Secrets to Successful Video Poker Play

Video poker is essentially slot machines with brains. You don't just insert coins and spin hoping for a huge payout. It is a game of strategy, patience and intelligence. Follow these tips so you can play more like the pros.

Join a slot club.

The benefits you get from a slot club may seem insignificant but it isn't. First of all, if you play video poker and slots just for fun, every rebate you can get counts since you'll be losing more money than if you played professionally. Second, if you do play professionally then you should realize that the rebates from slot cards increase your payback percentage. As an example, if you play a game with 99.95% and get a 0.2% rebate, your real payback is 100.15%. If you already play a game with a positive expectation, the rebate will make the return even bigger.

Play full-pay or progressive versions of the best video poker games.

Full-pay is the version of a video poker game that gives you the highest payback percentage, for example 9/6 Jacks or Better. A payback percentage is considered high if it's 99% or higher. If you cannot find full-pay versions, then look for progressive jackpots with good payout. If the jackpot is large enough, you will be assured a positive return when the jackpot hits.

Avoid volatile games unless you have a large bankroll.

Volatile means you are likely to experience prolonged winning and losing streaks - that is, many ups and downs - in the game. Volatility occurs when there are bigger payoffs for rare hands and smaller ones for more common hands. It also happens with progressive jackpots which give fewer smaller wins to compensate for a big jackpot. All this means you end up losing a lot of money, winning little until the big hands come. If you don't have sufficient bankroll, you'll go bankrupt before that happens.

Play online video poker.

Online video poker is simply the best video poker around. The payback percentage is higher than in almost all land-based casinos. There is no need to wait for vacancies. And there are no fistfights over progressives. Online video poker is more generous than land-based ones since the costs are lower.

Forget about table poker.

Poker players like to see high cards - face cards and aces - in their hands. But video poker isn't traditional poker except for the hand rankings. Learn basic video poker strategy and don't keep an ace or jack just because it makes a good kicker. There's no such thing in this game.

Use video poker strategy that is right for you.

Don't think that absolute perfect strategy must be the most profitable. Often it isn't. The more perfect a strategy is, the more complicated and time-consuming it is to use; consequently, the less money you make per hour. On the other hand, a good strategy that isn't too difficult to use lets you play faster with negligible errors. Of course if you are quite advanced and basic strategy is child's play to you, then you should learn a more advanced system. The key is to use what you're happy playing with.