Your Video Poker Bankroll – Pay Tables and Variance

Your Video Poker Bankroll – Pay Tables and Variance could be the most important part to playing Video Poker. Consider how well you play, the games available (and their pay tables), and the denominations. That determines your bankroll. Whether you are a serious player, or one who plays socially, this article will open your eyes a bit.

What is a Bankroll?

It is the amount of money an individual has to gamble with. A player’s bankroll should be only what the player can afford, or has saved. Furthermore, it’s important to keep your bankroll separate from other accounts. It cannot be part of any money that may be required for everyday living expenses.

How Much of A Bankroll Should I Bring?

Your Video Poker Bankroll

This depends on the game you are playing, and the denomination of that game. Simply put, a rule of thumb for video poker is three to four times the amount of a royal flush on your game. Here is how you can do it.

For example, 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. In fact, this long term rule should used by any serious  video poker player to stay in the game and reduce any long-term losses.

Related Post – Don’t Rush the Royal Flush – Investigating the Big Video Poker Payout

How Much Should Your Bankroll Be When Taking a Trip?

Here is how to figure out Your Video Poker Bankroll for a three-day casino trip. First of all, try figuring out how many hands you play accurately in a minute. Then, multiply by 60 and you have the number of accurate hands per hour at max bet. The average player plays 500 hands per hour, but many play faster. Remember, accuracy is more important than speed. Now follow the math:

4 hours per day X 500 hands per hour is 2000 hands per day. At max bet of $1.25 per hand, that means you need $2500 per day, or a total of $7500 for you total visit. Higher than you might have thought.  But wait there’s more……

And That’s for Any Video Poker Game?

NO! The previous example was for 9/6 Jacks or Better, the easiest video poker game to play. It also used its best odds, which has the least variance. Unfortunately, Variance is one of the things that makes a big difference in the short term and is a huge influence on your bankroll.  Variance is a mathematical reference to how volatile the game is – you know those long winning and losing streaks.

For example, two games, 9/6 JOB (Jacks or Better) and 10/6 DDB (Double Double Bonus), both have a payout expectancy of above 99%. The plus between the two is that DDB has much higher paying four-of-a-kinds (yahoo!) but only pays 1:1 instead of 2:1 on two pair.

Your Video Poker Bankroll
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.

Comparing the two games you will find that JOB 9/6 will offer a longer run of smaller pays that keep you going while the DDB 10/6 will be much harder on your bankroll without hitting any of the four of a kinds. This difference is what variance is all about. The volatility increases as the pay tables numbers decrease. 6/5 JOB has a higher variance that 9/6 JOB.

Related Post – Choosing Video Poker Games – Which is Best For You?

What Does This Have to Do with Bankroll?

The example above uses two games that are hard to find – especially at the quarter level. Every time a number is lowered in the payout table, expect a 1% lower change in payout. 9/6 JOB = 99+%, 8/5 JOB = 97+%. Thus the worse the payout, the higher the variance

The lower the pay table, the increase in volatility. Most casinos these days offer 8/5 as the highest JOB pay table, 8/5 or 9/5 DDB. Remember that 3-day trip at 9/6 JOB with an expected bankroll of $2000? You’ll need more to increase your chances of bringing money home, never mind playing for four hours a day. Please note, this is just for playing single line VideoPoker.

Your Video Poker Bankroll
An 8/5 JOB Pay Table

Your Video Poker Bankroll – Pay Tables and Variance Summary

When you rush back to the casinos as they re-open, I suggest you make a serious play with a serious bankroll. Scout out the best pay tables for the video game you prefer in the casino. Remember,

  1. the lower the pay table, the higher the variance (volatility)
  2. as pay tables numbers are lowered, so is the variance (volatility)
  3. the higher the variance (volatility), the bigger the bankroll.

Good luck. Remember, “Embrace the Math, Not the Myth.”


Related Post – The 7 Best Techniques for Managing Your Gambling Bankroll

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