Money Management in Video Poker

Video poker is one of the very few types of casino games that allow players to make sustainable and often significant profits by simply avoiding errors and implementing a good money management plan. Allocating a gambling budget and sticking to it, however, is not always that easy and even seasoned gamblers would sometimes find themselves betting more than they have intended to.

Even worse, some casino players may end up losing their entire bankrolls by choosing the wrong game or trying to return their losses. This is why money management is fundamental to every successful gambling strategy – with the proper preparation and plan in place, players can dramatically reduce their losses and increase their chances of winning in video poker even in the long-term.

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Importance of Money Management in Video Poker

Unlike the majority of casino games, video poker does not rely solely on chance but has an element of skill, as well. Players should understand, however, that even with perfect strategy, the game is based on probabilities and winning each and every round is impossible. Video poker is played with a single deck of 52 cards – players receive an initial 5-card hand and must decide which cards they wish to keep and which to replace. The round is resolved in the second draw when all discarded cards are replaced with new ones.

As you can see, the odds for the initial hand are fixed but they change drastically, depending on the player’s decisions. For example, players who hold Ace, Queen, Jack, and Ten of hearts and need just one card to a Royal Flush face odds of 47 to 1. If they hold a Three of Kind (three Sevens, for instance), the odds of turning this hand into a Full House are 16 to 1. Clearly, even the best strategy does not guarantee success since the outcome will still depend on chance.

Even if we play a video poker variation with a positive expectation (yes, there are versions of this game where the theoretical RTP is higher than 100%), we will still lose some of the hands. Small losses could accumulate and result in financial ruin unless players manage to adjust the stakes properly in accordance with their entire bankroll. Two main factors determine players’ chances of winning in video poker – the house edge and the variance of the game.

House Edge in Video Poker vs Other Games
Volatility in Video Poker
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Setting up a Video Poker Bankroll

A common mistake among casino players is to gamble with all the money they have – it is easy to see how this could lead them to a devastating financial ruin. An equally bad decision, however, is to bring too little money into the casino and lose it all in an hour. This is why players should set up a proper bankroll that would sustain their playing sessions.

A bankroll is a fixed amount of money dedicated to gambling. It should be separate from the players’ bank account and money for everyday living expenses. Whether it is $100, $1,000 or $10,000, the bankroll is kept for the specific purpose of playing video poker.

Long-Term Bankroll
Session Bankroll
Royal Flush to Bankroll Ratio
Betting Units

Win Goals and Loss Limits

1Calculating Your Win Goal

Before starting to play video poker, players should decide when to quit, regardless of whether they are losing or winning. When some people make a profit, they prefer to keep playing, assuming they are betting the casino’s money. But this is not the best way to approach money management, especially if your purpose is to keep your profits. By continuing to place bets, they simply risk losing them.

That’s why it is a good idea to have a win goal of around 30 percent of the session bankroll. If you have a bankroll of $150, your win goal would be $45. To simplify it, we can say the win goal will be a third of the session bankroll – in this case, it would be $50. When your profits reach this amount and you have $200, you should quit playing. It would be a mistake not to. An alternative to this quite conservative strategy is to divide your profits in two and use one half for betting. The other half should be kept for the next game session.

2Know When to Stop Playing

One of the most important steps of every successful money management plan is to set a loss limit and stick to it. Video poker experts recommend having a loss limit of around 60 percent of the session bankroll – that is twice the win goal, as you can see. For a bankroll of $150, the limit should be $90 – once you lose this amount, you should quit playing with $60 in your pocket.

Many players, especially less experienced ones, tend to disregard this piece of advice in the hope that they can win back some of the money they have lost. Often, they end up losing their entire bankroll chasing losses.

Additional Bankroll Management Tips

A good money management plan helps players control their spending in the casino. But it has an additional purpose – to increase one’s chances to win and, if possible, to reduce the potential losses. Dozens of great tips would help every gambler stay in control of their money. For instance, they should avoid using their regular credit card for making casino deposits – having a nearly unlimited source of funds at your disposal is certainly not a good idea when gambling.

When it comes to video poker bankroll management, in particular, there are several specific things players should focus on. They should always go for full-pay variations, learn the proper strategy for the game they play, and slow down their bets.

Go for Full-Pay Games
Stick to Optimal Strategy
Slow Down the Game
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