video poker betting strategy

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Video poker betting strategy

Well, this is hand is four cards to a Flush. It's also four cards to a Straight. There are also multiple high cards in the hand. Let's take a look …. Let's look at the potential Straight first. A Straight pays out at four times the initial wager. But that's not all. If we don't draw a King, we can still win if we pair the Ace, Queen, or Jack to make Jacks or better. There are nine outs here The three unseen Aces, the three Queens, and the three Jacks. A Jacks or Better Pair returns the bet of one unit.

However, we can do better. In video poker, a straight, is a straight, is a straight. We're not competing against other players; we don't care if it is a Broadway a poker colloquial term for the nut straight AKQJT , or any other straight. We've doubled our chances of getting straight! We have, however, also reduced our chances of a getting a Jacks or Better pair.

Let's see how this affects the expected outcome. This is quite an improvement! But it's still below 1. Let's look at the Flush draw:. A Flush also has a higher payout of six times the wager. We also still have the chance of pairing the Ace or Jack six outs , if we don't make the Flush. This is a much better strategy, and results in an expected return higher than 1. The above are three strategies involving discarding just one card. How about discarding more than one? This sounds a little crazy, but let's take a look.

Let's look at expected result from this strategy. Holding these three cards opens up the potential for a Straight Flush draw. It's also open ended. There's also still a chance of pairing the Jack, and, as added bonus, since we are drawing two cards, we could also draw a paying Pair of Aces, Kings, or Queens. The love does not stop there! Things are looking promising with all these outs.

Let's see how the math works out. It's a little more complex this time. We'll work with probabilities, initially, instead of expected values, as we have to do some boolean arithmetic when various combinations overlap. First let's look at the chance of drawing a Straight Flush. Here's the calculation:. Next we'll look at the chance of a Flush. There are nine outstanding hearts from the 47 left in the deck, and we first need to draw one of these, followed by one of the eight remaining from the 46 cards.

However, we have to remember that this includes the Straight Flush, so we have to subtract the probability of obtaining that. We only get paid out on the higher of any matching rank. Here's that calculation:. Next we'll look at the chances of obtaining a Straight. Finally we need to subtract the chance that we might have gotten a Straight Flush.

There is no chance of drawing to a Full House with this hold, but there is a chance of obtaining Three of a Kind. This can be obtained three way, drawing two additional Jacks, or two additional Tens, or two additional Nines. Next we need to consider Two Pair. We can draw this by matching two of the three hold cards with the draw. There are nine cards that help us on the first pull any of the three Jacks, three Tens, or three Nines.

After this, there are six remaing cards that will result in Two Pair. Finally, we need to calculate the chance of obtaining a Pair of Jacks or better. We can do this by pairing the Jack we already hold, or drawning any two Queens remembering that we already discarded one , any two of the Kings, or any two Aces again remembering we discarded one.

The calculation here is very subtle. There are two ways to pull a single Jack either on the first card, or the second , but we need to make sure the other card pulled is not another Jack this would result in a Three of a Kind , and also it cannot be a Ten or a Nine otherwise we would move into Two Pair scoring. We can pull a pair of Aces, a pair of Kings, or a pair Queens also. We now have all the probabilites and can multiply each by the payout and sum to obtain the expected value for holding these three cards.

The result is a, rather disappointing, expected value of approx 0. This introduces the option a Royal Flush not present in the holding above , but this is at the expense of the open ended straight draw in fact, as we are holding the A and the T, the only Straight Flush draw will be a Royal Flush, and the only Straight draw will be an mixed suited Broadway.

I'll skip the intermediate probabilites and just shown the expected result formula. It's similar to the calculations above. This is a good expected return, and just a hair below the expected value of holding four cards to the flush. In fact this is so close that if the variant of the games has a progressive jackpot payout for a Royal Flush, then it could flips the strategy over to make holding these three cards have a higher expected value that holding four cards to the flush.

Without going through all the manual calculations, here is a table showing all possible 32 holding patterns, and the expected outcomes. They are ordered from the top with taking no draws, through drawing 1,2 … 5 cards. The optimal holding strategy is to take the action that results in the highest expected return. It's an important exercise to enumerate them all because, as we have seen, some of the results are not intuitively obvious. This table confirms that the holding strategy we determined of holding four cards to the Flush, is the optimal play if dealt these cards.

This table shows that holding all the initial cards no draw will result in no payback, and sometimes drawing two, three, or four cards can result in a better expected hand than a poorly selected single draw. Even redrawing the entire hand can be better than some of the other combinations of holds. From this hand there are only two hold patterns with an expected return higher than 1. Our next example is similar to the one above; high cards, and a potential staight, but only three 'painted' hearts, instead of four; decreasing the flush draw.

