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Video poker for seasoned poker players

Posted by mare0309

For many years, playing video poker was the easiest and quickest way for a tourist to score a free drink in Las Vegas. Of course, the key was to play each hand as slowly as possible so you don’t lose your initial stake while waiting for the bartender to hand over your complimentary beverage. Otherwise, that freebie all of a sudden cost $20!

For a few slick high rollers in Las Vegas, high-volume video poker was their secret way to achieve the highest-tiered status for a particular casino player’s club (the equivalent of Diamond Club or Platinum Club). Even for the average punter or weekend gambler, video poker is fast-paced and fun, but it can also be a lucrative venture if you play optimal strategy and keep a cool head during any downswings.

Do not dismiss video poker as a mindless leisure activity or something to do while killing time at the Las Vegas airport. Snobby poker players often brush off video poker for its video game-like element, so sometimes it got a bad rep for being the favorite pastime of the likes of the legendary poker pro Allen “Chainsaw’ Kessler.

For over forty years, video poker has been one of the most popular games in Las Vegas and in casinos throughout the world. Thanks to the internet, video poker is only a couple of clicks away. You can even play on your mobile devices, so you no longer have to exclusively fly to Vegas to play it or struggle to find an empty parking space at your local casino.



Although the earliest ancestors of slot machines have been around since the 19th Century,  the first draw poker slot machine was introduced in 1901 by Charles Fey, also known as the “Godfather of Slot Machines.” The gambling world would have to wait another 70 years before they would be introduced to another earth-shattering innovation.

Video poker popped up in Las Vegas and Reno casinos when Dale Technologies introduced the first video poker machine in 1970, which demonstrated the latest advances in video screen and computer technology.

Si Redd, a slot machine distributor from Reno, teamed up with an engineer from Bally’s pinball machine company and adapted the new bourgeoning technology to create Keno, blackjack, and video poker machines. Si Redd’s first video poker machine, “Draw Poker”, debuted in 1979. In 1980, Si Redd founded International Game Technology (IGT), which became a giant in the gaming industry and has since expanded to offer business software suites as well. When he passed away, an L.A. Times newspaper obituary referred to Redd as “The King of Video Poker.”



So long as you understand the basic rules of poker, then playing video poker is simple – and don’t knock it until you try it.

The standard game of video poker is Five Card Draw (with or without a wild card). Each hand consists of five cards dealt to the player, who has the option to stand pat or draw cards. Depending on the final hand, the player is awarded a bonus for making specific hands. For rare hands (e.g. Royal flush or straight flush), the payouts are higher. Most video poker games only award payouts starting with a pair of Jacks or better, but every player is chasing the elusive Royal Flush.

Here are the standard single-coin payouts for Jacks or Better Video Poker:

  • Royal Flush: 250 to 1
  • Straight Flush: 50 to 1
  • Four of a Kind: 25 to 1
  • Full House: 9 to 1
  • Flush: 6 to 1
  • Straight: 4 to 1
  • Three of a Kind: 3 to 1
  • Two Pairs: 2 to 1
  • Jacks or Better: 1 to 1

Like any slot machine format, the payouts increase exponentially if you play more coins (up to 5) per hand. The payout for a Royal Flush with a 5-coin wager is a juicy 4,000 to 1, which is enough incentive for many players to play the maximum 5 coins on every hand.

Here are the standard payouts wagering five (5) coins for Jacks or Better Video Poker:

  • Royal Flush: 4000 to 1
  • Straight Flush: 250 to 1
  • Four of a Kind: 125 to 1
  • Full House: 45 to 1
  • Flush: 30 to 1
  • Straight: 20 to 1
  • Three of a Kind: 15 to 1
  • Two Pairs: 10 to 1
  • Jacks or Better: 5 to 1




Video poker varies from online poker or brick-and-mortar poker because of the wild card option. Similar to your home poker games in your kitchen with friends, you can also opt to play video poker with wild cards. The two most popular games – Joker Poker and Deuces Wild – offer an added layer of excitement with wild cards. Joker Poker includes the Joker as a single wild card in a 53-card deck, while Deuces Wild utilizes the standard 52-card deck but all four deuces in the deck are designated as “wild” cards. Payouts are slightly different than the standard Jacks or Better, mainly because the wild cards increase the frequency in which players make certain bonus hands.



