The 5 Best Places to Play Video Poker When You Can’t Make it to Las Vegas

AZ, MI, MS, CT, CDN State Outline, Video Poker Machine Screen
Obviously, casino gambling enthusiasts all over the country consider Las Vegas to be their home away from home. The Strip alone is home to 30 casino resorts, spanning the spectrum from the opulence of Bellagio and Venetian to the gritty, old-school gambling halls like Casino Royale and O’Shea’s.

Branching out away from The Strip offers dozens of additional options, so its no wonder why so many video poker fans flock to Las Vegas every single year.

On the flip side though, I know many players who only make it out here once or twice a year. For them, visiting Las Vegas offers just a few days to experience the country’s best video poker options.

So what about the other 360 or so days during the year?

Hopefully folks have a quality local casino – either commercial or tribal – where they can enjoy their favorite video poker variants. And that’s a fair bet, based on the map marking casino presence in all 50 states that you can check out down below:

Map Displaying Which States Allow Gambling

As you can see, only nine states in the U.S. – Utah, Hawaii, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, Vermont, and New Hampshire – are casino no-go zones. Las Vegas style casino resorts can be found from coast to coast, in California and New Jersey and everywhere in between.

But here’s the big question for video poker grinders – how do these non-Vegas venues compare with the real thing?

Examination of Las Vegas Casino Pay Tables for Comparison

As you well know, video poker pay tables are becoming increasingly hostile for low-stakes players. The trend definitely started in Las Vegas, where casinos aren’t shy about offering the inferior pay tables shown below for a game like Jacks or Better:

Jacks or Better Pay Table Comparison

TABLE PAYBACK
9/6 99.54 percent
9/5 98.45 percent
8/6 98.39 percent
8/5 97.30 percent
7/5 96.15 percent
6/5 95.00 percent
Unless you’re willing to bet big, you just won’t find very many of the old 9/6 full pay Jacks or Better machines in Sin City any longer.

It’s the same sorry situation for other popular versions of video poker too. As the tables below show quite clearly, any game – even the strategic gambler’s fan favorite Deuces Wild – can be turned into a money pit when the casinos start tinkering with pay tables:

Deuces Wild Pay Table Comparison

TABLE PAYBACK
25/15/9/5/3/2 100.76 percent
25/15/11/4/4/3 99.96 percent
25/16/10/4/4/3 99.73 percent
25/15/9/4/4/3 98.91 percent
20/12/10/4/4/3 97.58 percent
20/12/9/4/4/3 97.06 percent
25/16/13/4/3/2 96.77 percent
20/10/8/4/4/3 95.96 percent
25/15/10/4/3/2 94.82 percent

Double Bonus Poker Pay Table Comparison

TABLE PAYBACK
10/7 100.17 percent
9/7/5 99.11 percent
9/6/5 97.81 percent
9/6/4 96.38 percent
8/5 94.19 percent
7/5 93.11 percent

Double Double Bonus Poker Pay Table Comparison

TABLE PAYBACK
10/6 100.07 percent
9/6/4 98.98 percent
9/5 97.87 percent
8/5 96.79 percent
7/5 95.71 percent
6/5 94.66 percent

If you’re a video poker player who doesn’t get out to Las Vegas as often as you’d like, but you still want to find the best pay table options near you, look no further than the vpFREE2 database. This invaluable video poker resource allows you to search your region (just use the “FILTER” tab to get started) for every machine and pay table in the area.

I’ll let you play around with the vpFREE2 search tool on your own, but the list below has been compiled to highlight the five best video poker venues in every corner of the country. Leaving aside Nevada and its various gambling zones, vpFREE2 breaks things down into five key regions – East, Midwest, Gulf Coast, West, and Canada.

On that note, I’ll take the top contender for best video poker provider in each of the five regions.

1 – Fort McDowell Casino in Fountain Hills, Arizona

Arizona Casino Fort McDowell Casino Logo
The vpFREE2 database reveals 10 casinos in the West region where 99.9 percent payback rates can be found.