Let's see how thie effects the odds I'll dispense with showing the intermediate calculations and simple show the top holding strategies. Here are the top five holding strategies this time in descending order. Interestingly, the expected return for this hand is slightly higher than the first example! This is because there is one less heart in the hand and thus increases the chances of drawing a heart.

For this deal, it's also the only holding pattern than has an expected value of higher than 1. Another interesting thing that we'll see in more examples below is that when there are a couple of high cards in the hand, it's better to hold two of them to potentialy match instead of one. Even though you've one less draw, there are more outs if you hold two potential cards to match against. If you have three high cards to match e. AQJxx, depending on their suits, and the other cards, you might potentially hold the Ace, but if not painted, it's better to hold the QJ.

While VP offers a decent payback percentage to players under normal circumstances, the house edge can often be erased by following proper strategy based on the initial five-card hand. While their instincts may be solid in some cases, the lack of a definite plan of attack ultimately allows the house edge to get the better of them in the long run. By employing a basic strategy, however, the player is relying on a rigid system that delivers the best chance of winning based on the rules and payout options.

This can result in a major shift for the player, moving the expected payback percentage by a few points and putting the house at an actual disadvantage. Deuces Wild card holding strategy consists of some simple rules to follow depending on how many, or if any, deuces have been dealt to you initially.

Any other cards other than the combinations on these lists should be discarded in the drawing round. A player will get dealt a deuce in their starting hand on average every 2. When drawing three cards while holding a pair, you have a 1 in 4 chance of drawing a deuce.

This example of video poker strategy is for Jacks or Better and should yield an expected return of Once the game has dealt your five cards, look at your starting hand and determine the various ways that it can be played.

The objective is to find the highest-ranking possibility on the list below and stick with it. Because of this, I thought it would be helpful to share a traditional strategy table that should yield a As with the Jacks or Better strategy, look at your initial five-card hand and play the highest-ranking option from the list below.

As you can see, video poker strategy is not difficult to learn. It only requires a moderate level of memorization, and anyone with an average amount of brainpower can pull it off. Video poker history may not be filled with the same colorful characters and anecdotes as the traditional version of poker, but its origin story remains an important chapter in the annals of casino gambling.

This article is meant to examine the natural progression of the game over the years, from its creation to the current state of affairs. Before long, everything from roulette to horseracing was represented in an electronic form, and poker games also followed suit. The most notable example was Poker-Matic, a straightforward machine created by the developers at Dale Electronics. While Poker-Matic contained a traditional representation of the game, its popularity managed to plant the seed of imagination within several key figures.

As this seed continued to grow, the climate eventually became right for the game to take the next step in its evolution. By the middle of the s, computer technology was undergoing a rapid shift. Devices were becoming smaller and faster, and personal computers were finally being offering to the average person. Si Redd was working as a distributor for Bally, and he had already contributed to the gaming industry by suggesting a number of successful innovations. During a meeting with company executives in Chicago, Si attempted to convince them that video poker was ready to take the next step in its development.

He cited the release of a video bell slot machine by the Fortune Coin Company, a game that has evolved over time into a draw poker machine. It had developed a sizable following by that point, and Si was eager to take it one step further. The Bally bigwigs, however, were quite comfortable being in the slot machine business, and they saw no reason to risk their money on a game that was untested.

Si accepted their rejection with grace, but not before convincing them to let him take the patent on the game. This was a decision that would put Mr. Redd on the gaming map and wind up costing Bally an untold amount of money. Within months of securing the patent, Si had reached out to the people at the Reno-based Fortune Coin Company.

The games took some time to gain traction with wary gamblers, but they had managed to become a regular part of the casino landscape by Now that Sircoma was doing well, Si decided to take the company public. He re-branded it as International Game Technology and started selling stocks. By combining a personal computer with a modem connection, it was supposed to be possible to communicate on a global basis and access an ever-growing stockpile of information.

The stories were true, of course, and soon the World Wide Web was in full swing. The first online casino software was created by Microgaming in , and its popularity began to grow as soon as it was introduced. Since it was found in most land-based casinos, video poker was among the games included in the earliest forms of software. As the years progressed and the internet became available to an increasing number of people, online gambling grew at an exponential rate.

This also brought greater exposure to games outside of the traditional Jacks or Better model. That brings us to the current point in video poker history, although the final chapter is yet to be written. Luckily, you get a chance to be part of this ongoing story. Need more winning picks? The handicapping, sports odds information contained on this website is for entertainment purposes only.

Please confirm the wagering regulations in your jurisdiction as they vary from state to state, province to province and country to country. Using this information to contravene any law or statute is prohibited.

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As mentioned, video poker has continued to increase in popularity since it established itself almost four decades ago. Even with new technologies and advancements in the gambling industry, people find themselves returning to video poker time and time again. One of the main reasons video poker is so popular is because it offers some of the highest odds within the casino gambling world.

