Video poker is not like slot machines – there is skill to it. It’s knowing the probability of the dealt hands, memorizing the strategy and holding what gives the best advantage for the best winning hand.
Video Poker machines often have a button where the player can set the speed of the cards dealt. Mostly, it is about where your comfort level is with your speed of play, but there is a reason when playing as fast as you can is suggested, as long as it’s accurate perfect strategy.
One time, I sent a question to noted Video Poker Expert, Bob Dancer. For great software to practice your Video Poker Play, go to bobdancer.com. I asked him, “When do you suggest to play as fast as you can?”
His answer – “Always.”
From his stand point, it was the correct answer. However, he insists on only playing advantage games – full pay, or very close to it. That means he plays games such as:
- Jack or Better – 9/6 **
- Bonus Poker – 8/5 **
- Double Bonus – 10/7 **
- Double Double Bonus – 10/6 **
- Full Pay Deuces Wild – 9(StrFl)) /5 (40faK)
- NSUD (Dueces Willd) – 9(StrFl)) /4(40faK) / 4 (FH)
** Please note – The first number = payout for Full House, second number = payout for Flush in these games
Jacks or Better best paytable (called 9/6 because of the full house and flush pay out). Notice the jump in pay out from 4 to 5 coins.
These games are seen as full play because they have a pay out of 99.7% to over 100% with perfect strategy. Because Mr. Dancer plays perfect strategy on full pay VP, his answer is correct – full speed ahead always.
Playing Video Poker as fast as one can should only be played when the player has the advantage, as in the above VP paytables. For more information about which games are FULL PAY, go to vpFREE2 and the Wizard of Odds.
But, the rest of us have a few considerations that many advantage players don’t. Consider these:
Whatever video poker game you play, you need to practice, and practice. Advantage players can play over 15 hands per minute. They only play full pay VP, and learn to minimize the time for each deal/hold play. Practice teaches AP’s what patterns of cards to memorize for whatever strategy is needed, no matter in what order the patterns are in on the deal.
Playing full pay VP also needs a technique that alleviates excess movement. I average 400-600 hands if needed by using my left hand for the holding of cards and my right hand for the deal/draw. By rolling my left hand slightly, I can hold whatever button is needed without looking down, keeping my eyes on the screen.
LACK of FULL PAY VIDEO POKER
No matter how good, or how fast you play video poker, the fact remains that full pay options are increasingly hard to find. Many casinos offer playable (like 8/5 JOB or 9/5 DDB) to incredibly bad (6/5 JOB, 7/5 DDB). The only full pay video poker in New England can be found at Mohegan Sun – 9/6 JOB.
SPEED CAN KILL (your Bankroll, That Is)
Since most casinos in the country don’t offer full pay VP, playing fast is not a template for success. Playing any casino game – slots, tables, VP – with a higher house edge should be played accurately first, speedily second. Playing slow can be a friend to your bankroll. Besides, if you play fast and make mistakes – don’t play fast. Unless you are playing full pay VP, there is absolutely no reason to speed.
ACCURACY IS #1
The primary strategy is knowing the optimum strategy for the game you are playing. Even with JOB (Jacks or Better, remember?) basic strategy, or the cards you hold, is different depending if the pay table is 9/6 or 8/5.
Jerry “Stickman” wrote the following in his post “How Fast Should You Play Video Poker?” in Casino City Times.
“First and foremost, if you are playing a machine where the house has the edge, you are best off pacing your play. The more you play, the more you will lose. Sure you may hit some big winners, but the more you play, the more the house will take your hard earned money. So if you don’t have an edge (including slot club points and possibly comps), take your time playing. Don’t rush to give the house any more money than you must. Only play as fast as you can be accurate. When playing with an edge, Wyatt Earp probably said it best when he quipped, “Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.” Don’t get killed. Make sure you are playing correctly.”
Now, go get that Royal Flush!