These video poker tips will help gamblers new to the machines avoid the mistakes that cost so many players money. The more money you have in your pocket, the more fun you can have at the video poker carousel. So the next time you head to video poker row, keep these seven points in mind. You’ll play longer and enjoy the games better.
Join the Slots Club
Before you do anything else, join the slots club of any casino you where you play. You’ll get comps and rebates from the amount of money you spend playing slots and video poker games, which increases your expected return, no matter how good (or bad) of a gambler you are. Signing up has no drawbacks.
All you have to do is fill out a form when you arrive (the first time), get mail from the casino when new promotions start and remember to carry your plastic slots club card with you when you gamble at the casino. When you get to the casino, insert the card into the appropriate slot before playing even one hand, and the machine will keep track of all the money you wager.
Watch Your Bankroll
When you start gambling on video poker (or any casino game), have a bankroll. A bankroll isn’t the same as your bank account or the money you plan to spend on your trip. A bankroll is a set amount of money you’re willing to spend in the casino. You might win a jackpot, but if you lose, the bankroll is the amount you can comfortably afford to lose. I understand that part of gambling is betting enough to get a rush, but you don’t want to gamble so much that a loss is going to hurt you financially. Think of your bankroll as an entertainment expense and nothing more.
Watching your bankroll goes even further than the planning stage. You have to stick with the plan and not diverge from the amount you’re willing to spend if the odds go against you. If you lose your entire bankroll, you walk out of the casino. You don’t go to the ATM. You don’t go to Western Union. You don’t sell your wedding ring. You have a set amount you’re willing to gamble and lose, and that’s it.
Practice Before You Play for Money
Don’t walk into a casino and play video poker for money before you learn about the game and practice what you’ve learned. You can find plenty of free video poker games online that let you practice. Many video poker casinos have their tutorial program which enables you to play for free using the same software you’d use to bet money. Websites that aren’t casino operators also have their free games to help gamblers practice, drive traffic, or introduce people to the game they love.
Bob Dancer’s WinPoker software helps you learn the game. The point being, you don’t have to lose a ton of cash when you’re learning to play video poker. Play video poker for free, practice the strategies you read about and hone your skills free of charge. When you understand the game, head out to the casino and use what you’ve learned.
Know What You Want
Understand what you want to get out of the game of video poker. Do you want to enjoy yourself for the afternoon? Are you gambling for the free drinks? Do you want to play enough to get a free hotel room for your comps? Are you considering supplementing your income with your video poker winnings?
It doesn’t matter what your goal is, just be realistic about it. If you’re a casual player or you do it for a bit of entertainment here or there, your dedication to study and strategy doesn’t have to be great. If you love casino gambling, but you’re money-conscious and want to maximise your time spent in a casino resort, you’ll want to be a little more serious about your preparation and knowledge. If you’ve decided to become a professional gambler, you’re going to have to master the game of video poker and learn how and where you can have better than 100% expectation. If not, you’re going to end up in the poor house.
Learn Multiple Games
Learn to play more than one video poker game. I’ve known people who love video poker, but wouldn’t try out anything but Jacks or Better to save their lives. Jacks or Better is excellent, but you’ll find plenty of great video poker variations. Nobody should limit their playing knowledge and experience to one version of video poker. Learn at least Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild–and probably a whole litany of games–so you can find the best poker games at any casino you visit.
Learn One at a Time
Pace yourself, though. When I tell you to learn multiple games, I’m talking about over the years and decades. If you’re just getting into video poker, learn one or two games really well at first. Jacks or Better and then Deuces Wild are good games to learn, since you’ll be able to play these in more places. Learn these inside and out, then move on to other games when you’ve mastered the basics.
Machines that Pay 9 for Full Houses
When you’re looking for a video poker machine, walk the floor to see if the casino you’re at has a Jacks or Better machine which pays 9x for a full house. This is likely to be the 9/6 Jacks or Better which pays out so well. If the game pays 9 for a full house and 6 for a flush, you’ve hit the jackpot (but not in a literal sense). If you go to an online video poker casino, see if they offer games of 9/6 Jacks or Better.
Take Your Time
Don’t get in a hurry when playing. New players often get in a rush to play maximum hands or feel like they’re on the clock. You’re paying to play, so take as much time as you want. Casinos seldom close and most make sure they have plenty of machines. Take your time and make sure you play the hand the right way.