All that you wanted to know about Video Poker

How to Pick the Right Video Poker Game

A major reason why video poker enjoys great popularity among gambling lovers is because of its high payback, which is often even higher than 100%. Furthermore, any knowledgeable player can easily figure out the payback of video poker game just by a quick glance at its pay table (displayed on it).

Video poker is normally played using a single deck of 52/53 cards (joker included or excluded). Hence, it’s possible to calculate the odds of the drawn hand to the winning hands in any randomly dealt game. Comparing the odds to the actual payoffs tells you about the payback of a certain video poker game. The exact calculations may depend on many factors including the most optimum play method used by a particular player. You can even buy certain strategy cards to learn such optimum methods of play, apart from gathering information related to payback percentages of most common video poker games. All these can be bought from gambling websites and online/off-line bookstores.

But how do you go about picking the right video poker game for you to succeed? A good answer may be that you should pick a game with the highest payback potential.


Yes, but only partially.

There are couple of reasons for that:

– It’s critical to have an optimum playing strategy for obtaining the highest payback from any video poker game. Such strategy may vary significantly from game to game. Let’s take the example of ‘Draw Poker’ or ‘Jacks or Better’ as it is commonly known as. You need to score a pair of ‘Jacks or Better’ cards to win anything from the video poker machine. Its strategy isn’t very complicated and you can understand it very easily. Its full pay version is referred to as 9/6 ‘Jacks or Better’ as it pays 6/14 for flush and 9/1 for a full house. Provided you play perfectly, the full pay version can deliver 99.54% returns.
Once ‘Draw Poker’ was popular enough, video poker game manufacturers thought about different ways of adding new dimensions to their games. As a result, they started manufacturing games offering bonuses for certain types of poker hands. One such popular variant was ‘Double Bonus’ poker. How it differed from ‘Draw Poker’ was that while the latter pays 25/1 for four of a kind, ‘Double Bonus’ poker offers at least double of that. Such kind of paybacks are funded by cutting the paybacks on other outcomes. For instance, a two pair earns you 1/1, rather than 2 for 1 in case of ‘Jacks or Better’. Considering that two pairs are pretty common in video poker, manufacturers could pay 5/1 on straights, 7/1 for flush and 10/1 on full houses, with a payback of 100.17%. This version is referred to as ‘10/7’ or ‘Full Pay’ ‘Double Bonus’ poker.
While the ‘Jacks or Better’ has a fairly simple strategy, ‘Double Bonus’ poker is slightly complex in nature. Hence, it may make more sense to play ‘Jacks or Better’ on a more regular basis and hone your skill in that game. However, you can even play ‘Double Bonus’ poker if you’re prepared to practice, make mistakes and improve.

– Games like ‘Double Bonus’ poker may not exactly be the ideal games to play owing to something referred to as the variance. It indicates the extent to which the results may vary from the averages. To give you an example, if you’re playing a game wherein there’s an equal chance of winning (1), breaking even (0) or losing (1), the variance would be around 0.67. Comparatively, the variance in case of 9/6 ‘Jacks or Better’ is 19.5. What it indicates is that your bankroll may vary significantly playing ‘Jacks or Better’, compared to ‘Double Bonus’. Hence you may need healthy finances when playing that version of video poker.
The variance increases with more and more winning amount paid in less number of large wins. Hence, the major wins in ‘10/7 ‘Double Bonus’ spike-up the variance to around 28.26.

To conclude
It’s far better to play video poker rather than slot machines as you can strategically use variance, payback percentages and strategy complexity to determine the exact video poker game you must play. It’s a much smarter move as bankroll is something that’s too precious to waste casually!