In a live poker setting, there’s an added emphasis on recognizing physical tells, but with video poker the sole emphasis is on pattern recognition. One of the biggest and most expensive mistakes that beginners make can be attributed to poorly reading their hand. It’s a costly mistake if you fail to recognize potential straights and flushes, especially when playing specialty games with wild cards.

Consistently winning video poker players have their draw charts memorized. Like most forms of gambling, video poker also requires discipline, focus, and sharp attention to detail, which are three essential attributes that winning poker players often possess.

Advanced video poker players are similar to seasoned poker players because they know how to act in tough situations, which they learned from their own personal experiences. You can read all the strategy you want in books, but it doesn’t compare to what you learn in real-life situations. For example, when should you break up a pair and draw one card for a straight, or keep the pair and draw three cards instead?





Video poker is the smart way to go. Some poker players with opulent lifestyles have a weakness for action gambling, which is why they waste their time playing negative EV casino games. Playing optimal video poker, which is as simple as memorizing a chart, offers up one of the best-possible edges out of all possible casino games, including slot machines. Next time, ignore the haters and give video poker a whirl – you might be surprised, and you might find your regular poker skills improving as well.


References & Sources for Further Reading.

PokerStars Casino:  How to Start Playing Video Poker

Engineers Garage: Invention Story of Slot Machines

International Game Technology: Online Products & Services

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How to Up Your Volume – While Improving Motivation

Posted by preachercasy151

Staying on pace to hit long-term volume goals need not be a painful slog. I propose one adjustment that will revolutionise your approach. To do so, let me introduce you to Holly…

Volume. Turnover. Grinding. Call it what you like; the reality remains the same. The more Holly plays, the more she earns. Simple, right?

Indeed it is – at least in principle. However, the theory is all well and good, but it doesn’t necessary feel straightforward when Holly’s chips are being pushed towards her opponents for hours on end. It is thoroughly dis-spiriting.

She approached me looking for some advice as she knuckled down for her first year as a professional grinder. Reaching 2x Supernova was her goal– an ambitious, but certainly achievable, target for somebody who grinds the low-mid stakes SNGs.

However, she was being held back by an inability to pace herself.

Drifting Focus

In her determination to get ahead in her Supernova charge, Holly would play until her energy levels were at zero every session. Then when it came to firing up her next session, her motivation would be down, and her focus would drift off after an inordinately short amount of time.

Sometimes, the mere thought of loading up the Pokerstars client would fill her stomach with that awful sinking feeling.

The result? A disillusioned grinder. An all-or-nothing outlook. A tilty disposition. An unprofessional approach. Boom or bust. Repeat.

How could Holly re-model her grinding schedule, so that she would start every day feeling fresh and motivated?

The New Approach – via Murakami and Hemingway

My advice to Holly was straightforward: in order to reach her goal, she needed to take a leaf out of the book of two literary greats.

Haruki Murakami’s outstanding meditation on running and life What I Talk About When I Talk About Running offers a fascinating insight into his writing method. This is something that he nabbed from an unknown scribbler who went by the name Ernest Hemingway. No, I’d never heard of him either.

‘I stop everyday right at the point where I feel I can write more. Do that, and the next day’s work goes surprisingly smoothly’ (p.5).

For Murakami and Hemingway, a long-term project like writing a novel required a steady pace and perpetual motivation. They did not want their brain to associate their craft with suffering.

Writing until they fell asleep at the desk was a sure-fire way to decrease motivation for the next day. Indeed, it would feel like a mission just to pick up the pen, after such a draining session. So they would quit, right when it felt like they had a little left in them.

Sound Familiar?

The Murakami method translates to poker beautifully. Ending each session on a high, with a bit of fuel left in the tank, keeps motivation up and dodges that nasty hidden danger ego depletion (the topic of an upcoming blog).

