Is there a way of beating online video poker machines? Can you become a poker master and win real money more frequently than other players on the same machine? In this guide to video poker strategy, we discuss the various options that you have when playing to gain distinct advantages over the game’s variants.
An introduction to video poker strategy
Video poker is a very popular game that is played by millions of players on a daily basis. So, with all these players, has a perfect video poker strategy been formed? Well, a number of theorists and mathematicians have thrown their thoughts into the mix and some with success.
You have to remember that video poker is a virtual game, this means chance is formed by algorithmic programming. So, does the key to winning reside within the complexities of the gaming software or can you manipulate the game from its basic playing surface with mathematical probabilities and moves?
This guide will take you through a number of ideas step by step.
What strategies work?
There are many variations of video poker, but the prime rules of engagement are exactly the same, get the better hand and you will win. What follows are SIX must know facts regarding the basics of video poker strategy.
These ideas cover all variants of the game, so if you want video poker strategy double double bonus or video poker strategy jacks or better, pay attention to the following, you might not hit a royal flush on every deal, but that’s not what’s important at this stage.
Getting the basics right
- Knowing your enemy: Playing any online casino games, a player needs to know the task at hand. If you are new to video poker, you must become accustomed to the rules of play. The core of video poker is the set of hands that make or break a game. Here are the strategies to incorporate when holding the different set of hands in the game:
- Royal flush = Keep all 5 cards and drop 0 cards.
- Straight flush = Keep all 5 cards and drop 0 cards.
- 4 of a kind = Keep all 5 cards and drop 0 cards.
- Full house = Keep all 5 cards and drop 0 cards.
- 4 to a royal flush = Keep 4 cards and drop 1 card.
- Flush = Keep all 5 cards and drop 0 cards.
- 3 of a kind = Keep 3 cards and drop 2 cards.
- Straight = Keep all 5 cards and drop 0 cards.
- 4 to a straight flush = Keep 4 cards and drop 1 card.
- 2 Pair = Keep 4 cards and drop 1 card.
- High pair = Keep all 5 cards and drop 0 cards.
- 3 to a royal flush = Keep 3 cards and drop 2 cards.
- 4 to a flush = Keep 4 cards and drop 1 card.
- Low pair = Keep 2 cards and drop 3 cards.
- 4 to a straight = Keep 4 cards and drop 1 card.
- 3 to a straight flush = Keep 3 cards and drop 2 cards.
- 2 to a royal flush = Keep 2 cards and drop 3 cards.
- 2 high cards = Keep 2 cards and drop 3 cards.
- 1 high card = Keep 1 card and drop 4 cards.
- Nothing = Keep 0 cards and drop all 5 cards.
- Play Max bets: The only way to win big in video poker is to hit a high hand with a big wager, it’s the same for any casino game. So, study the betting techniques that slowly build your wagering so when the probabilities of a big hand arrive, you land them with the highest max bet possible.
- Pay Structure: Check through all the variants that come with video poker to find which pay table provides the more profitable route to success. This will help you to distinguish the good forms of video poker from the bad ones.
- Practice: The most important of all strategies. Practice gives you everything, you can learn the rules, discover which variants are profitable, know which games have more favourable volatility and you can incorporate and experiment with strategies without any repercussions or risks.
- Budgeting: Managing the cash you can play with is the #1 self-management strategy out there. If you can’t control your finances, you will never be able to control how you play. You should only play within your means and should a bad streak hit, do not ever chase to recoup what has been lost.
- Best of the best: having a good casino means having a good selection of games. Having a variety helps because you don’t want to be stuck with one or two options and they both suck, this won’t benefit you. Make sure the casino holds at least 10 different games. The more, the better the casino will be to fulfil your video poker exploration.
Video poker strategy master
When it comes to achieving an optimal strategy there are lots of factors that are embedded in this. If you want a high expected return and to gain higher pay table averages, then you need to think beyond the poker hand and look more at what the game is about.
When it comes to advanced strategies there are well over 50 different points of consideration to bear in mind.
See the bigger strategy picture
Some are listed here to help you see the bigger picture:
- Not playing at peak hours
- Play more hands within an hour window
- Calculate earnings
- Search games by provider not title
- Use a video poker trainer
- Use a video poker calculator
- Set-up side bet funds as insurance to your bankroll
- Know when to play
- Use a strategy poker chart
These factors are something the average player would not even think about in a million years. It’s things like this that separate the good players from the great ones. As a new player and being aware of such diverse factors, the advantage is yours inside the casino, in which, other players are playing the same games and trying to beat you to the payouts first.
Video poker strategy software
There are two sides to the factor of software strategy. 1) The gaming software provider. 2) The casino’s management tool. Ironically, both work hand in hand to limit your chances.
There is an advance strategy and then there is software strategy which is like rocket science in comparison. To start off with the easier side of things, we look at developers and then move into how the casino plays its part.
There are good developers and bad developers. This is noticeable from the game’s marked volatility. This means which games are easier to win and those which are harder. There are many software developers in the business and how they use the gaming algorithms differ from one to another.
The algorithms themselves determine if you win or lose, so it’s not left to the gods of fate, rather programmed numbers. All video poker games use an RNG algorithm, this is a Random Number Generator. How this work is simple; imagine a safe that has a combination code, the games work under the same principle.
Each card is delegated a number and the hand acts as the full combination, get the correct 5 numbers and you unlock the prize.
Now, developers will instil a higher or lower number of probabilities into the game, the more cards, the more numbers, the lower the probability of cracking the code. Those using fewer cards, raise the probability of matching the code.
So, how does the casino play its part? Well, as covered in our slots strategy guide, the game and casino are in synch and it is no different for video poker. Every online casino uses a management tool to build a data profile for every single member, there is no avoiding this. The data stored informs the casino of what you play, how often you play and how long for. It knows what you win and lose, what you deposit and what you withdraw. It knows more about you and how you play, than what you know.
To keep players interested in investing in the games, new players will always win up to a certain value point. For those regular to video poker, the casino will always look to make a profit. Think more like “give a little, take a bit more” this is the philosophy that is very subtle.
The management tool in synch with the video poker algorithms will determine when you are able to win and when that ceases, all based on the data. When you win big, the casino knows exactly what to take back from you later on down the line. The rule is simple, if you win, walk away and play a different variant and don’t return for another month.