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The four steps of video poker

26 May 2018

By Henry Tamburin
Tip No. 1: Play video poker games that have the highest Expected Return (ER).

Expected Return (ER) is a percentage that tells the theoretical amount of money you can expect to win in the long run assuming you play every hand perfectly. The most important variable that determines the ER is the game’s pay schedule. For example, a Jacks or Better game that returns 9 times the amount bet for a full house and 6 times for a flush (known as a 9/6 game) has an ER of 99.54%, meaning over time a skillful player can expect to get back 99.54% of the money bet.

This assumes that the player is using the basic playing strategy for this game (i.e., is making no playing mistakes). You’ll often find Jacks or Better games that pay 8/5 or worse 7/5 for the full house/flush. The corresponding ERs for these games are 97.3% and 96.15% respectively, and are games that a skillful player would never play.

How do you know what the ER is for any video poker game? After all, the casino manager isn’t going to tell you which game in his casino has a high ERs and which ones have low ERs. No, that’s the player’s responsibility to figure out. However, that’s OK because it’s quite easy to learn what the ER is for any video poker game.

Many video poker books and internet sites list the ERs for different video poker games. By reading these books or visiting these web sites, you’ll learn what the ER’s are for different video poker games based on their pay schedule. Two good video poker books that I can recommend are Frugal Video Poker by Jean Scott and Viktor Nacht, and Video Poker for the Intelligent Beginner by Bob Dancer. Scott and Nacht have also produced the handy Frugal Video Poker Scouting Guide booklet that lists the ERs for 200 of the most common video pay schedules.

Once you decide which video poker game you want to play (presumably one with at least a 99% or higher ER), you need to check if the game is available at your local casino. To do this, go to www.vpfree2.com and check the region you are interested in (e.g., Las Vegas, Gulf Coast, East, etc.). You’ll get a listing of the video poker games with the highest ER’s for each casino in that region. If you don’t find a video poker game with a high ER in your favorite casino, check the listing for other nearby casinos.

Tip No. 2: Learn the basic playing strategy.

In order to achieve the high ERs, you have to learn the basic playing strategy. This is not as hard as you think. You’ll find the basic strategy for different video poker games in the above books or websites (e.g., www.wizardofodds.com). However, the best way to learn the strategy is by using a video poker computer software trainer. You purchase the commercial software, load it on your PC at home, and play video poker on your computer.

When you make a playing mistake, the software will alert you and show you what the correct play is. The software will also keep track of your playing accuracy and show you how much your playing errors cost you. By practicing at home, in no time you will be able to get your playing accuracy to at least 99%. (The software that I use to teach players is Video Poker for Winners. It is available on my web site smartgaming.com.)

Tip No. 3. You should bring a video poker strategy card that contains the playing strategy with you to the casino. These strategy cards are casino legal and you can refer to them if you not sure how to play a hand. By having them with you, you’ll always play with 100% accuracy. (See smartgaming.com store for a list of commercially available strategy cards.)

Tip No. 4. Always sign up for a casino’s player’s card and use it every time you play video poker. You’ll get cash back or free play, comps, and mailers from the casino that usually contain more free play offers. These benefits will boost your overall return from playing video poker to at or slightly above 100% (if you are over 100%, you’ll be playing with an edge).

What are you waiting for? Make a goal to get started learning how to be a smart video poker player. You’ll never look back once you do it.

Henry Tamburin is a blackjack and video poker expert. He hosts the smartgaming.com website.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

 

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Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

Winning Baccarat Strategies

> More Books By Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

> More Books By Henry Tamburin