While it’s true that a few video poker machines give you a chance to win and a few more have a low casino edge, the truth is that most video poker machines offer terrible odds and take your money as fast as other poor games.
Video poker gives the illusion that you can win, but doesn’t follow through when you play. Very few profitable machines exist, and only a few gamblers know how to play them the right way to achieve a small profit.
These are just a few of the 7 reasons why video poker is actually evil that you’re going to learn about in this article.
1 – Evil Pay Table Confusion
You’re looking at 2 Jacks or Better video poker machines and the first machine pays 8 for a full house and 6 for a flush. The second machine pays 9 for a full house but only 5 for a flush.
Which machine has a better pay table?
The truth is that you shouldn’t play on either of these machines because better pay tables are available, but this shows how confusing pay tables are evil.
You have to find out what the best pay tables are and either memorize them or write them down. And you have to have the self discipline to never play on a machine that has a pay table that you’re not familiar with.
2 – Too Many Options
When you combine all of the available video poker base games with all of the pay table variations you end up with far too many options. And when you have too many options it increases the possibility of making a mistake.
Something you need to understand about gambling is that every time you make a mistake it costs you money and makes the casino more money.
You need to do enough research before you play real money video poker to know which base games are the best and which pay tables are the best for these machines. If you do anything else you’re falling into the trap the casinos have set for you by giving you too many options.
3 – You Must Use Strategy
Even when you find a good base video poker game with a good pay table, this still isn’t enough. If you don’t use perfect strategy you’re losing more than you should.
The strategy for most video poker machines isn’t overly complicated once you start using it, but it’s still easy to make mistakes.
Once you find the best base games with the best pay tables, you need to get a strategy chart so you can play perfectly. This isn’t an optional step if you want to have the best chance to win when you play video poker.
4 – You Have to Risk More to Have the Best Chance to Win
Most casino games have the same edge for the casino no matter how much you risk. This means that when you play most casino games the best option is to risk the smallest amount possible.
But this isn’t how video poker machines are designed. Video poker machines are designed to force you to risk the maximum amount on every hand or you get punished. The punishment is a higher casino edge, which leads to more long term losses.
The top paying hand on each video poker machine almost always gets a bonus or extra payment when you hit it and risk maximum coins. If you risk 4 or fewer coins, you don’t get the extra bonus.
To make this even more evil, this extra pay out isn’t listed as a bonus. If you don’t look at the difference between the payment for 4 and 5 coins you don’t even realize that you get punished for making smaller wagers.
5 – Switching Pay Tables Based on Number of Hands
This is the most evil thing I’ve ever seen when playing video poker. I logged into an online casino and was playing on a Jacks or Better machine that let you play 1 hand at a time or choose to play 10, 25, or 100 hands at a time.
The pay table for the single hand game was the best available, paying 9 for a full house and 6 for a flush. But when you switched to play more hands, the pay table changed to a worse pay table.
This happened several years ago, but I played quite a few multi hand rounds before I even realized the pay table had switched.
Now I always check the pay table when I play multi hand video poker. I’m sure that this has cost many video poker players a lot of money over the years. If this isn’t evil then I don’t know what is.
6 – Misleading Bonuses
So you found a good base video poker game with a decent pay table at an online casino. And even better, they’re willing to give you a bonus. This looks like a way to lock in a profit because you’re playing with a low edge because you have a strategy chart and there doesn’t look like any way you can lose once you get the bonus.
Sadly, you need to put on the brakes. Read the terms of the bonus, because most of them are designed to make the casino more money. If you’re not familiar with how bonuses work this might not make much sense, but when you see what you have to do when you accept the bonus you’re going to learn what I mean.
Most bonuses for games like slots have a requirement that you play the total of your deposit and bonus 25 to 50 times. The casinos can do this because slots have such a high edge. So if you could get the same deal to play video poker with a low edge it would be good.
But you usually can’t get the same deal. Most casinos only count video poker play at 10% of the normal play. This means you have to risk 10 times as much to clear the bonus.
For example, you deposit $400 and get a matching $400 bonus. The normal play through is 30 times the combined deposit and bonus, but it only counts 10% when you play video poker. This means you have to play 300 times your deposit and bonus. This is a total of $240,000.
If you’re playing a game with an edge of .5%, this means you can expect to lose $1,200 before clearing the bonus. Since you’re only starting with $800, this doesn’t look like such a great deal now.
7 – The Illusion That You Can Beat Video Poker
The worst thing about video poker is that it gives the illusion that you can win. If you do some research you can find information about a few video poker games that have a pay table that has an edge for you. This is extremely rare, because casino games are designed to have an edge, not give an edge.
If this sounds too good to be true, it’s because it basically is. It’s true that a few of these machines exist, but even if you find 1 of them the odds of winning are still small.
You have to use the perfect strategy, which can be challenging, and you have to hit a top paying hand eventually to make up for your losses in order to come out slightly ahead. And this might take 20,000 to 50,000 hands or more.
The most common video poker machines available with good pay tables have a low casino edge, but it’s still an edge for the casino. Good Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild games have an edge of less than .5%, but you still have to play perfect strategy to achieve this number.
And even with perfect strategy you’re still going to lose in the long run. This is why the illusion that you can win is so evil. You can’t win when you play video poker. The sooner you give up on this lie the better off you’re going to be.
Pay tables on video poker machines are 2 of the 7 things that make video poker evil. They trick you by using different pay tables, and some machines switch from a decent pay table to a bad pay table if you play more than 1 hand at a time.
If you don’t use perfect strategy when you play video poker you get punished with bigger losses. And the games are designed to make you risk the maximum amount in order to have the best chance to win.
When you find a video poker bonus it looks like a great deal, but most bonuses cost you money. You’re going to have a hard time winning anytime you play video poker.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …