|Get all the gambling advice you need for casino games and more at AllAboutGambling.com||Play for real|
| Gambling Advice
Video Poker Strategy: Which Machines to Play
Aside from using a card counting technique in Blackjack, video poker offers the best odds in the casino. A smart video poker player knows the optimal return for the most common payoff tables and games, and they know the corresponding video poker strategy for each. However, most players are playing at a 95 per cent payback level despite the fact that it doesn’t require a huge amount of effort to learn basic video poker strategy that can get you playing at a 99.5 per cent payback or, depending on the game, maybe even over 100 per cent.
Unlike its cousin the slot machine, the return for a specific video poker machine can be calculated by examining the pay table on that particular machine. There is computer software written for this specific purpose, and the payback for the most popular video poker games have been calculated and displayed below. This guide offers you the opportunity to figure out which video poker machines you should play that you have access to. After this, you can determine which strategy tables to study.
Jacks or Better Video Poker Games
This type of game is the classic game of draw poker that has no wild cards. Even though all bonus poker games are based on this basic model, the strategy differs a lot between them. This is a 9/6 Jacks or Better pay table.
Jacks or Better Pay Table
The above is a pay table for the “full pay” version of Jacks or Better. It has the highest return of any Jacks or Better game. The 9/6 refers to payout for the full house and the flush (the full house pays 9 to 1 and the flush pays 6 to 1).
This game has an overall payback of 99.544 per cent, and has become extremely popular due to its relatively easy strategy and its sheer presence in casinos throughout the US.
8/5 Jacks or Better Bonus Poker is also quite popular, but the payout isn’t quite as high, working out to just under 98 per cent. This is an unacceptable return for a video poker machine. A popular variation of this type of game has the same payout, but with the added bonus of a 40 to 1 payout for four 2s-4s and an 80 to 1 payout for four Aces. This brings the return up to 99.17 – make sure to watch for this bonus game and discriminate against its lower paying cousin. Other versions of 8/5 Jacks or Better, along with their payouts, include: Aces and Faces (99.26%), Royal Court (99.75%), Aces and Eights (note: this game found only at Circus Circus, return is 100.25%), Double Jackpot Bonus (99.63%), 8/6 Bonus Poker (note: found at Stratosphere, return is 100.26%). All variations of this game can be played with the same basic strategy.
Double Bonus Games
These are games that are based on Jacks or Better and use no wild cards, but have significantly different pay tables that require changes in strategy:
- 10/7 Double Bonus: This game has a return of 100.17 per cent when played perfectly (this is not easy). The strategy tables for the game are twice as long as those for Jacks or Better due to the increase in value of the straight and flush hands.
Deuces Wild Games
The classic Deuces Wild game, also known as full pay Deuces Wild, looks like this on a pay table.
Deuces Wild Pay Table
This is a game you should jump on if you see it. With a return of 100.76 per cent, you can get over a 100 per cent return expectancy without perfect play. There are many lower paying version of Deuces Wild, however, so you’ll have to take a good look at the pay tables to make sure they look like the above.
One common version of this game has this same pay schedule, but with a 4 to 1 payout for the four of a kind. This significantly reduces the payback, even if the straight flush and the five of a kind are increased, so watch out. Other versions increase the flush to 3 to 1 and the full house to 4 to 1 while decreasing the four of a kind to 4 to 1. The flush and full house increases do not, however, make up for the lower payout for four of a kind, resulting in payout below 99 per cent.
Other variations of this game include:
- Games that pay 4 to 1 for a regular four of a kind, 3 to 1 for a flush, 10 to 1 for a five of a kind and 8 to 1 for a straight flush. These games also pay extra (often 25 to 1) for a natural four of a kind and for a straight flush (often 13 to 1). This game has a return of just over 99 per cent.
Top video poker players put 80 per cent more effort into their game than most players who learn a popular strategy, yet only receive 20 per cent more benefits. More specifically, any shmo can learn a video poker strategy, but it requires a lot more effort to learn a strategy that takes penalty cards (the cards you discard) into account. It’s that extra effort that makes all the difference though. This type of strategy is beyond the scope of this page (for now), but now that you know what to look for, you’ve won half the battle!
Jokers Wild Games
These games are not as popular in the casinos as the above games, but some of them have a good return. The standard variation, Kings or Better Joker Poker, has a return of 100.65 per cent with optimal strategy. Below is its pay table.
Deuces Wild Pay Table
It is also quite common to see this game with a four of a kind being decreased to a payout of up to 15 to 1. Since each one coin reduction drops the value of the game by about .8 per cent, even a 19 to 1 decrease brings it under a 100 per cent return. Another variation requires a pair of Aces in order to take even money, so this should also be avoided. Other variations include:
- Two Pair Joker Poker: You should be on the look out for these payouts: 1000 to 1 for a royal flush, 100 to 1 for a five of a kind, 50 to 1 for a straight flush and a royal with Joker, 20 to 1 for a four of a kind, 5 to 1 for a straight, 2 to 1 for three of a kind, and even money for two pair. The 8/7 variation has a return of a little more than 99.9 per cent and the 10/6 version has one of just under this.