Video Poker vs VLT Machine

As it has already been explained, whenever players decide which cards to discard after the initial deal on video poker, the second draw will replace the cards they have dismissed with other cards from the deck which are picked randomly. Since players are allowed to make decisions after the first draw and the following cards are dealt randomly, it can be said that the outcome of the game depends both on luck and on the players’ actions.

However, in many casinos, there are also games known as video lottery terminals. They do not function the same way video poker machines do in the sense that they do not utilize an RNG. This means that the winners are not selected randomly but there is actually a preselected number of winners.

While both of the games may resemble slot machines in a way, it is worth discussing the differences between the two casino games. This way you will be able to differentiate them and pick which one to play.

How Video Lottery Terminals Work

How video poker terminal worksOne of the main characteristics of video lottery terminals is that they have a different system for determining the winners. If you decide to play on a machine form this type, you are simply making a bet on the outcome of the game. In fact, VLT machines can be considered computerized lottery tickets as you are making bets on the final result and you are hoping to be right and take the prize.

It should be noted that when you are joining the game, the number of winners have already been predetermined. While the winners may not be announced on every round, at some point, you will see them. Despite the numbers of winners being predetermined, however, this does not mean that the way they are chosen is not random. This is why players should not be mistaken and think that these machines are simply tricking them.

The system that determines the winners for a certain VLT machine may not always be located in the casino where you play. In fact, often there is a central system that may manage several VLT machines or an entire network of VLT machines across numerous casinos. This means that you are actually competing against other players when you are playing on a VLT machine.

This type of game is favorite to many Native American casinos and can also be seen at racinos which are a combination of casinos and racetracks. When playing on some VLT machines, players actually see a virtual variant of a scratchcard. When you think about it, from the moment you buy a scratchcard from any store, it is already decided whether you will win or not. However, there is no way to know the outcome in advance. The same applies to VLT machines, as well.

Machine Class

Video Poker RNGOne very distinctive difference between video poker and video lottery terminal machines is their class. This should not be confused with the quality of the gameplay that both of the games are offering. In this context, class applies to the gameplay that each type of casino machine is offering. While video poker machines are of Class Ⅲ, VLT machines are of Class Ⅱ. In 1988 the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act determined three classes for the games that can or cannot be offered at certain gambling facilities. Class Ⅰ are games typical for Native American casinos and they usually offer small-valued prizes.

For Class Ⅱ the results for the game are generated by a predetermined winning pattern. With this type of games, we estimate the odds of hitting a certain pattern on a bingo card. In addition to that, there is no need to use a strategy since your actions will not have an actual effect on the final result. With Class Ⅱ machines there is also no way to calculate a potential RTP which can be determined by the game’s paytable.

On the other hand, video poker machines belong to Class Ⅲ where the result is generated thanks to a Random Number Generator (RNG). You can calculate the odds of a certain card from the deck appearing on the second draw. With video poker machines it is very important to use strategies as they can affect the outcome. This is due to the fact that the decisions of players determine the result on the second draw.

Differences Between Video Poker and VLT Machines

Being of two different classes, the two types of casino games have distinctive features which can help you determine which one of them you would prefer to play.

Deciding the Result

Video Poker ResultThis is probably the biggest difference between Class Ⅲ and Class Ⅱ machines. Video poker machines include an RNG software which selects the cards from the deck randomly. The first hand that you are dealt is picked thanks to the RNG and cannot be predicted. While you are making your decision about which cards to keep and which ones to discard, the software is constantly shuffling the remaining cards in the deck. When you have made your decisions and you press the button “Deal”, the replacing cards will be yet again chosen randomly. It is considered that each card has the same probability to appear on the initial deal and the second draw. Players also know the exact probability of forming different winning hands on video poker.

If you, however, play video poker on a Class Ⅱ machine, then the result will be determined in a different manner. The VLT machine is connected to a server which functions in a similar way to the RNG as it draws bingo balls by means of an arbitrary selection. After the bingo game is over, a pattern is decided. It is comprised of the numbers on a bingo card and this pattern determines how and when the game is won. There are predetermined time frames during which certain players will hit a win. The winning pattern determines the number of both the wins and the losses.

If you are playing on a VLT machine it does not really matter what is the interface of the game as the winning result will always be determined on a bingo game. This means that even though you are playing video poker on a Class Ⅱ machine, you might be competing against players who are playing slots or scratch cards. Either way, the winner will be determined via the software which connects all the VLT machines in the same network.


