Video Poker

General Tips for Virtual Poker Games

1. Which should you play, jacks or better deuces wild? The best answer to that is the one you enjoy the most. Gambling should first and foremost be enjoyable. If you’re not having fun why keep playing? However, you may find Deuces Wild a little confusing at first. Some players found that playing Jacks or Better and getting the play strategies down there first made Deuces Wild a little easier to play. Four wild deuces really spices things up in this game. You can also hit some fairly long dry spells before you start hitting, but when you do you can hit a lot of big hands in pretty short order. So if we’re going to play Deuces Wild we’ll try to have a little larger bankroll to start with, to get us through any dry spells.

2. If you’re playing Jacks or Better you may notice that there are typically two different payouts schedules called 9-6 and 8-5. These numbers refer to the payouts for full house and flushes respectively. If the casino you’re at has both, go for the 9-6 machines, which reduce the house’s edge by as much as another 3%. You should even prefer these 9-6 Jacks or Better machines over Deuces Wild.

3. There are also machines called progressives . Instead of a set payout of 4000 coins for a royal flush, these machines start at 4000 coins but the jackpot grows over time. There are several machines linked together in one system on these progressives. If one of the machines in the progressive hits the jackpot, all machines are reset to the minimum and it starts growing again. The progressive jackpots make these attractive machines to play. Just remember to always play the maximum number of coins on a progressive.

4. Always play the maximum number of coins accepted. You’ll notice in the payout schedule that a Royal Flush pays 800 to 1 when playing the maximum number of coins but only 250 to 1 on anything less. If your concerned about the size of your bankroll, move to a lower denomination machine. You are better off playing the maximum coins in a quarter machine than less coins in a dollar machine. Likewise, you are better off playing the maximum coins in a nickel machine than fewer coins in a quarter machine.

5. When playing Jacks or Better don’t hold high cards to ‘play it safe’ (sometimes called a kicker). Some players when faced with a hand like this: Ah, 9s, 8c, 3h, 3s; will correctly hold the low pair of threes but then keep the Ace just in case. They incorrectly believe that holding the Ace increases their chance for a winning hand by possibly making a high pair. Actually keeping the Ace has the opposite effect. It decreases your chance for drawing a three of a kind or something even better.

6. Many players equate Video Poker to slot machines. That’s not really correct. Slots are completely games of chance while Video Poker involves an element of skill. If you play each hand correctly, Video Poker can be a game in which you have at least even odds with the casino. Most of the casino’s edge on Video Poker comes from players making mistakes in the way they play their hands.

7. A Video Poker machine is like a slot machine in one important way. It relies on a random number generator to do the important work. As a result, there are likely to be streaks of winning and loosing plays. When you find a machine that’s hitting often, stick with it but learn to walk away when things begin to dry up. However, if you play your hands correctly you may be able to stick with any machine for a long enough time to work into a winning streak.

8. To find a hot machine or wait out a winning streak requires money of course. How much of a bankroll should you have for a reasonable session at Video Poker? That depends on a lot of things, including how close you are to the casino where you play. If you live a few minutes away it might be worth it to pop in and drop a twenty in a quarter machine and see what happens. However, we usually go by this rule: Whatever denomination we want to play we need to last for at least 40 plays and preferably 80. So if we’re going to play five-coin quarter machines we need at least 200 quarters or $50, but $100 would be better. For five-coin nickel machines that would be at least $10, for dollar machines $200.

9. When do you quit? Well certainly once your bankroll is gone. Always, always, set a limit on how much you intend to play before you go, and stick to it. Of course that doesn’t mean you play until it’s all gone. If luck is with you and your ahead, start managing your winnings and go home with some of it. For example, let’s say you find yourself 80 credits up on a quarter machine that has started cooling off a bit. You might set a limit of no less than 40 credits up. If you get down to that point you quit. Put back the $10 that you’re ahead and go on to a different machine with your original bankroll. If instead you continue to win, set a new limit. If you work up to 120 credits up, your new limit may be no less than 80 credits up. When you hit that put put back the $20 and move on. Do this only until your original bankroll is gone. If you practice this system you will eventually play all of your original bankroll, but you will go home with some of the winnings.

10. Some machines offer you the option to Double Up on a winning hand. If you choose to do so you’re presented with one card face up and four cards face down. Your job is to a select (using the hold buttons) one card from the four that are face down that will be beat (is higher in value than) the face up card. If you do, you double your winnings. If you don’t, you loose what you’ve already won. Is it a good idea to Double Up? Well, this is more or less a 50/50 bet so it’s really a personal preference. If luck is with you, you can increase your winnings fast. But it can just as easily go the other way.

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