Victory at Video Poker
by Mark Pilarski
In video poker, only 21% of the hands dealt are winning hands
of Jacks or better and 79% are downright dogs. Herein lies the
difference between the winning and losing player: what you do
with those 79% of the hands that need to be groomed into winning
greyhounds. The best way to give yourself the greatest chance
of victory at video is to read, absorb, embrace and pledge allegiance
to these playing tips.
o Seek out Jacks or better machines that pay 9 coins for a
full house and six coins for a flush.
o If you decide to play a progressive video poker machine that
pays 8 coins for a full house and 5 for a flush, play on a progressive
where the jackpot is over $250 on a nickel machine, $2,500 on
a quarter, and $10,000 for the dollar.
o Always bet the maximum amount of coins on a progressive machine
to get the bonus for royal flushes.
o If you are a novice player, play on the lowest denomination
machine until your level of expertise rises.
o If your casino offers it, use a casino slot card to get credit
for your play. You might as well get a return as a comp benefit
for your play on their video poker machines. Be sure to ask how
many points you will receive per dollar played, and then find
out what those points are worth in comps. This will help you shop
for better value on your play.
o Take your time to study every hand. Because you are playing
against a machine, no one will intimidate you if your play is
o All hail the Jack! Some players don't realize the ace is not
the most important card in the deck, but the Jack is. Holding
the Jack over the ace gives you more opportunities of making more
lucrative hands than an ace would.
o There are more than a hundred different video poker machines
to choose from. Games like Joker Poker, Louisiana Jacks, Gator
Poker, etc. offer you a supermarket selection, but all have different
paytables needing distinct playing strategies. I recommend learning
and limiting your play to two, such as Deuces Wild and Jacks-or-Better.
o Acquire video poker skills using either a computer or a
hand-held video poker game. The major benefit of this type of
training is the ability to test you skills with no financial risk
or ruin. You can gather data later review, enabling you to nix
trends that would be costly on a video poker machine. This information
would take you years to accumulate under normal casino conditions.
And again, the key here is that any knowledge obtained without
a casino outlay lets you net out better down the road.
And now, some playing strategies.
First, Never keep a kicker with any pair. Holding a kicker
to any pair reduces your return by 5%.
2nd, Never draw four cards if you can draw three to a royal
3rd, Always keep five-card winning pat hands with on exception:
if you can, draw one card to a royal.
4th, Don't break a flush even if you can draw one to a straight
5th, always break a flush to draw to a royal.
6th, Never break a straight to draw to a straight flush.
7th, Never draw five if you have a jack or better, and
8th, don't keep a ten for a four card draw.