This article will introduce you to the ten most common video poker mistakes that are costing you money, and it will also teach you how to fix each mistake.
Mistake #1 – Not Playing Five Coins
It’s ridiculous that players still mix this one, because the fix is so simple. If you look at any video poker payout table you will notice that the Royal Flush payouts are huge for five coin/coin bets.
In fact, they are even too big if you just look at 1-coin, 2-coin, and 4-coin bets.
Most Royal Flushes pay 250 coins for a one coin bet, 500 coins for a two coin bet, 750 coins for a three coin bet and 1000 coins for a four coin bet. However, the bet with five coins pays 4000 coins for a Royal Flush.
Since the payout of five coins is proportionally higher than the payouts for smaller bets, betting five coins actually increases the game payoff and decreases the casino percentage.
Mistake #2 – Not joining the Slots Club
This is another basic mistake that people always make. Every casino you play (both online and offline) will likely offer some sort of Slots Club.
These Clubs offer cash back for playing slots and video poker, and they base the amount of cash back on how much game you play on the machines. If you check the numbers, you will see that you usually get amounts from 0.25% up to 1.25% back.
This doesn’t sound like much, right? However, when talking about extremely low casino percentages in video poker, a few percentage points can make the difference between a losing machine and a winning machine.
Mistake #3 – Playing the Wrong Games
This is another foolish mistake that costs video poker players time and money. Video poker, unlike slots, allows you to calculate the exact expected return on every game you play.
With that kind of information, you can always look for which video poker machine pays the best. If I can easily find out which machine pays better, why would I play anything else?
We don’t realize it, but people are always sitting in front of low-paying machines every time we walk into a casino.
Mistake #4 – Using Incorrect Strategies
This mistake is often made by players who make mistake number 3.
Most players don’t realize it, but playing with a minimally incorrect strategy can cost you 1-2% of the maximum payout percentage. And if you’re using a strategy that isn’t even close, you’re at least 5% off the maximum rate of return.
With all the odds and information available online, any player can find a solid strategy table to use on almost any type of machine.
All you have to do is print them out and head to the casino, and you’re at a near-perfect gaming level.
Mistake #5 – Not having adequate banking
Another big mistake that newbies as well as experienced players make is not playing with an adequate bankroll.
Even if you find a game that has more than 100% return, you still have a high probability of going to zero if you don’t have enough money on hand.
Royal Flushes are few and far between, and if you go a few months without hitting one you can find yourself short of money or possibly even bankrupt.
Lighter games like 9/6 Jacks or Better aren’t so bad, but extremely volatile games like Double Bonus and Progressive 6/5 JoB can really hurt your bankroll if you have a bad streak on the machine.
A good rule of thumb is to have a bankroll equal to at least three Royal Flushes for the level you are playing. If you’re a pro player and depend on your video poker earnings, you’re going to want a lot more.
Mistake #6 – Following Hunches
I can barely explain how a lot of video poker players I know follow their hearts instead of heartless numbers.
A player I know refuses to break a Full House on a Double Bonus when he has three aces, because “you should never throw away a guaranteed hand”.
Even after I explain to him that three aces of the same type have a higher expected return due to the potential payout of four aces, he doesn’t listen.
This also comes into play when players start to believe the machines are hot and cold, or that you need to play the machines a certain way, tip a certain dealer, or drink a certain drink to have a good session.
When it comes to video poker, numbers are numbers, and the only way you can move them when using hunches is in favor of the casino.
Mistake #7 – Losing Concentration
Let’s face it – what kind of man likes to turn down a darling girl in a mini skirt and offer him a free cocktail?
Or strolling through a craps table with forty players gathered around it and a sniper in a winning streak?
Casinos are houses of temptation, and being able to avoid temptation separates a winning video poker player from a losing video poker player.
Some other traps that can suck an unwilling player:
- Play flashy, new, cool, but –EV games just because you want to.
- Getting drunk at the casino.
- Play big amounts just to impress others, even if you don’t have the bankroll to do it.
Mistake #8 – Giving Up Early
This mistake doesn’t actually make you lose your money, but it will cause you not to make money that you could have earned. When you find an amazing promotion you have to take advantage of it.
It’s only a matter of time before the casino before the casino wakes up and runs the promotion, so you need to do everything you can to play for as many hours as possible while you have the upper hand.
I’m talking 12 hour shifts and alternating with a partner to replace you on the same machine while you’re not present. Winners always take advantage when the advantage is favourable.
Mistake #9 – Risking Too Much
Sure, every once in a while you’ll come across a game that’s a little out of your bankroll, but has a great promotion that you’re dying to play.
It doesn’t hurt to understand your risk of ruin and take a quick shot to see if you can get lucky, but just do it now and then and when you know you can recoup your losses.
If you continue to gamble on machines that are beyond your financial capability, you will be flat at some point – the numbers will make sure that it does.
Mistake #10 – Not Practicing Online
These days there are so many tools available to video poker players that it’s almost overwhelming. There are calculators, paytable analyzers, strategy programs and much more that are available for free or very close to it.
Also, there are tons of online casinos and other websites that offer free video poker machines for you to practice without spending a penny.
You need to take advantage of these opportunities if you want to become a consistent winner.