Is it possible to make money on a poor paytable? Sure. Can you hit a Royal Flush on a low-payout game? You betcha.

Au contraire’, mes amis. For example, the difference in EV (expected value) between 9/6 JOB and 6/5 Job is 5%. doesn’t it seem like much? But what about this? With a bankroll of $200, on quarter JOB machines with max bet, that 5% difference in EV will cost you $10 more of your $200 bankroll. But that’s not really how it works.

Most VP players can easily play a modest 300 hands per hour, which is $325 through the machine.

  • 9/6 JOB estimates a 99.54% payout – an estimated $1.80/hour loss.
  • 6/5 JOB estimates a 94.54% payout – an estimated $20.00/hour loss.
  • 6/5 JOB will cost you (in probability) 10% of your bankroll every hour, compared to 1% every hour with 9/6 JOB.

The fact is that the pay table matters just as much or more than anything else. So try not to accept anything less than the best paytable.

5. Distractions – Lose Your VP Bankroll With Stinkin’ Thinkin’

Cocktail Waitress with “free” drinks.

Sometimes, during your video poker session, you may be offered a drink between the first draw and the hold. No, it isn’t the casino’s plan to distract you like that. But always be careful to know if you are returning to the draw to start a new hand. While distracted, you may forget to hold those three Aces and draw five more cards. (Been there, done that!)

Related Post – Video Poker Resources Improve Your Game

6. Refusing to Use Gambling Win Limits

Do you know when to stop? I know this may be my most challenging example of ‘Stinkin’ Thinkin’. The best way to lock in a video poker win, or any win, is to set a win limit before playing. What amount will you be happy with as a win limit? Mark it, and stick to it. Stop your session and move on any time you get ahead by this much.

I know – easier said than done.

7. Avoid IntuitionLose Your VP Bankroll With Stinkin’ Thinkin’

Video poker is a game of skill. Having a “hunch” or believing that a particular game or machine is programmed a certain way is flawed thinking is Stinkin Thinkin’ in the worst way. Instead, stick to playing the perfect basic strategy – your best path to video poker success. Don’t mindlessly add to the house’s edge by playing a “good feeling.”


There are tools available to help you. Just remember, Stinkin’ Thinkin’ = Money Lost. And these seven are probably the worst.