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”

 

Video Poker Mistakes and Myths

Video Poker Mistakes and Myths are so prevalent, I hear something interesting every time I’m at the VP Bar.

The VIDEO POKER PLAYer / Gambler

Many views of a gambler paints a bleak, hopeless picture of reckless behavior leading to someone who risks loss or injury in the hope of gain or excitement. Addiction is a major concern, but I prefer to think a true gambler is someone who wagers money on the outcome of games or sporting events with strategy, knowledge, and experience to get the best chance to win by diminishing the house edge.

However, there are those who cling to gut feelings, myths, and false knowledge while whining about losing and casino edge.  If you are superstitious, or even a “Little”-stitious, read on…… Remember, for every rule, there might be an exception.

Mistakes

Not Joining the Slot Club –  Get over the fact that you think big brother is watching you and can get an extraordinary amount of information from your rewards card – it’s not as much as you think.  Also, having your card inserted does not give someone (upstairs in the secret button room) the ability to change whatever it is your playing. So, get credit for your play. Comps playing video poker are hard enough to earn. Use the card, and no, using the slot club card  won’t tighten your machine. The exception? – small play or short play sessions.  For example, I play without the card when my play might diminish my Average Daily Theoretical.  For more info on that, check out ‘“Casino Comps & Your “Average Daily Theoretical”

Playing the Wrong Games – this means a couple of things.  First and foremost, it means playing games that you don’t practice.  I don’t play “deuces wilds” because i wouldn’t play it close to perfect strategy – but that’s just me because I prefer to lower the house edge by playing only games I know well. Wrong games also includes playing highly volatile games with high variance like Triple Double Bonus or Multi-line Multi-Strike Poker which have slightly different hold cards. It should be said that the vast majority of multi-line games (Triple Play, 5-Play, 100-Play, etc) should be played exactly as the single line version.

A Low Bankroll – Different games with different denominations need different amounts of moolah to play with perfect strategy to give the player a good chance at winning. For more specific information on bankroll, go to the 888Casino and read DETERMINING BANKROLL REQUIREMENTS

Be careful With the Free Stuff

Drinking too much / playing distracted – find the balance between enjoying casino amenities and playing the game.

Not Checking the Pay Table – the pay tables vary depending upon the game, denomination, and casino. Even machines side by side may be different. Look for better paying machines.  But remember, just because one game has a better paying pay table doesn’t alone increase your chance of winning, correct strategy is a bigger factor.

Playing on a problem machine / Playing a Machine with “Sticky” Buttons – some machines are just not fun because of malfunctions with buttons or rewards card entry. Bar top machines especially fall into this category.

Not Betting Max Bet – You cant win if you don’t play – and that includes Royal Flushes & Progressive Jackpots.  However, maybe you prefer a smaller denomination, or a slower pace. As long as you realize the pay table payback % has been diminished without max play, play what makes you comfy. After all, recreational gambling is for fun, isn’t it?  No judgement here.

Video Poker Myths

Following Hunches & Superstitions – here are some of the ones I hear the most:

MYTH – the cards are programmed to win or lose when you press deal. TRUTH – The infamous Random Number Generator (RNG) takes care of the randomness of VP play making the game of video poker a skill game based on the math and probabilities. Check out Video Poker Math at CasinoNewsDaily.com .

The 4 is the kicker.

MYTH – “Kicker” cards, cards that increase a four-of-a-kind, should be kept. TRUTH – yes, but only when the strategy dictates it. For example, when dealt three aces with a kicker like 2,3,4 in Double Double Bonus, only keep three aces. But when playing Triple Double Bonus, you’d keep the kicker. Some think you always go for the high pay combination, but correct strategy is more about keeping you in the game longer.

MYTH – Games that offer big jackpots on four Aces deal fewer four-Ace hands. TRUTHNo. Refer Slot Machines – Myths & The Random Number Generator  concerning the “RNG.” 

MYTH – When you discard just one card, it’s usually replaced with a card of the same denomination. TRUTH – No. Refer Slot Machines – Myths & The Random Number Generator concerning the “RNG.” 

Does a dealt Straight Flush mean the game is “hot?”

MYTH – “Hot” and “Cold” machines / “Streaks” – TRUTH – These are human perceptions over a short period of time. For more info, refer to “RNG” above.

Have you heard These myths?

MYTH – I’ll change games and change my luck” and “The machine is “due” – TRUTH – it doesn’t matter.  If the games are the same, including paytable, switch if you want. But, it really doesn’t matter.  What matters is that the game, seat, casino area, etc is more desirable to you.

