Video Poker Mistakes

Whenever you are new to playing video poker, you will have to be careful and avoid rookie mistakes. Even though every player learns from his/her mistakes, it is always useful to know what to avoid. If you wish to elevate your video poker play and enjoy fruitful results, you must be well aware of the game, as well as of the other factors surrounding video poker. This being said, simply knowing how to play will not always be of help if you continue making the same mistakes. This is why you should be able to recognize your slipups and quickly correct yourself.

In order to be able to enjoy a smooth video poker experience, you should be able to pick the right game, use the best strategy and further improve your overall gameplan. Knowing what you have to avoid will help you better your casino experience. We have listed and explained some of the most common mistakes players might make while playing video poker. Keep on reading and you will know how to upgrade from a newbie to a video poker expert in no time.

Not Making a Maximum Bet on Progressive Video Poker

Maximum BetThis is definitely a common mistake among many players who are new to the game of video poker. Since there are some variations that offer a progressive jackpot, not betting the maximum number of coins is definitely a huge missed opportunity. If you are playing video poker that offers a huge progressive prize for those who manage to get Royal Flush, you will be eligible to receive the jackpot only if you make a maximum bet which is usually 5 credits at most.

Not betting the maximum amount also applies as a mistake even on non-progressive video poker games. Even if there is no jackpot, you will be able to enjoy a generous payout for Royal Flush if you make a maximum bet. You will notice that typically the payout for Royal Flush is 250 for 1 coin, 500 for 2 coins, 750 for betting 3 coins, 1,000 for 4 coins and 4,000 for 5 coins. As you can see, betting 5, instead of 4 coins will result in a drastic difference in the credits you will win if you make Royal Flush. If you are chasing good payouts, do not make the common mistake of not getting the maximum amount as you are guaranteed to regret not winning the jackpot simply for betting 4 coins, instead of 5.

Not Using a Strategy or Using the Wrong One

Video Poker StrategyOne of the best qualities of video poker is the fact that it offers players the chance to tilt the scales in their favor. While the game does include an element of luck, still the final result depends on the decisions of the person playing. This is why it is a mistake to simply rely on luck and not use a strategy.

When you use a strategy, you will be able to make the decision which cards are worth to hold and which ones you should discard. After all, this is the most important thing about this game and the rewarding results you are anticipating.

It is extremely easy to use strategies when playing video poker as there are numerous websites with charts or mobile apps you can install on your smart device. This will help you to easily make fast decisions and play for better payouts. The only thing that you need to make sure is that you are looking the right strategy that corresponds to the video poker variant you are playing.

While certain hands make it easier for you to decide which cards to hold and which ones to discard, other hands require more critical thinking. What is more, while certain strategy is appropriate for one type of video poker, other variants may require different action. This is why players should avoid using the same strategy for all video poker games and make sure they are utilizing the right system.

Mismanagement of One’s Bankroll

Video Poker Bankroll ManagementAnother very common mistake that many video poker players tend to make is mismanaging their money. In fact, this is an issue many gamblers struggle with and those who know how to manage their funds have proven to be more successful in their video poker adventures. One of the most important things to do before starting playing video poker is to set your budget. You should determine how much you are willing to risk before you start making real-money bets.

What is even more important than setting your bankroll is to stick to the limits you have determined for yourself. This may be a tad difficult especially if you are chasing your losses. This is why it important to remember the budget you have chosen for the game and stop once you are over the limit. No matter what the results are, video poker should be a source of entertainment rather than a tool for making a profit. Sticking to your budget will help you enjoy your time and avoid getting into debts.

A good tip is to also avoid betting the maximum amount of coins if you are still learning. It is better to take smaller risks and enjoy decent payouts when you are still getting used to strategies and the overall gameplay.

Holding a High-Valued Card When There is a Better Opportunity

Video PokerThis is a mistake which often new players are making when still learning how to play video poker. Whenever rookies do not know well which cards will benefit them and which ones are better to be switched, they tend to keep cards of higher ranks. When players are holding a pair on their first deal, they might be tempted to keep any of the rest cards if they contain Aces, Kings, Queens or Jacks but this will actually decrease their winning chances with 5%.

Another similar mistake is to keep an Ace when it is combined with two face-cards such as King and Jack. If you discard the Ace, your winning chances will actually improve but many rookie players are fooled by the idea of having a good chance to hit Straight if they keep the Ace.

Keeping a Suited Ace-Ten Instead of Discarding the Ten

Another common mistake that many new players tend to make when betting on Jacks or Better is to keep an Ace and 10 after the initial deal when they are of the same suit. This is due to the misbelief that this way players can easily get Royal Flush on the next draw. In reality, they miss the chance to form another hand.

While it is true that landing Straight or Flush on the next draw when holding Ace and 10 is possible, this does not overcompensate the decreased opportunity for landing Four of a Kind, Three of a Kind or Pair of cards with a high denomination. In the end, the optimal strategy recommends discarding the 10.

Ignoring the Payout of the Game

Ignoring the PayoutOne of the general mistakes you should avoid when playing video poker is to choose a game that does not offer the best possible payout. Maybe you have heard that when using the proper strategy, you can actually tilt the balance in your favor and gain a bigger advantage than the casino. This, however, is true only when you are playing a full-pay variant of video poker.

Many players ignore this advice and end up playing what is known as the short-pay versions of video poker. This naturally leads to less advantage for players as their potential profit is lower than what it is supposed to be. Whenever you are choosing the video poker variation you are about to play, one of the most important things you should do is to check the game’s paytable and make sure it is a full-pay option.

This applies to both brick-and-mortar and online casinos since players can shop for the highest paying video poker machine at land-based gambling facilities, while many websites allow you to check the paytables of games before making any bet. Take Jacks or Better for example. If you are looking for the full-pay version of the game, you should resort to playing 9/6 Jacks or Better. This means that the payout for Full House should be 9 to 1, while Flush should pay 6 to 1.

