February 22, 2024 by

Online Video Poker Strategies – Tips and Tricks

Slots Play Casinos feels that gamers who develop skill at video poker have a great advantage over gamers who don’t.  The return to player rate in video poker is about 99.5%!  But you need to know the best online video poker strategies to achieve that high return-to-player rate.

Play Against the Pay Table

The dealer deals only to the gamers.  At online casinos, the dealer is the software that runs the game.  You play only against the pay table.

It may be more accurate to say that you play “against” your own hunches and biases!  The best video poker strategies are based on statistical analyses over millions of hands.  Still, there are many cases where the best strategy is counter-intuitive!

Understand Pay Tables

This is one area where one size most definitely does not fit all!  The best online casinos, such as the casinos we have reviewed and recommended, run 9-6 video poker games while many land-based casinos now run 8-5 or even 7-5 video poker tables.

What Does That Mean?

9-6 is the correct payout for a full house or a flush.  8-5 and 7-5 are the way some land-based casinos generate revenues and keep the return-to-player rate in video poker down, even placing it below the return rate for many slots.

So, the tip here is to NEVER play 8-5 or 7-5 video poker.  This is a good reason why online casinos are usually much better for video poker than land-based casinos are.

Slots Play Casinos keeps track of news and information primarily about online casino gaming.  We feel that the wide availability of online casino bonuses is one of the many areas where online casinos have major advantages over land-based casinos.

Slots Play Casinos Has Reviewed Many Online Casinos

We will continue to review and recommend online casinos.  For now, we would like all gamers to know that among the reasons we recommend the casinos we do is because of the fairness they offer, in video poker and other online casino games.

Play Maximum Coins

By playing the max, you qualify for the extra payout for a Royal Flush.  While a Royal Flush is rare, there will be times when you will go for the Royal Flush, even if it means discarding a winning pair!

Since the return to player rate is so close to 100%, playing maximum coins will simply mean winning higher payouts for winning hands even if the chance to go for a Royal Flush never comes about.  In other words, even if you never get that big Royal Flush payout, your return to player rate will still be about 99.5%.

Know the Range of Poker Hands

Many people assume they know the hierarchy of hands in poker and most do.  But in Deuces Wild, for instance, there are five-of-a-kind hands.  Gamers have to know where the hands they have fit within the range of poker hands for the version of video poker they are playing.

For Jacks are Better, a lowly winning pair can often be broken in order to go for a better-paying hand.

Understand the Basics of Video Poker Strategy

To make video poker strategy as simple as possible, we can divide the hands the dealer dealt you into strategy categories.

  1. Hands that cannot be improved upon.
  2. Hands that need just one card to improve upon.
  3. Hands that need more than one card to improve upon.

Hands That Cannot be Improved Upon

  1. Royal Flush
  2. Straight flush
  3. Full house
  4. Four of a kind

There are two other “made hands” that are winners but can be improved upon:

  1. A flush that is also four to a Royal Flush.
  2. A straight that is also four to a Royal Flush.

With these hands, statistics indicate that the gamer should break the flush or straight in order to go for the Royal Flush.  Statistically, there are still many ways for the hand to become a winner even if the Royal Flush doesn’t hit.

Hands That Need Just One or Two Cards

  1. Four to a Royal Flush or a straight flush.  With these hands, you break a winning pair!
  2. Two pairs can become a full house.
  3. Four to a flush is not as strong as a high pair!  Do not break the pair to go for the flush.
  4. Four cards to a straight is not as good as even a low pair!  Keep the pair!
  5. Three to a Royal Flush is better than a low pair!

Most Hands are of Low Rank

This is true in poker generally.  Even in high stakes Texas Holdem, a pair will win many hands!  So, be cool about getting low hands in video poker.  The top hands will come and when they do come, they will often come as a major winning streak!

Set Two Gaming Budgets

All online casino games can play very quickly.  At a land-based casino, many games play a lot more slowly.  This tends to conserve a player’s bankroll.  For example, blackjack at a full table will play quite slowly.  Video poker plays fast whether a gamer plays it on land or online.

To overcome the tendency of gamers to play too long, we recommend setting a time budget.  When you play online, you can always come back to the casino the next day or on any subsequent day!  So, there is really no reason to play for more than an hour give or take in any online casino gaming session.

A Money Budget Keeps You Safe

Even with the high return to player rate in video poker, every gamer will hit a losing streak from time to time.  Gamers also hit winning streaks as well!  To ameliorate the losses incurred in a losing streak, we suggest setting a sound money budget for every gaming session and sticking to that budget!

Free Play Sharpens the Mind

In reality, free play makes it risk-free to practice your knowledge of video poker strategy.  The better online casinos, including all of the online casinos we here at Slots Play Casinos recommend, offer unlimited free play!  In contrast, we know of no land-based casinos that offer free play!

Slots Play Casinos Serves Gamers

Slots Play Casinos keeps track of news and information primarily about online casino gaming.  We feel that the wide availability of online casino games and bonuses are areas where online casinos have major advantages over land-based casinos.

In this article, we focused on video poker.  Online casinos offer many games in many game categories.  They will be the subject of future articles.  Online casinos also offer bonuses that land-based casinos can only dream about.  We will cover online casino bonuses in an upcoming article as well.


Laurie Renfield Picture
sloplaycasinos Facebooksloplaycasinos Twittercontact us

Laurie Renfield has been part of the casino scene for both print and virtual media outlets for over two decades. Renfield's research focuses on both land-based casino entertainment and online casino gambling. She is dedicated to making sure that, regardless of where a player decides to compete, they'll achieve the best gambling experience and the most satisfying rewards.

Renfield's mantra for articles to share with our readers is to pick the most relevant and critical subjects for readers to ... [Read Laurie Renfield full bio]