|First, let me state at the outset that I am not necessarily writing here about the best mathematically ordained Video Poker machines, but am writing instead about the best kinds of machines to play in a regular casino, for short slices of overall probabilities, under actual playing conditions of in-casino play, and under the often-inevitable situations of less-than-always-perfect play.|
|Best Video Poker|
First, let me state at the outset that I am not necessarily writing here about the best mathematically ordained Video Poker machines, but am writing instead about the best kinds of machines to play in a regular casino, for short slices of overall probabilities, under actual playing conditions of in-casino play, and under the often-inevitable situations of less-than-always-perfect play.
There are a few items of knowledge that I will assume you already know, particularly the differences between 6/5, 7/5, 8/5, 9/5, 8/6, 9/6, 10/6 and 10/7 Video Poker machines, and how to spot this and what this means.
It used to be that Video Poker machines were only of one kind – a standard five-card-draw jacks-or-better machines. Then came various derivatives, the most popular of which became the Deuces Wild and Joker’s Wild machines, each with their own variances on pay schedules and programs. Now we have such a plethora of new machines available that to be able to choose the right one, the best one for your particular bankroll and playing time, has become somewhat of a challenge. A challenge perhaps, but for the informed player not at all a gamble.
In order to navigate our way through the maze of various kinds of Video Poker machines, with all their different programs, playing odds, rules, bonuses and so on, and the fact that numerous manufacturers are now coming up with an ever-escalating variety of new Video Poker versions of the standard game, and the fact that more often than not Video Poker games are now becoming part of multi-game touch-screen machines, it becomes necessary to first identify some of the most common Video Poker games, explain how they play, and then point to which of them is the best choice for your gaming dollar.
Standard Video Poker
This is the Five Card Draw poker game which began the Video Poker gaming revolution. In this game (as indeed with virtually all other Video Poker versions of this game) you are first dealt five cards. You then have the choice of keeping any or all of them, or throwing away any or all of them. For each card you throw away, you get another to replace it. The object is to improve your “hand” [the final set of five cards you decide to keep] and make it into a winning hand. This is the format currently used as the basis for the computer programs that runs virtually all Video Poker machines.
Bonus Video Poker
Also known as Double Bonus poker, this is a standard Draw Poker video game, with the added bonuses of 200 coins for any 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s four-of-a-kind, and 400 coins bonus for four Aces. Any other four-of-a-kind pays the regular 125 coins for a five-coin-maximum bet. This game is typically 8/5. If it isn’t at least an 8/5 machine or higher, don’t play it.
Double Double Bonus Video Poker
As the name indicates, Double Double Bonus Video Poker offers double the double bonus which is usually found on the Bonus Poker machines. What this means is that you will be paid twice the amount of that specific win.
On most Double Double Bonus Video Poker machines, the bonus pays are the same as on Bonus Poker – meaning: 2’s, 3’s, 4’s four-of-a-kind and four-Aces. But instead of only being paid 200 coins (maximum coin bet) for the 2’s, 3’s, 4’s four-of-a-kind winner, on the Double Bonus game you will be paid 400 coins for this same hand. And, for the four-Aces, instead of 400 coins for this winner on Bonus Poker, on Double Bonus poker games this winner will pay you 800 coins (maximum coins bet).
These Double Double Bonus Video Poker machines are typically 9/6 or 10/6 or 10/7 machines, which means that they are among the best slot machines to play, odds wise. Played perfectly, these games often return over 100% payback!
The catch is, however, that on any Double Bonus Video Poker game you will only be paid 1:1 – even money – for a two-pair hand, as opposed to 2:1 – ten-coins-for-five-coins-bet – as is standard on regular Video Poker and standard Bonus Poker. Over time, this often becomes not only frustrating, but can get expensive. You must therefore have patience, determination, bankroll and a good eye for spotting trends.
Double Bonus Video Poker machines, and their derivatives – such as Bonus-Aces – can be notoriously streaky. Often they can eat up a lot of your bankroll before you start getting into the pay cycles, and that requires you to be able to have certain game acumen in order to determine the relative ratio of investment versus potential and real profit, and result of playtime relative to bankroll. But once you do hit on a pay cycle, you won’t ever forget it, and playing these games can quickly translate into some very good profits.
The best advice I can give you is: No pay is a small pay.
Don’t habitually throw away paying hands just to try to draw to better hands. The only exceptions to this on these Double Double Bonus Video Poker games are when you have three-Aces dealt to you, or four-to-the Royal Flush. In these two cases, and only in these two cases, throw away whatever else you have and hold the three-Aces for the four-Ace draw, or the four-to-the Royal Flush for the Royal Flush draw. Otherwise, keep what you’ve got and try to improve it by drawing to the next available option without throwing away the pay you’ve already been dealt.