Video poker is one of the most popular online casino games, but you may wonder what your chances are of winning at it.
This is a game of chance at heart, but by looking at the gameplay in detail we can begin to understand how likely you are to win and what you can do to boost the odds of a win.
How Do You Win?
The first point to consider is that you need to get a strong poker hand to win at video poker. The top payouts are usually made on a royal flush, with the likes of flush, straight and 3 of a kind are all rewarded in this game.
The payout is based on the strength of the hand you have, so you will expect to see smaller wins occur more often, with bigger prizes paid out less frequently. One of the key differences that makes video poker vary from slots is that mathematical formulae can be used to work out exactly how often each winning hand is expected.
For example, a royal flush has a probability of 0.000154% of being dealt in poker games, which means odds of over 649,000 to 1. If you want to take a statistical approach to video poker, this list of poker probability percentages will help you to understand the chances of each hand coming up.
Not everyone wants to work out all of those numbers, though. Which is where the return to player (RTP) is useful. This is a percentage that adds up the possibilities of all of the different types of hands occurring, to give us a simple percentage.
The closer this percentage is to 100, the more likely the game is to payout. The good news is that video poker is almost always closer to 100% than slots games and many other casino titles. In addition, the more you play the closer you should get to the RTP?
How does this work? Well, if you only play 5 hands you might win them all or you might lose them all. But as you carry on playing, the law of large numbers means that you are more likely to get close to the RTP. This is why you need to decide whether to keep going after a strong start or quit while ahead.
In general terms, you can expect to get a winning hand a little under 50% of the time, with some sources putting the normal winning percentage at about 45%. The amount you get on each hand will vary, so this figure alone isn’t enough for us to know whether you will come out ahead or not.
Your Bankroll Management
Another key factor to take into account is how you will manage your funds. We have already seen that you should win regularly, but that you will probably see more small wins than massive prizes.
This makes your bankroll management more crucial, as you want to give yourself the best possible chance of winning rather than taking the risk of running out of cash before you get a great hand. So, how can you do this?
Having looked at the odds of getting a winning hand, you can approach your bankroll management in a couple of different ways. Either play with big stakes and hope to get a large win early on, or else keep the wagers low and look for regular wins to keep your balance steady while you wait for one of the strongest hands to appear.
Look at the Different Rules
We can’t class video poker as a single game, as there are a few variants that give you different rules. This affects your chances of winning, as the paytables are different and there are unique features.
For instance, on Joker Poker the presence of jokers as wilds gives you a way of completing winning hands more easily. However, you might prefer the way that Jacks or Better gives you a win even if you only have a couple of jacks in an otherwise poor hand.
All of these different rules mean that your chances of winning vary according to the exact game of video poker that you choose. This is reflected in the RTP, which is different from game to game. It is worth checking out a few variants, to see which one feels better suited to your taste and playing style.
Try it for yourself, play video poker at Bovada, and let us know how it goes.
The Decisions You Make Matter
While luck plays a big part in video poker, it is one of those casino games that offer players more control over whether they win or not.
This is because you get a chance to decide whether to hold onto some of the cards you are dealt and replace some of them.
This means that having knowledge of poker increases your chances of winning at video poker. There is still a large element of luck, but if you consistently make good decisions then you will expect to win more games.