To someone who hasn’t had much experience playing online casino games, slot machines and video poker may seem similar. You make a deposit, start pressing buttons, and see colorful visuals play out in front of you.
However, these games are far from similar. One of the few things slots and video poker have in common is a video screen and lots of action. Beyond that fact, we can see key differences in the gameplay and overall experience, which we will explore in this article.
Slots and Video Poker: The Basic Rules
An online slot game features a set of reels filled with different types of symbols. A player places a wager and spins the wheel. Every time they click spin, a random number generator (RNG) produces a new outcome with different reels of symbols. If there is a line of the same symbols along the active payline, it’s a win. The rarer the symbol, the bigger the win.
Video poker also uses RNG technology but combines it with the classic poker game of Five Card Draw. The player’s goal is to acquire a certain set of cards that offer some payout. If you’re familiar with classic poker, you already know the combinations and the hand rankings (full house, four-of-a-kind, straight flush, royal flush and more combinations explained in our glossary). The stronger the hand combination, the more profit it generates.
Online Pokies vs. Video Poker: Differences
People turn to slots and poker for different reasons. We’ve highlighted the four biggest differences in the games, so let’s compare them one by one.
1. Strategic Play
The only decision involved in playing online slots is how much money to wager. Other than that, the results of each round will be determined by the RNG, and they never affect the next spin. Basically, after you spin the reel, it’s all down to luck. It’s both a perk and a drawback, depending on how you look at it.
When it comes to video poker, you can actually use mathematically derived strategies. You don’t have to overcomplicate the game. But if you want, you can use a video poker strategy chart that features the card(s) to hold in the first five-card hand that you are dealt.
There are different kinds of charts that are calculated from slightly different angles. All of them aim to predict the highest average return for each scenario and minimize losses. At first, you may need to keep these charts close because they contain lots of information on hand sequences.
2. Ability to Win
This basically means which game has better odds. Just like with any casino game, you need to account for the inevitable house edge. That said, the advantage that a casino holds over players is higher for slots, i.e., there are fewer opportunities to win when playing on slot machines.
It doesn’t mean that you’ll always win when playing video poker, nor does it mean that you never win at slot machines. This point of the comparison indicates where you can have slightly better terms.
It’s important to mention that you can only achieve better odds at video poker if you use a reliable strategy. You can even leverage the house edge into the negatives by making the right moves. Naturally, different variations of poker have different odds, but the overarching theme remains the same.
3. Game Variants
Game developers frequently roll out new releases with different themes and some added features, like extra rounds or bonus games. Visually, slots are getting more vibrant and detailed. But even though they are exciting to play and feature different symbols, slot machine variants aren’t too different from each other.
Video poker games, on the other hand, are based on obtaining certain poker hands. This means that each time you play, you can try to achieve a completely different goal and apply different techniques. Game variations, in this case, are more diverse.
With time, you might come to a realization of how different video poker games are, and how similar slot games are. But if you’re a fan of slots, it’s not too big of a drawback.
4. Entertainment Factor
Slots are generally considered more fun and less pretentious. Since there are no strategies involved, developers work on other ways to capture users’ attention. These machines feature sound effects, images, and pop culture-inspired themes that are getting increasingly more inventive.
Like we’ve mentioned, poker requires the player to think harder and make an effort to perfect their strategies. Here you have to apply critical thinking if you want to maximize your chances to succeed. Once you receive a hand, you’ll need to determine the best poker hand for a given situation.
To sum up this point, slots are created to be entertaining, and video poker is created to be challenging. It depends on what your goals are. If you want your casino experience to be a quick escape from your normal life, slots are the way to go. If you want to practice your decision-making and analytical skills, go for video poker.
Slots and video poker both have their loyal audience, and there is no definitive answer to which one is better. Your personal choice depends on which game you enjoy more and turn to more frequently.
At Bob Casino, we have options for everyone. Browse our selection of games where you’ll find multiple variants of slots, poker, and many other classic casino games.
4 Major Differences Between Video Slot Machines and Video Poker