Video Poker Strategies That Protect You From Losing Money

Man Emptying Pockets With a Video Poker Background

Video poker is undeniably one of the best games in the casino for the player. So, I can’t wrap my mind around why so few players actually embrace the game.

The video poker machines are often staged in a forgotten corner or against a wall among the thousands of slot machines. Never leave the casino a loser again.

Use a video poker strategy that works.

Video Poker Gambling 101

When I say that real money video poker is the best casino game for the player, I mean it’s not even that close.

Hordes of casino patrons will pack into the slot machines which offer some of the worst RTP (Return to Player) numbers in the casino.

Even if you’re playing on a $1 machine, you’re looking at a house edge of 5%. That’s the best-case scenario, too — the penny slots that account for a significant portion of the sea of slot machines have house edges as high as 14% or more.

Some video poker games have a house edge of under 0.05%, and when you find a game with friendly rules, you can actually gain a slight edge over the casino. To be clear, when you have the mathematical edge over the casino, you’re guaranteed to make a profit in the long run.

In fact, you may make a rather substantial amount of money.

Bartop Video Poker Machine

You’ll have to use your best strategy on every single play, though.

Video poker itself is played much like a hand of 5-card draw. That means almost every player in a casino is at least somewhat familiar with how the game is played.

You’re dealt 5 cards and then allowed to discard for a second draw. There are a few significant differences between video poker and table poker.

The first is that you’re not playing against other players. You aren’t even going heads up against the dealer.

In video poker, you’re simply trying to build the best hand possible. This makes the game much easier because you’ve got a clear objective.

At the same time, it makes the game somewhat complicated due to the fact that you aren’t simply trying to beat the other players.

You’re paid out based on the hand you build, and you’ll find the pay table right on the machine. So, there won’t be much guessing what you’re trying to accomplish.

Craft A Reliable Bankroll Strategy

One of the most important aspects to becoming successful playing video poker is casino bankroll management. While there is definitely skill involved in becoming a profitable video poker player, the game is still  random.

You’ll need to manage your bankroll in a manner that will tolerate a cold run. Conversely, you’ll want to have enough money in play to maximize your profits.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a player sit down with far too small of a bankroll. When this happens they almost assuredly aren’t aware that with proper strategy you can make money on the game.

Usually, they’ll lose their bankroll in a few hours. I can only hope that they had more cash in their room or on the last day of their trip.

Few things are as painful as losing your entire gambling bankroll on the first day of a multi-day trip. I’ve done it before, and I’m definitely not alone. I’ve actually lost my entire $1500 bankroll less than four hours into a three-day trip to Las Vegas. Luckily, I was so sick over it gambling was the last thing I wanted to do.

It was a hard lesson to learn, but I’m glad I learned it early in my gambling career.

The bankroll you carry into the casino is going to dictate what denomination you’re going to be able to play. These machines range from $0.25 all the way up to $100 per credit.

Needless to say, you wouldn’t be doing yourself any favors to walk into the casino and put your entire $100 bankroll into a game that’s $100 per credit.

It would be a short lived adventure to say the least. However, that same $100 could have you on a quarter machine gambling for days.

Match the machine to your bankroll. If you’re playing for 1-2% of your bankroll per hand, you’re in great shape.

Play The Right Video Poker Games

Most casino games come in different configurations. Video poker is not unique. Just like roulette and blackjack, some video poker games are vastly more friendly to the player.

The main differences between video poker machines boils down to variance. Variance will have a tremendous impact on your short term success in video poker.

Games with an extremely low variance — Jacks or Better, for example — will reward the player with smaller incremental wins. These wins keep your bankroll about even for the most part.

You’ll rarely get a huge win on these games, but you’re also less likely to quickly drain your bankroll.

Online Video Poker Game

If you are playing a game with a high variance, you won’t see as many steady wins. So, it’s entirely possible to watch your bankroll dwindle to almost nothing.

Thanks to the amazing RTP this is when you may get a significant win that fills your bankroll back up to almost level.

It breaks down to this; a lower variance game is going to give you smaller more frequent wins and a high variance game will award fewer large pots.

I prefer to play Jacks or Better. By staying in the game as long as possible, I’m giving myself the best possible shot at a huge win.

If you are fortunate enough to get a substantial win, I recommend cashing out immediately and buying back in for your original buy-in.

Match Your Strategy to the Video Poker Game

Video poker strategies vary as much as the games themselves. What’s of paramount importance is that you employ the correct strategy for the game you’re playing.

The element of strategy is one of my favorite aspects of video poker. The element of choice is what largely separates the games from their cousins the slot machine.

If you play much blackjack, you’re no doubt familiar with the basic blackjack strategy. This strategy chart breaks down the best play on every possible hand.

Fortunately, the exhaustive calculations have been made for video poker. On a blackjack table, players can cut the house edge to almost zero when using basic strategy on every hand. Savvy video poker players can actually gain a slight mathematical edge when the proper strategy is played on some games.

The strategy will vary depending on the variation of video poker you play. So, pay close attention to the types of video poker offered at the casino you’re visiting.

The strategy charts aren’t as common as their blackjack counterparts. You’ll be better off printing some off at home and taking them with you.

Whatever game you find yourself on, play the strategy chart on every single hand. Any variation at all will slide the edge back in the casino’s favor.

Remember, listening to your gut costs you money on the casino floor.

Go Full Throttle

If you only take one piece of advice from me, let it be the following. Only bet max every single hand.

The casinos hedge against the player by offering players the option to play for one credit up to five. The pay scale for video poker is based on how many credits you play and appears to steadily rise in corresponding increments.

However, this is far from the truth. Yes, for between one and four credits you’ll have the same payout relative to your bet.

That 5th credit is a game changer. When you play five credits on a standard video poker game, you automatically cut the house edge to 0.46%.

Video Poker Full House

You’ll have a tough task finding better odds with other casino games. Conversely, playing only four credits increases the house advantage to a whopping 1.63%.

That’s an increase of over 300%. Still, I constantly see players sit down and play for less than max.

You’re burning money at this point. I don’t care if you have to move to a machine with a lower denomination, you always bet max credits in video poker.

Besides, you’re never going to fully enjoy the massive payout from a Royal Flush without maximizing the added bonus of that 5th credit.

Get Those Casino Freebies

The casino’s loyalty program is one of the simplest ways to make your gambling dollar work for you. If nothing else, it helps to mitigate a small portion of your losses.

Loyalty programs are particularly advantageous to the video poker player because of the extremely low house edge.

The casino loyalty cards track how much money you’re putting into play every hour with no consideration on whether you’re winning or losing. Video poker hands tend to be rather quick. This can be a huge benefit for players that have flipped the edge on the house.

It also makes racking up huge loyalty rewards pretty easy. Take the time to sign up for the Player’s Card before you ever put a single coin in any machine.

The added perks and casino comps will not only make your trip more pleasant, but help extend your bankroll as far as possible.


You have a legitimate chance to never leave a loser again. Use video poker strategy that works to take your casino gambling career from busted to banging.