Video poker entered the casino in the seventies; and is today one of the most popular forms of gambling. For the player who likes a skill game, a low house edge, the possibility of big wins, and the anonymity of playing alone there is nothing else that can compare to video poker. The rules of video poker are simple; you play from 1 to 5 coins, the machine gives you five cards, you choose which one to hold and which to discard, the machine replaces your rejects and pays you according to the value of your hand.
Free Video Poker
You may have heard the adage that the "house always has the advantage. Video poker is an exception to this rule. If you are looking for the most liberal pay tables, and play them correctly, you may have a slim advantage. Some pay tables, which are slightly in favor of the machine, can return more than 100%, if you factor in incentives such as cash back, free play, senders and other comps.
Here are the rules for standard video poker:
- Most video poker games are played with a standard 52-card deck. Obviously, wild joker games will include one or more jokers in the cards.
- After making a bet and pressing the "deal" button, the game will give the player five cards.
- The player chooses which cards to discard and which to keep.
- The game replaces the discarded cards with randomly chosen cards from the remaining game.
- The player is paid according to the poker value of his hand and the salary table displayed.
- Always play the maximum number of coins. I have never seen a machine that did not offer a bonus on the highest hand for five coins played. If you don't want to play five coins, then switch to lower coins.
- The cards are chosen at random and the games are fair. There is no switch inside the machine that can make the machine loose or tight. Don't be fooled by the tabs, which are not real video poker games.
- A royal flush can come at any time with the same probability. A machine is never "late" in the sense that it becomes more likely to arrive. Theories such as a machine will become tight just before getting a royal are not true.
- Always use a club card if there is one, and there usually is one. It's free money to play, and can often make the difference to have an advantage.
- When you put your club card in it make sure that the game can read it. Every few minutes check to make sure that the connection is not lost.
- Do some research on where the most generous machines are located. The best source in my opinion is VP insider, a subscription-based site costs $20 for the first three months, and $15 for each additional three months. The best free source in my opinion is VP Free.
- Some games offer a double. That, and the odds in craps, are the only bets you can make without a house edge. Whether you make the double bet should depend on your reason for playing. If you are looking for low volatility, with a long "time on the machine", you should refuse it. If you are playing a 100%+ game, you must refuse it. If you are looking for great volatility, you should accept it. If you want to maximize the return, including the money bet on the double, then you should accept it. If you were to take, you may ask, up to what point? This is something that you can decide for yourself, depending on how much you value risk vs reward.
- Tips in video poker, as well as in any game, are the subject of much debate. I think a good rule of thumb is to tip 0.5% to 1.0% on any jackpot that requires a paying hand. The smaller the jackpot, the higher the percentage. An exception can be made for games in which you win hands frequently, such as $5-10 games. In this case, tips on big winnings or at the end of the session are acceptable. If you lost badly, I wouldn't blame you if you didn't leave a tip.