This is known as the house edge and it is considerably smaller than is the case for other casino games. Ordinary casino games rely heavily on luck for success, which can diminish feelings of achievement and leave one feeling lost as to why they won. With video poker, however, luck is much less important; players are required to build their skills in order to influence the outcome.

Especially when someone begins to consistently win poker games, the hard work is likely to feel far more important than it would if the same win was made on a slot machine. In addition to this, it also provides players with a reason behind their wins and losses, giving a player constant goals to work on going forward. Video poker, however, removes this pressure, partly because you can play completely anonymously against a computerized machine. Not only does this help players more quickly build their confidence, but it also gives them less to focus on, making them improve their skills faster, too.

Having seen these machines alongside slot machines, they may instead choose video poker because it provides more control over the results. Essentially, you make more decisions and can, therefore, better understand wins and losses that occur. As with in-person poker, there are different versions of video poker games, but they all follow similar rules. Video poker is quite similar to in-person poker in that almost every game is based on a five-card draw and uses a standard 52 card deck.

With video poker, the first thing you need to do is make your wager. Normally, machines allow you to bet up to five coins, with your potential winnings increasing with the more you bet. After this, you press the deal button, at which point the machine will randomly provide you with five cards for your initial hand.

There is a video poker strategy specifically for deciding whether to keep or discard your cards, which we will go into later in this article. To keep your cards, most machines will require you to tap on the images of your chosen cards on the screen. To win your bet, you need to end up with a good poker hand, such as a royal or normal flush, a straight, or two pairs. Unfortunately, far too many people still treat video poker as a guessing game based on luck, which is extremely bad form and can cause extreme losses.

Basically, a video poker strategy is important because it allows you to make decisions that lead to more significant wins and to advance your skills as you go along. One of the most important points to remember when implementing a strategy is that different things are going to work for different skill levels. Even if you do think you understand a strategy, it might be worth trying out a free game of video poker before risking real money. The good news is that many online casino websites offer video poker games where you can try out your strategies without spending any real money.

The most important point to remember about developing a video poker strategy is that it relies on mathematical principles. As a result, you will receive several hands, increasing your opportunities to chase the coveted jackpot-sized hands. As mentioned, pushing yourself too far too quickly can be extremely detrimental and may lead to considerable monetary losses. If the idea of coming up with your own strategy sounds daunting, there are already a number of readymade options for you to choose from to suit your skill level.

The most basic of poker strategies involves learning potential outcomes and how they dictate whether you hold or discard the first five cards you are dealt. There are also individual rules you should remember about each of the above results, because there are various factors that can affect your predicted outcome.

If you have three-of-a-kind, for example, you should discard the remaining two cards for a chance at achieving four-of-a-kind. This also leaves open opportunities to receive a full house. If you have two pair, which is two pairs of cards with the same value, you should discard the fifth card to be in with a chance of winning a full house.

When it comes to a flush or straight flush, there is only one time when you should consider breaking them. This is when you have four cards towards a royal flush, such as king-queen-jack If this occurs, you should discard the 9 to be in with a chance at receiving a big payoff for the 10 of clubs.

If you receive a pair of jacks or better, you should consider breaking them if you have four cards towards a royal flush or four cards towards a lower straight flush. Although it might be tempting to stick with a single high card as opposed to a pair of two lower numbered cards, the best strategy is to actually do the opposite. By discarding the single higher card, you are increasing your chances of receiving a four-of-a-kind result.

If you have a four-of-a-kind where the missing card to complete the royal flush is in the middle, do not draw it unless it includes at least three high cards. Instead, focus on the open straights, where there is space available at one end to complete the cards needed for the jackpot, giving you more opportunities to win. The basic poker strategy is something that should be used by all players, regardless of their skill level. One of the main reasons video poker has continued gaining popularity over the years is because of the high odds it continues to provide to its players.

As mentioned, casinos receive a profit of just 3 percent on each play of a video poker game on average. This might seem like too small a difference to pay attention to, but even four percent can make a significant difference to your winnings. By taking the time to check this, you can choose a return that goes in your favor to maximize your winnings and limit the losses you earn. Both video poker and slot machines have pay tables describing the payouts for various combinations.

We know, mathematically, that the probability of being dealt this hand is We can do that calculation for every possible hand in the game, so we can determine two things:. On the other hand, slot machines are programmed with an arbitrary set of symbol combinations with probabilities which are determined by the desired payback percentage for the machine. We might know that three cherries pay off at 5 to 1, but we have no way of knowing what the probability of getting that combination is.

This RNG can be programmed so that the symbol comes up once out of every ten spins, but it could also be set up so that the symbols comes up once out of every twenty spins. To add to the obfuscation, different symbols might have different probabilities of showing up. Cherries might come up once every ten spins, but oranges might come up once every twenty spins. And there might be as many as 20, 30, 50 or more symbols on the reels.

