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The Truth About Common Video Poker Myths

September 14, 2020 5 0
The Truth About Common Video Poker Myths

As straightforward as a machine-based casino game can get, video poker has a lot in common with slot machines. Both are easy to use and requires no interaction with a dealer or other players. Like in slot reels, a random number generator (RNG) governs the card combinations. But the significant difference is that video poker is generally regarded as a game of skill. Therefore, your decision making can influence the outcome. And surprisingly, video poker is full of common misbeliefs. It is necessary to identify the popular video poker myths to avoid falling for them and risking your bankroll. 

How to Play Video Poker

Within the casino gambling realm, players of video poker stand out from the pack. The best video poker machines have odds that rival any table game. While a wide variety of video poker variants are available, the games operate under the same set of rules:

  • Standard table poker hands.
  • You are dealt five starting cards. 
  • You may opt to hold or dump any or all of your cards.
  • All discarded cards will be replaced in one random draw.
  • If your hand matches any of the qualifying poker hands, you win the corresponding jackpot.

Video Poker Myths 

Unlike slot machines, video poker allows you to make game-play choices. Meaning, you have some control over the result of the hands you play. Since video poker is a game of skill, you need an optimal strategy to win. Avoid falling for misinformation by checking out some of the most common video poker myths players tell each other. 

You Can Make a Living Through Video Poker

Among the main reasons video poker is a favorite among players is that beating it is not impossible. Specific variants offer +EV when employing an optimal strategy. Some prime examples include 9/6 Double Double Bonus (100.07%), 10/7 Double Bonus (100.17%), Full-pay Joker Poker (100.64%), and Full-pay Deuces Wild (100.76%).

Several players believe they can make a good living through video poker because of the numerous +EV games. Well, that was correct until several decades ago. Some video poker variations had as much as 103.2% payback. That was enough to earn a substantial living.

However, the video poker landscape has evolved for some reason. Firstly, games with 103.2% RTP are all in the past. The payback of other +EV machines is not high enough to provide serious profits. 

Another thing that has changed in the past years is the lack of +EV games with high coin denominations. You can wager only a quarter on full-pay Deuces Wild and other +EV variations. Also, present-day casinos do not give as high a comp rate. Usually, you are looking at a maximum of 0.1% rate on your overall bets. 

The Royal Flush Comprises a Significant RTP Portion

A royal flush is arguably the most sought-after video poker hand, paying 4,000 coins on a five-coin max wager. That causes several gamblers to think that it comprises a significant RTP portion. And some of them are so firm in this belief that they employ a royal-only strategy.

The royal-only strategy involves keeping only the cards capable of forming a royal flush. The problem is that you need to discard hands that sometimes hold a higher EV to keep royal flush cards. 

Video poker strategy differs for each variation. Every tactic asks you to hold onto certain made hands over incomplete royal flushes. Then again, even without a royal-only strategy, you should realize that this hand does not make up much of the RTP. A royal flush commonly makes up only up to 2% of total payback for any given variation.

Playing Faster Is Better

One of the more sneaky systems sold by infamous video poker strategy sources tells you to speed up the pace. This go-big-or-go-home playing style originated from the old myth that video poker machines are wired to pay out only after a specific number of hands have been dealt. 

As is usually the case, this video poker myth is so convincing since it seems credible. After all, skill-based casino games, such as blackjack, reward more efficient players. When they play faster and put in more hands per hour, blackjack sharps can maximize their hard-earned edges with more volume. As a result of that, the house’s precious edge is mitigated. 

Unfortunately, video poker is different from blackjack. RNGs do not care about the number of hands you have cycled. Those who know the intricate circuitry of a gambling machine can attest an RNG continually cycles through a multitude of permutations.

That said, the best way to approach video poker efficiency involves slowing things down. Taking more time in between hands and reducing your hands per hour rate let you spread the aftermaths of negative expectation out over a more manageable time.

Video Poker Machines Run Hot and Cold

While video poker games are not as volatile as slots, you can experience some extensive losing streaks to make up for higher payouts on offer. Volatility issues cause some players to think that machines run hot and cold. As a result, players hop around different games until they find a hot one. 

Players who believe this video poker machine myth have a misunderstanding of the RNG. Since the RNG swiftly cycles through millions of card combos to determine hands, you can be sure that every video poker hand you receive is wholly random. Hot or cold video poker games do not exist. The RNG works too fast and goes through numerous combinations for you to precisely select winning games. In fact, an understanding of the RNG can debunk many video poker myths. 

Casinos Control Video Poker RTP

Many players mistrust machine-based casino games. That is because they are unable to see the inner workings of the games physically. Compare that with blackjack or baccarat, where you can see the cards being dealt. That explains why video poker and slot machines are both subject to a ton of myths. 

Losing players speculate that the casino is being dishonest. This thinking results in the misbelief that the casino controls video poker RTP. It is worth noting that casinos are heavily regulated. These regulations prevent them from adjusting payback to their advantage. Local gambling authorities usually check on casinos to ensure fairness. A casino will not risk its license and reputation for a few more bucks. 

Not Wagering Maximum Coins Is a Lousy Strategy

In video poker machines, you can bet anywhere from one to five coins per hand. The general strategy advises betting the max to stand a chance of getting maximum payback. Video poker machines give a bonus on the royal flush payout when you wager five coins. The royal flush values according to how many coins you bet are as follows: 

  • One coin = 250 credits 
  • Two coins = 500 credits 
  • Three coins = 750 credits
  • Four coins = 1,000 credits
  • Five coins = 4,000 credits

All other payouts proportionately rise when you bet one to four coins. Meaning, betting up to four coins will not give you an advantage. However, you will notice the disproportionate increase in the royal payout from four to five coins. Such lets you theoretically gain higher payback when wagering the maximum.

But the truth is, in terms of RTP, you are not losing that much by betting four coins or less. As mentioned previously, a royal flush comprises only around 2% of the total payout percentage. Not making the max wager means you are missing out on roughly 75% of the max royal flush payout. However, you will only miss 1.5% of the overall RTP.


Anyone who risks money on a game of skill or chance has the same goal: to win. Nobody wants to lose, but it is part and parcel of gambling. Video poker myths have been around since the inception of the first machines. Technology has already eliminated some of these. For instance, the one about the temperature of your coins influencing your winning chance. But still, many odd beliefs surround video poker. Some myths even have a degree of truth to them.

Always think critically about any strategy or system that promises surefire video poker success. Aside from being ineffective, schemes of this nature can get you off your best game. Letting myths mislead you will only make it harder to employ the optimal video poker strategy, which is the only real way to attain success at this skill game. 

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