3 Best Off-Strip Places to Play Video Poker in Las Vegas

Casino Video Poker Screen, View of City of Las Vegas, Las Vegas Logo
For the life of me, I just don’t understand how so many gamblers can lower themselves to play against inferior video poker pay tables.

And that’s exactly what they’re doing too. That’s because every coin you wager on a game of video poker and every hand you play must contend with the exact probabilities and payouts offered by the machine’s particular pay table.

In other words, even if you play a perfect basic strategy that follows all of the optimal discard / draw decisions to a tee, a bad pay table instantly and irrevocably reduces your overall odds of success.

If you’re just starting out on your personal video poker journey, and don’t know much about how pay tables work, take a moment to acquaint yourself with the basics of the game first. Once you’ve learned the ropes, return here for an advanced course on putting that pay table knowledge to work for you going forward.

In a nutshell, the pay table – or the escalating ladder of payouts awarded for each hand based on their difficulty to make – holds every video poker enthusiast’s destiny in its proverbial hands.

A Look Into Video Poker Pay Tables

When you play on a 9/6 full pay Jacks or Better machine, for example, the 9-coin reward for a full house and 6-coin reward for a flush combine with the other payouts to create a 99.54 percent payback percentage. Switch over to an inferior 9/5 pay table, however, and the exact same Jacks or Better gameplay suddenly offers a much lower 98.45 percent payback rate.

That may not seem like too big of a deal, but consider this… for every $100 you bet over your lifetime as a Jacks or Better player, the full pay game will return $99.54 – sending just $0.46 to the house on average. Meanwhile, those suckers on the 9/5 machines will watch $1.55 of every $100 wagered be scooped up by the house.

And that’s not even the worst of it either. Substandard pay tables commonly offered by modern casinos on their Jacks or Better machines can slice your payback percentage down to double-zero roulette status:

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

And this larceny of your bottom line isn’t limited to Jacks or Better by any means. As you can see in the various tables below, all of the popular video poker variants begin with a full pay table up top, followed by a series of progressively worse options:

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

And naturally, the casinos don’t advertise their video poker pay table selection in any noticeable way. In fact, they count on uninformed players – whether they’re simply unaware of the concept, don’t care about long-term probabilities, or too drunk to even notice – to transform video poker from a player-friendly gambler into a money-making powerhouse for the casino house edge.

Consider this for a moment… whenever a 9/6 full pay Jacks or Better player decides to bet anything other than the maximum of 5 coins, their payback rate drops all the way down to 98.30 percent. Failing to bet the max represents the cardinal sin for video poker enthusiasts, as it precludes players from triggering the juiced up Royal Flush jackpot of 4,000 coins.

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But even if you do bet the max to follow proper strategy, bringing your bankroll to a 9/5, 8/6, or 8/5 pay table puts your payback rate right there at 98.30 percent – or even worse.

Unfortunately for the more than 42 million tourists who visited Sin City last year – the bulk of whom stayed on the “fabulous” (read: overhyped) Las Vegas Strip – those modern mega-resort casinos almost exclusively offer inferior pay tables. The owners of the 30 casinos lining Las Vegas Boulevard know that most tourists will never leave the area, confining the sum of their gambling action to The Strip as a captive audience of sorts.

Welcome to Las Vegas Sign, Video Poker Casino Machines
Thus, casinos on The Strip spread non-full pay video poker machines without remorse, relentlessly skinning their unsuspecting players for every nickel and dime they can get.

Meanwhile, when you venture away from The Strip to explore Las Vegas’ competing casino regions, the dark clouds of crappy pay tables suddenly disappear. Video poker players in the know never play on The Strip, choosing instead to put their money behind full pay tables only.

If you want to join them by backing the best video poker games possible, look no further than the list below. Here you’ll find three of the most player-friendly “Off-Strip” video poker providers in all of the city of Las Vegas – complete with a full listing of each venue’s full pay variants, coin denominations, and more.

1 – Boulder Station Hotel Casino on the Boulder Highway

Bar none, without a shadow of a doubt, the best place to grind video poker in Sin City – off the Strip or otherwise – is Boulder Station.

Known as the ultimate “local’s casino,” Boulder Station offers all of the amenities (maybe not nude pool parties or exotic animals, but you get my point) that casinos on The Strip have on hand.

But one thing that this place has that can’t be matched is five different variants offering a positive payback percentage (AKA, a player edge).

Just check out the list below to see how Boulder Station’s unparalleled selection of topline video poker pay tables stacks up:

Boulder Station’s Best Video Poker Options

VARIANT FULL PAYBACK COIN DENOMINATION(S)
Full Pay Deuces Wild 100.76 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
1-Pair Jokers Wild 100.65 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Double Bonus 100.17 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1
Loose Deuces Wild 100.15 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Double Double Bonus 100.07 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1
Triple Deuces Wild 99.92 percent
Not So Ugly Ducks (Deuces Wild) 99.73 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Super Double Bonus 99.69 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Jacks or Better 99.54 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1

2 – Fiesta Henderson Hotel and Casino in Henderson

Casino Video Poker Screen, Fiesta Casino Henderson Nevada Marquee
Another branch on the Station Casinos family tree, Fiesta Henderson is one of the first gambling halls you’ll see when driving in through the Hoover Dam / Lake Mead area.

And while many players pass it right up in their quest to reach The Strip, video poker sharps know better.

Fiesta Henderson’s Best Video Poker Options

VARIANT FULL PAYBACK COIN DENOMINATION(S)
Full Pay Deuces Wild 100.76 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
1-Pair Jokers Wild 100.65 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Double Bonus 100.17 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1
Loose Deuces Wild 100.15 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Double Double Bonus 100.07 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1
Triple Deuces Wild 99.92 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Not So Ugly Ducks (Deuces Wild) 99.73 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Super Double Bonus 99.69 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Jacks or Better 99.54 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1

3 – Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa in Summerlin

If you want to experience all of the glitz and glam of Strip casino, without paying an arm and a leg at every turn, Red Rock Resort in the suburb of Summerlin is the ticket.

This place is straight out of The Strip in terms of modern luxuries like high-end shopping, top-rated restaurants, and in-house entertainment

But unlike those hucksters in the world’s most popular tourist hotspot, Red Rock Casino Resort doesn’t need to spread inferior video poker pay tables.

Red Rock Resort’s Best Video Poker Options

VARIANT FULL PAYBACK COIN DENOMINATION(S)
Full Pay Deuces Wild 100.76 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Double Bonus 100.17 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1
Loose Deuces Wild 100.15 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Super Bonus Deuces Wild 100.13 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Double Double Bonus 100.07 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1
Triple Deuces Wild 99.92 percent
Not So Ugly Ducks (Deuces Wild) 99.73 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Super Double Bonus 99.69 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Jacks or Better 99.54 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1

Conclusion

Playing video poker well can offer sharp gamblers the thrill of a lifetime. Knowing that every bet you make comes as close to a null house edge as possible – and in the case of full pay Deuces Wild, an actual player edge – makes video poker the preferred vehicle for skill-oriented players who prefer strategy over guess-based gambling.

Nonetheless, when you don’t know where to find the full pay machines, a video poker parlor can become nothing short of a money pit – even for talented basic strategy players. Nobody wants to be the sucker casinos count on to line their pockets, so make sure to check out these trio of Off-Strip casinos to find the best video poker games Las Vegas has to offer.