To use a bad metaphor, choosing a slot machine is a…wait for it…a crap shoot. Not only is the ability to actually calculate the potential payout percentage for a video poker game an advantage over slot machine games, the payout percentages on even the worst video poker games are almost always higher than on the average slot machine.

According to a survey by Strictly Slots magazine, of some of the loosest slot machines in major gambling destinations, you could find some of the following payout percentages:. How big is the difference? Your expected loss per hour with those payout percentages look like this:. Common sense is assumed. For the most part, slot machines often offer bigger jackpots than video poker games.

You can easily find a slot machine game with two or three times that amount as the top jackpot. Another pro that slot machines offer over video poker is the lack of decision making required, and even that is only a pro to a specific set of gamblers. Other gamblers enjoy the challenge of making strategic decisions that actually affect their outcomes.

These are the same types of gamblers who enjoy blackjack, sports betting, and poker games. No amount of strategy or good decision making will make a negative expectation video poker game into a positive expectation game, but you can get pretty close.

If you want some control over your fate and enjoy the challenge of making decisions which might or might not be correct, then video poker is probably the game for you. On the other hand, if you just want to soak up the casino ambience and hope to get lucky, then slot machines might be a viable alternative. Video poker training software of all kinds is available these days. This page looks at the uses of such software. It also examines and describes some of the various types of video poker training software that are now popular.

One of the most celebrated sites in the video poker niche is VideoPoker. I practiced on the Jacks or Better software, but I only played six hands correctly. The game looks like a real video poker game from a casino. The only disappointment I had was that there was no explanation for why I should have made different decisions, although I was able to reason through those easily enough.

Not only does it include strategy trainers, it also offers bankroll and comp calculators, which are an important aspect of video poker strategy that are too often overlooked. The site features videos of the software in use, which includes an introduction from Bob Dancer.

The videos were a little more heavy on hype than I would have liked, but it was still nice to get the details of the software before buying the product. One of the aspects I found disappointing about this sales page was the lack of a price listing. For the price, this training program is hard to beat.

The software literally only takes seconds to install when using a high speed Internet connection. I thought the classical music that played in the background was nice, but some players might find that irritating. I also had a little trouble actually getting to the software. I kept clicking on the splash page, and it kept sending me to a Web page where I could buy Wolf Video Poker or Wolf Video Poker Lite, which are the current training programs available from this publisher. Like other video poker trainers, this one is designed to help you learn how to make the right decisions on specific hand types.

It also is capable of designing computer generated strategy charts of three different complexities. It also allows you to simulate sessions of up to million hands each. The lite version allows you to configure payoff tables and create a single strategy chart for any game you input.

You can also use the lite software to practice playing the various games. There are, no doubt, many other video poker strategy trainers on the market, but these seem to be the most popular and easiest to find. They all seem to have their pros and cons, too. Try whatever you can for free before making your final purchasing decision. Video poker simulators are free games that simulate actual video poker games. Poker hands take two factors of each card into consideration—suit and rank.

There are four suits in a standard deck of cards: clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades. The ranks are the numbers on the cards, from ace to ten, and the face cards the jack, the queen, and the king. The higher on the list the combination is, the better the hand. Better hands beat worse hands in table poker ; in video poker, they generally result in higher payouts.

The most common is the casino software at an Internet casino. All online casinos offer free versions of their software in order to entice new players to their sites. This kind of free video poker is usually accompanied by subtle or not-so-subtle advertising so that the site owners can make a profit of some kind by selling their ads. Video poker simulators are fine if you just want to learn how the game interface works.

But the best use of these kinds of games is to improve yourself so that you become an expert player. Expert video poker players face the lowest house edge in the casino. Persistence matters because it takes time and practice to improve at video poker. The best simulators provide strategy advice that you can use to catch your mistakes as they happen.

Not all simulations offer this perk, so look for one that does. Decide what you want out of your video poker experience. These perks can include free show tickets, room and board, meals, and even travel to and from the casino. When you face a house edge of under 0. Free video poker games are useful for more than just learning the basics of how to play and practicing strategy.

They can also help you determine how much stamina you have, so that you can decide on a bankroll for the casino. If you know you play an average of hands per hour, but you can only stand to play for 2 hours before getting tired, then you know to have a bankroll large enough to accommodate those hands. The more likely it is to go on a winning streak or a losing streak , the higher the variance is for that particular game.

Some people like casino games with a high variance. They enjoy the opportunity to get a really big win or to go on a big winning streak. So a progressive jackpot video poker game with a huge jackpot will have a far higher variance than a blackjack game , for example.

The difference is that the blackjack wins will be for smaller amounts. Another way of looking at variance in video poker is in terms of volatility. Volatility is a word that, when used to discuss video poker, describes short term fluctuations in your results. Eventually, if you play long enough, your results should grow closer to the mathematical expectation.

