The odds of winning in gambling are stacked against any given player. But one way to edge those odds in your favour is to play video poker. The game has been around since the 1970s, and in the last few decades, it has attracted a large and loyal crowd of players on online poker platforms in the UK and elsewhere.
However, a lot of those players don’t know that poker is about much more than just the cards and sheer luck. Forming a strategy and knowing when to strike are crucial factors when you’re learning how to win at video poker. Keep reading to find out more about the right poker tactics for your next game.
How to Play Video Poker
Regardless of which casino or video poker machine you choose, the basic rules are the same. All the games use the straightforward mechanics of five-card draw poker.
You start by making a wager and hitting the “Deal” button. At certain video poker casinos, you may have to pull the lever to get started. The program will then randomly select and give you five cards from the 52-card deck. The right video poker strategy includes knowing which cards to keep and which ones to discard.
After making your picks, hit the “Draw” button to replace the discarded cards (all five cards can be discarded). Your winnings are paid out according to the paytable, which should be easily accessible in any game. A typical paytable will display the stake and winnings for different hands such as a royal flush, straight flush, full house, three of a kind, and Jacks or better.
In our video poker guide, you’ll learn more about the frequency of different poker hands. Of course, it goes without saying that there is a significant difference in the winnings of a player holding a royal flush and one with Jacks or better. As such, deciding which cards you’ll discard is one of the more critical moments in any casino video poker game.
So far, everything sounds pretty simple. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Not only will you have to know the value and percentage of showing each poker hand, but you’ll also have to think about the machine’s paytable. This information will determine your online video poker strategy.
Forming a Strategy
One of the best ways to tilt the odds in your favour is by carefully choosing your cards. That’s why professionals tend to avoid certain games.
No Wild Cards
In video poker, wild cards can be turned into any other card in the deck. But this can often lead to chaos by dramatically increasing playing possibilities and reducing payouts on big hands. By avoiding wild cards, you increase your chances of landing a straight or a flush or even better hands.
If you want to know how to win at video poker, avoid one of the most common pitfalls among new players: guessing. Knowing which cards to discard and which to leave must be a part of your strategy, especially since you’re playing against a computer. You’ll lose a lot of cash if your game plan relies on random guessing.
Play It Slow
The next step in formulating a winning strategy might seem like common sense. However, you’ll be surprised by how many players and professionals forget to take their time. Always remember that you aren’t playing against human opponents who get irritated by waiting.
The best video poker strategy is to play it slow. Take the time to check out online recommendations for strategies, and at other times, just take a breather. Not only will you come back with a better plan, but you’ll also reduce your losses. Players who speedrun through their games end up spending more money.
Ask Around for Promotions
Many online casinos have an active offer or a promotion you can use to boost your winnings. Some of those offers include free funds, which increase the number of games you can play, and by expansion, improve your chances of winning.
One very basic video poker strategy is to inquire about the promotions and bonuses on offer. Some venues might not have actual promotions displayed on their poker site. But this shouldn’t stop you from contacting customer support and finding out if they’re willing to offer your bonuses.
The Time to Strike
After you’ve laid the groundwork, it’s time to focus on the strategies that directly impact the game. When you’re playing against a computer, everything counts in small amounts.
Get the Best Paytable
Every video poker machine allows players to access information about expected returns on each hand. Familiarising yourself with these paytables is an important part of learning how to win at video poker. In other words, a paytable is a list for every coin and hand combination payout on a specific device. It also gives you reliable estimates of hold percentages and the return on investment, even on poker websites that allow depositing with PayPal.
The objective is to find machines that offer high payouts. Experienced players won’t touch anything below a 97% return. If you’re playing Jacks or Better video poker, find machines with 9/6 pay tables in order to enhance your video poker strategy. This means that a full house will pay on nine coins, while a flush will pay on six coins, which brings us to the next important tactic.
Play Maximum Coins
Jacks or Better poker machines have an excellent payout for a jackpot or royal flush. You can place a bet worth between one and five coins per hand, but you’ll need to bet all five coins at once to get a royal flush bonus. Hence, play maximum coins whenever you can.
Playing maximum coins on video poker games with progressive jackpots will also make you eligible for a long list of jackpot poker bonuses. This is a leading video poker tournament strategy. But if you don’t feel confident about this approach, stick to betting between one and four coins.
Don’t Rely on the Kicker
Kicker cards aren’t part of the actual hand but can decide a winner when two or more players are tied. However, many players think that leaving a kicker in the game can improve their odds of securing a higher payout. It’s a common trap that pulls your focus away from holding onto cards that affect the game and your winnings. As tempting as it sounds, you should avoid retaining a kicker.
No Straight or Flush Chasing
Less experienced players tend to think that keeping three cards is the perfect video poker strategy when chasing a flush or a straight. The fact is that keeping three cards leaves you at a disadvantage. This strategy should only be employed when you can pull off a straight flush for a massive payout.
Advanced Tricks and Tips
Our guide is an excellent blueprint for turning you into a good casino video poker player. But to be truly exceptional and cash in on everything that poker apps have to offer, there are a few more things to cover.
Poker Hand Possibilities
Video poker is an easy game to get into. However, it’s far more difficult to play each hand in a mathematically optimal manner when developing your video poker winning strategy. This is where poker-hand tables come into play.
With a 52 card deck, poker has 2,598,960 possible outcomes in a five-card hand. Relying on mathematics to figure these out is unrealistic. But you can improve your chances of earning payouts by predicting the frequencies of certain hands.
|Four of a kind
|Three of a kind
Use Video Poker Strategy Charts
Strategy poker charts or cheat sheets are handy aids that organize all non-wild hands, starting with the highest average return hand, the royal flush. They come in many forms, but all of them show you what to keep in the game and what to discard. When it comes to video poker tips and tricks, these charts are one of the most valuable tools in the game.
|Jacks or Better
|Select & HOLD the hand that appears highest on this list
|1. Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind
|2. 4 to a Royal Flush
|3. Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a kind
|4. 4 to a Straight Flush
|5. Two Pair
|6. High Pair (Jacks of Better)
|7. 3 to a Royal Flush
|8. 4 to a Flush
|9. Low Pair (10’s or Under)
|10. 4 to an open-ended Straight
|11. 2 suited High Cards
|12. 3 to a Straight Flush
|13. 2 Unsuited High Cards (if more than 2, choose the lowest 2)
|14. Suited, K/10, Q/10, J/10
|15. One High Card
|If not on the list, discard & redraw all cards
The information available on these poker charts includes combinations of poker hands that start from the strongest to the weakest. The sequence shows you which hand is better to play.
These tips will help you enhance your strategy, and you should be more than ready to dive into the world of exciting video poker games. The pros agree that it’s always better to play smart than play a lot when it comes to casino video poker.
More Poker Knowledge:
How do you always win at video poker?
There is no flawless video poker betting strategy that guarantees a win every time. Winning always involves a bit of luck coupled with a lot of work. Our guide shows you how to formulate a winnings strategy by telling you what to avoid and how to bet.
Can you cheat at video poker?
The most common cheating methods in video poker involve exploiting glitches on poker machines. But these are largely ineffective, and the legal repercussions are severe. It’s a lot better to stick to poker tips that help you enhance your winnings legally.
How often do you get a royal flush in video poker?
When you’re trying to figure out how to win at video poker, you should know that a three-card royal flush is possible once in 92 hands, on average. A two-card royal flush happens once in 13 hands, while one high card is dealt around 100 times within an hour.