12 Video Poker Tips for Winning More Often

12 Tips to Becoming a Better Video Poker Player

According to one of the many dictionary sites on the Internet, the phrase "best-kept secret" means the following: "A significant fact or characteristic that is not well-known."

After decades spent gambling at various land-based and virtual establishments, I can definitely say that video poker machines are the best-kept secret in casinos.

Why would I make such a claim?

Well, let's take a look.

  • Easy to Understand - While it doesn't take a genius to figure out the majority of casino games, some do have obscure rules that can trip gamblers up along the way. There's very little danger of this happening in video poker, as the rules are simple to the point of being ridiculous. Get five cards...trade in up to five cards...receive replacement cards...get paid. It's doesn't get much easier than that.
  • Low House Edge - Most casino games have a house edge of more than 1%, but there are a significant number of video poker options that defy this statement. Plenty of these games range from 0.20% to 0.74%, while the occasional machine actually provides the player with an edge over the house. I challenge you to find any other casino game that can provide the customer with such an advantage.
  • Perfect for Online Play - At land-based casinos, people who play video poker always seem like lonely little hermits. While others are tossing dice, cheering at the roulette wheel, or watching the video displays on slot machines, VP fans are huddled in the corner without much fanfare. Fortunately, online gambling is a solitary pastime to begin with, so you won't feel like you're missing out.

If the three reasons listed above sound appealing, then I suggest reading on to discover my 12 video poker tips for winning more often. They won't always guarantee a win, but they'll definitely allow you to have more fun and make your bankroll last longer.

1. Search for the Lowest House Edge

Depending on the casino, the house edge for the same game can vary wildly. For example, I recently researched Bonus Poker at several sites, and I found the edge ranged from 0.55% to 3.13%. That's a big difference, so be sure to shop around whenever possible.

2. Search for Best Sign-Up Bonus

Sign-up bonuses usually match the amount of a new player's initial deposit, and it's wise to shop around for reputable casinos that offer the best deal. The biggest challenge is meeting the wagering requirements in order to withdraw the bonus money, as these are sometimes 40 to 60 times the size of the original bonus amount.

3. Always Use Basic Strategy

It's simple to find strategy charts for most types of video poker games, and these should always be utilized. All you need to do is look at your initial cards, consult the chart for the highest possible hand, and then follow the instructions. This vastly improves your chances of winning over the long haul.

4. Take Advantage of Practice Software

If you want to practice your strategy for a specific VP game, then I suggest starting out with free software. The best options provide commentary for each move you make, with mistakes often being rated from minor to major. Once you feel comfortable with a certain game, then you can graduate to the cash version.

5. Find Full Pay Machines

Full pay machines offer the best odds for video poker players. They are often referred to by the numbers 9/6, with the nine indicating a payout of nine times your wager for a full house. The six, meanwhile, means the player receives six times their bet for a flush. If the machine has numbers lower than 9/6, then it's not a full pay and should likely be avoided.

6. Check the Pay Schedules

A lot of video poker games look identical, and some even have the exact same title. In reality, though, many of these games offer slightly different odds and prizes, and this can only be determined by examining the machine's pay schedule (or pay table). Before playing, always check this information to find the game with the higher profit potential.

7. Bet Max Coins

Most VP machines require players to risk the maximum number of coins in order to be eligible for certain bonuses and jackpots. You should always follow this strategy, as there's nothing worse than missing out on the full payout for a royal flush because you were trying to be cheap.

8. Play for Affordable Stakes

If you find that the stakes for a specific game are too expensive for your bankroll, take that as a clear sign that it's time to move down to a cheaper machine. While this might not seem as sexy as playing on one of the more expensive options, you also won't run the risk of going broke after 20 minutes of play.

9. Maintain Monetary Discipline

Before you play, let a loss limit. If you reach that amount during a session, log out of the casino and find something else to do. I also recommend setting a win limit, which means you'll take the money and run if you're lucky enough to accumulate a specific sum.

10. Buy a Cushion

When you play online video poker, you're going to be sitting for long stretches of time. In order to make the situation more tolerable, and avoid possible side effects such as hemorrhoids, I suggest buying a cushion to sit on. These can range in price from almost free to surprisingly expensive, but ultimately it should be all about comfort for your posterior.

11. Pay Your Taxes

Unless you live in Australia or some other similarly enlightened nation, you're going to have to pay taxes on your gambling winnings. Luckily, you can also deduct losses, so at least that helps balance things out a bit. Don't overlook this responsibility, otherwise you'll have the IRS breathing down your neck.

12. Make Fun of Slots Players

I suggest making fun of slots players every chance you get. Why? These bone-headed individuals have chosen to play a game with terrible odds, and maybe a little good-natured ribbing can help shake them from their stupor. It'll probably just irritate them to no end, but at least you can say that you tried.


I hope you've found this list of 12 video poker tips for winning more often to be instructive. It's taken me years to learn all of these on my own, and it's often occurred after an especially harrowing session at the casino.

With any luck, you can apply this advice immediately and avoid some of the rough patches experienced by most players. And even if you don't find yourself transformed into a consistent winner, you'll at least be able to look at yourself in the mirror and know that you're doing everything possible to come out ahead.