5 Strategies That Fail in Video Poker

We’ve given you many strategies for winning at video poker, but there are many losing strategies as well. Recognizing these strategies will help you avoid losing sessions and help you secure long-term profits. Today, we will look at five strategies that fail in video poker.

Machine Hoping to Find the Hot Video Poker Game

Similar to playing at the most appealing game, some people will machine hop video poker games to try and find hot machines. Before video poker machines started using random number generators, this was a viable strategy. However, modern machines do not “build up points” or “get hot” the way old machines do.

The only time I have ever machine hopped was when I was playing games that had progressive payouts for hands. For example, I play Double Double Bonus Poker that has progressive payouts on four of a kind or higher. If there were machines that had hands that hadn’t hit in a while, I might jump around to try and hit those hands. However, I was also playing a machine that was nearly full pay based on the paytable. I didn’t just hop machines without a strategy, and you shouldn’t either.

Playing at the Most Appealing Game Rather Than the Best Game

Most people go into a casino and sit down to the first video poker machine that catches their eye. For example, Wheel Poker is an exciting looking video poker game but it is not the best game. Picking a game that looks good rather than picking a game based on the paytable is a recipe for a losing session.

Super Times Pay Video Poker

Super Times Pay looks appealing but is usually a bad bet.

Look at the paytable for the games to determine the best game to play. Often, the best games are not the most visually appealing or even the most “fun” to play. For me, winning is the most fun you can have at a casino, so pick the right machine.

Always Drawing to the Royal Flush

Some people hear that you should always draw to the Royal Flush no matter what. While there are situations where this is true, it is not the profitable play in every situation. If you have AQ10 of hearts and two black kings, you are going to hold the kings.

The only time you should always draw to the royal is where the reward is greater than the risk or the short term value you can lose. For example, if you had AQ10 of hearts and a pair of kings with the king of hearts, you will drop the pair and go for the royal.

Playing Less Than Max Coins

The less money you risk, the longer you can play. That’s the standard logic behind playing less than max coins on video poker. The problem with this strategy is that you are costing yourself money when you finally do score a big win.

Video Poker Royal Flush

A straight flush pays 50 to 1 on a single coin and a Royal Flush 250 to 1. On max coins, you get 400 to 1 on a straight flush and 800 to 1 on a Royal Flush. Drop down just one coin, and the odds go down to 100 to 1 and 250 to 1. That’s a lot of edge you’re giving up.

Playing quarters, if you play four coins as opposed to five, you’re giving up $750 in winnings on a Royal Flush. Playing max credits gives you the best chance of being a long-term winner in video poker.

Not Taking Advantage of Video Poker Rewards Programs

Some video poker players mistakenly believe that if they sign up for a rewards program or play using their player’s card, the game will not pay out. They think that there’s someone sitting at a computer looking for player’s club members so they can screw them out of money.

That’s absolutely silly. If anything, you are costing yourself money and rewards by playing video poker without the benefit of the rewards program. Every time you play video poker as a rewards member, you earn points towards rewards. Better still, it shows the casinos the players who are willing to gamble.

There are times that a casino will offer special rewards to players who frequent the casino. For example, there was one summer where I won about $3,000 at video poker but I cycled over $25,000 through the machines. For the next two years, I got multiple offers to stay for free at the casino, with some offers giving me up to a week of free nights.