MYTH – Faster is Better – According to this theory, if you can increase your speed to complete one hand every three seconds, forcing the machine to cycle through 20 hands per minute rather than just 10, you’ll work twice as quickly toward the threshold required to trigger big winners.  TRUTH – It may get you closer to the “expected” number of hands needed to approach a certain big pay, the “RNG” could bring the wanted pay out with fewer or many more hands than the expected amount.

MYTH– Higher Denomination Machines Pay More. TRUTH – While this may be true with slot machines (typically, higher the denomination, the higher the pay out %), Video Poker machines with the same pay table, whether $,5, $.25 or $5, will have the same expected RTP (Return To Player), also called EV (expected value).

CONCLUSION

Can You Make a Living Through Video Poker?  Yes, but it is increasingly harder with every year as casinos lower paytables and eliminate “full pay” video poker. Now, it has to include promotions, multipliers, comps and anything else that can increase the value of grinding play on the very few full pay machines left. It’s tough to do.

So, let’s keep recreational gambling in the area of enjoyment and reality. Embrace the math, not the myth, and have fun.

Binbin

Your Casino Bankroll Requires Planning – Questions and Answers

$100 Funny Toilet Paper

 

Your Casino bankroll requires planning. How much money to bring to the casino depends three questions:

  • what games will you be playing?
  • what denomination will you be playing at?
  • how long do you expect to stay?

I am often asked, “How much money should I bring to the casino?”  In other words, what should your bankroll be? Think of it this way – “Retirement is like a long vacation in Las Vegas. The goal is to enjoy it the fullest, but not so fully that you run out of money.” — Jonathan Clements. If you think about it, every time you visit the casino, that’s the goal. To enjoy it the fullest, but not so fully that you deplete your bankroll.

Consider these before your next visit 

1)  “How long am I going to stay?”  Decide before you go.
2)  If using bus transportation, “Do I have plans on how to spend my free time?”  (Time without bankroll)
3)  “If I get ahead on a slot or video poker machine, how will I establish a stop value to cash out?”
4)  If it’s a longer visit that spans over a meal time, “Do I have a plan for dividing your sessions?”  and “Am I taking enough money to include downtime, tips, and meals?”
5)  MOST IMPORTANT – “Does my allotted bankroll equal the allotted time for my visit?”  In other words, will your time expectations match the $$ you brought?  (If not, be careful not to make that ATM your friend)

Related Post – Your Bankroll is $250 – What New England Casino Would You Visit?

Bankroll Suggestions

Keep in mind that the following are suggestions.  While a suggested bankroll might give you the best run at a certain percentage of lasting, the opposite is also true. The house edge might not change in your session, but your success can get crazy bad or crazy good in a short session – after all, it is casino gambling. Remember, your casino bankroll requires planning.

SLOTS – John Grochowski says, “….as a general rule of thumb, to have a 90% chance of staying in action for three hours on the slots, your bankroll should cover 250 bets. If you’re betting 40 cents a spin on penny slots, a $100 bankroll gives you that 90% chance. If you’re betting 75 cents on quarter slots, the bankroll need rises to about $187.50, and when you bet $3 per spin on dollar slots, it’s $750.”

Ticket In, Ticket Out! TITO

Ticket In, Ticket Out! TITO

BLACKJACK – according to CountingEdge.com, “….always buy-in with at least 50 times the minimum bet. No exceptions. In other words, to play at a $5 minimum bet table you need to buy-in with $250. At a $10 table you need $500, and so on.

CRAPS – Its my understanding to bring to the table 7 to 10 times the amount you are betting. So a $5 table with 3-4-5x odds pass line w/ odds only ave betting $25.00, so $175 to $250.

VIDEO POKER – 150 bets to cover 400 decisions per hour (average player with perfect strategy).  In other words, playing quarter VP and five coins per single line, $1.25 X 150 = $187.50 (round up to $200).  Of course, the lower the pay table pay out, the more you will need.  Also, higher the volatility (Triple Double Bonus Poker as compared to Jacks or Better) would me a higher bankroll.

Related Post – Playing Video Poker is More Than Video Poker Pay Tables

They Represent Real money! Treat these chips as real money.

OTHER TABLE GAMES – Casino Player writer Basil Nestor, from “Casino Player” writes “…Blackjack and other table games are best played with a minimum of 50 bets. The only exception to this rule is Let It Ride, which requires 150 bets. For table poker, it’s 100 bets.”

Remember, my fellow recreational gamblers, it’s great to win.  But if you lose, only lose the bankroll you bring and the money you can spend for fun.

That’s all for now.

Binbin