Introduction to Win at Video Poker
Strictly speaking, video poker isn’t my specialty. Nevertheless, how might I apply my successful slots strategies to win at video poker electronic gaming machines? Let find out!
This article has the following sections:
- Introduction to Win at Video Poker
- Traditional Video Poker Strategies
- Can Identical VP Machines have Different Odds?
- My Winning Slots Strategies, in Brief
- Evaluating Slots Strategies for Playing Video Poker
- Summary of Win at Video Poker
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Traditional Video Poker Strategies
This article is not about traditional video poker winning strategies. Those strategies are long-standing and well known: playing each video poker game perfectly, usually learned by practicing with software, and finding the best paytable available.
As I’d previously discussed in Start Here: Take Control of Your Slots Gambling, every little bit of winning edge helps. Choosing the right machine, selecting the best available casino, and aligning your play to your gambling goals will each, individually, increase your overall odds of winning.
With this perspective in mind regarding video poker machines, I have assumed perfect play and the best possible paytable. Each video poker hand not played in the way math says it should
Not playing the best paytable available results in a similar lowering of the odds of winning. Sometimes this is acceptable, however. For instance, maybe your casino doesn’t offer video poker machines with 9-6 odds. Or, maybe those wonderful, hard-to-find 9-6 odds are only available on $25 denomination machines when you’re not a high roller.
In any case, this article assumes:
- You’ve scrapped together every bit of winning odds you can find.
- You’ve learned to play your video poker game of choice perfectly.
- The video poker machine with the best paytable has been located, where “best” means:
- The paytable has the best odds of winning
- The machine denomination and credits match your bankroll
To learn more about different games, perfect play, and paytables for video poker, several good resources are available to you. For example, these topics are well-covered by Bob Dancer, author of Million Dollar Video Poker.
Another excellent resource is Robin Aubin from NE Time Gambling, who has been studying video poker for 20 years.
Can Identical VP Machines have Different Odds?
From the perspective of a long-term slots gambler, video poker can best be understood as simply being skill-based slot machines. I can only imagine this is hard for long-term video poker players to accept.
The best video poker players know that card games are not video games. For instance, there is no card counting in video games because past hands are irrelevant. Also, there is no bluffing when playing a computer.
But, it goes deeper than that. Someone who switches from poker as a table game to a video poker machine has a hard transition to make. How best to describe this difficulty? Well, consider the game of golf.
Do you like golf? Have you played a lot of it? Okay, let’s say you do and have. Now, let’s get you to play a video golf game. The advice I heard a video gaming expert give a golfer playing video golf was this: “Try to imagine that you’re not even playing golf anymore.”
In the same way, poker is not video poker. Translating poker to a video machine created something new. It’s not entirely different, as the rules are much the same. But, it’s not playing with physical cards anymore and that’s where the difference lies.
Maybe you’ve never played skill-based slot machines. When playing them, an incorrect move reduces your odds of winning. For instance, if you’re playing a Space Invaders slot machine, what happens when you fire your virtual weapon and miss? Well, your overall gambling performance, your winnings, will be less.
It’s the same way with video poker. Yes, certainly, play the video poker game perfectly. Also, of course, improve your overall odds of winning by playing machines with the best paytable. But, don’t stop there!
Some of the best card-based poker advice I’d ever heard was originally from Jimmy the Greek. He said, “Don’t play the game. Play the other player.”
My best advice for video poker players? Well, it’s the same advice I have for playing slots. It’s this: “Don’t play the computer. Play the casino.” Next, I’ll explain what I mean by playing the casino.
My Winning Slots Strategies, in Brief
Briefly, my winning slots strategies are about recognizing patterns. For instance, casino operators may directly install a winning slot machine at a specific location in the casino. Or, winning slot machines may be indirectly determined through their choice of casino operating system.
Directly means a casino deliberately increases the odds of winning on a slot machine placed at a specific location in the casino such as a high traffic area. Whether or not the casino has chosen to do so is our task to uncover, if we can.