Overlooking the Need of Practice

PracticeNo matter how confident you are in your knowledge of video poker variations and different strategies, you should approach the game carefully when you are new to video poker. Online players have the wonderful opportunity to play for fun until they are used to the game and they have mastered the strategy they are intending to use.

There is really no point to waste your money while you are still learning to play. This is why you should avoid making the mistake of playing for real money before you have practiced enough. Do yourself a favor and visit a website that offers plenty of video poker options. You will notice that many online casinos offer the option to “Play for Fun”. This would mean that players are given “play money” to explore the games on the website without risking any of their own money. What is even better is the fact that many gambling sites will not even require registration for you to test the games in fun mode. This means that you can test any video poker variation without wasting any time or real money.

In addition to virtual casinos, there are also many mobile apps that will also allow you to practice your strategy and learn how to play video poker. Whatever is your choice of practice, make sure that you are truly ready before you embark on real-money video poker gambling.

Being Too Aggressive or Too Passive

Being Too Aggressive or Too PassiveWhile some players are well aware of the optimal decision according to the strategy they are using, sometimes they tend to ignore the strategy and act on their own. In such cases, it can be noticed that the player is either playing too aggressively or on the opposite side of the spectrum – too passively.

If we take for example a game of 10/7 Double Bonus Poker where the player is holding a hand of A-K-Q-5-3 and except the 3, all other cards are of the same suit. He/she might be aware that the optimal decision is to keep all of the cards, except the 3. However, a player who has an aggressive approach will keep only the Ace, King and the Queen since he/she is hoping to make Royal Flush on the second draw. When someone knows which is the right move in such a situation but still makes another decision, he/she makes an “error of aggression”. Do not make the mistake to not follow the proper strategy as you are most likely to regret it in the end.

There are also players who ignore the strategy due to being way too passive. If we take a look at a game of Deuces Wild where the hand on the initial deal is comprised of 3 Deuces and 4-6 of the same suit. The optimal move will be to keep only the 3 wild cards but the player may decide to hold all five cards since he/she fears that the next draw will not form a successful hand.

Playing High Variance Video Poker

High Variance Video PokerMany new players often make the mistake to make bets on high variance games. These, however, are more suitable for high-rollers who are willing to take bigger risks in order to enjoy higher payouts. If you are rather new to the casino game and you have set yourself a more reasonable budget, you are advised to stick to low variance games such as Jacks or Better or Bonus Poker. High variance games usually are the ones that offer higher payouts for certain Four of a Kind hands and they require players to make riskier moves.

Losing Concentration

ConcentrationThis mainly applies to players who are enjoying the game at a land-based casino. While it is true that your main priority should be to have fun when playing video poker, if you still want to enjoy a fruitful experience, it is advised to not lose focus. While you are talking to other players or simply going through as many hands as possible for the time you are at the casino, you will probably make mistakes which may cost you the big prize.

Another factor which may affect your judgment is consuming way too much alcohol. If you are constantly ordering drinks, you can be sure that it will not be long until you start making mistakes that will simply make you lose money instead of making your night exciting and filled with generous winnings. What is more, if you have way too many drinks, you may often ignore the budget limit you have previously set for yourself. Overall, you should keep your head in the game and be careful with the alcoholic drinks.


ConclusionWhile no one is immune to mistakes, it is useful to know what to avoid when you are playing video poker. Having a good understanding of which games are the most fitted for you will definitely elevate your gambling experience. In addition to simply having fun, using the right type of strategy and sticking to it will also result in a fruitful play.

Make sure to practice everything you have learned before you start playing with real money. This way you will be prepared for every scenario and will be able to make the optimal decision when betting on video poker.

Even if you ignore any of the aforementioned tips, make sure to always set a budget and stick to it. This is the most important step when you are playing any type of casino games. Even if you are on a losing streak forget about chasing your losses. Whenever you have reached your spending limit, just get up and walk away from the game.

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Find the answers of questions people asked so far:

Dan Gloria

Is it a big mistake to play four or fewer coins on video poker if I wish to last more rounds with smaller bets?

Asked by: Gloria | Asked on: 2023-06-18
Answered by: Dan | Answered on: 2023-06-18

It depends on the type of video poker game that you play. While the majority of video poker variations offer significantly bigger Royal Flush payout for a bet of five coins, making the max-coin bet on every round is crucial mostly for progressive video poker games. If you are playing a non-progressive video poker game, you might opt for smaller bet sizes to ensure that you last more rounds. However, you must be willing to risk the higher possible payout for Royal Flush if you do not bet five coins on every round. Betting four or fewer coins on video poker is considered a mistake only in the case of playing for a progressive payout or when you expect the highest possible win of the game.

Dan Ron

Can something which is considered a correct play in a land-based casino, become a mistake when playing video poker online?

Asked by: Ron | Asked on: 2023-10-26
Answered by: Dan | Answered on: 2023-10-27

It is fair to say that the way you play video poker online and at a land-based casino is pretty much the same. That means that the mistakes covered in the review apply to your video poker sessions no matter whether you play online or at a brick-and-mortar casino. To maximize your wins and minimize your losses, you should pick the right video poker variation, use the correct strategy, and bet five coins in order to qualify for the higher payout for Royal Flush.

One thing to consider, however, is the variations of video poker machines on casino floors and the variants you find at online casinos. Just because a certain video poker machine offers the highest payout at a land-based casino, it does not mean that the same variation will be the best option to play online. That is why I advise you to draw comparisons between different video poker variations that are currently available to you online or at a land-based casino and always opt for full-pay versions or at least variants that offer the highest achievable RTP.