If you‘ve already done some reading on video poker strategy, you may have come across the term, “optimum video poker play”. Many experts use this term to describe what is known as “perfect play”. Perfect play is when each playing decision is made based on the highest expected value. In reality, only a computer would be able to make all perfect playing decisions in any video poker game. For people there are some simple strategies to help you get the most payback possible in certain games.
For some games, getting the highest payback possible requires the use of hand rank tables for games like Double Bonus Poker and All American Poker. Many video poker strategy experts have developed complex strategies involving penalty card (see Video Poker Terms for “penalty card”) situations.
In an effort to perfect their video poker strategies, many experts go a little overboard generating penalty card situations galore. Anyone who plays a lot of video poker could certainly learn the rules of such a strategy, but it would just be a waste of time. There are much simpler strategies to help to come within a fraction of a percentage of perfect play. This is especially effective if you can play over 500 hands per hour.
Following more complex strategies would slow your play down and reduce your expected win rate more than the potential benefit of playing a better strategy. Let’s face it, playing wouldn’t be as much fun either. If you consider the point of diminishing returns when playing a game like All American Poker, if you play a basic strategy and play fast, you’ll be giving up a good portion of your wins. If you use a better strategy and accept a minor reduction in your playing speed, your expected win per hour will actually increase.
A video poker strategy that could get you as close to the maximum payback possible could be developed but would be quite complicated. If you used this strategy consistently your expected win per play would increase, but penalty card situations would slow you down. Any deviation from the strategy would likely cause you to make errors and lower your winning rate. Because of the wide variety of games and people who play them, the idea of “optimum play” really means a strategy that would garner the best possible win rate for a particular player.
Since we don’t know what sort of video poker player you are, it is difficult to formulate a strategy that would work for you. The average amount held by video poker machines in Nevada could be reduced by about two percent if everyone played perfect strategy. In reality, most players play on hunches and guesses and don’t use a good playing strategy. Anyone can learn to play and win at video poker, but most casino patrons go expecting to have fun and lose money. Often they believe video poker machines are set to payout a specific amount, regardless of how they play.
Video poker machines operate randomly and most are honestly operated. Anyone who uses a good video poker strategy can be a winner at video poker if they want to.