Indirectly means modern casinos have started using a central computer to remotely set and adjust the odds of winning on slot machines. There are several strategic approaches a casino might use to do this, each with a tactical counter-approach which I call winning slots strategies.
Not every winning slot machine strategy works at every casino. Remembering this is important. My blogs on winning slots strategies have been as much about how a slots strategy works as it is about identifying whether a specific casino is susceptible to it.
Put another way, if a casino hasn’t installed a winning slot machine in full view of a major walkway in their casino, to entice others to play slots after seeing someone else win, then it will be impossible for us to find it.
For your reference, here are my winning strategies with a link to their primary article along with a brief description:
- How to Win at Slots at Older Casinos Built Before 2012 – I explain how to win at slots in older casinos by telling my story of learning to successfully improve the odds of winning via slots at an older-style casino, winning 13 taxable jackpots in 6 days, worth nearly $30,000, and an uncounted number of smaller jackpots.
- Only Win Immediately – Winning strategies exist, and this is the first of 7 I’ve discovered for newer-style casinos. Prior content has laid the foundation to make winning strategies possible to explain and be understood. Winning at slots is a thinking person’s game, not just simply pushing a button.
- Progressive Slot Machines – Realistic winning strategies exist for progressive slot machines and are explained here. Progressive slots, including machines you’ve seen having both Major and Minor jackpots, have become so popular they can be up to 30% of the slot machines available within a casino.
- Earning Complimentary Gifts – The most common winning strategy for slots enthusiasts is earning complimentary gifts, from free slot play for signing up for a new players club to a 1-year lease on a luxury car. Whether you are a low or high roller, these “comps” are a great way to be compensated. However, just remember to pay income taxes on them!
- Special Events Winning Advantages – Casino special events have a winning strategy associated with them, with the financial result of improving your overall gambling performance. Both the advantages as well as some difficulties of this approach are provided, including a practical need to visit the casino well before breakfast early the day after the event.
- Reliable Holiday Patterns – A special kind of casino special event are reliable holiday patterns, when the crowds that show up at most casinos on a major, and not so major, holidays dwarf those typical special events. Like casino special events, holidays have an associated winning strategy having the financial result of improving your gambling performance.
- 3 Easy High Limit Slots Tricks – Winning slots strategy #6 is provided as one of 3 easy high roller slots tricks. Here, three different winning slots strategies are relatively quickly and therefore inexpensively applied within a casino’s high limit slots area as a way to optimize them for a larger payout than can typically be found on lower limit slots.
- Win, Walk Away, Return Later – Winning strategy #7 is my own best personal slots strategy I first used to win jackpots and cycle bankrolls for players club rewards points. With it, you’ll sync your own slots gambling sessions to a specific casino’s operating rhythm for a week. Win, walk away, return later. One week later, that is, for better winning odds.
In the next section, I’ll attempt to apply each winning slot machine strategy to playing video poker. Some will work. Some may not work. So, let’s examine them.
Evaluating Slots Strategies for Playing Video Poker
My first winning slots strategy is about casinos deliberately improving the odds of winning on a slot machine in full view of other casino patrons. Basically, the idea here is to entice passersby to also gamble via slots somewhere else in the casino.
So, you tell me. Are video slot machines ever visible from high traffic areas? Consider how many video poker machines a casino might have. Typically, not a lot, right? They’re usually off in an area by themselves. They’re not spread all over the casino.
Having successfully employed this slots strategy, I’d say it might apply to one of the video poker machines in the video poker area. Look for a machine visible from the entryway, on the end of an aisle, or by passersby. Are there any situated like that? Test those, but carefully.
My second winning slots strategy is when casinos set up their machines to win immediately, but then don’t offer any more wins if continuing to play. This slots strategy is just as cheap and easy to check on video pokers machines as it is on slots. When I’ve found a casino sets up their machines this way, ALL their machines are set up this way.
