Everyone has their favorite casino games and everyone wants a chance to win some money while playing these games. Some people are more interested in playing as long as possible than having the best chance to win on any given trip.
Video poker offers some of the best chances to extend your bankroll at the same time as having a chance to land a big win. The secret is finding a machine that offers a high percentage return to the player and learning to play using the best possible strategy.
Every game requires a different strategy, but there is a correct way to play every hand of video poker. Even in a situation that loses in the long run, there is a way to play that loses the least amount of money.
Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild
In addition to learning the best strategy you have to be able to find machines that offer the best payouts. I know I mentioned this already, but if you can’t find a machine it doesn’t matter how good it pays or how well you know the strategy.
For example, there are a few video poker machines that pay back over 100% with perfect strategy but they are almost impossible to find. This post concentrates on a couple popular video poker variations that are fairly easy to find, Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild.
You can find many different pay tables with some offering better payback percentages than others. Here are the pay tables that you need to find to have the best chance to win while playing video poker. (There are a few better pay tables available for Deuces Wild, but this is by far the most common “good” pay table you will find.)
The best Jacks or Better pay table is often called a 9 / 6 which stands for the pay back for a full house and a flush. The return is over 99.5% with perfect strategy on a 9 / 6 machine. Here is the complete pay table.
- 800 Royal Flush
- 50 Straight Flush
- 25 Four of a Kind
- 9 Full House
- 6 Flush
- 4 Straight
- 3 Three of a Kind
- 2 Two Pair
- Pair of Jacks or Better
The most common favorable Deuces Wild pay table is called a “not so ugly ducks” machine. You may see this referred to as NSUD. The pay back percentage with perfect strategy is over 99.7%. Here is the complete NSUD pay table.
- 800 Natural Royal Flush
- 200 Four Deuces
- 25 Wild Royal Flush
- 16 Five of a Kind
- 10 Straight Flush
- 4 Four of a Kind
- 4 Full House
- 3 Flush
- 2 Straight
- Three of a Kind
The next step after finding the best machines is using the best strategy. I suggest picking up one of the strategy cards that are about the size of a credit card and using it while playing. This way you can always see the best play.
Comps and Player’s Clubs
When you play the machines listed above giving the house less than a half percent edge you can play longer and keep playing long enough to give yourself the best chance at winning a top payout by hitting a natural royal flush.
You also should always combine your video poker play with as many comps as possible. Most casinos have a player’s club that you can join that rewards you for your play. You may earn cash back, free hotel stays, free meals or many other types of benefits.
Even if your rewards don’t include any actual cash, they are still worth something. If you get a free meal that would have cost you $20, it’s the same as winning an extra $20 because it is money you didn’t have to spend.
Most casinos don’t pay back enough through their player’s clubs to let you consistently play with an advantage against them, but you may be able to play a break even game in the long run.
The majority of players don’t play correct strategy so the casinos take their money quicker. Sometimes player’s club benefits are determined based on everyone’s play so if you play perfect strategy you may be able to gain a small edge with your benefits.
Either way, if you always play using the best strategy and take advantage of the player’s club benefits you are doing everything you can to reduce the advantage the house has.
Video Poker Tournaments
Another area that can offer extended playing time on a set bankroll and / or a chance to play with a small edge over the house is playing in video poker tournaments.
A video poker tournament is a contest where the players play video poker for a set period of time. The players with the highest balance at the end of the pre-set time either moves to the next round of play or wins the prizes.
You may be able to find free video poker tournaments, but most of them have an entry fee.
You may be wondering how you could play with an advantage over the house in a video poker tournament. Here is an example.
Many tournaments have a minimum guaranteed prize pool and sometimes there aren’t enough entrants to cover the entire amount. This is called an overlay. If the guaranteed prizes total $1,000 and there is only $900 in entry fees, there is a $100 overlay. This creates a profitable situation for the entrants. On average, each entrant will win a percentage of the overlay based on how many entrants there are. In real life only the players who finish in the money enjoy the overlay, but if you put yourself in enough situations with an overlay you will come out ahead in the long run (Assuming you play at an average or above average level. This isn’t difficult if you use basic strategy.).
You can use video poker to extend your casino play and combine it with player’s club benefits to give yourself the best chance to win. Always play on the best machines, sign up for the player’s club and use the best strategy.