Video Poker – Skill or Luck?

It’s easy to say that Video Poker is gambling and any game that is a gamble cannot be considered a game of skill. But, think about it, if you can gain a mathematical edge over the casino with the right decision, then shouldn’t that be considered skill?

Don’t get confused or flustered. This debate has been going on for years. And time and time again, the result is the same. Video Poker enthusiasts have ascertained that in order to make money playing Video Poker, you need knowledge of what Video Poker game has the best profit-making potential and skill. Oh, a hefty bankroll won’t hurt either. While others insist that it only takes a bad-luck streak to put any ideas of walking away with heavier pockets than you started with to bed.

Different Video Poker games pay out differently. For e.g., if Double Bonus Poker with its full 10-7-5 pay table (meaning full houses pay 10-for-1, flushes 7-for-1 and straights 5-for-1); then, you can calculate that the game will return 110.17%. However, if any one of these payoffs is reduced, the game drops to below 100%. In this case, which game would you rather play? Where skill comes into play things get a bit more tricky than calculating payoff percentages. For e.g., if you’re dealt a Qh, 4s, 8h, Jc, and 10h in Double Bonus Poker, what move would you make? Throw in the hand and deal again or HOLD some of the cards and then deal again? If you chose to throw in the hand, then you need to read up a bit more on Video Poker strategies. If you said HOLD the Qh, 8h, and 10h and deal again, then you’re ready to play serious Video Poker.

Now, it is important to remember that, even if you have all the key elements, you are still not guaranteed to win, because luck does play a major role in winning at Video Poker. Look at this scenario. If you are playing Double Bonus Poker with maximum coins, the average number of times you are likely to hit a Royal Flush is 1 / 48,084 hands, which is 1.67% overall returns for the Casino. What does this mean to you? Well, basically, it means that you’re not playing a 100.17% game, but a 98.5% game instead. So, even if you play expert Video Poker, you’re still a contributor to the Casino in that session. Passing 48,084 hands assures you that you may hit at least 1 Royal Flush, but you could also hit none or 2 or even 3 during that space of time. If you hit none, then you will certainly dent your bankroll, hence the reason you need to ensure you have enough money to play with before you actually hit those Video Poker machines.

At the end of the day, the statistics don’t lay with 1 individual but collectively all those Players who played on that Double Bonus Poker machine. And, forgetting percentages and returns and all that other mathematical mumbo jumbo, while skill is of utmost importance, I think it is pretty safe to conclude that there is no guarantee that any 1 person, even an expert, will win at Video Poker. Why? Because, it’s gambling. And with gambling, you’re still taking a chance that, even with expert play, you will come out with more than you started.