How to Win at Video Poker
Here are some tips for how to increase your chances of winning at Video Poker slot machines or pkv gmes and how to keep your money once you win it:
- Set a firm limit for how much you are willing to play and then stick to it. If it’s less than $500, don’t expect to win a lot of money unless you are very lucky. Part of winning is to play for a long time.
- When you arrive at a casino, sign up and get a “Players Card” immediately. It often gives you discounts on food, “free play” money to use while gambling and the ability to earn points to spend in restaurants and shops even if you don’t win. It also can score you free hotel rooms for you and your friends in the future! Then get one of those handy card holders to attach to it so you don’t lose the darn thing! And use it EVERY time you play.
- Not all video poker machines are the same! Pick one with a 9/6 payout for a full house/straight. Look in the first payout column on the left to see if it pays 9 units for a full house and 6 for a straight. If not, push the “More Games” button to find a game that does. If you can’t find one, switch machines. This will increase your chances of getting a royal flush from 1/45,000 to 1/40,000. (Which explains why I have never gotten one yet!) But it also pays better for smaller wins along the way. Jacks or Better is easy to learn and often pays 9/6 on Double Bonus Poker.
- Play the max number of units each hand, if you can, to win big. Be careful of those $5 machines, though, which can lose you $25 per hand. 50 cent, $1 and $2 machines are the best to play, in my opinion. I like the $1 ones because I can more easily figure out what i just won without multiplying units in my head! (e.g. 28 50 cent units is…. whereas 28 $1 units is….easy!)
- Make sure you know and understand the strategy of which cards to keep. Don’t feel stupid if you need “cheat notes” at first! It’s not a race and you can take your time. But hopefully you have played enough Texas Hold’em before arriving at the casino that you have the basic idea. Remember that with “Jacks or Better” you win your bet back with only two matching high cards, “Jacks or Better.” Take your time and study each hand until you are sure that you are discarding the cards that will give you the best chance of winning. You can download “cheat notes” or “strategy cards” from this website as well as many others. Or you can buy small strategy cards in the casino gift shops.
- There’s a reason why casinos serve you free drinks while you are gambling! ESPECIALLY if you are drinking, have a trusted partner near you or reachable by phone nearby who will come share your joy when you win and take your big winnings above the amount you were willing to play up to your hotel room or to another safe place where you can’t get to it easily! Otherwise it’s just too easy to put it all back into the machine, hoping for an even bigger win…which might not happen. If you are alone, take it up to your room (hopefully a far jaunt) and then come back down if you plan to continue playing.
- When you stop having fun, STOP PLAYING. If you are upset at losing your money and not winning and are nearly to your limit or even over it, STOP. This is easier said than done. Perhaps it will help if you just imagine how you will feel later that day if you keep playing and losing versus how you will feel if you stop and go have a nice dinner, go bowling, see a show, etc. instead of continuing to lose money.
Where are the best places to play? People can win everywhere, but off the Vegas Strip in some of the older casinos and hotels and in Laughlin, NV, have brought us the best luck. And it IS mostly luck, with a bit of skill thrown in.
Remember that bluffing doesn’t work with a machine!
One final piece of advice: for whatever reason, I have noticed that “sometimes I’m hot and sometimes I’m not.” I don’t know quite how to explain this, but I usually come home with several thousand in winnings or I have lost up to my limit and then decided to stop, disappointed and joking that I’ve “made my annual Nevada donation.” I also have had spurts of winning repeatedly at the same machine – which I have no idea how to explain! (Aren’t they timed, or something, to pay out every so often???)