Things I Learned From Playing Video Poker
Video poker is a unique and very enticing game. It’s simple but still involves a good deal of strategy, so it isn’t entirely luck-based like many other casino games.
Playing video poker over the years, I’ve learned many valuable things I wish I could’ve known from day one.
On this page, I want to share with you the most helpful things I learned from playing video poker to help you pick up everything you need to know early on in your experience.
1. Video Poker Has Many Different Variations
Although video poker is much younger than other casino favorites like roulette and blackjack, it has quickly developed dozens of variations over the fifty years it has been around.
With that in mind, it’s crucial to remember that video poker game variations can vary significantly between each other.
To learn more about different variations available out there, you can check out this Royal Vegas Casino review as it contains a lot of good information.
Of course, they all still follow a fairly similar pattern and share many core gameplay values. But, they differ in two key aspects – payouts and return percentages.
In other words, if you want to get the best value for your money, you need to put in the research and learn which games offer you the best return.
For example, 9/6 video poker games are much more rewarding than their 8/5 or 6/5 counterparts.
This is simply because they pay out more money in the long run. Most players don’t pay much attention to these numbers, but I’ve learned that they make a big difference in long-term profits.
2. It’s Best to Focus on One Variation
In line with the previous tip, I learned that it’s best to focus on just one video poker variation or two at the maximum. Once you understand the differences between different versions, pick one that suits you the most and try to master it.
I say this because mastering video poker requires a lot of time. I learned to play it within minutes.
But it took me months or even years to master the strategies and systems that help make me more proficient at the game.
If you were to follow my advice when it comes to this, I recommend sticking to Jacks or Better or Deuces Wild video poker games. These two variations are among the most popular in the genre and offer very fair payouts.
Of course, only commit to a variation if you find it entertaining to play. Video poker is all about having fun, so don’t push yourself to grind through a game you don’t like just because it offers better payouts.
3. Don’t Chase the Royal Flush
Like many beginners, I often tried chasing the most rewarding hand combinations during my first few months playing video poker.
Ironically, my win rate dramatically improved when I stopped focusing on these hands and started playing every hand, no matter how insignificant the payout might seem.
Most inexperienced players fall for the mistake of getting rid of an already good hand just for the chance to land a massive win. The royal flush payout makes up less than 2% of total payback in most games.
While this may not seem like that small of a chance, it seems insignificant when you look at it long term.
Going by real-world numbers, this 2% chance translates into a royal flush hand landing every 40,000 to 48,000 hands.
Moreover, keep in mind that these are the average numbers. So, while some lucky players may hit it after a few thousand hands, others can go for 70,000 or more hands without ever seeing this combination.
So, because the vast majority of your profits will consist of smaller hands, you should shift your attention away from chasing the exceedingly rare combinations and just enjoy the games.
4. Be Careful of Video Poker Bonuses
This tip primarily pertains to you if you prefer playing video poker online. And, the reason why I’m focusing on it is that I’ve been burned in the beginning and want to help you avoid going through the same experience.
What do I mean by this? Video poker bonuses often come with very restrictive terms and conditions.
Unlike slot game bonuses, video poker bonuses almost always come with tough restrictions. Annoyingly, they reduce how much your wagers contribute, often setting this number at 10% or less.
This makes it virtually impossible to clear the wagering requirements and withdraw the money to your account. In return, it makes it a hassle to bet and ultimately ends up in you losing both the bonus money and your initial deposit.
For this reason, I strongly recommend you always read the terms and conditions closely before depositing to claim a video poker bonus.
Sometimes, you can find good deals. But, in the overwhelming majority of cases, it’s best to avoid these deals altogether.