Video Poker – Luck or Skill?

What is Video Poker?

Online video poker is not poker and it is not a slot, it is actually a hybrid of both.  The game whose roots are said to go back to the 1800’s played in the saloons of New Orleans and on Mississippi riverboats (poker) and the machine which was created in 1894.

Firstly you are not playing face-to-face against rivals of a dubious background and thankfully, as was the way in that era, people are no longer carrying revolvers and a bellyful of whiskey!  But you are paying to play a game of chance which makes payouts based on ‘take’.

In fact video poker is just one of a fleet of online casino games whereby you, the punter, is playing against a complex machine which can and will allow you to win sizeable sums money but overall its objective is to retain a small percentage profit margin.  

Indeed, video poker machines, and online casinos where you play for real money, actually want you to win money.  The irony is, just as in a traditional poker game against other people face-to-face, they want you to win someone else’s money.  Meanwhile they are simply happy taking a small commission, a retention or ‘rake’ for facilitating the game.

“Someone else’ money?”  Difficult when you are not playing against other people I hear you cry but the fact is… the money you hope to win from a video poker machine has been put into it by other players beforehand.

And returning to that commission:  Gamble on horses or greyhounds on-course and this retention can be massive, up to 30 percent at some stadium’s and racetracks.  Video poker ‘retains’ considerably less, a small single digit percentage.

Is it all luck?  

So how do you win playing online casino games for real money?  Is it all luck?  Or can skill play its rightful part?  Well, when it comes to online video poker many of the principles you employ when playing online slots come into play.  

Top of the list is chasing online jackpots.  Boyles Casino is one such online casino which gives you the opportunity to pick-up ‘dead money’, that’s money sat in a jackpot pool which has been accumulated by other people’s play.  

Occasionally those online jackpots can build to a point that the pay-out on them happening is greater than the probability of them doing so.  If a £/€1 game of five-card-draw poker which uses a RNG (random number generator) is offering a jackpot pool/prize of £/€5,000+ for any player being dealt four-of-a-kind you should play this game.  The reason being is the probability of it happening is 4,164/1.  

Yes, luck is required to actually be dealt that hand but you are making your own luck by playing a game offering outstanding value in the first place.

Jackpot Pools

All the games at BetVictor Casino (for example) clearly show the jackpot pools and the pay-outs of all games in all winning scenarios.  Study these carefully and similarly do some homework on the laws of probability because sometimes you may have to discard a made straight in order to chase the one card that gives you a straight-flush.  

The odds of one specific card being dealt to you may be 47/1 but if the straight-flush will pay you more than 47 times the pay-out of the straight you are holding, it is a something of a ‘good bet’.

The luck is always related to the right cards arriving but the skill is to know when they are likely to land.  It is also about making the right decisions whereby the machine is asked some searing questions as to if it has enough money in its vault to pay you out a big win whilst remaining ahead of the game itself.

Once landing a big pay-out some say it is vital that you leave the video poker game you are playing and find a fresh one as a recently emptied machine invariably needs refilling.  That statement makes a lot of sense.

This ‘table hopping’ is not a skill but a discipline and that is one of the glories of playing online video poker, as such a practice would be scorned upon in a live game environment among other players.

1 Comment
  1. Reply
    Janet Tite at

    It’s luck so!

Leave a reply