Playing Video Poker for a Living

Video poker is one of the best ways to make a living in a casino. That may seem impossible to the average person that only gives action to small casinos or the Las Vegas Strip. There are thousands of advantage gamblers in the world that make enough to support them from video poker play.

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Basic Strategy Imperative to Learn

Learning the basic strategy of any video poker game that returns at or near 100% is the first step in making a living playing video poker. Our video poker section shows the best play for the types of five-card hands that are dealt in video poker. It is imperative that you not use these plays on machines that do not offer full-pay tables. Some of the moves will change if a full house or flush pay lower than the 100% games.

It is one thing to know how to play. Most casinos do not offer 100% games, and when they do, they are usually for VP games that are tougher to learn. It is nearly impossible to find one on the Las Vegas Strip. A couple of Atlantic City and California casinos offer these. Check out to find out if the casino that you are visiting offers good video poker pay tables. If they do not, you should not expect to win unless you get lucky.

Getting Video Poker Comps

The Las Vegas locals market is the best place for quality video poker in the world. There are more than 100 video poker machines in Lad Vegas where the pay table returns more than 100% when five coins are wagered. Some games, like 10/7/5 Double Bonus and 10/6 Double Double Bonus, are offered in denominations as high as $1. Full pay Deuces Wild and Joker Poker are common up to the $.25 denomination. These machines also add 0.05% to 0.1% in cash back on the play when a rewards card is used.

It is possible to get mailers with more free play if you give a little action to other games on a visit. This is known as cover play and may help keep you from getting backed off. This type of play can generate offers that may otherwise be withheld.

The cash back is just a sliver of the overall return that can be added to video poker. Expert players know there are promotions that can return far more than a small fraction of a percent.

Many casinos offer point multiplier days. Players that pay attention to mailers or log into players club sites will see special days where more points are awarded. This can be anywhere from three times to 10 times the normal amount. The catch on point multiplier days is that they normally do not apply to the games that return more than 100%. Point multipliers do apply to games that return just under 100%. The goal for the video poker advantage player is to find a game like 9/6 Bonus Poker Deluxe at a Boyd Gaming property or Triple Bonus Plus and Not-So-Ugly-Deuces at a Station Casinos’ resort.

The points can be converted into comps at Boyd at full price or free play at two-thirds the value. Station Casinos points are redeemable for cash back. This requires a visit to the Boarding Pass players center. Free play may be claimed directly on the machine, except for the 100% games.

Some casinos hold drawings based on the level of play during the promotions period. This can be a few hours, a full day, or a week. Every so many points receive one ticket into a drawing with these promotions. Winners can receive free slot play, cash or big prizes like a car. Another form of promotion along these lines is hot seats. That is where an active player is declared a winner from the promotions system. These types of drawings are typically awarded every 15, 30 or 60 minutes.These

types of drawings and hot seat promotions are more common at smaller casinos. The problem is that sometimes there are few or no video poker games worth playing. Video table games are often a great alternative at casinos without quality video poker. Those devices often participate in promotions.

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Progressive Video Poker Jackpots

Progressive jackpots are one of the better ways to advantage play video poker in markets where there are no full pay machines. Casinos in remote areas with little or no competition often offer progressive jackpots on a royal flush to entice players to give action to machines that are otherwise give poor returns. These do not always hit when they should and can run up well into positive expectation, especially when combined with other promotions. These can be few and far between.

A 7/5 Bonus Poker game with a progressive would require a royal flush progressive of just over $2,000 to return more than 100%. The same goes for 9/6/5 Double Bonus and 9/5 Double Double Bonus. These are the most common progressive jackpot games. Keep in mind that any jackpot of $1,200 or higher will generate a W2G tax form.

Video Poker Quality Not What It Used to Be

It was much easier for an advantage player to make a living during the 1990’s. That is because the pay tables nearly all returned more than 99% during that era. The reason for this is because sites like Wizard of Odds did not exist. Players had to learn video poker strategy on their own without the help of experts and computer programs.

Some casinos still offer these machines from decades ago. Many are found in Las Vegas. Downtown casinos like Plaza, Main Street Station, Fremont, California and El Cortez spread coins from nickels to dollars. Locals’ casinos like Jerry’s Nugget, Poker Palace, Sam’s Town and Railroad Pass also have coin games with great pay tables.

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