But it’s Fort McDowell that has the most, as this tribal casino located to the Northeast of Phoenix, Arizona house three variants which reach the “golden” number video poker players crave:

Fort McDowell’s Best Video Poker Options

VARIANT DENOMINATION(S) FULL PAYBACK COIN
Deuces Wild 44 99.96 percent 25¢, $1
Double Double Bonus 99.96 percent 25¢, $1
Super Aces 99.94 percent 25¢
Deuces Wild 99.81 percent $1
Double Bonus Deuces Wild 99.81 percent 25¢, $1
Triple Bonus Plus 99.80 percent $1
Not So Ugly Ducks (Deuces Wild) 99.73 percent 25¢, $1
Triple Double Bonus 99.58 percent 25¢, $1
Jacks or Better 99.54 percent $1

The centerpiece of Fort McDowell’s video poker lineup is Deuces Wild 44, which takes its name from the following pay table:

Deuces Wild 44 Pay Table

HAND PAYOUT
Natural Royal Flush 800
Four of a Kind (with 2s) 200
Royal Flush (w 2s) 25
Five of a Kind 15
Straight Flush 11
Four of a Kind 4
Full House 4
Flush 3
Straight 2
Three of a Kind 1

You’ll also find 9.6 full pay Jacks or better at the Fort, and low limits of $0.25 make the games accessible for everybody.

2 – Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan

Michigan Soaring Eagle Casino Logo
With hundreds of machines offering nine different variants – eight of which meet the minimum 99.0 percent payback rate – Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan is like a little slice of Las Vegas meets Midwestern charm.

And as you can see below, this venue’s video poker lineup is top-notch:

Soaring Eagle’s Best Video Poker Options

VARIANT DENOMINATION(S) FULL PAYBACK COIN
Double Double Bonus 99.96 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Triple Bonus Plus 99.80 percent $1
Not So Ugly Ducks (Deuces Wild) 99.73 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Bonus Poker 99.66 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
White Hot Aces 99.57 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Jacks or Better 99.54 percent 5¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1, $5
Pick’em (Pick a Pair) 99.24 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Double Bonus 99.11 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1

With coin denominations ranging from a nickel to a five-spot, nobody is left out of the premium pay table party at Soaring Eagle.

3 – Silver Slipper Casino Hotel in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Mississippi Silver Slipper Casino Logo
Of all the casinos found in the Gulf Coast region, only the Silver Slipper in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi has four different variants offering a full pay table.

Well, the Deuces Wild game isn’t 100.76 percent payback, but the Not So Ugly Ducks version and its 99.73 percent rate is the best you’re going to get outside of Las Vegas:

Silver Slipper’s Best Video Poker Options

VARIANT DENOMINATION(S) FULL PAYBACK COIN
Not So Ugly Ducks (Deuces Wild) 99.73 percent $1
Bonus Deluxe 99.64 percent $1
Jacks or Better 99.54 percent $1
Bonus Poker 99.17 percent 25¢

4 – Mohegan Sun Casino Resort in Uncasville, Connecticut

Connecticut Mohegan Sun Casino Logo
One of two massive mega-resort casinos in Connecticut (along with Foxwoods), the Mohegan Sun Casino holds a special distinction among East Coast video poker venues.

As the only place back East offering a player edge game – albeit at the high-limit $10 coin denomination – Mohegan Sun has the best pay tables around:

Mohegan Sun’s Best Video Poker Options

VARIANT DENOMINATION(S) FULL PAYBACK COIN
Double Bonus Double Jackpot 100.09 percent $10
Pick’em (Pick a Pair) 99.95 percent 25¢, $1, $5, $10, $25
Double Bonus Deuces Wild 99.81 percent $1
Jacks or Better 99.54 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1, $5, $10, $25
Double Double Bonus 98.98 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1, $5, $10

5 – Pure Casino Calgary in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Canada Pure Casino Logo
Unfortunately for the canucks out there, Canada’s video poker scene is as sparse as the Great White North landscape in winter.

You won’t find a single 9/6 full pay Jacks or Better machine, for example, and ditto for most popular variants.

With that said, Pure Casino Calgary in Alberta has an array of low-stakes options that make the weaker pay tables much more palatable:

Casino Calgary’s Best Video Poker Options

VARIANT DENOMINATION(S) FULL PAYBACK COIN
Double Double Bonus 98.98 percent 50¢, $1
Jacks or Better 98.45 percent 50¢, $1
Triple Double Bonus 98.15 percent $1
Bonus Poker 98.01 percent 50¢, $1

And in an honorable mention, check out Casino de Montreal for quarter-stakes machines.

Conclusion

Playing video poker against an inferior pay table leaves sharp gamblers feeling a little empty inside – just like 6 to 5 blackjack or watered down 3x-4x-5x on the Odds bet in craps. When you know the casino could offer a game at standard odds that give players a chance, only to see the house pad their edge with substandard pay tables, the blood can start boiling in a hurry. Fortunately, the vpFREE2 database makes it easier than ever before to avoid the sucker machines and confine your action to the best video poker venues around.