Since its introduction in the 1970s, video poker has captivated players of all skill levels. It’s one of the earliest forms of advanced casino technology. Debuting at a time when personal computers were still in their infancy, it offered a glimpse of today’s digital landscape. While today’s players are familiar with digital games and online platforms, video poker predates it all!
Even today, video poker machines are nothing short of exciting. They offer a thrilling alternative to traditional card games in a quick and easy package. Based on five-card draw poker, these games provide a modern twist on old classics. All the while, they give you the chance to play on a sleek and user-friendly machine without needing a real-world dealer.
Like any other casino game, the aim of the game is to win as much as possible. Even if you’re a seasoned poker head, video poker is a unique beast! Here are some tips to help you master video poker.
1. Familiarize Yourself with Video Poker Variants
One of the most important things to remember is that not all video poker games play the same.
Poker is a complex card game that continues to evolve. Several different variants exist, and each one has its distinct gameplay subtleties. While you might be familiar with basic five-card poker, small rule changes create a brand-new experience.
Familiarize yourself with those variants and make sure you understand the game you’re playing. Don’t assume that a basic understanding of poker is good enough. Slight rule differences can drastically change the outcome. The last thing you want is to suffer losses over a simple misunderstanding!
Every version of video poker has strategies you can employ to increase your chances of winning. Take some time to learn them!
Get to know the differences between games like Jacks or Better and Bally’s All American. Know what to do with cards during rounds of Deuces Wild or Joker’s wild. Want to take things even further? Learn how to form hands with as many game variations as possible. See what the professionals do and learn card-forming techniques for all poker situations!
Having some in-depth knowledge about video poker variations can make all the difference. Not only does it prevent you from making silly mistakes, but it can help you master every machine!
2. Practice Makes Perfect
As the saying goes: “Practice makes perfect!”
Video poker is a riveting union of chance and strategy. What cards you get depends entirely on Lady Luck’s favour. However, you can only be successful if you know what to do with the hand you’re dealt. The worst thing you can do? Go in blind with no strategy at all!
Before you hit the casino, practice your game! Take a stab at all the video poker variants and learn as much as you can. There are many ways to do this. You can play with a friend and a real deck of cards. Alternatively, you can turn to online casinos.
Most online casino sites offer video poker titles that you can play from the comforts of home. They have the same gameplay experience as dedicated machines. So, you can replicate casino nights from anywhere.
More importantly, however, is the free demos! Many digital casino platforms let you play without making real-money bets. It’s a chance to test the ropes and learn some video poker strategies. Try your hand without any risk whatsoever. Feel free to try bold techniques and see how they work out. Because you’re not betting real money, you can throw caution to the wind!
Learn the ins and outs without any pressure. Think of it as going for a test run or preparing for a marathon. All that practice will pay off once you attempt the real thing!
3. Understand the Pay Structure
Pay structures for video poker can be pretty complex. The RTP percentages can vary wildly, resulting in some confusion across the board. Many novice video poker players start playing without much concern about the pay schedules.
Unfortunately, most end up making poor judgment calls due to uncertainty about how hands payout. Remember: The goal is to win as much money as possible. How can you expect that to happen if you don’t know what you get for possible hands?
Knowing the pay structure can guide your decision-making. It’ll help you analyse your risks and make strategic choices. Video poker is already risky enough. Understanding how the game rewards you ensure that you’re managing those risks in your favour.
Furthermore, learning the pay structure can help you choose which games to play! Not all video poker machines are built the same. Some have high RTP percentages, resulting in the potential for more gains. However, others are a bit stingy and harder to beat.
Why spend time playing a game that offers low payouts? It seems like a no-brainer. However, you’d be surprised by how many people go for low-paying games because they didn’t understand the pay structure!
4. Play with the Maximum Coin Bet
You’re playing video poker when you land the elusive Royal Flush! It’s the highest-paying hand in the game. So, you excitedly look to see your earnings. But then, you realize you only played the minimum coin bet. Suddenly, that colossal payout becomes a lot smaller, and you’re left with tons of regret!
Most video poker games have several coin betting options. Usually, you can bet between one and five coins per hand. The total bet amount depends on the value of individual coins.
It’s tempting to play with only one or two coins. Many see it as a way to mitigate the risk and minimize losses. However, fewer coins can also limit your potential winnings. The goal is to win as much as possible. Well, you can’t do that by betting conservatively every round.
A Royal Flush comes with a payout of 800-for-1 or more. The only way to get the total value of that hand is to play the maximum bet!
You never know what hand you’re going to get next. Most experienced video poker players will tell you to play every hand as if it’s your last. Go all out and play maximum coins. When Lady Luck is on your side, you’ll be glad you did!
5. Be Mindful of Your Bankroll
Our final tip is to keep your bankroll in the back of your mind at all times.
Video poker is an exhilarating game with a lot to offer. It’s fun, fast-paced, and pretty accessible regardless of your skill level. However, it’s also easy to get lost in the fantasy. Sure, the euphoria of winning big is something we all want to relish. However, the sting of loss can have a lasting impact, too.
Only play with money you’re comfortable losing. You never know how things will play out. Don’t go into the game assuming that you’re going to win. Instead, be prepared to lose some! Manage your expectations and understand the nature of the game.
As far as money management goes, know how much you can reasonably spend. Don’t go above your means, and always keep track of your performance. Play for a modest amount compared to your bankroll. That way, you can absorb the swings and still enjoy the game. Wins and losses become easier to handle, ensuring that your bottom line isn’t dependent on a single hand.
Being smart about your bankroll will help you have fun no matter what happens.