Why Do We Play Video Poker?

If you are a recreational video poker player, there are many things to consider besides the fun involved. If you want to give yourself the best chance to win, play longer and earn more comps. Let’s look at the big picture. Why Do We Play Video Poker?

Video Poker


Could it be for any of these many reasons? For example, “I like to play video poker because:

  • “The low house edge.”
  • “I can dictate the pace of my play.”.
  • “Free Drinks are easily available at bar tops.”
  • “Social time with a friend is fun,” or
  • “Personal play suits me best.”
  • “I don’t want to bother with other players.”
  • “The skill and strategy involved interest me.”
  • “I like to pass the time slowly (low denomination, no max bet, relaxing)
  • “It’s the best way to play my free slot play.”

The fact is, recreational gambling is about enjoyment and entertainment. Now, before some severe gamblers yell “BLASPHEMY!” let me explain…

Video Poker Contentment

Video poker Bar
Harvest Moon Bar, Mohegan Sun

My friend enjoys playing 8/5 JOB at a BarTop at Mohegan Sun to relax while his wife plays slots. He plays one credit at a time. While he only plays one credit, $0.25, he got his first Royal Flush. He only received $62.50 instead of $1000 if playing max bet. But, he was still content. No remorse, no regret. He intended to relax, spend little money, and get free drinks to pass the time. He enjoys Video Poker on his terms.


I once thought that playing VP with poor pay tables sent the message to casino management that we would play anything, no matter the pay table. Guess what; they don’t care. There will never be enough players interested in playing only the best games. It is whatever they offer on the casino floor—the end.


Here are many things to ponder as a recreational Video Poker player.

  • What games are available at your casino that you prefer? JOB, Bonus, DB, DDB, Ultimate X, etc……
  • How large is your bankroll? Bankroll does matter, depending on what game you are playing. For example, the money suggested for a successful Double-Double Bonus session is more than Jacks-or-Better (JOB) because DDB is more volatile. Denomination complicates it further depending on if you are playing nickels, quarters, or dollars. Finally, playing multi-line machines like Triple Play, 5-Play & Ten-Play changes the denomination and alters the game chosen.
  • What are you willing to compromise? What is your “casino currency”? Excellent service is a compromise I’m willing to make for a game with a slightly less favorable paytable. Casino Currency refers to the value placed on other things besides the game itself. For example, it may be that a worse paytable gives you more comp points. If tier credit, tier level, and comps are as important (or more) than the game itself, it is part of your casino currency.
  • Video Poker is notorious for earning 1/2 to 1/3 of the points slots accrue, so other things make be accountable to what you play and when. Consider what the machines cost to run, the usual casino costs, and very little money made off you on a full-pay video poker game. There is nothing in it for the casino. If all you play is full pay JOB, there is no need to count you as an essential player. Sometimes, it’s better off playing lower pay tables to appear less astute. The benefits may mean more than the payout percentage.
Multi-hand Games

More to Ponder

Low rolling full pay brings little to the player – playing full-pay JOB at the quarter level may not earn as much as playing one or two credits on a $1 8/5 JOB machine.

Be careful of single-line machines with many games. A machine that has a full pay game may earn the same minimal pittance in tier and reward points on other non-full-pay games such as 8/5 DDB or lower pay Deuces Wild. It might be better to check for single-game machines that will accrue a higher reward.

Bob Dancer
  • Should you play with/without a card? I have a confession to make – sometimes, I play without my card. Short or small play sessions are bad for a player’s Average Daily Theoretical. On occasion, for a relaxing short play and free drink, I will play VIDEO KENO without a card. That way, I don’t damage my ADT (Average Daily Theoretical). Consider doing the same and using your card only when playing big.
  • What? Practice? – Yes, practice. If you truly want to win more, give yourself a chance by practicing on the many apps, software, and websites that provide instruction. Without perfect strategy on your favorite game,  the payout % decrease, even if it’s full pay. 


Play where you are comfy. Consider the ambiance, proximity to home, bar, craft beer, great drinks, bartenders, etc. It may mean more than just the best pay tables. With all the possible VP games out there, play the game you prefer. Play what and where you get enormous pleasure.

So, chill out and enjoy putting the “recreation” back into recreational gambling.