The more volatile the game, the longer it takes to near that expected number. One factor that affects volatility in video poker is hit frequency. This term describes the percentage of hands that actually provide you with winnings. Winning more often, even for smaller amounts, preserves your bankroll so that you can eventually hit some of the larger jackpots. Hit frequency and payoff amounts determine the volatility of a game.

For example, Deuces Wild is considered a particularly volatile game. Much of the expected return for the game comes from the hands which have four deuces in them. How often will you see hands with four deuces in a game of video poker? Statistically, that hand shows up once every hands or so. It will take most video poker players 8 to 10 hours to get that payout. And how often does it take to get a royal flush in Deuces Wild?

That happens maybe once in every 45, hands, so that means you have to play close to 90 hours before you hit that hand. Of course, a royal flush could come up on your very first hand. You have to be patient, and you need a large bankroll to avoid going broke while you pursue the jackpot. Casino games with the highest returns exhibit the highest volatility and the highest variance.

For example, the Mega Jackpots slot machines are super-high in volatility and variance. In fact, you might play for the rest of your life without hitting a jackpot. In terms of video poker games, Jacks or Better is one of the games with relatively low volatility. But even Jacks or Better is prone to bigger streaks more often than games with really low volatility like blackjack.

The return on a full pay game, eliminating the return for that royal flush, is Video Poker Strategy. Written By: Staff. Video Poker Strategy No one could cover everything there is to know about video poker strategy in a single section. Pay Tables and Payout Schedules Playing video poker is no more difficult than playing slot machines, but minimizing the house edge which also maximizes your chances of winning requires a little bit of knowledge and effort. Video poker games can be divided roughly into two categories: Non-wild games.

Wild games. These games include Deuces Wild and Joker Wild, among others. Tactics and How to Play Each Hand The next big consideration in video poker is learning the mathematically correct way to play every hand. How Are the Tactics Determined? A kicker is a high card like an ace or a king in addition to a pair. Holding a kicker sometimes makes sense in real poker, but seldom makes sense in video poker. An inside straight consists of four cards that could potentially make a straight, but only one possible draw can complete the sequence.

An outside straight draw can be filled by two possible cards. Never, ever, ever. Nevada Gambling Laws Related to Cheating The state of Nevada takes gambling seriously, and they take a hard line against cheaters. That should be enough to discourage most wannabe cheaters right there.

Examples of Cheating Any of the following behaviors would be considered cheating. Some of them apply to video poker, but not all of them: Rigging a video poker machine by hacking into its random number generator or changing its payout schedule.

Using any kind of device to aid you in playing the game. But never say never. Being able to recognize a video poker machine with excellent payouts. Being able to make the right decision about how to play almost every hand at video poker games.

Counting cards in blackjack. Dice control in craps. Why Cheat at Video Poker? Video Poker Experts This page takes a look at some of the video poker experts on the Internet. Slot Machines vs. Video poker. Pay Tables Both video poker and slot machines have pay tables describing the payouts for various combinations.

We can do that calculation for every possible hand in the game, so we can determine two things: The payback percentage for the game. The correct strategy for playing the game. Payout Percentages Not only is the ability to actually calculate the potential payout percentage for a video poker game an advantage over slot machine games, the payout percentages on even the worst video poker games are almost always higher than on the average slot machine.

According to a survey by Strictly Slots magazine, of some of the loosest slot machines in major gambling destinations, you could find some of the following payout percentages: In Atlantic City, the best payout percentage overall was for the Borgata Casino, which offered In Colorado , the best payout percentage overall was for Cripple Creek Casino, which offered a whopping The entire city of Reno, Nevada had an overall payout percentage of That seems huge compared to the full pay machines, but wait until you see the expected hourly losses on the slots games.

Jackpot Sizes For the most part, slot machines often offer bigger jackpots than video poker games. Decisions and Strategies Another pro that slot machines offer over video poker is the lack of decision making required, and even that is only a pro to a specific set of gamblers.

So the question becomes this: What kind of gambler are you? Video Poker Training Video poker training software of all kinds is available these days. You can find more games at a better price with similar functionality at the Wizard of Odds site.

Video Poker Simulators Video poker simulators are free games that simulate actual video poker games.

Data Genetics Video Poker Strategy.

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Nfl sports betting stats matchups Our next example is similar to the one above; video poker betting strategy cards, and a potential staight, but only three 'painted' hearts, instead of four; decreasing the flush draw. Let's look at the Flush draw:. For this deal, it's also the only holding pattern than has an expected value of higher than 1. Professional video poker players know that the best games are the full-pay Deuces Wild games. We know the payout odds from the payout table, so we evaluate the chance of achieving each of these scoring hands after the draw, and what the expected payout would be for that combination. This was a decision that would put Mr.
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The potential winnings are extremely high for those able to understand the game. If you understand the basics of in-person poker, this guide is perfect because it will explain how these rules transpire in the video world. We will take you through the differences between in-person and video poker, and the specific strategies you can use to increase your chances of success. As mentioned, video poker has continued to increase in popularity since it established itself almost four decades ago.