So, go find a penny slot machine and bet 1-cent five times in a row. Did you win? Try the next machine that’s also been sitting idle for a while. Did it happen again? If this keeps happening for all kinds of slot machines, then you can expect it to happen with that casino’s video poker machines.
My third winning strategy doesn’t apply to video poker. Perhaps I’m wrong. Have you seen a progressive video poker machine? I know I haven’t. If they do exist, or start showing up in casinos, then this slots strategy may be applicable. Until then, however, it isn’t.
UPDATE – I was wrong. Upon reading this article for me, Paul told me that progressive video poker machines do exist. From his description, teams of players will play them just as my third winning strategy suggests in its entirety. That it would be a winning strategy wasn’t in question. I just didn’t know progressive VP machines existed yet. Thanks again, Paul!
My fourth winning slots strategy is all about earning complimentary gifts. This is a well-known strategy for video poker. As mentioned so often by video poker experts, comps are often the only way to come out ahead in video poker.
With a long-term 99% return on some video poker games, a few complimentary gifts can show a personal profit for players. Sometimes, it’s the only way they can win more than they put into the machine. Because of this, casinos usually reduce the player club points earned for playing video poker relative to playing slots.
My fifth and sixth winning slots strategies are all about casinos adjusting the odds of winning during and after special events such as car giveaways, Derby Day, and holidays.
Could casinos do this? Yes, as modern casinos have central computers which adjust the odds of winning on their machines on a daily or multi-daily basis. Does your casino do it? Well, was it built in 2012 or after? If not, was it heavily renovated since 2012? Either way, that’s when wiring and a central computer was, most likely, installed.
My seventh winning strategy is about optimizing profit after finding a winning strategy that works. As mentioned, some of these strategies applied to machines require
My eighth winning strategy is, apparently, rare to find. However, it is the strategy I used to get to Seven Stars top-tier status in six weeks over about a dozen 3-hour sessions. It didn’t help me win that car – that was the second strategy – but I was quite pleased with it.
Might you find that this winning strategy works for video poker? Well, it’s very casino dependent. I found it at the brand-new Horseshoe Cincinnati in the same year that the nearby Belterra Park finished their extensive renovations.
As I mentioned, this one is rare. But, incredibly valuable if your casino has it. Do I suspect any casinos having this winning strategy in place? Yes, I do. Without having tried it myself, and just looking at the business tension as it were, I suspect MGM Springfield is employing it.
Why? Because they are trying to build a reputation in southern New England where every resident has a casino within a 2-hours drive. Frankly, to penetrate that market they need to do something special. And, this is indeed special. This approach worked very well for Horseshoe Cincinnati as, not long after, they were purchased by Jack Casino.
But, this final winning strategy comes with a strong warning. If MGM Springfield has set itself to do this, to forevermore have billboards honestly saying they have the best slots and most jackpots, then take this warning to heart.
Enjoy your wins in the first year, as they’ll come easy. Enjoy your wins in the second year of the MGM Springfield being open as those, too, will still be easy. Not as easy, but still easy compared to everywhere else.
What you should watch out for, however, is the third year of it being open. MGM Springfield has a budget for construction as well as establishing itself. In the third year, casinos doing this drop their payout returns to the going-forward norm. Put another way, they’ll be wanting all that lost money back from you.
So, if you can’t adjust your gaming and think the wins will just keep on coming, you’ll be in for a world of hurt. Just remember to trim back your gaming machine betting at MGM Springfield at the beginning of 2020. You can thank me later.
Summary of Win at Video Poker
Video poker is skill-based slots. To have the best odds of winning, you’ll need to be skilled at playing whatever poker game is on the machine. You’ll also need to play the machines with the best paytables. But, a serious student of video poker already knows both of those and more.
However, there’s more to video poker than perfect play, earning comps, and paytables. Winning slots strategies can also take advantage of how casino operators have set up their video poker machines.
In this blog article, I’ve tried to apply eight winning slots strategies to video poker. All but two of them are still quite possible for video poker machines. This assumes a casino has set their regular slot machines to behave in ways that one or another of these winning strategies are indeed applicable.
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