The casino literature is filled with a rich volume of video poker tips designed to help you improve your gameplay. As one of a handful of online casino games where players can consistently beat the house, video poker reigns supreme.

In essence, video poker is a 5-card draw poker game played against a computer. Video poker games feature prominently at bricks and mortar casinos across Atlantic City, and Las Vegas, and they are a player favorite at online casinos too. 

Poker, by its very nature, blends elements of skill, strategy, and good fortune together to create an enticing game that lures players in by the truckload. Video poker games, much like poker, are governed by a strict set of rules.

This makes it possible for astute players to use probability analysis as part of their video poker strategy to craft a game-plan that actually works. Of course, a caveat is in order: no amount of strategizing can guarantee a win, owing to a larger-than-life phenomenon known as Lady Luck!

We begin our fascinating expose of video poker tips with a brief recap of the game and how it works. There can be no denying the underlying similarities between video poker terminals and slot machine games. In fact, it was the runaway success of the slot machine that facilitated the development of a video poker terminal which functions along similar grounds.

Unlike traditional poker games, players are not competing against other players – it's player versus machine in a battle royale for a ranking hand. The stronger your hand in video poker, the bigger your payout, ceteris paribus.  More on that later, let's get around to how the game works.

For starters, video poker games have a really low house edge. In fact, it's one of the few games where players can actually have a relative advantage over the casino. While many of us draw comparisons between video poker and slots, there are notable differences between the games.

For example, in video poker, you will always know what the house edge is, and what the volatility of the game is. More importantly, players have a direct impact on the outcomes of video poker games. In other words, your decisions will determine whether you win or lose. In slots games, you simply click a button and that's the end of it. With video poker, you get to hold or fold cards of your choosing. By using the tips for winning at video poker listed in this guide, you will improve your game – no doubt about it.

HOW SKILL CAN IMPROVE YOUR VIDEO POKER PLAYS?

We preface this section of our video poker tips guide with the following statement: Your level of skill can have an outsized impact on the outcomes of your video poker gaming sessions. It's a lot to digest, but it's true. There are many benefits to playing video poker, not least of which is the low house edge on this casino game. Additional benefits include the fact that you're playing against the machine and not against human players at the same table. 

The psychological advantage that this ‘relative anonymity’ gives you comes out in your gaming sessions. There is no performance anxiety to worry about, no peer pressure, and no annoying commentary on your decision-making processes.

These psychological factors can make or break your performance in a live poker game, but they are absent in video poker. This means that you can focus all your energy on the rules of play, video poker strategy, and use our video poker tips and tricks to take your game to the next level.

Playing against a rather rudimentary video poker machine is a lot easier than playing against a supercomputer like Big Blue. The video poker machine is not trying to outsmart you – it simply serves as a random number generator (RNG) to shuffle up and deal. It automatically determines the strength of your hand and makes payouts accordingly.

The fact that you don't have to worry about anything other than holding or folding on your first draw makes this an easy game to play. All video poker games are played with a standard 52-card deck. The deck includes 4 suits (hearts, clubs, spades, and diamonds), with 13 cards per suit.

The objective of video poker is to form a ranking 5-card hand, based on the specific rules of play, as indicated in the pay table. Sometimes, all you need is a pair of Jacks or Better. Sometimes, the lowest-ranking cards in the deck are the best cards to hold, especially in games like Deuces Wild.

This guide includes many Deuces Wild video poker tips that you can use to improve your game considerably. Certain video poker games even bring the court jesters into play a.k.a. the Jokers, with games like Deuces & Jokers, Jokers Wild, and Joker Poker.

First off, you must place a bet to get started. This is perhaps the most important video poker tip of all: Play maximum coins that you can afford on any given video poker game. The reason for this is simple: you get full value if you hit a Royal Flush

HOT TIP: Did you know that a Royal Flush pays up to 800:1 when you bet with maximum coins, compared to just 250:1 when you make a standard bet. Sometimes that number is even 4,000:1.

WHAT IS THE OPTIMAL VIDEO POKER STRATEGY?

There are many rules that you can follow to optimize your game.  It's always a good idea to understand your chances of forming a winning hand, given the specific rules of each game. For example, if you have 4 cards to a Royal Flush, then you can break up a Straight, or a Flush.

For example, if you're holding 9-Jack-Queen-King-Ace of hearts, drop the 9 and chance it for a big payout if you land your coveted 10 of hearts for a Royal Flush. Even if you don't hit your 10 of hearts, you can still hit a Flush (all cards of the same suit) with any other heart.

A Flush is still a great payout, so this is a great strategy when you are holding 4 cards to a Royal Flush. How do you do this? Simply click on ‘HOLD’ for the following cards: Jack-Queen-King-Ace.

The same is true if you have 4 cards to a Royal Flush and you're holding a pair of fishhooks (Jacks). While you're playing video poker, you will invariably come across many weak hands with low-value pairs. You may be tempted to hold on to your Royal high cards like Jack, Queen, King and drop the low-value pairs – but don't. Always keep low-value pairs over Royal high cards.

Here's another important video poker tip and trick that is worth following: Let's say you're holding the following hand: 5-6-7-8 which can be completed with either a 9 on the high end or a 4 on the low end. If you land either of these cards on the second draw, you have a Straight. Now, if the missing card was in the middle, it becomes much more difficult for you to form a Straight because you don't have the two options on either end.

Remember, video poker is a game of probabilities. You've got to put yourself in a situation where your chances of winning are greatly improved. The aforementioned examples are terrific for learning purposes. Even the slightest edge can mean the difference between winning big, or losing it all.