Even with new technologies and advancements in the gambling industry, people find themselves returning to video poker time and time again. One of the main reasons video poker is so popular is because it offers some of the highest odds within the casino gambling world.

This is known as the house edge and it is considerably smaller than is the case for other casino games. Ordinary casino games rely heavily on luck for success, which can diminish feelings of achievement and leave one feeling lost as to why they won. With video poker, however, luck is much less important; players are required to build their skills in order to influence the outcome. Especially when someone begins to consistently win poker games, the hard work is likely to feel far more important than it would if the same win was made on a slot machine.

In addition to this, it also provides players with a reason behind their wins and losses, giving a player constant goals to work on going forward. Video poker, however, removes this pressure, partly because you can play completely anonymously against a computerized machine. Not only does this help players more quickly build their confidence, but it also gives them less to focus on, making them improve their skills faster, too.

Having seen these machines alongside slot machines, they may instead choose video poker because it provides more control over the results. Essentially, you make more decisions and can, therefore, better understand wins and losses that occur. As with in-person poker, there are different versions of video poker games, but they all follow similar rules.

Video poker is quite similar to in-person poker in that almost every game is based on a five-card draw and uses a standard 52 card deck. With video poker, the first thing you need to do is make your wager. Normally, machines allow you to bet up to five coins, with your potential winnings increasing with the more you bet.

After this, you press the deal button, at which point the machine will randomly provide you with five cards for your initial hand. There is a video poker strategy specifically for deciding whether to keep or discard your cards, which we will go into later in this article.

To keep your cards, most machines will require you to tap on the images of your chosen cards on the screen. To win your bet, you need to end up with a good poker hand, such as a royal or normal flush, a straight, or two pairs. Unfortunately, far too many people still treat video poker as a guessing game based on luck, which is extremely bad form and can cause extreme losses.

Basically, a video poker strategy is important because it allows you to make decisions that lead to more significant wins and to advance your skills as you go along. One of the most important points to remember when implementing a strategy is that different things are going to work for different skill levels. Even if you do think you understand a strategy, it might be worth trying out a free game of video poker before risking real money.

The good news is that many online casino websites offer video poker games where you can try out your strategies without spending any real money. The most important point to remember about developing a video poker strategy is that it relies on mathematical principles. As a result, you will receive several hands, increasing your opportunities to chase the coveted jackpot-sized hands.

As mentioned, pushing yourself too far too quickly can be extremely detrimental and may lead to considerable monetary losses. If the idea of coming up with your own strategy sounds daunting, there are already a number of readymade options for you to choose from to suit your skill level. The most basic of poker strategies involves learning potential outcomes and how they dictate whether you hold or discard the first five cards you are dealt. There are also individual rules you should remember about each of the above results, because there are various factors that can affect your predicted outcome.

If you have three-of-a-kind, for example, you should discard the remaining two cards for a chance at achieving four-of-a-kind. This also leaves open opportunities to receive a full house. If you have two pair, which is two pairs of cards with the same value, you should discard the fifth card to be in with a chance of winning a full house. When it comes to a flush or straight flush, there is only one time when you should consider breaking them. This is when you have four cards towards a royal flush, such as king-queen-jack If this occurs, you should discard the 9 to be in with a chance at receiving a big payoff for the 10 of clubs.

If you receive a pair of jacks or better, you should consider breaking them if you have four cards towards a royal flush or four cards towards a lower straight flush. Although it might be tempting to stick with a single high card as opposed to a pair of two lower numbered cards, the best strategy is to actually do the opposite. By discarding the single higher card, you are increasing your chances of receiving a four-of-a-kind result.

If you have a four-of-a-kind where the missing card to complete the royal flush is in the middle, do not draw it unless it includes at least three high cards. Instead, focus on the open straights, where there is space available at one end to complete the cards needed for the jackpot, giving you more opportunities to win. The basic poker strategy is something that should be used by all players, regardless of their skill level.

One of the main reasons video poker has continued gaining popularity over the years is because of the high odds it continues to provide to its players. These tips only make up the bare beginning of video poker wisdom, but everyone has to start somewhere. Not all video poker books are created equal. The following recommendations are for books with accurate information. It includes information about stretching your bankroll so that you can have more fun in various casino destinations, but it also features tips for playing with profitability as your goal.

One of the major themes emphasized in Frugal Video Poker is the importance of practice, which is a lesson that most people need repeated multiple times before it sinks in. This book serves as an excellent introduction to video poker, and includes the basic how to play info as well as examinations of and strategy tips for Jacks or Better, Tens or Better, Deuces Wild, Joker Wild, and Double Bonus Poker. The sections about money management, hot and cold machines, and casino comps are also excellent.

