Video poker machines combine the compactness and fast pace of a slot with a math-driven approach and process of a poker game. There are many variations, but the basics are the same: you have to collect the highest hand possible. Everything is automated: the machine gives you five cards, and then you decide which ones to keep and which ones to replace. To get the most out of video poker, you must know card combinations and their values. Not only you must know them but be able to define quickly which cards are needed to create them. Moreover, understanding what are the odds of winning combinations appearing on the screen is of vital importance.
How to Beat Video Poker?
There is no way to beat a video poker machine, meaning to trick it. There are effective strategies, though, that might help you win. They are based on poker hands and pay tables, and the latter varies from one version to another. This is the first thing you might want to look at while choosing a machine – what payouts it promises.
It seems unrealistic, but some versions feature a return-to-player rate over 100%, which means that playing without mistakes will guarantee you wins in the long run. Don’t expect to get rich in a moment – you won’t get enormous amounts in a short period.
Payouts of video poker machines also differ depending on the bet amount. Sometimes, every raise of your wager gradually increases possible prizes, but it could also happen to be a bigger multiplier.
Rules and Strategies
Numerous articles were written on the topic of how to beat video poker machines. While there is no technique that can outperform the element of luck involved in the video poker game, there are some tricks you can learn and use to your benefit.
Learn and Play Poker Itself First
To develop video poker skills, you obviously need to understand the basics of the card game itself. You can practice poker before choosing the machine. The essence of the game is to collect the highest combination. The order of appearance doesn’t matter, just the value of cards. Ace can act like the highest card after the king or the lowest one before 2, but it can never form a combination somewhere in the middle. Here are poker hands in order of decreasing their value:
- royal flush (10-jack-queen-king-ace of the same suit)
- straight flush (five cards in a row of the same suit)
- four of a kind (four cards of the same rank)
- full house (a pair + three of a kind)
- flush (five cards of the same suit)
- straight (five consecutive cards of any suit)
- outside (open) straight (lacks one element on either end to form a straight)
- inside straight (lacks one element in the middle to form a straight)
- three of a kind (three cards of the same rank)
- two pair (two cards of the same rank and another two of the same rank)
- jacks or better (at least two jacks)
What Are the Odds?
The winning odds vary from one version to another, that’s why it’s so important to compare them. On average, the chances for getting some combinations are the following:
- royal flush as the initial hand – 1:650,000
- royal flush after making replacements – 1:40,000 (this actually depends on your skills)
- straight flush – 1:9,150
- four of a kind – 1:423
- full house – 1:90
- flush – 1:85
- straight – 1:80
Some video poker machines feature jackpots, including progressive ones. It all depends on the particular game, but usually, this prize is given out only in case of hitting a royal flush.
How to Win at Video Poker?
The trick of video poker, as well as its biggest thrill, is that only knowledge and luck together will bring you success, and neither of these two elements carries more weight. Understanding probability of getting combinations, you’ll be able to make quick and effective decisions about card replacement.
A cheat sheet with poker hands rankings is used as a strategy list in this game. You just describe all possible combinations, moving from the most desirable to the lowest one. While playing, you simply compare the cards dealt to you with combinations on the list. After you see which combination you already have, you think how you can make it better, or which cards do you need in case you don’t have any hand formed at the moment.
The most complicated situations are those when your initial hand may evolve into several winning options, each one needing different cards.
Some Tips to Take on Board
Don’t fall for the illusion of noticing patterns. The results of the game have nothing to do with previous rounds, no matter how much fun you find in spotting some frequencies.
What might help you, is betting the highest possible amount. If you do win, you will get significantly more with a maximum bet.
The important thing about video poker is that it’s not about intuition. Don’t replace the cards because you feel like doing so but ground your decision in particular logic.
Explore the game in a free mode before going for risks, and opt for casinos that offer decent bonuses. There also could be special video poker players clubs you can sign up to.
There are some approaches designed to win at video poker. For example, focusing on getting a royal flush, or saving as many hands as possible. They may seem logical, but while practicing, you’ll get the idea that there couldn’t be any fool-proof strategy. Even if you do everything error-free and derive your decisions from calculations, pure chance may get the better of you. The only strategy which is inevitable here is learning poker hands and realizing how they can be completed.
Finally, don’t play video poker chasing a jackpot. Enjoy the process before anything else, and get some profits as nice bonuses to the exciting game.