Video poker is one of the most popular casino games for one solid reason: the
game is beatable. This isn't really true for any other game in the casino, regardless
of the strategy you employ. Video poker has a million varieties though, and finding
the right combination of game type, payout percentage, and proper strategy can
be a challenge. Since its introduction in the early 1980's, Video Poker has grown
into one of the casino's most popular games. Unlike regular Poker, which is played
against other players at a poker table, Video Poker is played individually on
a machine that uses video technology to create a Poker hand. Based on classic
Five Card Stud, Video Poker challenges players to build the best possible five-card
poker hand. The player is dealt five cards and has the option of discarding any
or all of them. New cards are dealt to replace the discards. Payoffs are based
on a scale, paying players for hands as low as a pair of tens or Jacks all the
way up to a Royal Flush. Like slot machines, Video Poker machines are available
in many denominations, with 25 cent and $1 machines being the most popular. Many
casinos also offer progressive payoffs or bonuses for Royal Flushes or other special
hands. Video Poker provides variety too, with versions ranging from Jacks Or Better
to Deuces Wild and Jokers Wild.
There are three things you need to do in order to strip away the mystery of an
online video poker machine to understand its value. These should be included in
your video poker strategy.
- You must be able to read the pay tables and know which ones have the highest
- You must know the best video poker strategy for the machines you choose
- You must know the expected volatility of a particular machine - or what
effect it will have on your bankroll
Based purely on the mechanics, playing online video poker is simplicity itself.
However, playing it well entails a bit more effort and that's where your strategy
comes into play. Online video poker is one game where the house advantage is
definitely affected by how much knowledge the player has. The two main skills
involved (proper machine selection and knowing the proper strategy for the video
poker machine you're playing) get complicated because online video poker comes
in a never-ending variety of games. Each game requires a strategy suited just
for it to truly be effective.
How do you navigate this sea of machines? First, lets look at them in the broadest
terms: there are non-wild card games such as Jacks or Better and Double Bonus.
Then there are wild card games such as Deuces Wild or Joker Wild. Within these
two general types, there are many varieties. Payout schedule return rates may
vary from below 90% to above 100% (see table below). When a payout schedule
can return over %100, the game is beatable, meaning if you play it perfectly
you will walk away a winner in the long run. Every other game in the casino
is stacked against you in the long run, even if you play with the best possible
The best place to begin honing your video poker strategy is with the machine
that started the whole phenomenon: the Jacks or Better game. The Jacks or Better
pays off for a pair of jacks or higher, which is particularly good for beginners
because of its easily understandable goal. Better yet, the best version of Jacks
or Better has a 99.5% payback percentage when played with expert strategy. This
means it has only a 0.5% house advantage. In other words, in the long run, you
expect to lose only 50 cents of every $100 you play. This is one of the best
bets in the casino. Consider Jacks or Better as the hershey bar of the video
poker candy store: classic, reliable, straightforward, and simply satisfying.
You may want to move to more new and exotic variations, but Jacks or Better
must always be the most accessible and understandable part of your strategy.
While there are many factors to consider in developing your online strategy,
they are far too numerous to detail here. We will leave you though with an important
factor, and possibly the most important thing to look at when developing your
strategy - the pay table. The pay table strips away the game's mystery; it's
basically a window into knowing whether the game is worth your money. An example
of a pay table can be seen below, and unlike slot machines, the pay table isn't
just there for us to "oohhh and aaah" over all the pretty payoffs
- it can reveal how much a game pays back if played perfectly.
flush payout is based on max coins (4,000 coins for 5 coins played)
of a kind
of a kind
Total return: 99.54%
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