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HOME > HI-ROLLER > Gaming Tips > How to Be Successful at Video Poker

How to Be Successful at Video Poker

20 June 2020

By Jerry Stickman

Video poker is among the most popular of casino video games. The reasons for this are many. They include:

• Relatively low house edge – sometimes even a player edge.
• You can play alone - without other people watching and commenting on your play.
• The pay table which determines the house edge and volatility is displayed so you can determine the best game.
• You have a say in the outcome - player decisions affect results.
• Playing strategies that maximize returns are available.

But many players – possibly most players – lose far more than they should. They play like gamblers and make mistakes that gamblers make.

In order to become a successful video poker player, you must stop being a gambler and start treating your video poker play like a job. It is a fun job, to be sure, but it is still a job.

What to do? Follow the eight “Be’s.”

  • Be knowledgeable.

Know what game you want to play. It should be a low house edge game such as full-pay (9/6) Jacks or Better, full-pay or “Not So Ugly” deuces wild, or something similar. In order to be successful, you want the lowest barrier against you.

  • Be prepared.

Once you have decided which game or games you want to play, learn the proper playing strategy. Practice this strategy using an application on your computer or smartphone until you have it down pat. Remember each time you misplay you are giving money to the casino.

  • Be observant.

Find the best game possible – one of the games you have practiced.

Casinos have scores of video poker machines. They come in all types: Jacks or Better, Double Bonus Poker, Deuces Wild, etc. Check out the video poker games being offered. However, don’t assume that what is displayed on the glass or base is the actual game on the machine. The only way to guarantee you have the game you want is to check the entire pay table.

Finally, if you cannot find a game with the low house edge you are seeking, don’t play. Go elsewhere. Don’t be a gambler. A gambler is not a successful video poker player.

  • Be alert.

If at all possible, maintain the same general schedule as in your normal daily life. There are enough distractions in a casino without changing your daily rhythm.

Play for a reasonable amount of time. Accuracy drops rapidly as playing sessions become longer. Take a break at least every hour or so. Stop sooner if you start making errors. Leave the casino and take a walk. Relax for a while and recharge before resuming play.

Do not play if you are tired. Tired players make mistakes. They are following the gambler in them. Don’t be one of them.

  • Be very careful about consuming alcohol as it clouds judgment and dulls the senses. Drinking is what gamblers do.

  • Be frugal.

Make full use of all your available resources. Make sure you join the slot players club and use your player’s card for all your play. The points you accumulate can be used for free play, food, and even cash. You could also score free rooms, food, drinks, shows and other comps. You may be invited to special promotions such as, bonus point days, and free tournaments and more. All of these things add to your winnings and make your play more successful.

  • Be properly funded.

Very few casino experiences are worse than losing your entire video poker bankroll in the first hour or two of a three or four-day casino visit. In order to be successful playing video poker, you have to have a properly-sized bankroll.

The bankroll must be money that is strictly designated for casino play and not needed for other things such as groceries, car payments, mortgage or heart surgery.

When you are properly financed, you will be successful because you can focus on playing properly and not sweating the money.

  • Be careful.

If the player has an edge over the casino, more hands played means more profit. Speed is this player’s friend. But speed without accuracy is costly. If you have an edge (counting the game itself plus bonus cash and comps) you want to play as quickly as possible – but only if the play is perfect play.

If you find yourself making mistakes because of your playing speed, slow down. Perfect play is more successful than fast play.

  • Be self-aware.

After completing a playing session, take some time to reflect on how you did. What did you do right? What did you do wrong? Be honest. Once you answer those questions make a plan to enforce what you did right and correct what you did wrong. You will then on your way to becoming a successful video poker player.


To be a successful video poker player, you must stop playing like a gambler. You must treat playing video poker as a job. Follow the eight “Be’s” to help you achieve this goal:

• Be knowledgeable.
• Be prepared.
• Be observant.
• Be alert.
• Be frugal.
• Be properly funded.
• Be careful.
• Be self-aware.

If you follow these guidelines, and follow them closely, you will become a successful video poker player. You will not win every session. You may not win every trip. You will, however, win over the long run. And isn’t winning what it is all about?

May all your wins be swift and large, and your losses be slow and small.

Jerry “Stickman”

Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack and video poker and advantage slot machine play. He authored the video poker section of "Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Pai Gow Poker!" You can contact Jerry “Stickman” at stickmanjerry@aol.com

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

Jerry Stickman
Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

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