Biggest Video Poker Mistakes

Royal Flush on Bonus Poker

Video poker can be the best game to play in the casino. There are often games with returns of 99% or better. Some casinos, especially in Nevada, have video poker with a theoretical return over 100%.

While video poker returns can be high, many players do not reach their full potential. There are several mistakes players make that drop the return-to-player. 

Not playing five coins

One of the biggest mistakes video poker players make is wagering fewer than five coins. While this can be fine when it is one coin, some players will bet three or four. Not betting five coins can raise the house advantage up to 1.5%, depending on the game. That is because the royal flush payout can drop to 250/1 from 800/1 when not betting five coins.

Not learning the proper basic strategy

Every video poker game has a unique strategy. Some are similar, but not exact. Others can change with different pay tables. Deuces Wild, Double Bonus Poker and Double Double Bonus Poker are just a few examples of this. It is important to know the correct strategy for your favorite games before playing. Mistakes can cost you significant cash every session.

Playing a machine with a worse pay table

Casinos may offer a variety of pay tables for the same game. Choosing the best one can theoretically save you hundreds of dollars in a session. For example, a 9/6 Double Double Bonus paytable is common. This means that a full house pays 9 per coin, and a flush pays 6. However, some paytables, even in the same bank of machines, can be worse. This can lower your return by up to 3%. Make sure that you found the best paytable for your preferred game before getting into action. 

Some casinos deal video poker games with the same paytable, some with a royal flush progressive, and others without one. Playing the one without a progressive is another version of this same mistake.

Not playing the right denomination

Playing outside of your bankroll creates many problems. Your budget may break before the amount of time you allocated for it. Your losses can go faster than your comfort level. The swings may not be for you. 

Pay tables are another consideration when choosing a denomination to play. Many casinos increase the paytable at the dollar level. If it has a denomination below quarter, the quarter paytables will often be better than the nickel or dime ones. The expected loss can be smaller at these higher limits, depending on how big of a gap there is in the paytables. 

Higher limit players may experience the opposite problem. Some casinos lower paytables at higher denominations. This is especially true at smaller casinos. I think the belief is that they want to have a larger edge if they are going to take on action that is larger than usual.

The best places for high limit video poker are Atlantic City and the Las Vegas Strip. That is where $5 and higher denominations are often found with great paytables. 

Not using a players card

There are some reasons why players choose to not use a players card. They could be serious players hoping to stay off the radar. It could be a short session, or a player could just be passing through town. If you intend to play a casino and ones in its family regularly, and do not use a players card, you are leaving  slot points and mailers with comps like free slot play, gifts and food on the table. 

Not checking promotions

If you only want to play video poker one or two days a week, it is best to find the casino with the most valuable promotions. You can find these on the casino’s website. If the casino has a players card portal, log in and see what type of offers you may have on specific days. These may also be mailed or emailed to you. If you live in a competitive casino market, check multiple properties.

Playing too long

Set a time limit that you will play. After that time, at least get up and walk around. Get a meal. Think about playing again. If you are too tired, you can make mistakes, especially after drinking. The game will be there tomorrow. It is okay to take a break.