Using Poker Skills in Video Poker

Although the name is similar and the cards look the same, traditional poker, as we know it, and video poker is entirely different.

But that’s not to say we can’t use our poker skills to improve our chances of making a profit while playing video poker, a game we see at brick and mortar casinos and online casinos. The video version is a mainstay of those establishments for a good reason: they are popular and make the casino money.

If a game didn’t make the casino money, it would never be available – because it would leak cash and, over time, cause financial problems for the house. It’s why every casino game has what’s known as the house edge, which is the amount that mathematically the casino will win from the game over time.

Some casino games, like slots, have a high house edge. Others, like blackjack, can have a house edge as low as 0.5% if a player sticks to a solid playing strategy. Video poker has a similarly low house edge, as small as 0.5%, making it one of the best games you can play.

But will your knowledge of playing poker games like Texas Hold’em help you to keep that house edge down and maybe even score a big win? Yes, it can, and here is why.

Look for a Good Game

There are many different types of video poker games, from Jacks or Better to Deuces Wild and more, and each will have different paytables relating to the chances of winning. Other game manufacturers at different US casino sites may vary these payouts, so players shouldn’t just go to an online casino and open up the first video poker game they see.

Like in online poker, you should look around and find the best table or tournament where you think you have the best chance of winning.

Hand Rankings

Once you start playing video poker, you have an immediate advantage as a card-game enthusiast – you know the poker hand rankings, from a pair right up to the royal flush. That means you don’t have to keep referring to a guide to check what hand you have or think you might get once you redraw.

Understanding hand rankings and why one has a better payout than another brings us on to the next advantage for the poker player who might be playing video poker games.


Video poker is essentially 5-card draw. You get five cards, and you can hold and discard as many as you wish before drawing again to make the best possible hand.

Knowing how likely you are to make two pair, a straight, flush, full house, and any other ranking is a huge advantage for poker players. They know automatically what the chances are of making their hand when they draw, based on what cards are in play and so what cards remain in the virtual deck to be drawn.

Poker players can use their skill to make draws that make sense – for example, not going for the spectacular all the time, a sure-fire way of losing cash fast.

Methodical Approach

Good poker players take their time and play methodically. They know losing hands is all part of the game and that making a poker profit will come if they stick to a solid strategy and get a slice of luck along the way.

The same approach improves your chances in video poker. Losing players will just rush through, holding cards and redrawing without giving it any thought. But poker experts will work out the odds of taking one approach against another and make mathematical decisions that will improve their long-term profitability.

Learn When to Walk Away

Poker players master solid bankroll management skills. If they are experiencing a losing session, they won’t go chasing those losses. Sometimes it is best to just get up and try something else for a while. The same rule should apply to video poker. Don’t increase your bet size and speed of play just because you are behind.

On the flip side, if you make a good profit in a session, don’t be afraid of calling it a day and banking that cash. Good poker players have this in their locker; they won’t just keep playing with the expectation of making even more cash.

Many top poker players have had success putting their skills to good use on video poker games. For example, Bart Hanson bagged a $200,000 jackpot playing video poker at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in 2018. Maybe you can score a big win at video poker, too?