Most people already realize that blackjack and video poker are the two best casino games for the player. That’s because the two games have the lowest house edge, which is the statistical average amount the casino expects to win per bet. It isn’t enough to just play video poker, and if you want to see those significant returns and that low house edge, you need to learn more about the game. Here is how you can boost your chances of winning at video poker by understanding the game better than everyone else.

Video Poker Games Aren’t Slot Machines

The difference between slots and video poker is a practical consideration, and both games utilize random number generators or RNGs for short. The RNG for video poker imitates the probabilities of a pack of cards. There are 13 cards per suit, and if you have 4 of them already, 9 of them remaining in the deck. That affects the probabilities of getting a straight flush. With a few calculations, you can calculate the payback percentage for a video poker paytable. It isn’t possible to do with a slot machine, and here is why.

The probability of getting a particular symbol on a slot machine reel is unknowable for the average player. You can face two identical slot machines with similar paytables; however, you face entirely different payback percentages. One might have a 1 in 8 probability of a cherry landing on the reel, while another might be programmed to provide a 1 in 16 chance of landing it. Having the ability to identify which video poker games have better payback percentages than others will help you improve your chances of walking away as a winner.

Paytables Vary From Game to Game

Not all video poker games have similar paytables, and the only difference is the paytable. Jacks or Better is the most straightforward video poker game to play, and most players are familiar with it. The game has one of the easiest paytables to understand. When casinos and video poker game developers want to change the payback percentage for Jacks or Better, they adjust the payouts for these two hands: The full house and the flush. The best possible paytable for Jacks or Better is a dull pay game, which pays out 9 to 1 for a full house, with 6 to 1 for a flush. When you use an optimal mathematical strategy, Jacks or Better with that paytable has a payback percentage of 99.54%. That essentially means the house edge is only 0.46%.

You deduct the payback percentage by 100%, and you get the house edge. If you play a different version of Jacks or Better, one pays off at eight coins for a full house, and you receive five coins for a flush, and the payback percentage is only 97.3%. The numbers may sound high as they are close to 100%, but the difference between the two is dramatic. The house edge increases by a factor of more than 5. Imagine you are playing a poker game where you estimate your losses at $5 an hour. Then imagine playing that game where the hourly losses are $25. It pays to discern between different paytables, and it isn’t enough to just pick the first one.

Choose The Best Video Poker Game With The Best Paytable

All the payback percentages and house edge estimates related to video poker assume mathematically optimal play. If you play your hand wrong, the payback percentage will drop dramatically. With video poker, you receive a 5-card hand at the outset. You discard between 0 and 5 cards and replace them. That essentially means you have 32 different ways to play each hand. You get two options for each card, and you have five cards, which means your number of choices is 2 to the power of 5.

How can you tell what the right play is?

In most situations, it is relatively apparent. Sometimes, you receive a hand that will win something. Mostly, when you receive a hand like that, you should keep it and enjoy your winnings. One of the rarer exceptions is when there are four cards to a royal flush. You might aspire to win a royal flush since the payout is so big. It might mean you have to break up a paying hand, and that’s true in every video poker variant. If you have a bit of card sense, you can probably get 1% to 2% of the optimal payback percentage. Why bring that when you could be getting much less at 0.05% as the house edge?

Video Poker Strategy Cards Are the Answer

They tend to consist of ranked lists of different hands. You compare the hand you get with the ranked list of hands-on a strategy card. Moreover, you should keep the cards that the strategy card suggests. That has the benefit of slowing you down a bit. The more hands you play an hour, the more you expose yourself to the house edge. If you find a technique to slow yourself down and reduce the rate of play, you effectively lower the house edge. You should take advantage of that technique every time. You can find many informative books and video poker software that will quiz you on strategy.

Learning how to play video poker takes some knowledge and some practice, but it’s something anyone with average intelligence and a little nerve can achieve. You should start with Jacks or Better. Video Poker isn’t easy to find; moreover, it is an easy game to learn and play. The strategy isn’t so hard to understand, either, and you will find plenty of books and software covering the subject. A few obscure video poker games are more challenging to find information about, and even if you do, you will have a hard time finding poker games with favourable paytables. It is far easier to find Jacks or Better and Joker Poker.