Video Poker OddsAs it was explained above, the winners on Class Ⅱ games are determined by the bingo pattern that is formed by software. Since there can be odds on millions of different bingo patterns, it is very difficult to calculate odds on this type of casino games.

However, with Class Ⅲ games it is possible to calculate the exact odds on drawing the different winning hands from a 52-card deck. Knowing the payouts for each hand and the odds, you can also determine the expected return which cannot be done with Class Ⅱ games. If you are playing on a Class Ⅲ video poker, you can always see the payouts for each winning hand which allows players to make a quick estimation of the RTP.

Using Strategy

Video Poker StrategyAs you have probably put two and two together, you have come to the realization that there is no way to use a strategy with VLT machines. This is due to the fact that there is no way to affect the already predetermined outcome. Even if you are playing video poker on a VLT machine and you do not form the highest-paying hand, if the software has decided that you are a winner, the hand on the hand on the display will change by itself, forming Royal Flush, for example.

Meanwhile, using strategy on Class Ⅲ video poker machine is everything. Ask any expert on the game and he/she will tell you that using a strategy will make or break your gambling experience. Although video poker machines use RNG which deals cards on a random basis, your decisions will also affect the end result of the game. This is why there are strategies for every variation of the game and players are always advised to use them in order to tilt the scales in their favor.

How to Differentiate Video Poker Machines from VLT Machines

Video PokerSometimes it might be difficult to recognize whether a certain machine is a Class Ⅲ video poker game or it is a VLT machine. However, there are some factors that sometimes will help you differentiate the one type of casino machine from the other.

One of the first things you must ask yourself is if the state where you are about to play allows any form of lottery games. If lotteries are not legal on the territory where you are located, this means that the casino will be offering only Class Ⅲ video poker machines on which you can actually see the paytable and use a strategy.

There are also certain locations which almost 100% of the time offer video poker machines of the VLT type. Typical places where you might come across a VLT machine include bars, truck stations, saloons and similar establishments. It is always less common to see VLT machines at commercial casinos, however, there are some exceptions to this rule.

While it is possible that some casinos may offer both Class Ⅲ and Class Ⅱ video poker machines, sometimes there are certain traits that will help you recognize whether you are playing on a regular video poker machine or on a VLT variation.

If you see a display of a bingo card on the video poker games, you can be sure that it is a Class Ⅱ machine. Also if the manufacturer of the machine is either GTECH or Spielo, you are about to play on a VLT machine. The names AURA and Power Station 5 above the playscreen will also indicate that the machine’s manufacturer is GTECH.

Another popular manufacturer of Class Ⅱ machines is International Game Technology (IGT). You may also see the name Sodak above the playscreen of the machine which is a subsidiary company of IGT. World Touch Gaming is also a company known for manufacturing VLTs and can also help you distinguish this type of casino machine.


Video Poker OnlineAlthough offering different types of casino entertainment, both typical video poker machines and VLTs have a certain appeal. If you are eager to try the strategy you have recently mastered, then you should definitely opt for playing on a standard video poker machine. On the other hand, if you are a lottery fan and you wish to simply rely on your luck, VLTs are the perfect source of entertainment for you.

While VLT machines do have a predetermined number of winners, this does not mean that they are not chosen on a random selection. While VLTs are a fun way to spend your time at a gambling facility, standard video poker machines are definitely a better choice for those chasing lucrative gambling. Thanks to the RNG software and the decisions that players make, the outcome of the typical video poker game cannot be predicted but can be affected. Using strategies will definitely change the odds and give players better chances of sweeping a win. That is, if they are certain they are playing on a Class Ⅲ video poker machine.

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Find the answers of questions people asked so far:

Dan Michael

Do all VLT machines resemble video poker machines or are there other variations of the Class Ⅱ machines?

Asked by: Michael | Asked on: 2023-09-26
Answered by: Dan | Answered on: 2023-09-27

Not really. While many Class Ⅱ machines will depict some variation of video poker on the gaming screen, there are also VLTs that will offer keno or slot gameplay. In fact, some of the current most popular machines of Class Ⅱ are the Link slots by Aristocrat since they offer players a rather generous linked network.

One of the latest additions by Aristocrat is Dragon Link, which is a terminal including four different VLT games. While Aristocrat claims that the average RTP of these games can be around 95.2%, do keep in mind that VLT machine operators tend to adjust the RTPs of these machines whenever they purchase them. All of the mini-games on the Dragon Link terminal have Asian-inspired themes and resemble RNG-based slot machines. Keep in mind, however, that these are Class Ⅱ games, which means that the winning point is predetermined and the result on each round is not randomly generated via an RNG system.