You need to stop overlooking Video Poker, here’s why…

by Enrico
Updated Video Poker Guides, Tips, Strategy

why you should play video poker
Getting its start in the 1980s and flourishing until the early 2000s, video poker rivaled slots for most popular. These days, there are fewer fans of video poker, as popularity has leaned more towards slot machines and mini-baccarat. In fact, it can be argued that video poker popularity has been on the slide for the best part of 20 years, with players turning away in alarming numbers. For most, as a game video poker has become a dated non-starter that doesn’t deliver the fun-factor that players demand.

A big reason why the love of video poker has faded is the lack of innovation. Instead, it’s still just a basic game with boring backgrounds. Compared to slot machines, which boast high-quality art, bonuses, and thousands of different options, video poker just doesn’t come out on top. The reality is that when it comes to over the top, pure entertainment video poker is lagging way behind the competition.

However, looking past the sad lack of tech innovation, you’ll see that video poker has plenty of incredible features to take advantage of. Here are some reasons why you should start appreciating video poker a little more and maybe not look past it the next time you visit your favorite online casino.

Video Poker Has a Sky-High RTP

There’s a house edge of 1% to 6% on most casino games. Physical slot machines can have an even higher house edge between 5% and 12%. Video poker, though, offers many variations with many chances to win by facing a much lower house edge. We know that the statistics side of online casino play can be a bit boring, but the numbers don’t lie.

Looking at an example, 9/6 Jacks or Better is a common video poker game, with a return-to-player, or RTP, of 99.54%. Should this game not be available, you can look for 8/5 Bonus Poker, which offers 99.17% RTP – slightly lower, but nothing to shake a stick at. You may not find either game at a physical casino, but you can easily find them or games with even better RTP online. For example, Microgaming’s All Aces has an RTP of 99.92%.

Whichever game you look at, you’ll like find that the RTP is high and the house edge is low, now that’s a pretty solid combination if you ask us.

Some Video Poker Games Even Have 100%+ RTP

Hold on a second, there are games with 100% RTP? In the realm of video poker, there are, even if they are sometimes very difficult to find. The games just covered do still mean that the house has an edge, albeit a slight one. But yes, you can find video poker games that offer 100% RTP or more.

As we said, they’re a little bit more difficult to find, but you can run into these games with what is known as +EV (or positive expected value) in places such as Las Vegas. Now, don’t start visiting every single casino in Vegas on the hunt for one. Instead, use a site like vpFREE2, which is a database of where +EV video poker can be found, which should help narrow down your search for these elusive machines.

Want some specifics? Here are a few games with +EV that we know do or have existed on the casino floors of the world:

  • Deuces Wild, RTP of 100.76%
  • Joker Wild (Kings or Better), RTP of 100.65%
  • Aces and Eights, RTP of 100.25%
  • Double Bonus, RTP of 100.17%
  • Loose Deuces Wild, RTP of 100.15%
  • Super Bonus Deuces Wild, RTP of 100.13%
  • Double Bonus Plus, RTP of 100.8%
  • Double Double Bonus, RTP of 100.07%

It’s important to note that full-pay versions of these games must be played to be eligible for the full RTP percentage. In addition, familiarizing yourself with paytables for one or multiple +EV video poker games can be very advantageous before you play.

There is Plenty of Profit to be Found

Video poker isn’t known for delivering bank-busting wins for those that just dabble in the game, so don’t expect to bring in a ton of cash when playing video poker casually. That being said, solid profits are possible with certain variations, though. The three games that give you the best profits with wins are Deuces Wild, Joker Wild, and Aces and Eights.

Here are some examples of win rates, so you have a better idea of what video poker games deliver the best bang for your buck.

Full-Pay Deuces Wild

  • You bet 5 coins (or $1.25) a hand
  • You play 1,000 hands in the span of an hour.
  • 1,000 x 1.25 x 0.0076 (house edge) = 9.50
  • You make $9.50 in an hour

Full-Pay Joker Wild

  • You bet 5 coins (or $1.25) a hand
  • You play 1,000 hands in the span of an hour.
  • 1,000 x 1.25 x 0.005 = 8.13
  • You make $8.13 in an hour

Full-Pay Aces and Eights

  • You bet 5 coins (or $1.25) a hand
  • You play 1,000 hands in the span of an hour.
  • 1,000 x 1.25 x 0.025 = 3.13
  • You make $3.13 in an hour

Remember, by playing more hands in an hour, you can easily win. Skilled video poker players can play 1,000 hands in that hour, without having to sacrifice much in terms of strategy. People often forget that video poker as a game can cut a pretty electric pace, so you can easily blast through hundreds of hands in an hour.

