Video poker is a huge fan of pretty much anyone who doesn’t live a convenient distance from a casino. This is largely because most bars and pubs can get special licenses to have video poker games on their premises- even if they’re not a casino. Video poker has also become a massive hit online thanks to the growing popularity of actual poker and COVID forcing us to spend more time at home.
While these are all excellent reasons for video poker to be every man’s game, there are actually other enticing incentives for playing video poker. One being that these games often have an incredibly low house edge, they’re easy to learn and can offer some pretty decent payouts
Sure, it may look like a slot, it may even sound like a slot- but video poker my friends is not a slot. Where a player may expect a 92% payout, meaning an $8 return for every $100 spent. Video poker games will have a payback percentage of 99% and above, and the majority start at a payback percentage of 96%. With many games capable of having a house edge that is less than 1%. This means your odds of winning are much, much higher with video poker machines than they are slot machines.
Slot machines pay based on a random number generator. Most poker games use a virtual 52 card deck. 53 if they’ve got a joker. This alone makes the odds infinitely better- or at least infinitely more calculable, than those of a slot machine. Winning combinations are also much less convoluted than slot machines, making it much easier to see when your predictions have paid off and why. Which allows a player to adapt their betting strategies accordingly.
Getting credits on a machine is pretty straightforward. You put money in.
Yes, it’s that simple. Stakes of the game vary, some machines are $1 per credit, some are $0.25 per credit. So, if you put $100 in a $1 machine- you’ll have 100 credits. If you put $100 into a quarter machine, you’ll have 400 credits. The machine will calculate credits for you.
In most poker machines, credit wager only really matters on one or two top hands. Normally the royal flush or full house. Otherwise, the payout tables are generally similar no matter what your wager is. That being said, the payback on the top hands are worth so much more than the others- it’s often worth the odds of getting a royal flush to use a max bet each time you wager. If you feel like betting $5 per hand is a bit steep, switch to a quarter machine. You’ll still see the increase in payout, but you’ll only wager $1.25 per hand.
Remember- video poker virtual decks are “shuffled” each time a new hand is dealt- so you’ll always be working with the same odds of a singular 52 card deck. Making it much easier to use percentages when it comes to deciding which cards stay and which cards go.
The machine’s pay table will tell you what to expect payout to be, but you’ll need to employ some of your own savvy when it comes to choosing the best cards for a hand. Once you’ve chosen to deal, you will be given 5 cards. Any of these cards can be chosen to be discarded and dealt with again. While the royal flush is the most desirable, you shouldn’t be going for it every single time if your originally dealt hand is pushing you in another direction. Familiarize yourself with standard poker rules and probability tactics to really see you increase your paybacks with any given video poker machine.
Pay tables will tell you exactly what your payout will be for a certain hand- and will give you an idea of what the house’s edge is. The two main types of video poker payout games are a 9/6 and a 8/5. Anything lower just isn’t really worth playing, no matter how good you are. The 9/6 and 8/5 refer to the payout amount. In a 9/6 the house pays 9 to1 odds on a full house and 6 to 1 on a flush. This creates a payback percentage of 99.54%. These machines are considered “full pay”.
In an 8/5, where the house pays 8 to 1 on a full house and 5 to 1 for a flush, generates a payout percentage of 97.3% which is a massive departure from a full pay machine. And shows you why anything less than an 8/5 is a bit of a waste. When looking at payout percentages as a function of house edge- or how much you should expect to lose to the house- most people would much rather part with 0.46% of their total bet than they would 2.7%. Think about it- if you bet $100, with full pay, you’d expect to lose 46 cents, wherewith a 8/5 machine you’d expect to lose $2.70. Make your bet up to $1000, and you start seeing obvious increases, like $4.60 versus $27.