This is not a how-to book, but it includes quite a bit of real-life lessons which are probably more easily learned via anecdote than from explanation anyway. Bob Dancer is considered by many to be the foremost video poker expert in the publishing industry. He analyzes almost every video poker game and variation out there. His use of stories to illustrate the points he wants to get across is excellent.

In this book, he provides a step-by-step plan for becoming a successful video poker player. He focuses on first things first, like how to identify the best pay tables. Without that information, your memorization of strategy is next to useless. He also includes information about learning expert strategies. He rounds out this data with advice on slot clubs, casino promotions, and progressive jackpots.

He focuses largely on the math behind the game. If you ever wondered why video poker is beatable and wanted to see the actual math behind the proof, then this is the book for you. His strategy explanations are easier to relate to than many of the chart-based strategies out there, too. The book follows a logical structure, first explaining the data that someone needs to know before jumping into the actual strategies.

These begin with the strategies that are easiest to memorize and then move in to the more advanced strategies. Daily is also worth your money, especially if you enjoy Deuces Wild. It was published in None of that makes this book less enjoyable, though—many professional video poker players got their start by using this book.

You can find lots of other books on the subject, but these are the best of the lot. Bob Dancer, in particular, is prolific, and he sells a large variety of comprehensive strategy guides for specific games and variations. Video poker cheats try to get an unfair advantage over the casino by breaking the rules.

The state of Nevada takes gambling seriously, and they take a hard line against cheaters. But what constitutes cheating versus just smart play? After all, you can get a mathematical edge over the casino in some games just by using smart decision making. For example, in some ve r sions of Deuces Wild , if you play well, you have an edge over the casino of up to 0. Any of the following behaviors would be considered cheating. Some of them apply to video poker, but not all of them:. None of these activities are cheating, but casinos retain the option of banning players who use them.

Most casinos limit this to card counters. Counting cards in blackjack is an effective way to gamble with an edge over the casino. Learning how to play real poker with real opponents at an expert level is another way to gamble with a positive expectation. The best sports bettors make far more money than any other kind of professional gambler, including card counters and pro poker players. That will give you a good start on learning how to profit while betting on sports.

The risk reward ratio for cheating at gambling makes it a poor gamble, even if you have no moral qualms about the activity. You risk going to prison for years if you get caught, and casinos spend a fortune on surveillance in order to catch cheaters. The upside includes the potential profits, but as I pointed out, you can make profits without cheating. The only other upside is the pleasure that you receive by getting away with something.

This page takes a look at some of the video poker experts on the Internet. The bogus video poker experts outnumber the legitimate video poker experts by a huge factor. Bob Dancer — The biggest name in video poker is probably Bob Dancer. He won over a million dollars playing video in Las Vegas during a six month period. He also teaches classes at casinos and writes some of the most detailed and accurate strategy guides available.

On his website, Dancer sells a variety of products to help novice and even intermediate video poker players improve their game. You can also buy video poker training software. You can listen live on the Internet, and he also has an archive of his shows available for streaming on his website.

You can also find Dancer occasionally teaching video poker seminars at the South Point Casino. Check his website for his upcoming class schedule. All of his classes are free, but you must be 21 to attend. A particular focus of her books is the use of comps and slot clubs to get as much free stuff from the casinos as possible while playing video poker. You can find her frequently-updated blog about playing video poker and gambling frugally at the Las Vegas Advisor website.

He is a moderator at the Wizard of Vegas forum. He writes a nationally syndicated column on gambling—in fact, he was the first casino gambling writer to work as a columnist at a major newspaper in the United States.

Dan Paymar — His book Video Poker—Optimum Play is one of the most well-thought-of and respected books in the video poker gambling community. Dan Paymar has used his training and education as a computer programmer and engineer to analyze the math behind the game.

His website includes playing strategies for at least a dozen different video poker games , as well as return tables for at least different games. He also sells a video poker training software called, appropriately enough, Video Poker Wizard, which you can use to improve your strategic abilities.

Instead, they play the game at an extremely high level and enjoy all the perks that their skill entitles them to. Even though they look and sound alike, the two games have significant differences that any serious gambler will want to be aware of. Both video poker and slot machines have pay tables describing the payouts for various combinations. We know, mathematically, that the probability of being dealt this hand is We can do that calculation for every possible hand in the game, so we can determine two things:.

On the other hand, slot machines are programmed with an arbitrary set of symbol combinations with probabilities which are determined by the desired payback percentage for the machine. We might know that three cherries pay off at 5 to 1, but we have no way of knowing what the probability of getting that combination is. This RNG can be programmed so that the symbol comes up once out of every ten spins, but it could also be set up so that the symbols comes up once out of every twenty spins.

