Top Ten Video Poker Tips
We could all use some help -- even the pros trade secrets and tips. Just consider this top 10 list to be the condensed versions of all those video poker tip books on the shelves.
10. Find full-pay VP machines. This is more simple than it sounds, and can be accomplished easily if you play it cool. You don't have to be an insider to earn the rewards of one -- so go ahead, ask an employee or a hardcore player where the best games are. You'd be surprised how often people like casino employees, heavy players, or total strangers who enjoy video poker will want to help you. Remember that full-pay video poker machines are those machines most likely to pay out, especially when you're using strategy.
9. Learn each video poker game's strategy and play that strategy -- you have to think of these games as completely different; think independently of each other. Imagine trying to play Jacks or Better with a Joker's Wild mindset. In Joker's Wild, a player can (and should) try for a Straight Flush utilizing the wildcard. A player playing Jacks or Better with the same strategy would quickly lose his shirt. You must learn each game as an individual game, and think of the game that way -- think of the game you're playing as Joker's Wild, not just "video poker".
8. Here's a tip for online video poker -- with so many play options, including some very excellent websites for video poker, playing online is skyrocketing in popularity. So why do some players insist on playing non full-pay games online? The internet has limitless machines with limitless chairs, no lines, no waiting, no smelly guy next to you scratching himself -- just you and the computer. Why go for a non full-pay setup? It doesn't make sense.
7. In general, Deuces Wild and Joker's Wild machines are too expensive to try for those huge jackpots. If you're playing just for fun, these machines are great. However, if you're looking to make quick money, avoid them.
6. Play nickels! With nickels, you can confidently play all maximum bets. Your money will stretch much further this way. On most nickel games, the max bet is $0.25. For an example of how this kind of conservative play can actually beat larger bets: at a max bet of a quarter per hand, on a nickel machine the Royal Flush payout would be 4000, or $200. Your standard quartergame non-maximum bet will net you a mere $67.50 on a Flush. So here you learn to play your nickels (and, as always, play your maximums!)
5. At the time of the draw, there's a 79% chance that your hand is garbage, meaning you don't have at least a Jacks or better pair -- those who do well at video poker know how to use strategy to manipulate those 79% into winning hands. The best part about video poker strategy is the amount of time you have to study each and every hand. There's no dealer, no crowds, no other players -- so sit and study and pay attention as long as you want. Now that you've got all this time, you can work on those damn 79% . . .
4. Practice at home! It is so easy to acquire video poker skills using your computer. There are websites that let you play the actual games you'll find in casinos, not to mention strategy guides and insider tips. There's no money at stake, you can find and stop playing trends that would be costly on a live video poker machine.
3. A simple rule that ought to be passed from father to son -- Never draw five if you have a jack or better. Remember the 21% garbage statistic? Drawing five sticks you right back in that pile. Hold the royalty.
2. Because good VP playing relies on ups and downs (hopefully ending on a big up!) you must consider your bankroll in terms of what machine you pick. As already mentioned, nickels are an excellent way to make money if you play long-term. Even more important than this rule, or any other bankroll rule, is this simple formula: Your bankroll must be able to support MAX BETS every hand on the machine you have chosen to play, and your bankroll must be able to withstand downward fluctuations. So keep some insurance in your pocket, or stick to machines you know you can slump on and continue to play. Stick to your guns.
(By the way, you can find some questions and answers about slot machines here - that's the kind of thing someone visiting this page might enjoy.)
1. My best advice would be to take breaks -- especially if you're playing for long sections of time. Having a bright screen in your face, smoke around your head, and people yelling all around you all add up to equal disorientation. Stretch your legs, intake a beverage and some food, walk outside and get fresh air. Your brain fatigues just like the body, only it can be more difficult to detect. Having a bright, attentive mind will help you recognize combinations and strategic opportunities -- besides, how else will you meet other video poker buddies to steal tips from?