If you like to use math and analytical thinking when you gamble, video poker is going to be one of your favorite games. Everything that you do when you play video poker needs to be based on simple mathematical concepts.
In fact, if you’re not using these mathematical concepts, then you’re likely losing more money that you should have to when you play video poker.
This article includes everything you need to know about how winning video poker gamblers think. All you have to do is teach yourself to think about video poker the same way if you want to win more.
1 – Think About a Deck of Cards
Every video poker game starts with a deck of playing cards. Some games use 52 cards and some use 53, and there are even a few that use more. But the key is that you can use the information about what’s included in a deck of playing cards every time you play video poker for real money.
For example, if you have four clubs in your first five cards, you know the deck has exactlynine9 more clubs that can complete your flush. When you fold the card that isn’t a club and draw a new card, if the game uses a deck with 52 cards, nine of the cards will complete the flush and 38 of the cards aren’t going to complete the flush.
If you’re playing Jacks or Better and you have the ace of clubs and the jack of clubs, you know that in addition to the nine clubs, the three other aces and the three other jacks also complete a paying hand.
This means that instead of nine cards helping you, there are now 15 cards that help you, and only 32 cards that don’t help you.
The point is that when you understand the deck of cards being used in the video poker game you can use this information to make better playing decisions.
2 – Look at All of the Available Pay Tables
The information you learned bout in the last section is also valuable when you start comparing video poker pay tables. Each video poker pay table is designed in a way that locks in a minimum percentage that the machine makes for the casino.
The good news is that you can look up this percentage for each pay table online with a quick search. You don’t have to run all of the numbers by yourself.
This makes it easy to know if a pay table is good or bad. And you have to always play on video poker machines that offer a good pay table. But this isn’t the only thing you have to do.
You also need to play each hand a certain way to achieve the maximum return. You’re going to learn more about this in the section about video poker strategy.
Another thing you have to do when you play video poker to guarantee that you get the maximum return is bet five coins. This might not seem like the way to get maximum returns, but the way most pay tables are designed, you unlock a bonus when you hit a top hand after betting five coins.
3 – Think About Wild Card Games and Straight Games
This is more about your personal preference than maximizing your returns. You need to decide if you want to become a master video poker player of straight games, which don’t use wild cards, or games that do use wild cards.
You can find games of both types with good pay tables, so the choice is yours. The most popular games available in most casinos are Deuces Wild and Jacks or Better. Deuces Wild uses wild cards and Jacks or Better doesn’t.
If these two games are the main choices, and if you can find the best pay tables for each game, Deuces Wild offers a slightly higher return than Jack or Better with the top pay table for each.
In the long run, if you can learn how to play both of these games without making any mistakes, then you should do it. This way, you can play whichever game is available with the best pay table no matter what.
4 – How to Think About Video Poker Strategy
You saw an example of how knowing what’s in the deck of cards being used by the video poker machine influences how likely you are to complete a hand in the first section. This information can be used to make the absolute best play in any situation when you play video poker. And this is true no matter what variation of video poker you play.
You can run all of the math for every possible hand based on how much each hand pays and the odds of completing each hand. But it’s easier to use a chart that someone has already completed and shows the best way to play each hand.
The first thing you need to accept is that there’s only one best way to play each hand in order to maximize your returns. You can prove this using math, but it takes a lot of work. And it already has been proven using math, so you can either take my word for it or do all the math yourself.
If you accept that this is true, the next thing you need to understand is that if you ever make a play on a video poker hand that isn’t actually the best play, then you’ll lose money. This is why smart video poker gamblers always use the best strategy when they play with the use of a proper strategy chart.
5 – Find the Right Video Poker Bonuses
Just like most casino games, video poker games are available at online casinos and mobile platforms. And some of these casinos offer bonuses for video poker players.
The problem is that most video poker bonus offers are actually bad deals. They look like a way to get free money to play video poker with, but what they really do is cost you money in the long run.
The best way to tell if a video poker bonus is good or bad is to find the return to player percentage or house edge of the video poker game you’re going to play and find out what the terms say you have to do to complete the bonus requirements.
Use the return to player percentage or house edge to determine how much you expect to lose based on playing the amount required to clear the bonus. If the amount you expect to lose is higher than the amount of the bonus, it’s a bad bonus.
For example, if you get a $500 bonus and have to play $50,000 worth of wagers on a Jacks or Better machine with a 99.5% return, you can expect to lose $250 on your play. This is a good bonus. But if you have to play $200,000 to clear the bonus, you can expect to lose $1,000, so this is a bad bonus.
6 – Use Rewards to Offset Losses
The last thing to think about as a video poker player is how to use rewards to offset losses. Smart video poker gamblers always sign up for the rewards program and earn comps when they play.
Most rewards programs don’t return enough to make your video poker play profitable, but any amount or reward you can get helps offset any money you lose.
The most common form of a reward is a free meal. This might only be worth $10 or $20, but it’s still better than paying $10 or $20 for a meal. And if you lose $30 and get a $20 meal for free, it’s basically the same as only losing $10.
Make sure that you’re either playing video poker with a good bonus or when you’re getting rewards. And if you can get both at the same time, it’s even better.
Every video poker game is based on a deck of playing cards, and this is valuable information that you can use. When you know what cards are left in the deck, it helps you decide the best way to play each hand. This is called strategy, and every smart video poker gambler uses strategy when they play.
Smart video poker gamblers also know that it’s crucial to find good pay tables because they pay more. And they also know which pay tables are good and which pay tables are bad.
You can use video poker bonuses and rewards programs to help offset your losses when you play video poker. And smart gamblers exploit both of these things to help them win.