To add to the obfuscation, different symbols might have different probabilities of showing up. Cherries might come up once every ten spins, but oranges might come up once every twenty spins. And there might be as many as 20, 30, 50 or more symbols on the reels. To use a bad metaphor, choosing a slot machine is a…wait for it…a crap shoot. Not only is the ability to actually calculate the potential payout percentage for a video poker game an advantage over slot machine games, the payout percentages on even the worst video poker games are almost always higher than on the average slot machine.

According to a survey by Strictly Slots magazine, of some of the loosest slot machines in major gambling destinations, you could find some of the following payout percentages:. How big is the difference? Your expected loss per hour with those payout percentages look like this:. Common sense is assumed.

For the most part, slot machines often offer bigger jackpots than video poker games. You can easily find a slot machine game with two or three times that amount as the top jackpot. Another pro that slot machines offer over video poker is the lack of decision making required, and even that is only a pro to a specific set of gamblers. Other gamblers enjoy the challenge of making strategic decisions that actually affect their outcomes.

These are the same types of gamblers who enjoy blackjack, sports betting, and poker games. No amount of strategy or good decision making will make a negative expectation video poker game into a positive expectation game, but you can get pretty close.

If you want some control over your fate and enjoy the challenge of making decisions which might or might not be correct, then video poker is probably the game for you. On the other hand, if you just want to soak up the casino ambience and hope to get lucky, then slot machines might be a viable alternative. Video poker training software of all kinds is available these days.

This page looks at the uses of such software. It also examines and describes some of the various types of video poker training software that are now popular. One of the most celebrated sites in the video poker niche is VideoPoker. I practiced on the Jacks or Better software, but I only played six hands correctly. The game looks like a real video poker game from a casino. The only disappointment I had was that there was no explanation for why I should have made different decisions, although I was able to reason through those easily enough.

Not only does it include strategy trainers, it also offers bankroll and comp calculators, which are an important aspect of video poker strategy that are too often overlooked. The site features videos of the software in use, which includes an introduction from Bob Dancer. The videos were a little more heavy on hype than I would have liked, but it was still nice to get the details of the software before buying the product. One of the aspects I found disappointing about this sales page was the lack of a price listing.

For the price, this training program is hard to beat. The software literally only takes seconds to install when using a high speed Internet connection. I thought the classical music that played in the background was nice, but some players might find that irritating.

I also had a little trouble actually getting to the software. I kept clicking on the splash page, and it kept sending me to a Web page where I could buy Wolf Video Poker or Wolf Video Poker Lite, which are the current training programs available from this publisher. Like other video poker trainers, this one is designed to help you learn how to make the right decisions on specific hand types.

It also is capable of designing computer generated strategy charts of three different complexities. It also allows you to simulate sessions of up to million hands each. The lite version allows you to configure payoff tables and create a single strategy chart for any game you input. You can also use the lite software to practice playing the various games.

There are, no doubt, many other video poker strategy trainers on the market, but these seem to be the most popular and easiest to find. They all seem to have their pros and cons, too. Try whatever you can for free before making your final purchasing decision. Video poker simulators are free games that simulate actual video poker games. Poker hands take two factors of each card into consideration—suit and rank. There are four suits in a standard deck of cards: clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades.

The ranks are the numbers on the cards, from ace to ten, and the face cards the jack, the queen, and the king. The higher on the list the combination is, the better the hand. Better hands beat worse hands in table poker ; in video poker, they generally result in higher payouts. The most common is the casino software at an Internet casino. All online casinos offer free versions of their software in order to entice new players to their sites.

This kind of free video poker is usually accompanied by subtle or not-so-subtle advertising so that the site owners can make a profit of some kind by selling their ads. Video poker simulators are fine if you just want to learn how the game interface works. But the best use of these kinds of games is to improve yourself so that you become an expert player. Expert video poker players face the lowest house edge in the casino. Persistence matters because it takes time and practice to improve at video poker.

The best simulators provide strategy advice that you can use to catch your mistakes as they happen. Not all simulations offer this perk, so look for one that does. Decide what you want out of your video poker experience. These perks can include free show tickets, room and board, meals, and even travel to and from the casino. When you face a house edge of under 0. Free video poker games are useful for more than just learning the basics of how to play and practicing strategy. They can also help you determine how much stamina you have, so that you can decide on a bankroll for the casino.

If you know you play an average of hands per hour, but you can only stand to play for 2 hours before getting tired, then you know to have a bankroll large enough to accommodate those hands. The more likely it is to go on a winning streak or a losing streak , the higher the variance is for that particular game. Some people like casino games with a high variance.

They enjoy the opportunity to get a really big win or to go on a big winning streak. So a progressive jackpot video poker game with a huge jackpot will have a far higher variance than a blackjack game , for example. The difference is that the blackjack wins will be for smaller amounts. Another way of looking at variance in video poker is in terms of volatility.

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