Video poker machines use a system that’s dictated entirely on math. This is a good thing, because it means you can learn how to play better when you learn how the math works. You can use math to pick the best machine to play and you can use math to help you make the best plays.
The good news is that you don’t have to learn any difficult math. In fact, you don’t even have to be good at math when you start. But you can improve your math skills if you’re willing to learn from your video poker mistakes.
Here’s a list of five ways that playing real money video poker makes you smarter.
Base Casino Game Decisions
The first decision that video poker players must make is what game to play. You can find dozens of base video poker games, and some of them are better than others.
You have to consider how easy it is to understand the rules and play each game as well as how the base game influences the edge the casino has. The edge the casino has directly influences how much you lose when you play video poker.
Video poker machines have a base casino house edge that ranges from slightly over 0% for the best machines using the best strategy, to over 5% for bad machine with bad pay tables when you don’t use strategy.
This is a big range, but it only takes a little bit of education to make sure that you pick the right video poker machines and play them the right way. You’re going to learn what you need to know in this article so you always know what video poker machine to play and how to play it the best way.
These aren’t the only two video poker base games that can be played with a low edge, but these two games are both easy to play and have easily accessible strategies. Start your video poker education by learning about Deuces Wild and Jacks or Better.
Learning About Machine Pay Tables
The amount each hand pays on a video poker machine is displayed in a pay table. The list of hands that pay are listed from top to bottom on the left and the amount you win is listed across from the hands based on how many coins you play.
You don’t have to figure out the casino edge for each pay table because this has already been done. When you investigate each game you can find a list of the casino edge for each of the main pay tables that are available.
You need to learn what the good pay tables are and what the bad tables are. When you know the best pay tables you can make sure that you only play when the good pay tables are available.
Playing a video poker game with a good pay table is only part of what you need to do. It’s an important part, but you still need to do one other thing to have a low casino edge. The other thing you need to do is use strategy. I discuss video poker strategy in the final section in this article.
1 Coin to 5 Coins
You have a choice of how many coins you can risk when you play video poker. Almost every video poker machine allows a wager of 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 coins.
You might think that the best amount is one coin, because the more you risk on most gambling games, the more you lose. But video poker is different. The smartest play is to risk five coins.
Look at the pay tables and see how much the video poker machine pays for the top paying hand for each coin amount. The payment gets a big bump when you move from four coins to five coins. This extra amount changes the casino edge enough that you’re better off in the long run using five coins.
If you’re on a tight gambling budget and can’t afford to play five coins you have two choices. You can try to find a video poker machine with a smaller coin size or you can play something else. I never recommend playing video poker without risking five coins on every hand.
What Are the Gambling Odds?
I mentioned that video poker is a game that is based on math in the opening of this article. A great deal of this math involves the odds of certain things happening. And these odds are easy to use based on the fact that most video poker games use either 52 or 53 cards.
If you need an ace to complete a hand and you don’t have any aces, you know there are four aces left to be dealt. The same is true with any other single ranked card you need.
If you need one of two cards, you know there are eight of them in the deck. If you have four cards of the same suit you know there are nine others of the same suit in the deck.
These are mathematical facts. And you can use gambling math to help you make better decisions.
You also know how many cards are left that can be dealt. If you keep four cards and draw one card, there are 47 cards left in the deck, and you know the exact set of 47 cards. If the game is using a 53 card deck, which includes a joker, there are 48 cards left.
I learned an easy way to use this information to help me understand exactly what all of this meant and how I could use it. You should try this method to see if it can help you.
I listed all of the possible cards that I could draw and listed the results of each. For example, if I’m drawing one card to complete a flush, I know that nine times I’m going to complete the flush and 36 times I’m not going to complete the flush.
And the truth is that if you play the same hand enough times each of the possible cards is going to be dealt. And these cards are going to be dealt the same number of times eventually.
Once I started using this method it really helped me understand how the odds of something happening work in real life application.
Building Your Casino Strategy Knowledge
The truth is that you don’t have to run all of the odds to use the proper video poker strategy. All of the possible plays have been run on a computer and the best plays, in order, have been listed on a video poker strategy card or chart for the game you’re playing.
This might seem like a waste of time when the work has already been done, but when you run the odds yourself it teaches you important things that are useful in other areas. When you learn how to do this it helps you make decisions when you’re gambling with different games, and it also helps you in areas outside of gambling.
When you make some decisions in life they can work out two or more ways. If you can assign odds to each possible outcome it can help you make the right decision.
Do you have to be smart to play video poker? The answer is no, but it’s smart to learn how to improve your results when you make mistakes. And some of the things you can learn when you play video poker are going to help you in other areas of your life.
Start by learning about the best base video poker machines to play. Next, learn why the pay tables are important and how to find the best pay tables.
The difference between using one coin and five coins is huge in the long term, so don’t make this simple mistake. When you know how the odds work in video poker it helps you use the best strategy. And odds are something that can help you in other areas of your life.