Top 10 Video Poker Mistakes - part one

Hi I'm Mike Shackleford otherwise known as the wizard of odds and this is the top ten mistakes made by video poker players. This video is part one and I'll go over the first five. Please see part two for the second five.

#1 Playing Lousy Pay Tables

No matter which video poker game you like, whether it be jacks or better, bonus poker, double bonus, or deuces wild, there's all kinds of different pay tables. For example, in jacks or better, the best I can get is usually nine/six which means the machine pays nine for a full house and six for a flush and it gets as bad as six/five, meaning six for a full house and five for a flush. No matter what your game is, you should know what a competitive paytable is and then look for casinos that have it. Absolutely do not just plop yourself down at any random machine that feels lucky for it to you. No. Always check the pay tables first to know what the paytable pays assuming optimal strategy and then only play it if it's a competitively good machine.

#2 Not Making a Maximum Coin Bet

On almost every video poker machine, there is a big incentive in the Royal Flush for playing maximum coins. For example, in most video poker games you'll win a thousand coins for a royal flush if you bet four coins. But it bumps all the way up to 4000 coins if you bet five coins. So if you're going play it all make sure that you make a maximum coin bet so you get that full four thousand coins on a Royal. Not doing so is a mistake that will cost you about two percent an expected value

#3 Not Using a Player Card

No matter what game you play in the casino, you should use a player card. This is because the casinos will reward you back based upon what you play and how much you play it. Even though video poker players don't get treated as well, because video poker has such a low house advantage, you'll still get offers in the mail for free buffets, rooms, show,s tournaments, and gifts, no matter what you play including video poker. So it's just refusing free money not to, so wherever you play, it is definitely worth your time to sign up for a player card. It takes only a few minutes and then stick it in the machine whenever you play.

#4 Not Playing Proper Strategy

And I know this is easier said than done, but video poker is a very mathematical game and for every hand or almost every hand, there's one right way to play it and 31 incorrect ways to play it. Sometimes, there's a tie for the best way to play it, so in order to get the odds in your favor as much as possible you should play a mathematically based strategy. And these strategies will tell you things like, what's better to, do hold three to a royal or four to a flush. Hold a pair of high cards or three to a royal. Things like that. It'll rank all the hands in order from worst to best, so you'll know which hand has the greatest expected value and should be the one that you keep. My website,, has strategies for lots of common video poker games and it has a calculator where you can put in any game in any pay table and it will automatically generate a strategy.

#5 Making Accidental Errors

It's happened to everybody, where you meant to press a key and you press the wrong one or you didn't press it hard enough. Whatever the case may be, you knew what to do but you didn't do it or maybe you hit the button and in the brief second before you see the new cards, you realized "oh I made a mistake". So first of all, play slow enough so that you're not making errors, and then, make sure that when you hit the buttons, you hit them strong enough so that the machine registers what you want to do. When you start playing too fast or you're too drunk, it's easy to make errors. Also sometimes, it's been known to happen, that you're dealt a great hand and you're in in your excitement you forget to hold it and you press the press deal and you end up throwing away a great hand. That's absolutely the worst feeling, so again, be careful and play slow enough and sober enough so that you're not making any accidental errors.

Thanks for watching part one of my top 10 mistakes Made by Video Poker Players. Please watch part 2 for the rest of the list and for a host of information about video poker including strategies for lots of games, the returns for just about every game and pay-table.

I have a wealth of material about video poker on my website at

Part 2