Why Video Poker Is The Best Casino Game

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All the casino games that claim to be ”video poker” will never prepare you for the real deal. If you put your money on the line, it gives you a stake in the outcome rather than just a casual interest.

When you play for real cash you tend to choose your cards differently especially if you know you can lose 5 coins on the outcome or win 2000. When you play for real money there’s a distinct difference in the way you play and in your thought pattern. In this article I’m going to explore the components that makes video poker more than just a game of luck.

The majority of the non-betting games on the Internet are programmed differently than casino games since they focus more on the entertainment rather than the monetary aspect. On the other hand, the in-casino games are based on the laws of probability. In other words the casinos want you to stake (risk) your money in return for more cash. This is why it’s called gambling.

Casinos Like To Announce Winners

Casinos really don’t mind you winning a jackpot or two, as a matter of fact it’s good PR (Public Relations) for them if a player wins big. The more players who join a casino, be it on or offline the more money it stands to earn. If you’re in a gaming state like Nevada or New Jersey the machines in their casinos must adhere to stringent gaming requirements. The same rule applies to online casinos too. Their software is frequently audited by reputable firms like PriceWaterHouseCoopers and the win percentages are posted on their websites. Players can see for themselves which games offer the best payout ratio.

Video poker games run on a ”random shuffle” principle. What does this mean? The game retains a portion of the money spent, this is known in the industry as ”vigorish”. Some random hands dealt by the casino’s software will be unwinnable hands, pretty much like playing poker with friends where some hands are just downright lousy.

When playing video poker you insert money into the machine known as credits. The machines make their money from novice players. During a session many potential winning hands will be lost because the player does not realize a potential winning hand such as four of a kind or a full house. By playing each hand dealt to you correctly and I might add with a little luck, you may land that elusive royal flush. Keep in mind that luck is only temporary; if you don’t understand the basic strategy of the game you will run out of cash sooner than later.

Double Bonus video poker

What You Can Learn From Playing Video Poker Online

The lowest winning hand on most video poker machines is Jacks or Better. The hand players normally miss are straights. A straight is a five-card series that’s made up of consecutive numbers, normally they don’t take suits into account. Unlike table poker where a straight with a higher numeric value wins over a lower value straight, in video poker any straight is a winning hand. 

In an open ended potential straight, you might get four cards to the straight. Let’s assume you’re dealt 4H (Hearts), 5C (Clubs), 6H (Hearts), 7S (Spades) and QD (Diamonds). The 4, 5, 6, 7 is regarded as an open-ended straight despite the suits of the cards. You’ll hold the four cards to the straight and hope to receive any three or any eight on the draw of the one card. Your chances of landing a straight is eight chances out of forty-seven.

Another type of straight are in-side straights. These straights are more difficult for the average player to spot. An example of an inside straight is 4S (Spades), 5D (Diamonds), 7C (Clubs), 8C (Clubs) and 9H (Hearts). You have two winning potential straights here. Both require you to draw a six. You can either hold 4, 5, 7, 8 or hold 5, 7, 8, 9. In straights, suits don’t matter it’s the sequence of numbers that do.

A potential winning hand can be missed if you disregard the suits. At times a player can look for pairs, suits or cards to a royal flush and forget to check the sequence of the cards on the screen for possible straights. When playing video poker, speed of play doesn’t matter, take your time before the draw and don’t rush your hand.

Always choose a casino that offers a healthy selection. The paytables must offer standard or higher payouts and most important the site must be safe to wager at. Once you’ve decided on a casino and made a deposit, select the game you want to play. If your favorite game is Double Bonus Poker peruse the paytable when the game appears on the screen. Make sure that you know what the maximum bet is and the number of coins for the max. bet. The standard payout on a royal flush is 4,000 coins for a five coin bet.

If the paytable says that a royal flush pays out 80,000 coins, then you’re playing a machine that requires twenty times the usual five coin bet or 100 coins per bet. The formula is calculated as follow [(80,000 coins/4,000) x 5 coin standard bet=100 coin bet]. Look at the bottom of the screen, the white lettering near the betting buttons, says ”Bet 100 coins.” It means that every time you click on the maximum bet button, you’re betting 100 coins instead of 5. Five dimes equal $0.50, one hundred equals $10. Novice players tend to overlook this and spend all their money before realizing their mistake.

The various winning hands of video poker.

Explanation Of Coin Denomination

When speaking of bets and payouts for video poker players often refer to coin-the value of the bet. The most common bet is the standard five coin value. Each coin is worth a nickel making the total bet $0.25 or each coin could be worth $10, making the total bet worth $50.

Payouts are proportionate; you win the same 4,000 nickels for a royal flush as you win 4,000 $25 coins, when the value of each coin is $25. The difference is the coin denomination. It defines the value of each coin bet and the amount that’s won: 4,000 nickels equals a payout of $200; 4,000 $25 coins equals a payout of $100,000. In both cases, the reward is proportionally equal to the bet amount. Therefore, the number of coins the machine pays for any given hand is the coin payout. The value is determined by multiplying the coin denomination by the number of payout coins.

Before you start playing read the paytable carefully. At times you’ll get a paytable that pays 4,000 coins for the royal flush jackpot. The difference in payout, especially when it comes to two pair and other factors will have an impact on your bankroll.

Handy Tips

Most video poker games highlight the best possible hand by holding them automatically. If the machine deals you three eights, it will show ”held”. This feature is very handy especially for the novice player who’s not familiar with flushes, straights and four of a kind. Hold the three eights and click on draw. This aid will help you to win more money and teach you about the best possible hand combinations at the same time.