It's important to know which hands you can break up in video poker, and which hands you should never break up in video poker. These are rules that don't need to be understood, but they do need to be learned. It goes without saying that if you’re dealt a Royal Flush – don't discard a single card.

In much the same way, if you have a Full House (a pair and a trip), or a Straight (5 cards in sequential order), hold them all. Likewise, if you have 4 of a Kind – that's a keeper. If you are dealt trips (three of a kind), hold them and try to score a pair on the next play for a Full House, or perhaps even Four of a Kind for an even bigger payday. 

All of these tips for winning at video poker will work for you if you apply them correctly. Let’s move on to hand rankings and how RTPs and strategy can enhance your game.

DIFFERENT VIDEO POKER HAND RANKINGS & ODDS

We've been bandying about lots of different ‘terms’ like Royal Flush, Full House, Straight, Flush, High Card, Three of a Kind, Four of a Kind, et cetera. Let's briefly elaborate how these hands rank in a video poker a table:

•    Royal Flush
•    Straight Flush
•    Four of a Kind
•    Full House
•    Flush
•    Straight
•    Three of a Kind
•    Two Pair
•    Jacks or Better
•    High Card

Most video poker terminals allow you to play 1 coin – 5 coins per bet. If you don't play the maximum coin value per bet, you could lose out when you hit a Royal Flush. That's why most video poker experts will tell you that it is certainly in your best interests to play 5 coins on every video poker machine, provided it is well within your budget. Effective bankroll management is critical to your success as a player. To this end, it's important to follow sage video poker advice: Never gamble with money you cannot afford to lose. 

With that in mind, it's a good idea to practice video poker games online in demo mode, before you play for real money. There are so many different types of video poker games available to players today, dozens upon dozens of them.

Games like 9/6 Double Double Bonus Poker, 9/6 Bonus Poker Deluxe, Aces & Faces, Double Bonus Poker, Pick’em Poker, Jacks or Better, Deuces and Jokers, Jokers Wild, and many other exciting variants. Double Double Bonus video poker tips can even boost the RTP of this game to over 100%, as you're about to find out.

You see the 9/6 listed above? Those are the odds that are paid to players. When you land a Full House, you get 9 times your bet; when you land a Flush, you get 6 times your bet. With Jacks or Better games, your best payout is typically 9/6. Avoid playing 8/5 video poker games if you have the option, since they pay less.

It's like the difference between 3:2 Blackjack or 6:5 Blackjack. Many video poker games have a really high RTP (return to player), averaging around 99%. This means that if you bet $100, you can expect to receive $99 back on average.

Here are a few RTPs you can expect with different types of video poker games when you use optimal video poker strategy (these vary from one provider to the next):

•    Bonus Poker – 99.17% RTP
•    Jacks or Better – 99.54% RTP
•    Double Double Bonus Poker – 100.07% RTP
•    Double Bonus Poker – 100.17% RTP
•    Joker Poker – 100.64% RTP
•    Deuces Wild – 100.71%

Few casino games compare as favorably as video poker when it comes to RTPs. If you decide to play a progressive jackpot video poker game, your odds increase even more. As always, remember to place the maximum bet to ensure that your payout is maximized, making it well worth your while. Remember: the casino edge is the difference between the odds that the casino offers you and the true odds.

With many video poker, players have an edge. Each video poker game that you play has a specific set of rules and optimal playing strategies associated with it. It is important to pick a game that you enjoy, study up as much as you can, and learn about the different combinations of cards that should be held, or discarded in pursuit of a winning hand.

HOT TIP: Make sure you understand the pay table of the video poker game you're playing, since each one is different and there are unique payout combinations for each game. 

8 BEST VIDEO POKER TIPS:

1. Always study the pay table to ensure that you know the payouts on different types of hands. Since there are so many different types of video poker games, you can never go wrong with this winning tip. Then, pick the video poker games with the best RTPs.

2. Practice video poker games online in demo mode before you play for real money. This is the only way you're going to become proficient at this strategy-based card game. Learn for free and when you're ready, play for real to win.

3. Variance and volatility are going to impact your playing sessions. Don't be discouraged by this. Good video poker strategy always pays out in the long-term.

4. Learn from your mistakes in video poker. Introspection is an important part of the learning process. Examine the cards you were dealt with, and the cards you folded. Put together a game plan that will help you to play more effectively in the future.

5. Fund your video poker gaming sessions adequately. This tip goes to the heart of all gaming activity online, or at a bricks and mortar casino. Without the necessary firepower in your bankroll, you cannot possibly hope to sustain yourself through playing sessions. It's a numbers game, and you don't want to lose your whole bankroll within the first 30 minutes and have nothing left to play with. Pace yourself and come with enough cash for your entire session.

6. Be judicious in the way you play. Video poker games are often rushed, and this will burn through your bankroll quickly. Take your time to think about what cards you are holding and what cards you are folding. If you play too quickly, you will soon find yourself not remembering whether it's your first or second round of cards that you are staring at.

7. Play responsibly at all times. This means you should watch your bankroll. It also means playing with a level head, sans intoxicants, depressants, sedatives, or any other mind-altering medication. You need to be playing your ‘A Game’ with video poker all the time. Be alert and observant at all times, and never play when you’re too tired to think straight.

8. Maximize your use of bonuses and promotional offers at online casinos when playing video poker games.

About the Author
By

With digital marketing strategies in his blood, Louis Wheeler has traveled around the world, exploring gambling cultures and gaining experience in casino games from 2003. If you are in a casino anywhere around the planet, you may find him right next to you, playing blackjack, roulette or texas hold'em.