Beating Video Poker

It is possible to make money playing Video Poker. The key to winning is knowing what machines to play and what strategy to use. I’m not talking about finding “hot” machines. Video Poker comes in various flavors and payout amounts. If you are just beginning, your best bet will be to find a 9/6 Jacks or Better machine.

What’s a 9/6 machine? Basically, the two numbers indicate what the machine pays out on a one coin bet for a flush and full house. A 9/6 machine will pay out 6 coins on a flush (30 coins for max bet) and 9 coins on a full house (45 coins on a max bet). It’s easy to get caught up with all the various Video Poker machines — Double Bonus, Double Double Bonus, Triple Bonus, More For Four, Deuces Wild, Jokers Wild and on and on.

Each of these machines requires a different playing style. In the gambling world, we call this “optimal play.” In other words, if you play the same way on a 9/6 Jacks or Better machine as you do on a Triple Bonus, you will ultimately lose for sure — if you play long enough. Another key number to know is the payback percentage of the machine. Typically these numbers are posted on, above or near the machine. If you don’t see it, ask someone.

The payback percentage tells you what percent of your money will come back per cycle over time. For instance, let’s say the machine has a 98 percent payback percentage. You put $100 in the machine and proceed to play 80 hands. In theory, you would have $98 left. These cycles are large and take time. That’s why you should never play a machine with the attitude that it’s “due” to hit, because that’s not the way they work. There’s lots of fun and money to be had playing Video Poker. Just remember, begin with a 9/6 Jacks or Better machine.