Despite the fact that it’s perceived as a game of chance, video poker is actually a game of skill where if you’re willing to put it a little effort, you stand to dull the house edge. Following are some tricks to help you minimize losses and win at video poker. Note that I said "lose less" instead of "win more" because chances are, we are always losing instead of always winning. That's life, folks.
1. Always use your player’s card
Unless you see a note clearly stating that the machine doesn’t award player club points, then insert your player’s card in order to record your progress and get rewards for your play. Besides, the player’s cards are free and all you need to do is sign up for the casino’s player club. The cards help the casino track your progress and the more you play, the more chances you have to qualify for various exclusive promotions.
2. Carefully choose your video poker machine
Searching for a video poker machine with better odds is usually a matter of figuring out the paytable. In the event that the paytable is not displayed on the screen, then enter the help menu and search for that information here. Even though two machines sitting side-by-side appear identical to the casual observer, the truth is that one of them can offer at least 3% more for a flush or full house, for instance.
3. Use maximum credits for playing hands
In case you didn’t know, on most video poker machines the number of hands you’re playing is irrelevant. However, if you choose to play less than the maximum number of credits per hand, then you are also throwing away your chance on a big payout.
Let’s assume you’re going for a Royal Flush for a second: most machines offer a 250 to 1 payout for playing with less than max credits; using the maximum credits per hand means 800 to 1 payouts. Given the numbers, it’s easy to understand that you’re losing around 2% of the expected return by not playing with maximum credits per hand.
4. Play games that fit your bankroll and tolerance riskWell, in addition to the low and common paying hands, video poker takes away some of the payouts as well as uses the credits to increase the payouts of rarer hands. While it is true that getting a rare hand means you can earn a huge payroll, keep in mind that the game also implies heavy losses. Therefore, make sure your bankroll is large enough so you can afford to survive them.
5. Learn the strategy
You simply can’t win or minimize your losses at video poker if you don’t use a strategy. The online environment is filled with numerous efficient strategies and frankly, they are easier to learn than you might think. While you can argue that there’s a huge number of possible hands in video poker, don’t forget that these hands can be grouped together.
For instance, if you’re bad at taking decisions, then you could employ a strategy chart next time you’re playing video poker. The strategy chart implies matching your current hand with the one on the chart and keeping the cards that can make up for highest ranking hand.