Some casino games produce the same outcome no matter what you do. Others are designed in a way that allows you to influence the outcome.
When you’re gambling on a game where you can influence the outcome, it costs you money when you make a mistake.
Video poker is one of the few gambling games where you have a great deal of influence over your results. This is good if you know how to play with the best possible strategy, but it also means that you have many chances to lose more money than you need to.
Here are seven deadly mistakes that losing video poker players make. Learn what these seven mistakes are so you never make them again.
1 – Ignoring the Classics
Growing up, I used to play different card games with my friends. I always liked wild cards, so I wanted to play games with as many wild cards as possible. My favorite was a game called 1492. It was simply Five-Card Draw Poker with aces, fours, nines, and twos wild.
As you might be able to imagine, it could get a bit confusing with all of the wild cards, and you had to have a really good hand to have any chance to win. Over 30% of the cards in the deck were wild.
You might be wondering what this has to do with video poker sins.
Some video poker players are drawn to new games with lots of bells and whistles, and other players like to play real money video poker games with a lot of wild cards. These players are more interested in new and exciting rather than playing the machines that give them the best chance to win.
I found that learning how to master more traditional or classic poker games was more profitable than playing with a bunch of wild cards. The same is true for video poker players. Learning how to use the traditional video poker games like Deuces Wild and Jacks or Better is more profitable than most new video poker games.
2 – Pay Table Ignorance
This might be the most costly video poker sin. If you don’t know how video poker pay tables work and how they influence how much you win or lose, you’re going to lose more than you need to.
Only a few things dictate how much you win or lose when you play video poker. The two main things that dictate wins and losses are the pay table and how you play each hand. I cover playing each hand in the next section.
The difference between a good pay table and a bad pay table can cost you as much as $5 or more for every $100 you bet.
The house edge on a good video poker pay table might be 0.5% or less, and the casino edge on a bad pay table might be 6% or higher.
For every $100 you risk on a video poker machine with a 0.5% house edge, you can expect to lose 50 cents. When you bet the same $100 on a video poker machine with a 6% casino edge, you can expect to lose $6.
Don’t play another hand of video poker until you know which machines have the best pay tables and what pay tables you need to use.
3 – Too Lazy for Strategy
I can think of only two reasons why every video poker player doesn’t use strategy when they play. The first reason is ignorance. They simply don’t know that strategy reduces the casino edge.
The second reason is laziness. They’re simply too lazy to get a strategy card or chart and use it.
You don’t have the excuse of ignorance any longer. You can use strategy to improve your chance of winning when you play video poker. This is a fact that’s been proven using math, so you need to start using strategy right now.
As far as being lazy, there’s simply not a good reason to not use strategy in video poker. You can find free strategy charts online for every video poker game you need to play. It literally takes less than five minutes to find a strategy chart.
You can also buy strategy cards for your favorite video poker games for a few dollars. These are available online and in most casino gift shops.
4 – Ignoring the Benefits of Online Play
Video poker is pretty much the same whether you play at a local casino or at an online casino. The game play is the same, and you use the same strategy. But online play offers a few benefits that you don’t get in a land based casino.
The first benefit is it’s easier to find video poker machines with good pay tables online. My favorite video poker game is Jacks or Better and the best pay table is called 9/6. Many land-based casinos I visit either don’t have a 9/6 machine, or they only have one or two. But I can play 9/6 online at many different casinos.
Another benefit of online play is that sometimes you can get a bonus. A bonus doesn’t help you win more in the long run most of the time, but it does help you play longer because you start with a bigger bankroll.
The last benefit I’m going to cover is the coin value. I’m going to cover more about the importance of coin value in the last section on this page. But for now, you just need to know that you can find video poker machines with lower coin values online than in land-based casinos.
5 – Forgetting Their Player’s Club Card
When you play video poker, even on a good machine with a good pay table using good strategy, you’re still facing a small casino edge. This means that you’re losing a small percentage every time you play.
However, there’s something you can do beyond what you’ve already learned that helps reduce this percentage a little more.
If you sign up for a player’s club card, you can earn comps from the casino when you play. Comps aren’t going to be enough to completely cover your losses, but they can offset your losses quite a bit.
But if you don’t remember to bring your players club card and use it every time you play, you can’t earn comps. When you forget your player’s club card, it costs you money.
6 – Risking Fewer Than Max Coins
Almost every video poker machine, including the classics like the ones I talked about earlier, give you a bonus for the top hands when you bet max coins. You don’t get this bonus if you bet fewer than max coins.
When you look at a pay table and see that the only hand that gets the bonus is the top paying hand, it might not seem important. After all, you rarely get the top paying hand. But the casino edge is based on long term play. And if you can’t get the bonus, it increases the house edge quite a bit.
The easiest way to avoid this problem is to simply always risk the maximum number of coins. This is usually five coins. You can find a machine with a lower coin value if this makes your average wager size too big.
7 – Using High-Coin Value Machines
It’s almost impossible to get a long-term edge playing video poker machines. This means that you’re going to slowly lose. This also means that the more you risk, the more you’re likely to lose.
When you risk 5 coins on a $1 video poker machine, you’re risking $5 every hand. On a quarter machine, you’re risking $1.25 per hand. If you can find a nickel machine, you’re risking 25 cents on every hand.
You want to play on a video poker machine with the best pay table that has the smallest coin value you can find. In land–based casinos, this is usually a quarter or higher machine. But you can find machines with good pay tables with lower per-coin value when you play at online casinos.
Don’t ignore the classic video poker games. In the case of video poker, the classics are the best games. Find out what the best pay tables are for the classic games and find a strategy chart so you always know the best way to play each hand.
Use all the benefits of playing video poker online. And when you do play in a local casino, make sure you remember your player’s club card.
Finally, always use the maximum number of coins and play on video poker machines with a low coin value. This way, you always have the best chance to win.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …