Video poker is one of the few casino games that I still play. Most casino games have such a low return to player percentage that they’re simply too costly to play.
But you can’t just sit down at the first video poker machine you find and play it any way that you want. In order to play video poker with a high rate of return, you need to learn a few secrets.
Here are five video poker secrets that the casinos don’t want you to know about. Use these video poker secrets to play with the best chance to win.
1 – Video Poker Game Variation Considerations
If you haven’t played much real money video poker, you might believe that all video poker games are the same. You make a bet, get five cards, pick which cards to keep, and draw new cards to see if you have a winning hand.
While this is basically how most video poker machines work, the truth is that every video poker game variation is designed with a base return to player percentage. And some video poker games offer a higher base return than others.
This means that if you want to play video poker with the highest rate of return, you have to pick the base game design with the best return. And the problem is that you can’t look at the video poker machines and know which ones are better if you don’t do some research before you play.
The other issue you run into is that the games have to be available. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you know a certain game is best if you can’t find a machine. This is why most experienced video poker players focus on one or two of the most popular game variations.
I started focusing on Jacks or Better many years ago because the machines are popular and the base game is easy to play. Jacks or Better also has a fairly common pay table that offers a high rate of return.
Eventually, I added Deuces Wild video poker because it has a pay table available in many casinos that offer an even higher rate of return than Jacks or Better.
Both of these video poker variations are popular, so they’re easy to find. And I only have to know two pay tables and two strategies. This helps me avoid making mistakes that cost me money.
2 – The Right Pay Table for Your Game Variation
I mentioned video poker pay tables a couple times in the previous section. The pay table is the most important thing that you need to know about because each pay table sets a new base for return to player percentages.
Each base game is designed with a base return percentage, then each pay table available for the base game sets a different base return.
I know this might sound a little bit confusing, but you really only need to know about one or two pay tables for each base video poker game that you play. Once you learn what the pay table is that you’re looking for on each base video poker game variation, you can ignore all of the machines with other pay tables.
Find one or two video poker games that offer a good base rate of return. Then, find the pay tables for your chosen game or games. Learn the base rate of return for each pay table that’s available.
The truth is that you probably aren’t going to be able to find the absolute best pay table. So, you need to find the best pay tables that you have access to.
For example, the best common Jacks or Better pay table is called a 9/6. This isn’t technically the best pay table that’s ever been released on a Jacks or Better machine, but I’ve never seen a better return table. But a standard 9/6 Jacks or Better pay table offers a return of 99.54% when you use strategy correctly.
This makes it one of the best returns in the casino.
3 – Video Poker Strategy Charts and Cards
I mentioned using video poker strategy in the last section. You need to find good machines with good pay tables. But even when you do this, if you don’t use the proper strategy when you play, the return percentage is going to be too low.
Every video poker game variation has a strategy that you can use to improve the return to player percentage. The strategy is different for each base game, so you can’t use the same strategy when you play Jacks or Better that you use when you play Deuces Wild.
You don’t need to develop a strategy by yourself. In fact, it takes a lot of time and math work to develop the best video poker strategy for each base game. You can save time by getting a video poker strategy chart or card for the base game or games that you plan to play.
In fact, this is exactly what you need to do before you play video poker. Video poker strategy charts fit on a card the size of a playing card, so you can carry the best strategies around with you in your pocket, wallet, or purse. This way, you’re always prepared to play video poker using proper strategy.
4 – How a Video Poker Bonus Helps You
The only thing that you can get in most land-based casinos that help when you play video poker is comps. While getting comps is good, it’s really just a return of a small percentage of how much you lose from playing video poker.
When you play video poker in online and mobile casinos, you can often get a bonus when you make a deposit. In a way, a bonus is like earning comps except that you get the money up front.
This is helpful because it gives you a bigger bankroll to play with. In fact, most of the time that you get an online or mobile bonus, it at least doubles your starting bankroll.
When you’re playing video poker, the truth is that the only time you have much of a chance to get ahead is when you hit a royal flush or whatever the top-paying hand is on the game variation you’re playing.
The royal flush usually pays 4,000 coins. And you don’t hit a royal flush very often. So, the more spins you can take, the better your chance of hitting a royal flush. This is the main reason why a video poker bonus is so valuable.
When you get a video poker bonus, you have to play a set amount of hands before you clear the bonus. When you don’t get lucky and hit a royal flush, you’re probably going to run out of money. But when you hit a royal flush, you can clear the bonus and usually cash out a win.
5 – Why You Should Play Online and Mobile Video Poker
The difference between video poker machines in live casinos and online and in mobile casinos is small. In fact, for most purposes, the games are exactly the same.
In the last section, I explained why playing online and mobile video poker might be better because you can get a bonus. But there’s another reason why I usually play video poker online. For this purpose, online and mobile video poker is the same.
You learned why pay tables are important if you want to play video poker with a high rate of return in an earlier section. It’s easier to find good pay tables in online and mobile casinos than it is to find them in land-based or live casinos.
And if you check out an online casino and it doesn’t offer a good pay table for the video poker variation that you want to play, it’s easy and fast to check out a different online casino.
In some casinos where I play, the best Jacks or Better machine is an 8/5, but I play in several online casinos that offer 9/6 machines.
If you don’t know the five video poker secrets listed in this article, you’re not going to have any chance to beat the casino. But once you learn what these five secrets are and apply them, they aren’t that difficult to use.
Playing video poker with a high return percentage starts with finding the right game variations. Some video poker variations offer better returns than others.
The next steps are to identify the right pay tables, then use the right strategy for the game and pay table. Finally, online and mobile video poker is the best option for most gamblers.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …