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Good Video Poker Odds Can Make You A Life-Time Winner with Tips for Winning

Your video poker odds are best if you play only those games that offer 99% long-term payback. Learn proper strategies, don't play machines with poor pay schedules and you can be a life-time winner at video poker.

But playing games offering 99% payback does not mean that for every 100 coins you feed into a machine you'll get 99 coins back! The key is "long-term" which means thousands of hands. To make sure you always get the best video poker odds, you must play with the highest level of proficiency, meaning you need to make the correct decision as you play each and every hand.

Another crucial catch to top video poker odds is that the 99% or better payback rating includes the Royal Flush bonus pay-off! You have an additional 2% disadvantage if you don't get to collect your fair share of 4,000-coin Royal Flush wins. On average, you can expect to hit a Royal Flush once in 40,000 hands.

These are the realities: Only computers offer absolute accuracy all the time. We humans are not flawless. We're bound to make mistakes, not to mention that we probably have not completely mastered the rules of perfect play. Therefore, the actual video poker odds you will achieve will be based on your personal skill level. The more expertly you play, the better your chances of becoming a winner in the long run.

Let's be realistic and accept that because we don't play with computer-like precision, our expected return percentage will be reduced by at least one percentage point. Instead of 99%, our video poker odds will be 98%, if we get that fair share of Royal Flushes. That means the machines keep 2% for the casino! If the Royal Flush shows up only half as often at it is statistically supposed to appear, add another 1% and the casino's edge becomes 3%. And this is based on playing games with very good video poker odds!

Most video poker games you find at online casinos and in live casinos are calibrated to return considerably less than 99%. If you play machines with poor video poker odds over extended periods you will never be a long-term winner. To have any chance of success you need to know how to play with precision and play only those games that offer "full payouts". Your day to day results will still be erratic but you will do alright over the long term.

Whether online or in live casinos, you should not play any game that does not feature a "full payout" pay table. The easiest to learn and most widely available game is Jacks or Better. Do not play this game if the payouts are less than what's shown in the table below.

Jacks or Better Full Paytable (rated 99.54% payout)
Royal Flush 4000
Straight Flush 250
Four of a Kind 125
Full House 45
Flush 30
Straight 20
Three of a Kind 15
Two Pair 10
Jacks or Better 5

Click here for Jacks or Better strategy

If a casino does not offer good video poker odds, but you want to play anyway, my advice is risk only a relatively small amount and hope to get a big payout in short order. Do not keep feeding coins into machines with bad pay tables for extended periods.

On average, a Royal Flush occurs about once every 40,000 hands, but there is absolutely no guarantee. You could go 100,000 hands and not hit one. Some calculations to ponder: If you play maximum coins at a moderate speed of 400 hands per hour, it takes 100 hours to play 40,000 hands. At five quarters, or $1.25 per hand, times 400 hands that's $500 going through the machine each hour.

At only a 3% long-term hold, the machine keeps an average of $15 per hour. Play 100 hours, (40,000 hands) and your loss will total $1,500! Even if you are lucky enough to hit a Royal Flush during that stretch, the pay-off would be 4,000 quarters or $1,000. You're still down $500, or an average of $5 for each hour of play. You could justify this by saying you had fun. Most other types of entertainment cost a lot more per hour.

So how can you possibly hope to at least break even playing good video poker odds? In live casinos the slot club benefits can make the difference. Exploit the slot club freebies to the maximum. Keep a record of the value of everything the casino gives you for free and include that sum in your winnings.

If you received free accommodation, restaurant meals, show tickets and other complimentaries, add up the estimated dollar value. Chances are the amount will be about equal to what you lost on the machines. And if you are lucky and hit more than your fair share of Royals, you will even show an overall net cash profit.

Online casinos don't give you free rooms and food, but you have a pretty good chance of ending up on the plus side if you use the sign-on, the welcome, and the deposit bonuses offered by all online casinos. Read more about bonuses on our casino bonuses page.