How to Win at Video Poker: A Tutorial for Beginners

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Have you been having a tough time learning how to play video poker? Don’t feel bad! Everybody has to start somewhere. Learning how to play video poker doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. We’ve broken down the process of playing this game variation into baby steps. If you’re ready to learn how to play, keep reading!

Key Terms

There are a few key terms that will come up repeatedly in this video poker guide. We recommend memorizing them, as this will make your learning experience much smoother. Use the short list below or the casino terms glossary on Bob Casino:

  • Paytable. A video poker paytable lists the payout for every hand combination. 
  • Payback. This figure expresses the long-term return of wagers to players if a perfect game is played. Typically, video poker machines have a higher payout than slot machines. Most video poker games have payback percentages greater than 95%. 
  • House/Player Edge. The edge is the advantage that the casino has over the player (or vice versa). 
  • Volatility/Variance. Volatility refers to the gains and losses of your bankroll. It focuses on the general pattern. On the other hand, variance puts the ups and downs into mathematical terms.

Step 1: Choose Your Bankroll 

How big of a bankroll do you need? Many players are familiar with the rule that you should have 3x-4x the amount you would win when you hit a royal flush. Let’s say you are playing a 25 cent Jacks or Better standard game, in which a royal flush pays out 4,000 credits ($1,000). In this case, you would want 3x – 4x that amount in your bankroll ($3,000 — $4,000). 

Does this sound like too much? The good thing is that this rule applies to your long-term bankroll, not sessions. Long term video poker bankrolls are geared towards players who spend 2-3 days per month playing at the casino. It’s necessary for the bankroll to be this large in order to tide these players through losing streaks, which will inevitably occur. On the other hand, if you aren’t a regular player, you don’t need to have nearly as large a bankroll. People who play irregularly just need to bring a session bankroll. 

Step 2: Pick a Machine

When you are still getting the hang of video poker, don’t just sit down at any machine. Make sure to check out the game’s paytable first and check out how hands pay out. This can help you calculate the probability and return for each hand, based on optimal strategy.

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If you want to play an easy game, we recommend Jacks or Better. The proper strategy for this variant is pretty easy to learn, and there aren’t any wild cards or bonus payouts to keep track of. If you want more of an exciting experience, then Deuces Wild and Joker Poker are the best video poker machines to play, because wild cards become a thrilling factor. For a profitable experience, try out games that have the best video poker odds.

Progressive machines are another category to keep in mind. These games offer huge jackpots when you hit a royal flush. A portion of each bet you make contributes to the ever-growing jackpot. Once a lucky player gets a royal flush, they receive the entire prize pool, which then reverts back to a pre-determined base size. Typically, progressive video poker machines have low payback percentages. However, having the chance to win so much money can be quite exciting! 

Step 3: Add Credits to the Machine

In the past, the only way that gamblers could add credits to a machine was to insert the correct denomination of coins into the machine’s coin slot. Today, however, most poker machines will allow you to insert nearly any denomination of currency, such as $1 — $100 bills. You can also insert vouchers printed out from other machines in the casino.

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If you know that you are going to be playing multiple hands of video poker, we would recommend inserting a larger denomination of currency. This will let you keep playing without having to break your flow of concentration. 

Step 4: Choose the Denomination and Game

Most modern video poker games are multi-denominational. After inserting bills, credits, or a voucher, choose the denomination that you would like to play with (25 cents, $1, $5, and so on). If it is a multi-game machine, you will also need to select the variant of video poker you would like to play. 

Step 5: Begin Playing

Most video poker machines have touch screens, so you can choose to either push the game’s physical buttons or tap the screen. Typically, using the buttons allows for a faster and more accurate experience. To start playing, press the “Play Max Credits” button. While there is also an option to bet one credit, we recommend betting the max, as this may give you better payouts. In some games, increasing your bet from 4 to 5 coins will double your Royal Flush payout. After your first hand, you can simply press the Deal/Draw button, as this will replicate your original bet. 

After pressing the Play Max Credits button, you’ll be dealt your initial hand (or hands, if you are playing a multi-hand game). Press the Hold button located under each card that you want to hold or touch the card on the screen. If you choose to hold a card by mistake, simply press the same button a second time. This will cancel out the hold. To play the cards that you selected, press the Deal/Draw button again. The cards you didn’t select will be replaced. If the hand wins, credits will be added to your machine. Now, simply repeat the process until you are finished!

Occasionally, a gaming machine will enable “Double Up” bets. If you choose to do this, you have the chance to double your win. However, you also run the risk of losing it all. 

Step 6: Cash Out

Once you are ready to finish playing video poker, press the Cash Out button and collect the voucher that the machine prints out. 

Where to Play Video Poker

You can play video poker at a huge number of casinos across the world. But what if you don’t want to travel to a physical casino? What if you prefer playing from the comfort of your own home? If this sounds like you, come sign up for an account at Bob Casino! We have many kinds of online video poker, suitable for newbies and experienced players alike. Signing up for an account is quick and easy. You can start playing online poker in just a few minutes! Come test out your newfound knowledge at Bob Casino today. 

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How to Win at Video Poker: A Tutorial for Beginners

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