The Video Poker strategy is Still a Factor…

We’ve touched on this lightly in this article previously, but it’s worth exploring further. The days of casino strategy games appear to be dying, just look at the explosive popularity of online slots. But, we’re going on record to say that this isn’t necessarily a good thing. Games that require thought and skill still come out on top in our book, which is exactly why we believe that video poker is well worth playing.

Many casino-goers don’t find games like slots, craps, or baccarat much fun due to the inherent lack of strategy. These games are all about luck, with there actually being a lot less player influence on the outcome than most people realize. It’s much different, as every single choice that you make during play has an impact on the overall house edge, or to your own advantage. Better decisions mean better chances to win. You’ll notice that the odds swing as you play, meaning that you are – at least to a small extent – in control of the outcome.

Of course, players can’t use strategies if they haven’t learned the one appropriate for the video poker variation that they play. For example, 8/5 Bonus Poker pays out differently for some hands than, say, 9/6 Jacks or Better. In order to really take advantage of the odds you have to win; you’ll need to learn the ins and outs. Charts are able to be found for some games, or you can search for a training program to learn the different strategies for different variations. You’ll find plenty of training programs across the web, available for free or a small charge.

The world of video poker strategy is vast and deep to say the very least, as there are many ways to approach a game. While a simple Google search will reveal tons of potential options, we’ve whipped up a quick example to show you just how powerful strategy can be and why you need it in the back of your mind whenever you play video poker.

You have total control of the hand you play, say you are dealt a 3, 3, 3, 3, A hand all of the same suit. In this scenario, do you save the flush? Would you decide to save the four 3s? Given the ace and suit status, you could switch out the four and once again hope for lightning to strike? Now a straight flush pays well if luck falls your way, but a royal flush is certainly a more powerful hand and not out of the question. Since a flush pays quite well, the general idea would be to stand by it, but dependent on the right strategy you have the power to manage this hand into something bigger if your approach risk allows for it.

The human element remains in the game, something that slot machines severely lack. For that reason, anybody that is still a fan of strategy-based casino games would be silly to look past video poker, no matter whether they play at a land-based or online casino.

… Even if the Gameplay is Simple

Though video poker strategy can be challenging, the gameplay itself is easy to learn and allows you to get going very quickly. Think about it like this, laying a foundation to enjoy the game is actually very easy, but mastering the game takes a little more effort.

At its very basics, video poker is really just five-card draw poker- everybody knows five-card draw poker, right? You are always dealt a hand of five cards; you must always choose which to keep and which cards to discard in the draw round. Once these choices are made, then your hand is completed, and you will get a payout if you win. See, video poker is a simple enough game to enjoy, if you’re in the market for some fast-paced casino fun.

If you have your heart set on scooping up big cash prizes when playing video poker, you’ll need to dive a little more into the game. Video poker can have very in-depth strategies, even though the truth is that the game is easy to play even if you’re not a pro or a master at it. Anybody that wants our advice should start looking into the various game strategies out there, as that’s the way to get the most out of video poker and go beyond just casual play.

Get Your Hands on Large Payouts

Video poker combines two aspects of casino games in a wholly unique way – gameplay based on skill and big payouts, even if the game isn’t exactly known for delivering monster paydays. As a result, you as the player should be focusing on making choices in the game that results in the highest value. Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination, though, so you can definitely soak up the thrills of big hands, big prizes, and your growing budget as you play.

Here’s a super quick example of how you can flip a situation into something that delivers a pretty big return. On a five-coin bet (or $1.25), a royal flush will payout 4,000 coins. Some variations also offer payouts in addition that can be worth 1,000 coins or even more. Your focus should be on the variants that offer these payouts if you’re looking for big wins at video poker. Aim for those huge hands and you could soon land a huge win, even if we do understand that sometimes this is easier said than done.

You Remain in Control of the Action

One of the major draws to games like slot machines are the fact that you play alone. There are no dealers, no other players to go up against – it’s just you and the machine. Video poker offers the same perks, meaning that they enable you to take your time while playing and learning different strategies. There’s no dealer there to rush you so more hands can be dealt. Taking the time pressure out of the situation, allows any player to approach the game more methodically if they wish. That being said, we wouldn’t advise slowing down the action too much.