So the first step that I recommend when it comes to hitting long-term poker goals is to actively ignore the popular myth that you should ‘grind until you can grind no more’.

The reality is that playing until you flat-out can’t take any more is likely to hinder your progress. If you are mentally and physically exhausted, then sustaining your motivation across time will become incredibly difficult. In short: the likelihood of burn-out is massively increased.

Nailing Down a Plan

When I asked Holly how many games she could manage in a day, nailing down a plan became easy. She replied ‘225 at the absolute most’. So we knocked about 10% off, settling on 205 per day (which would get her to Supernova x2 comfortably, playing 5 days per week).

This would ensure that she finished every day happy with her volume, but feeling that she was capable of more. That final, painful, stretch from game 206-225 was simply chopped off.

The result? Holly became eager to log in the following day. Poker was no longer something that she associated with exhaustion; every day, she would end her session with something left in the tank and a desire to hit the tables again to keep her Supernova hunt on track.

Here’s the Best Bit

Best of all, her results improved too! No longer were the final 20 games a race to the finish, in order to tick another day off the list. Instead, Holly found herself playing a sharper, more focused A-game for longer.

The Problem with Volume

I sometimes fear that the volume-centric poker outlook is counter-productive. Some coaches and players would have you believe that stopping short of maximum volume every single day is absolutely scandalous. I disagree, and here’s why:

It is terrible to play 500 games daily for a month or two, and then to burn out and start tilting (or even quit!).

On the other hand, the slow-and-steady method has four clear advantages:

a) A more measured pace is less likely to make your brain associate poker with exhaustion, meaning that those I-just-can’t-face-it days are kept at bay,

b) Focus is stronger, and A-game is maintained,

c) Rather than focusing on just…getting…through…..this….never-……ending…….session, which is an extremely short-termist outlook, this approach keeps the grinder focused on the long-term goal of playing the same volume daily. Once the habit is formed, it is easier to adhere to,

d) Motivation is sustained when goals are met. For Holly, playing 205 games every day is a lot more achievable than playing 225 games most days. Therefore, she hits her target more frequently, perpetuating the feel-good and motivation.

Every day is a small victory, as she repeatedly hits her volume goal.

These small adjustments can be the difference between success and failure over the long-term. They have certainly helped Holly develop a strong grinding routine.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me your grinding routine, and perhaps I’ll be able to help you optimise it. And if you think that this article could help people to reach their long-term poker goals, give it a share on Twitter or Facebook and spread the word!

Follow Christy on Twitter

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New Player Want Friends

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I Play on Bovada,americas Cardroom,and Juicy Stakes. Looking for friends to play with on those sites as I am new to the poker world but I love to play.

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Posted by ryben14

Hi, I'm John Benedict Ganaban 27 years old. I live in the Philippines. I currently have 1 kid, soon will be 2. I was introduced to poker back in college. When one of my friends thought us to play during a b-day party. At first I didn't take the game seriously, as I thought it was just literally all about luck and gambling, but I was wrong. Started playing the game seriously after probably a year, when my friend brought us to a live casino. Started winning huge amount on our first games, and thought that the game was so easy. And that we can make money out of it without consistent hard work, but again I was wrong. Played Live poker for 3-4 years, made some decent profit. Then we realized that poker is a game where you can make a living out of it.

And here comes online... At first I failed a lot, I mean a LOT!! It was so frustrating, seeing yourself failing and quitting is like a spiritual torture. So at some point I kept on quitting, going back working, then win 1 huge tournament and thought I'm the best so went full time again and failed again. So overall, I failed a lot. One day decided to just get rid of it and just focus in my 9-5 job, but I guess you can't never really run from who you are.. I really love the game, the Psychological warfare where in a total beginner can win against a world class pro.

I started really digging to my game and really learn some stuff, technical stuff last year. Ended up playing online poker, currently as a professional poker player 24-tabling at NL2.. I'm making some pretty decent money, higher than what I'm getting from being a call center agent.

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