Understanding the Odds in Video Poker

min read
Man playing online poker on his laptop.
BetMGM Dec 27, 2023, 5:05 AM

Online poker, a digital adaptation of the classic card game, combines the exciting elements of strategy from traditional poker with the distinct speedy nature of online slots. Online video poker has gained huge popularity, offering a convenient and engaging experience for players around the globe.

Whether you’re a newcomer or an experienced enthusiast, understanding the nuances is essential to play poker online. This includes grasping the concept of odds and payback percentages, which are pivotal in your overall gaming strategy and success.

House Edge vs. Payback Percentage

Gambling experts often refer to the house edge when speaking about table games. The house edge represents a theoretical portion of each bet a player is mathematically expected to lose over an extended period. For example, in roulette, the house edge stands at 5.26%. This implies that over a significant number of bets (thousands or more), you’re likely to lose an average of $5.26 for every $100 wagered.

In the short term, outcomes can vary widely. You might bet on a single number in roulette and win, earning 35 times your bet. But more often than not, you’ll lose, forfeiting your entire wager. When your losses are averaged over an extensive number of roulette spins, they will align more closely with this theoretical average.

In the context of gambling machines, the terms “payback percentage” or return to player (RTP) are used. This indicates the expected portion of each bet that a player will win back over numerous trials.

This terminology difference is due to the payout structures of table games versus gambling machines. Table games typically offer X to Y odds, whereas gambling machines provide payouts at X for Y odds.

What Is Video Poker RTP?

The video poker RTP is a mathematical prediction. It’s determined by the game’s probability, factoring in the frequency of different hand combinations and the payouts associated with them. This percentage is calculated over millions of hands, making it a long-term expectation rather than a short-term guarantee.

Common Misconceptions About Payback Percentage

A common misconception is that the payback percentage directly translates to guaranteed wins in the short term. It’s vital to understand that this percentage is a statistical average realized over an extended number of plays, not a promise of immediate returns.

How Video Poker Odds Differ From Other Games

The bonus of the poker game is its favorable odds. The average payback percentage can vary significantly, usually between 95% to 99%. Games like “Jacks or Better” or “Deuces Wild” can offer some of the highest returns when played with an optimal strategy.

This aspect ultimately elevates video poker above the majority of other casino games. While the RTP fluctuates across different variants, poker generally offers the highest return among online casino games. The average video poker game rarely has a payback percentage below 90%.

The key difference between video poker and online slots lies in calculating the odds. In video poker, the probability of getting a specific hand can be determined, as the game’s random number generator is based on a standard deck of cards. Slot machines don’t provide transparent probabilities for specific symbols.

Factors Impacting the Payback Percentage

Several elements impact the payback percentage in a video poker game, with the most critical being the game’s paytable, the choice of casino, and the player’s strategy.

Paytable

The online video poker paytable in video poker is a determining factor because it tells you how much each hand pays out. You usually need at least a pair of jacks to win anything. The better your hand, the more cash you rake in, with the royal flush being the jackpot hand. To see if a paytable is profitable or not, check what it pays for a flush and a full house. Higher payouts equal higher chances of winning more money.

Casino’s Influence

Casinos have a big say in your chances of winning in video poker. They choose the paytables for their games, which can make a significant difference. They also have to keep their games fair by using a proper random number generator (RNG). That’s why you should stick to trustworthy casinos, so you know the games are on the level.

Poker Strategy

An essential part of how to play video poker is understanding how strategy influences your actual return. Making smart choices about which cards to keep and which to toss can significantly affect your chances of winning.

Luck and Skill

Video poker is a unique blend of luck and skill. While the initial hand dealt is based on luck, how you play the hand plays a crucial role in the outcome. Over time, skill tends to outweigh luck, especially in games with high payback percentages.

Tips for Improving Video Poker Strategy

To play video poker and win, mastering the game’s strategy is key. This includes understanding the specific rules of the variant you’re playing, familiarizing yourself with the paytables, and practicing consistently. Utilizing strategy guides or training software can be incredibly beneficial in honing your skills.

Using Video Poker RTP

While not consistently the defining factor, the payback percentage is valuable for players who understand its application. Understanding and utilizing the payback percentage helps with effective bankroll management and influences the player’s success rate against the machine.

Choosing Between Games

Compare different online video poker games. If two casinos have the same game but different paybacks, go for the one with the higher rate. Remember, things like different paytables and bonuses can change a game’s return, so this number helps you figure out which game pays out more on average.

Setting Expectations

Get real about your chances. Even the pros know that not every bet is a winner. This can be tough to handle, especially if you’re new. But knowing a game’s payback rate lets you set more realistic expectations and be less disappointed if you don’t win as much as you hoped.

Checking Your Strategy

Check how good your strategy is. Don’t get upset over one bad game, but it might be time to rethink your approach if you’re constantly not hitting the game’s payback rate. Looking back at your past games is a smart move. It helps to spot where you can improve and confirm when your tactics are working well.

Master the Odds of Video Poker With BetMGM

Video poker RTP is a fundamental aspect of online casino gaming. Understanding the video poker odds and RTP and strategically applying this knowledge can significantly enhance your gaming experience and potential success. Remember to gamble responsibly and enjoy the process of learning and mastering this compelling game. Register with BetMGM to hone your skills today. May the video poker odds be forever in your favor.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.