Using Mathematics to Win in Video Poker

Since first being introduced in the late 1970s, video poker has flourished and become one of the most popular casino games, whether players are on land, online or on mobile devices. Their immediacy is similar to the instant thrills that make slots games so great, and their strategy components are reminiscent of table Poker. It has proven an irresistible combination!

There is only one opportunity to make any moves in a game of video poker, and you are going against the casino only and not against any other players. This means that, while it does follow some principles of table Poker, it is not nearly such an intricate game. But this is by no means a bad thing; the games can be enjoyed in their own right, when you want a little strategy but don’t have time for a full Poker game, or as an introduction into the way the cards work in Poker.

Whatever you want from your video poker games, it’s important to understand their mathematical concepts, which have been identified and developed over time. You’ll have much more insight into your video poker sessions, which will make you appreciated them more and get more money out of them!

Outcomes-Based Approach 

The key to understanding how the numbers in video poker games, or any casino games, work is to look at as many results as possible and working your way back. There is more of this to do in a card game like poker than in an instant game like a slot title, and video poker falls between the 2.

The potential outcomes of any event are called its probabilities in mathematics. An entire school of thought known as probability theory has developed over centuries, initially started to specifically be more successful in gambling. It started in the 16th century with Gerolamo Cardano and continued in the 17th century with Blaise Pascale and Pierre de Fermat, as attempts to analyse games of chance.

Probability theory has expanded considerably, and there are several noted mathematicians that have devoted their lives to it. For our video poker purposes, however, the theory is as simple as it is helpful and important. If you know the probability of every outcome you can make better decisions, and will prosper more if you play smart and look at the long game.

Video Poker Probabilities

Even in something as relatively simple as video poker, with only 1 round and only 1 chance for you to make any moves, there are a lot of variables that will affect the probability of every outcome. When you compare this to the complexity of up to 7 players and several different rounds in a table Poker game, using video poker as a warm up to the table card games really starts to make sense.

The key issue in the probability of any game of video poker is that there is a certain likelihood of drawing every card. The odds of drawing any specific card, since the game is played with a single deck, are 1/52. The odds of drawing a card of any of the 4 suits are 1/13. This is only the case for the first hand you are dealt, because if you discard and replace cards they are drawn from the remaining, smaller deck.

If you have a king in your original hand, for example, that was dealt with a probability of 4/52, or 1/13. The chances of getting a second king when your new cards are dealt is 3/47, which is more than 1/15. Evaluating the chances of each possible hand, based on what you keep, exchange and are dealt in the first place, is what probability in video poker is all about.

Strategy Charts Simplicity

It’s not hard to understand the basic principles of probability theory, but when you’re in the throes of a fast-paced game of video poker it can be hard to summon your mental faculties and command to focus on determining what the odds are in each specific situation, and what you should do. That’s where strategy charts come in.

Strategy charts do all the hard work for you, and exist for every variation of video poker. They tell you which cards to keep and which to replace for any hand that you are dealt. Since there is only 1 round of video poker, these work very well. As you use them more, the logic behind them will become almost intuitive to you.

Play with Your Head 

A good rule of thumb in any casino game is to keep your emotions out of your decisions, difficult as that might be. Setting spending limits can help you stay out of trouble, and choosing bonuses that work well for you can help you to maximise your wins. And, of course, using strategy charts for video poker will put you in a calm, logical headspace.