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HOME > Gaming > Ask the Slot Expert: Should I play Class II video poker with a strategy?

Ask the Slot Expert: Should I play Class II video poker with a strategy?

30 January 2013

By John Robison, Slot Expert™


I realize that the VLT video poker machines are not really video poker machines as we know them, but even though we don’t have any control over the decision, why wouldn’t we want to play them as though they were Class III just so we keep up on the proper strategy when we DO play the real thing. Even though the outcome is not determined by our choices, it would give us PRACTICE, if you will, on the proper decisions as we see them on the screen.

In Washington State, the tribal casinos are all Class II, I think, so when playing a so-called video poker machine, all you have to do is keep pushing the button and not be concerned with picking cards, but without choosing the cards, the fun of the game is lost. I play them as though I’m in Vegas.


Dear Bob,

Given the choice between playing a Class II video poker-like machine as if my choices mattered and playing it willy-nilly, I agree with you. It's better to play it using your strategy for the Class III machine to get more practice with the strategy. Using a strategy won't hurt you. Plus, you might develop some bad habits if you played the machine randomly. Even professional athletes work with coaches to break them of bad habits they've picked up.

I would like to suggest a third choice. Don't play these wolves in sheep's clothing at all. If you're going to be playing a slot machine, you might as well play a slot machine.

Jackpots for all,

You must be a millionaire if you know all about the slots. I can never seem to win whenever I play the slots. Must be because I play the pennies. I play to have fun but just once I would love to win.

I am a cheap player -- 5 lines with 10 cents on a line, no more than 50 cents do I invest. But I also will play 9 lines with 5 cents on a line. Should I win ever?

Have you ever been a big winner?


A millionaire from knowing about slots? I wish. My total book sales are a rounding error compared with Stephen King's or Dan Brown's or John Grisham's, etc., sales. Plus, I don't play the super-high denomination or progressive slot machines on which million-dollar payouts are possible.

You should win occasionally. We all lose most of the time, but sometimes we should leave the casino ahead. I think it might be a bit tougher to come out ahead on the multi-coin/multi-line (video) slots than on a traditional reel-spinner because the video slots usually have more frequent but smaller payouts than the reel-spinners. Their high hit frequencies are designed to give players more time on device, not frequent big jackpots. Because the bigger payouts are less likely on the video slots, it's harder to climb out of a hole once you're behind.

Keep playing, keep playing within your means, keep having fun while playing, and don't ever think that a machine is due or owes you. The winning sessions will come.

Have I been a big winner? That depends on your definition of big, but I would say so. I've hit many jackpots over $1,200, some royal flushes on dollar video poker machines and a progressive royal flush for over $5,000 at Bellagio late in the afternoon on the first day it was open.

With over 50 $100 bills in my wallet -- so many I couldn't close it -- what did I do next? Rushed to the buffet to get in before they raised the price for dinner!

Jackpots for all,

Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at slotexpert@slotexpert.com. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

Copyright © John Robison. Slot Expert and Ask the Slot Expert are trademarks of John Robison.

John Robison
John  Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming's leading publications. Hear John on "The Good Times Radio Gaming Show," broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoons. You can listen to archives of the show online anytime.

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