March 17, 2024 by

Slots Play Casinos Explores Online Poker Strategies

This is a very popular theme.  Here at Slots Play Casinos we talk about online poker strategies primarily in regard to video poker.  A lot of players also want to learn about strategies for online poker against real opponents.

As you will see, the strategies for the two types of online poker are quite different.

Video Poker Strategy

The first thing to realize is that in video poker, gamers play against the pay table.  The dealer has no function other than to deal the cards.  The pay table has one very big anomaly and it is this anomaly that drives strategy in video poker.

How Much Can Royal Flush Pay?

There is a big extra payout for a Royal Flush.  Even though a Royal Flush is rare, coming about in one of every 40,000 hands, the best strategy as compiled in statistical analysis by computer is to play for the Royal Flush whenever possible.

The first step is to bet the maximum on every hand.  Only players who have bet the maximum qualify for the extra payout for a Royal Flush.  Thus, gamers who want to play multi-hand video poker have to consider if their bankroll can sustain such a large bet.

Can I Realistically Get a Royal Flush?

The next step in going for a Royal Flush is to recognize the value of a hand as quickly as possible.  For example, many gamers will see a winning pair and will discard the other three cards in hopes of getting a better hand by drawing three cards.

However, sometimes those other three cards include three or four to a Royal Flush.  Let’s say that a gamer has jack, queen, and king suited.  This is a strong hand because there are many cards in the deck that can pair with one of these cards to create a winning pair.

So, with three to a Royal Flush, a gamer should break the pair and go for a better hand.  This is even more strongly the best strategy when a player has four to a Royal Flush.  Break a pair and you still have the chance to get a Royal Flush, a straight flush, a flush, a straight, or a winning pair!

Strategy in Video Poker is Established

Computers have studied millions of hands and have determined the best strategy for every hand.  Players still have to overcome the natural tendency to play by hunch.  In some cases, the “correct” strategy and the natural strategy are very close.  Still, playing by hunch brings the return to player rate down.

Setting Proper Time and Money Limits is Also a Strategy

Players who play when they are tired lose.  Players who play when they are thinking about responsibilities they have to get to lose.  Players who play when they are hungry lose.  Players who delay going to the bathroom (a very common phenomenon at land-based casinos) lose.  Players who play after eating a big meal (free vouchers for the buffet, anyone?) lose.

And, so on!

A proper time limit is one that keeps your attention and doesn’t cause you to be distracted.  An online casino is available every day, all day.  There is no reason to play 60 minutes when 30 minutes are enough.

Money Budgeted is Money Well Considered

We budget money for so many things that we often don’t realize that we are doing it.  The next time you look at a restaurant menu and choose a less expensive item, you will be budgeting your money.

Even though the return to player rate in video poker is about 99.5% with correct game play, everyone has a losing streak.  A gamer should never put more money than budgeted to try to turn a losing streak around.

Alcohol Inhibits Cognition

Most people enjoy a drink in one form or another.  Nothing wrong with having a drink or a brew.  Just don’t play video poker when you do!

Take a Break

It is always a good idea to stretch once in a while.  This is good “strategy” whether you are playing video poker, streaming a great television series, playing Cataan, bridge, or any other game that people sit for long stretches of time to play.

When you get up to stretch, you might discover that you can use the bathroom.  You might make something hot to drink or get a snack.  Stretching is a great way to reset the mind.  The next time you sit down to play online casino games or to do anything else, take a break and pay attention to how much it helps you!

What about Poker against Real Opponents?

This kind of poker is so much more subjective than video poker!  The introduction of opponents changes the dynamic in, well, dynamic ways!

The key point in online poker is that you can’t see your opponents and they can’t see you.  Don’t try to discover tells in online poker.  Here are a few excellent strategies for online poker:

  1. Lower your expectations.  It takes a long time to be able to identify, codify, and interpret hands and opponents in online poker.
  2. Play low-stakes poker until you know that you are ready from a poker point of view to move up.  While you won’t win a lot of money at low stakes, the experience of playing a lot of hands at relatively low risk is invaluable.
  3. Respect the experience of the pros and expect to fold before the flop at least 70% of all hands.
  4. Stay in with a relatively weak hand before the flop just to keep the opponents confused as to whether you are bluffing or not.
  5. Even though you watch poker hands on YouTube, you must realize that these hands represent a very small fraction of hands.  They are the highlights and their educational value is relative.
  6. Bet less when you are out of position.
  7. Maintain the integrity of your time and money budgets.
  8. Feel out the opponents before you try to bluff.  A player who never folds may be a fish but they also might call your bluff simply because they always call.
  9. A player who is playing low stakes but has the money to play higher stakes may be an easy mark.
  10. Respect the value of paying attention to every hand.  They say that a baseball player has to see 10,000 pitches before they know what they are doing at the plate.  A similar rule applies to poker.
  11. Control yourself.  There will be bad beats.  Tilt is an own goal and can cost you dearly.
  12. Learn the most rudimentary basics of poker math such as expected value and pot odds.

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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.

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