Video Poker Tips

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Roughly three quarters of all Video Poker hands result in a loss or a push. That makes it all the more important to get the most out of every winning combination and to use whatever resources are available to reduce the House Edge. Following are some tips that should help accomplish those objectives, based upon play at bricks and mortar casinos as well as online.

Play Max Bet – Most Video Poker machines offer a bonus on the highest hand if the maximum wager has been made—typically five units. This actually helps reduce the House advantage, but the only way to access the best odds is to bet the limit every time. Those who find Max Bet a bit too rich for their liking should consider playing at machines with a lower unit cost.

Play 9/6 – When playing Jacks or Better, always look for the machines that pay nine units for a full house and six for a flush. An exception can be made, however, for machines that offer progressive jackpots (see below).

Progressive Threshold – When a 5p machine has a progressive jackpot worth over £500 or a £1 machine’s top award has gone above £10,000, even the “8/5” version of Jacks or Better is worth playing. In fact, for any progressive, think of the threshold as 10,000X, where X is the minimum unit bet.

Streaks Happen – Both good and bad patches of luck are common and should be expected. When a machine gets “hot,” stay with it. If it turns “cold,” change machines. Don’t keep pumping cash into a losing mechanism.

Join the Club – Before playing any machine, join the local Player’s Club or Rewards Program and be sure to get full credit for every penny bet. At land-based casinos, that means obtaining a plastic ID card from customer service and making sure it is properly inserted in the machine prior to play. Online, simply joining the loyalty scheme is sufficient; wagering is tracked automatically for every game played. Points earned for play can be redeemed for cash, gifts and dining vouchers.

Find Loose Machines – There are several ways to identify machines that are likely to pay out well. One is to check actual payout percentages, if available. Another is to subscribe to a monitor service that checks and reports on casinos and games. Playing in a row of machines frequently by crowds of locals is a tip-off, too. And many players swear that newly installed units tend to play looser than older ones, although there is little hard evidence to prove that widespread belief.

Double Up – Some Video Poker machines feature the opportunity to double up on a win. There is no House Edge associated with such a wager; it really is a coin flip. Those who are looking for a quick win in a short time frame should definitely double up when possible. Those who prefer to spend a long time, winning slowly should not.

Avoid Gimmicks – Games offering mystery bonuses and other bells and whistles almost always feature a high House Edge and poor odds for the player. It is best to learn one or two standard games well, such as Jacks or Better, Joker Poker or Deuces Wild, and stick to those as the bread and butter of play.

Tipping – It is certainly appropriate to give the cocktail waitress a gratuity when delivers a drink, but floor attendants should only be tipped when a jackpot is won that necessitates payment by hand. In such cases, a tip equivalent to 0.5% to 1% of the win is acceptable.

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