Video poker probabilities are notoriously hard to calculate because each video poker machine is set separately. That means that there is no industry standard, let alone casino standard for this popular casino game. Everything is left up to the prerogative of the casino.
Video Poker Odds—Put the Odds in Your Favor
Some video poker payout and probabilities speculators suggest each video poker machine is manipulated based on its location on the casino floor. For example, machines may pay out more in heavy traffic areas. It’s not necessarily the most scientific approach, but it is good to keep in the back of your head when you are thinking about video poker payouts.
Game selection also plays a sizable role in video poker odds. If you play in a brick and mortar casino, you will notice that there is always a small pay table located under the glass of the video poker machine. This is very, very important to you as a player.
Video Poker Odds—9/6 vs. 8/5 Video Poker Machines
The best video poker games have a 9/6 payout. In simple terms, a 9/6 payout means that the video poker machine pays out 9 to 1 for a full house and 6 to 1 for a flush. Sometimes these types of video poker games are advertised as “full pay” games, meaning that the house edge can be erased if a player follows perfect video poker strategy.
Video Poker games that are “loose” or “easy” are also 9/6 pay table machines. Whenever odds or house edges are given for online video poker, they are taking about a game with a 9/6 pay table.
You need to be a bit careful when you are shopping around for video poker games. Casinos will often offer a large number of inferior 8/6, or even 8/5, games to the unsuspecting player. When you don’t check the pay tables before you sit down, you are falling into a trap.
Casinos also reserve the right to move their machines around at any time, so your favorite 9/5 machine could move to an entirely different spot on the floor. Casinos may also recalibrate the machines any time they like, taking your 9/6 down to an 8/5 with the flip of a switch. Luckily, they need to notify you if they change the pay table. That’s your cue to move to a better machine.
Video Poker Odds—The Best Video Poker Games for Favorable Probabilities
One of the most popular versions of the game is Jacks of Better video poker, so it is probably wise to start analyzing odds here. If you play Jacks or Better video poker with perfect video poker strategy (which, let’s be honest, rarely happens) you will be facing an average return of 99.54% on your bankroll.
If, however, you are a player who occasionally deviates from the straight and narrow, you don’t have to worry about a steep drop in returns. Jacks or Better video poker is a game that provides players who slip up every now and then an average return of 99.52%.
True video poker aficionados know that the best video poker probabilities can be found on full pay Deuces Wild video poker games. For this reason they are a little bit harder to find, but your investment will pay off if you can find one of these machines.
If you play full play Deuces Wild video poker with even the slightest strategy, you can actually break the house edge. The return for a game with simple strategy is 100.71%, which is unheard of in the poker world. Playing with perfect strategy boosts the average return to 100.77%.
Video Poker Odds—Play Wild!
The explanation for such high odds on Deuces Wild video poker is that the game uses wild cards. As a general video poker strategy, you should always try to play a video poker game that includes wild cards.
Wild cards increase your odds of winning video poker jackpots because they make more combinations possible. Passing up on a wild card video poker game is the same as giving up free money. It’s just not a smart move. You will also want to look for games that offer bonuses for certain combinations of cards—the more ways of winning video poker the better!
Video Poker Odds-Parting Words
Even if you can’t find a game with wilds, you still face pretty good odds for getting a solid video poker hand; most of the time you will end up with at least a pair. Remember that in Jacks or Better video poker (the most popular variety) you only get a payout if you have a pair valued higher than a jack.
Although it seems self-explanatory, it really kicks you in the stomach when you realize that your pair of tens is worth nothing. Chasing the grand royal flush isn’t really going to do much for your odds; after all, only 1 video poker hand in every 40,000 is a royal flush. Facing these video poker odds for a royal flush, you would be far better off sticking to moderate value video poker hands.
Another easy way to improve your odds of winning big is to always bet the maximum on progressive video poker machines. In doing so, you become eligible to win the big bucks if you fall on the side of Lady Luck. Remember: If you don’t play the maximum, your odds of walking away with the full jackpot are 0%. Anything is better than that.