Playing at your own speed also allows you to play as fast as you want to. If you’re the type who likes fast-paced games, you can burn through hands and land anywhere between 800 hands to 1,000 in one single hour. As we said earlier, there is nothing to stop any player from turning the speed up to 100 and burning through hand after hand. In fact, some people actually find the little and often approach to be a much more profitable way to play video poker.

There are very few games in a casino that offers the amount of control that video poker does unless you are willing to take it to the tables. The single-player element allows you to pick your own pace, according to your comfort, while controlling the action as you. Yes, there is a slot machine feel to video poker, but don’t let that fool you, how you play has a strong influence in a game of video poker.

It Maintains a Really Good Comp Value

Speaking strictly about land-based casinos of course. There are many cases where both video poker and slot machines line up in terms of comp rates. Usually, casinos will offer you a comp rate of 0.1% when you’re playing either slots or video poker. For those that are unaware, a comp rate is like a loyalty system for a casino, where the more you play the better rewards (or comps) you get. The idea is that these rewards tie you to the casino, keep you playing, and offer you little perks that put a smile on your face even when you’re losing cash.

The rate above may not seem very helpful at first. After all, casinos are just giving you the same amount of rewards for games that are machine-based. However, what you’re actually being offered is a better value when it comes to video poker. This is because of the higher RTP offered on video poker games than on slot machines. So, what’s happening is you’re qualifying for the comp rate of 0.1% offered by the casino, on both games like a slot machine with a house edge of 7%, and on a video poker game like 9/6 Jacks or Better. The house edge of Jacks or Better is around 13x lower than the slot machine, but the reward amount is the same. This is why video poker has a significant advantage in terms of comp rates.

Your head is probably spinning after reading that, we get it. In layman’s term, you are getting much better comp value (and over game value) when you play video poker over slots, something that the numbers rightly back up.

Lots of Video Poker Game Variety and Fresh Variations

One argument we hear all the time is that video poker is dying because there just isn’t enough variety in the types of video poker games available. It’s time for us to put this way of thinking to bed. Yes, there aren’t 1000s of games out there like online slots, but that’s because there can’t be, this type of game just doesn’t allow it. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a choice when choosing to play this type of casino game.

Many games mix up the paytable, hand types, and countless other variants to make the game feel unique. Low hands, high hands, and a mix of the two, each game has different credentials that present a fresh and enjoyable twist. Scanning the casino world, here are the most commonly played variants of video poker:

  • Aces & Eights
  • All American
  • Bonus Poker
  • Bonus Poker Deluxe
  • Deuces Wild
  • Double Double Bonus
  • Double Jackpot
  • Joker’s Wild
  • Loose Deuces
  • Super Aces
  • Tens or Better
  • Triple Double Bonus

Think the fun ends there? Think again, as each of these games has independent variations that stretch the fun factor even further. Add some bonus features into the mix and you end with games like Hot Roller Poker Multiplier, a game that injects a dice roll element that really ramps up the fun and chances for big payouts.

Video poker gets a really bad rap for now being varied enough, but the truth is that there is plenty of variety to this casino game, you just have to put the time in to find it.

Video Poker Hasn’t Had its Day… Yet

Though video poker will probably never again see the spotlight it had in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s, it is still a game that is absolutely worth taking into account. The qualities of video poker may not lie in such things like flashy graphics, but the advantages that the game does offer hits you where it matters – in the bankroll.

First of all, video poker has the best RTP rates of any other game in the casino. As mentioned, Full-Pay Deuces Wild features a return-to-player rate of 100.76%, meaning that you’ll get paid back 100.76% of what you put in. If you don’t have access to Deuces Wild, you can find other versions with +EV video poker games. At the very worst, 9/6 Jacks or Better or 8/5 Bonus Poker (with RTPs of 99.54% or 99.17% respectively) in casinos both physical and on the web.

Not to mention, there are other benefits to video poker as well. Large prizes if you employ a strategy for a specific game. More control over your gameplay and experience. Great comp rate value in the various casinos, especially over slots machines. If these benefits and the others we’ve listed above sound enticing, then video poker is something you should be exploring more and spending more of your time on.

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