Not many casino games give you an opportunity to win profits. Poker games like Texas Hold’em, blackjack (card counting), and certain progressive slots (jackpots that offer +EV) are among the select few games that provide a long-term advantage.
Video poker also carries the reputation for being a beatable game. It offers over 100% return to player (RTP) on certain variations.
Of course, these variations are hard to find and not accessible to most gamblers. So, is video poker actually beatable?
This guide discusses how you can beat video poker over the long run. It also covers if the methods covered below are actually realistic.
Video Poker Is Beatable in Some Cases
Most real money video poker variations are favorable when compared to the average casino game. For example, the common 9/6 Jacks or Better variation offers 99.54% RTP with perfect strategy.
The “9/6” refers to how this Jacks or Better game pays nine coins for a full house and six for a flush. 8/6 Jacks or Better, by comparison, only offers 98.39% payback.
Here are the highest paying video poker game machines that exist today:
- Full-pay Deuces Wild = 100.76% Return To Player
- Full-pay Joker Wild = 100.65%
- 10/7 Double Bonus = 100.17%
- 10/6 Double Double Bonus = 100.07%
The house rarely gives you an opportunity to win long-term profits. Therefore, the games listed above are quite unique.
You’re not going to get rich by playing these machines. This is especially true when you consider that the coin sizes are only worth a quarter ($1.25 per five-coin hand).
However, you can win decent money on full-pay Deuces Wild. Here’s an example on how much you can look forward to winning under ideal circumstances:
- You bet $1.25 per hand and use perfect strategy
- You play 800 hands per hour
- 25 x 800 x 0.76 = $7.60 in hourly profits
- The casino offers a 0.1% comp rate
- 800 x 0.001 = $0.80 in hourly rewards
- 6 + 0.8 = $8.40 in total hourly winnings
Most jobs today pay well over $8 an hour. But if you want to make guaranteed money from your gambling hobby, then Deuces Wild offers this chance.
Games With +EV Are Rare
You can see that multiple types of video poker offer positive expected value (+EV). But you’ll have trouble finding these machines anywhere outside of Las Vegas.
Sin City is home to the large majority of beatable video poker games. Assuming you try playing anywhere else, such as Atlantic City or Macau, you’re not going to find +EV machines.
Even when you visit Vegas, though, you’ll mostly be dealing with 10/7 Double Bonus and 10/6 Double Double Bonus games. As covered before, these variations only pay 100.17% and 100.07% RTP, respectively.
Sam’s Town is the only Las Vegas casino that currently offers full-pay Deuces Wild. As you can imagine, its Deuces Wild machines are crowded with gamblers who want to make profits. Therefore, you may not even find an open seat for the best games.
Profits Are Theoretical
Video poker isn’t like blackjack, where it offers a fairly even payout distribution. Instead, it features a wide range of payouts.
Therefore, video poker can be volatile over the short term. You may not earn a straight flush or royal flush until after playing tens of thousands of hands.
In fact, you’ll only get a royal flush on around 1 out of every 40,000 hands on average. Theoretically, you need to play at least 40k hands before receiving a royal.
Maybe you’ll find an open full-pay Deuces Wild machine and play a large amount of hands. Even so, you might need to play for many hours before actually realizing the 100.76% RTP and making profits.
What You Must Do to Win Profits
You can see that the road towards video poker winnings is difficult. But if you’re still interested in the matter, you can follow the tips below.
Travel to Las Vegas
Some +EV video poker machines are sprinkled around Nevada. If you truly want a real chance at winning, though, then you should take a trip to Las Vegas.
Sin City is the only place in the world with full-pay Deuces Wild and Joker Wild. It also offers a fair number of Double Bonus and Double Double Bonus games.
You can also look forward to some of the best rewards programs in Vegas. These VIP benefits will add to your bottom line.
Look for the Limited +EV Machines
Once in Las Vegas, you need to start searching for the small percentage of beatable video poker games. After all, you can’t just sit down to any machine and expect to win.
Most of these games are located in downtown casinos or on the Boulder Strip. Meanwhile, you won’t find any of these machines on the Vegas Strip.
Keep in mind that open seats for the most desirable games aren’t always available. You may have better luck hitting up casinos during non-peak hours, such as the morning and late evening.
Play Countless Hands to Overcome Volatility
A royal flush only makes up around 2% of the total payback for any video poker game. Considering this fact, many gamblers put too much emphasis on getting a royal.
Nevertheless, you still need to get the best hand at some point to earn over 100% payback. You’ll likely have to log countless hands to make it happen.
On average, you’ll need 40,000 hands to get a royal. You should consider yourself blessed if you’re able to land one within the first 10,000 or 20,000 hands.
Target Days With Double Rewards
Las Vegas casinos commonly feature promotions involving double or even triple points through their loyalty programs. Assuming you visit the casino on these days, you can look forward to a lot more rewards.
These extra rewards won’t line your pockets with riches. But they’re definitely worth taking advantage of when available.
The Average Player Isn’t Going to Beat Video Poker
Unless you live in Las Vegas or can afford to frequently visit, you’re not going to win guaranteed profits. You instead need to rely on some luck to be most games.
You should treat beating video poker as more of a hobby than a legitimate way to profit from gambling. If you’re already going to be visiting Las Vegas, you might as well take advantage of the +EV machines.
But you won’t make a career out of beating video poker. The travel costs and hotel bookings will eat up your profits. Even if you live in Las Vegas, you won’t be able to make any more than $8 to $10 an hour with perfect and rapid play.
Should You Still Consider Playing Video Poker?
Video poker may not be beatable from a realistic standpoint. But that doesn’t mean you should completely avoid it.
It’s still a fine game that has lots of entertainment value to offer. You can play for big payouts while still enjoying some of the best payback in the casino.
Honestly, you have a better shot at winning with video poker than almost any of the other casino games. You can stick with the aforementioned tips to boost your odds.
9/6 Jacks or Better is never a bad game to play in terms of odds. Its 99.54% RTP is right in line with the world’s most-favorable blackjack games.
You can even opt for 8/5 Bonus Poker if 9/6 Jacks or Better isn’t available. It gives you a solid chance to win with its 99.17% RTP.
Theoretically, video poker is a beatable game. Full-pay Deuces Wild, Joker Wild, Double Bonus, and Double Double Bonus all exist in Las Vegas. You can find Double Bonus and Double Double Bonus machines in other parts of Nevada too.
However, the days where you could bet $1 coins ($5 hand with five coins) on full-pay Deuces Wild are long gone. The latter is only available in one Vegas casino through quarter machines.
You can still win profits from video poker if you’re willing to visit Sin City. But you aren’t going to make a living from doing so.
Like many casino games, video poker is most entertaining when you treat it as a hobby. Assuming you get a little luck on your side, you could land a royal flush and earn a large profit.