  • Hold unsuited face cards like A, K, Q, J, try for another face card or a 10 to hit a straight.
  • Hold any two suited face cards among kings, queens and jacks. For example KH (Hearts), QH or KC, JC (Clubs).
  • Hold a suited ace with any other suited card. AH, KH or QD.
  • Hold an unsuited ace with two unpaired face cards and a 10. (AC, QD, J, 10H). For even money you could pair any face card or shoot for a straight.
  • When the deal includes the suited J and 10, hold three cards to a straight flush (8C, 10C, JC).
  • Hold an unsuited ace with any other face card (AD, JS).
  • Hold a suited K10 and Q10.
  • In the dealt hand hold any single face card, J, Q, K, A.
  • Draw five cards if you’ve been dealt a lousy hand.

The aim of video poker is to stay as long as possible in the hand at getting the best possible payout for the money you’ve invested. The most confusing hands to players are those that offer two or more choices. Let’s pay close attention to these:

  • When you draw a pair but the hands also has four cards to a straight. Keep the pair of cards and draw for the three or even better four of a kind (7H, 7D, 4S, 3H, 2C; hold the sevens and shoot for more sevens.
  • Hold any pair of face cards over one face card with its suited 10 (JH, QJ, 10H, 9C, 8D). Hold the JH, JS and try for more jacks.
  • Hold any pair over three cards to the straight flush (3H, 3D, 8C, 7C, 6C). Hold the 3H, 3D and try for more threes.
  • Over four cards to a flush hold a pair of jacks or better (JH, JD, 2H, 5H, 8H). Hold the JH, JD and try for more jacks.

Video Poker Versus Table Games

Video poker is a game of both luck and skill, a skillful player can beat the casino regularly. Here’s a couple of reasons why it’s my favorite game:

  • It’s easy to learn. The more you learn and understand the different hand combinations and their payout ratios the better your chances at winning. If you’re not winning at the machine you’re playing, cash out and try out a new one. In short, try and build up a winning relationship with a couple of new machines through expert play.
  • Video poker is a mental challenge. For every possible hand that’s dealt from a 52-card deck, there’s only one correct hand that could be played.
  • It improves your hand/eye coordination. From my own personal experience I noted that video poker improved my hand/eye coordination. The top players normally play up to 10 hands per minute.
  • Most players see video poker as a honorable endeavor since it’s a game of skill rather than gambling. It’s akin to tracking shares on the stock market.
  • Table games are played against the dealer and other players. As such your chances of winning consistently is significantly reduced. Unlike table games, video poker does not have ”external factors” that can have a negative impact on your game. It’s just you and the machine.

Winning Hand Chances (Probability)

As your knowledge of the game increases so does your winning chances or the laws of probability. Gambling is almost as old as the history of man, as humans we believe that we can ”win” most of the time. People will always take a chance as long as there’s a slightest possibility that they could win. Take the lottery for example, billions of people buy lottery tickets every year hoping to win that elusive jackpot.

College professors love to talk about the laws of probability by forecasting the weather and gambling. Why? Weather forecasting employs probability. Likewise gambling odds are based on the same principle such as the outcome of a bet. Probability is based on the laws of large numbers. It’s the study of events whose outcomes are random and where large number trials can be predicted with some reliability. Mathematicians calculated that in a standard deck of 52 cards (jokers excluded), the probability of landing a royal flush is 4/2,598,960 or 1/649,740.

Pierre Fermat and Blaise Pascal invented the laws of probability in the seventeenth century to ”beat the odds” in dice games. They sought to answer questions posed by a gambler by the name of Antoine Gombaud. Gombaud was trying to increase his win percentages at the game of dice by making better decisions. Any expert in the field of gambling will tell you that this was a stroke of genius on his part. In hindsight, one can say that it paved the way between probability and gaming.

Each video poker game has its own strategy because the probabilities for winning hands change. In Jacks or Better, every single four of a kind have the same value, normally 125 coins on a 5 coin bet. A player will always hold all cards when a full house is dealt and draw for the forty-five coin win. In Double Bonus Poker it differs slightly, the player holds every other full house combination that’s dealt, on condition the full house contains three aces and draws. He’ll forfeit the full house win for the higher-paying aces. Four aces pays out 800 coins, especially if it’s four aces with a kicker (2,000 coins). This play is risky but it’s definitely worth it. 

Why A Skilled Player Will Always Win

If you enter a casino with a seasoned video poker player and have 30 minutes to play the machines, he’ll win more money than you. You might construe this as arrogance but it’s not it’s confidence. He knows which game/s to play, which cards to hold, wastes no time in making a decision and will play more hands than you within the allotted time period. Confidence, experience and risk tolerance are the factors that gives the seasoned player an edge over you.


Knowing the correct game strategy is important. Over the long haul, your knowledge, skill and ability to make the correct choices alter your statistical probabilities of winning versus losing money. Video poker machines are programmed based on the laws of probability. The more you play, the better you become at them.

If you’re a beginner Bonus Poker is the best game to start with. It’s not as volatile as the other games and it’s easier to hit the royal flush jackpot. If you want to take your video poker play to the next level, you can invest in Bod Dancer’s Video Poker for Winners. Players who have a strong self believe coupled with a positive mindset are normally winning players.


1. Bob Dancer-Video Poker, The Winners Guide Series

2. Vegas Click-Video Poker Lessons



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