Video poker is a game enjoyed by more people than any other casino game, and yet it get only a fraction of the attention which other games such as Poker and Black Jack receive. Perhaps this is because it is a solitary game which isn’t very exciting for the spectator. Or, perhaps it is because it requires no promotion in order to attract players. Whatever the reason, video poker continues to grow in popularity all over the world. The following is a short introduction to the game and few general tips which can help you become a winning player.
Video Poker first came onto the scene in the mid-1970s and immediately attracted attention from those who enjoyed poker, but perhaps didn’t feel comfortable playing in live games. In this variety of poker, a player sits at a video terminal and tries to construct a winning hand, which pays out according to the posted pay schedule. On a typical video poker console, winning hands start with a pair of jacks and increase all the way up to the elusive Royal Flush.
The player begins by entering coins into the machine (or with newer machines, barcoded strips of paper with pre-bought credit), selecting the type of wager, and then pressing the ‘deal’ button. Just like in normal poker, you are dealt five cards and then given the option to leave your hand the way it is, or to discard anywhere from one to four cards in exchange for new cards from the same virtual deck. Following the draw, the computer determines whether your hand matches one of the winning hands and then pays out accordingly. Unlike Texas Hold’em Poker, Blackjack, and other casino games, there is no real opponent. You are only trying to construct a winning hand.
One might think there is nothing you can do to alter your chances of winning in Video Poker, but this is not true. In fact, there are several ways to increase your odds of being a winning Video Poker player, which we will illustrate below.
Contrary to what a lot of people will tell you, the Royal Flush is an attainable goal to have in video poker, and due to its tremendous payout, this is where every player should set his sights. On average, a player can expect one Royal Flush in every 40,000 rolls. Of course you could get it on your very first attempt or, in the worse case scenario, on about your 90,000th. The point is that in order to realistically strive for the big money in video poker, you need to have a sizable bankroll which will enable you to invest the time needed to hit the big one. The problem with most players is that they don’t have the patience necessary to bide their time. Realistically, you will need at least $5,000 to cover the amount of time that it may take to get your Royal Flush. Now, most of you will probably not have that kind of money at your disposal but not to worry, this is only the optimal amount to have when shooting for the biggest payout. There are other, more modest goals in video poker.
Play Within Your Limits
Many video poker players get too greedy when playing, and end up being disappointed. Depending on your bankroll, you should choose a figure which you would like to win (perhaps 20% of your initial bankroll), and once you have achieved that then you should quit playing. Of course this is very easy to talk about and a much harder practice to adopt, but over the long-run you will be thankful for the discipline and self-control it requires.
Your choice of video poker machine is also critical. It is a well-known fact that operators place loose machines in important areas of the casino, where many passers-by will spot people winning. Try to secure a machine in a high-traffic area as it could be specially rigged to ensure frequent winners. Of course, this is not a surefire way to achieve positive results, but it certainly couldn’t hurt your chances.
Also, keep in mind that machines also have different payouts so it’s important to shop around for those which offer the most attractive ones. Sometimes it makes the difference between being on the winning side or the losing side of a bet, which is what it’s all about.
Watch out for the next installment of this series, in which we will take a look at some of the more complicated betting strategies, particularly for the different varieties of video poker, and other features such as progressive machines.