Re-evaluating the Odds: Video Poker vs. Slots

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  • Should you play slots or video poker? Here's a quick guide to help you choose the right game.

Machine games tend to get a bad reputation, the main reason being that most players do not have an adequate or even basic understanding of how they work, and, therefore, how they can win while playing them.

Adding to the ambiguity, casinos rarely disclose the odds of their machines, so before you even start playing, you first need to know how to pick a winning slot machine.

If you fall into the category of people who can’t resist the seductive charm of flashy lights, encouraging dings and an automated voice complimenting your every magnificent spin or play, then it would be a wise idea to familiarize yourself on how various slots machines work. There are plenty of similarities and differences between classes of casino machine games, namely video poker and slots games.

Video poker enthusiasts will actively deny any similarities between the classic table game’s automated version and reel-based slots games.

While there are some fundamental differences, it is important to keep this obvious but often forgotten fact: All casino games operate with odds that favor the house. While some games have a better rate of potential return than others, to be able to make a valid conclusion you would need to assess the payout structure of both slots and video poker games.

Video poker and slots may look similar, but in terms of the player’s involvement and potential returns, they differ greatly. Slots games require significantly less involvement and thus, fewer skills. While this does not sound like an advantage over video poker where you can read numerous books written by experts on winning strategies (John Grochowski, Frank Scoblete, Skip Hughes, Bob Dancer, etc.), it can take months if not years to master the game in a way that can guarantee you consistent returns. Because you can select the cards you hold, there is a significantly higher potential for improving, or if you are new to the game, ruining your chances at beating the house.

Slot machines, on the other hand, select their winners using a mathematical program referred to as a random number generator (RNG). The numbers it creates are used to determine the position each reel stops in. Therefore, all previous and future spins cannot be explained or predicted by any given pattern. And while they are programmed in a way that the casino has an incredible advantage over players in the long term, players can and have won huge jackpots after only a brief period of playing.

The best ways to influence your odds are to play slowly and to limit your play time to just a few hours on each machine.

Your ability to influence your chances at winning through actual gameplay, unfortunately, is extremely limited when playing slots. However, since most games feature progressive jackpots a player can potentially win up to a seven-figure sum in just a few hours or minutes.

Luck tends to favor informed players. One example is Czech EnergyCasino member Jaroslav who won two slots jackpots at the same casino this year. He first won a €58,764 jackpot in July and then won another €22,974 just a few weeks later in August thanks to progressive jackpots and his choice of machines.

Unfortunately for video poker fans, there is an extremely limited number video poker games that feature progressive jackpots. The only way to get rich playing video poker is to study the game’s tactics, then apply these strategies while playing carefully over a prolonged period.

The reason for this is that the returns for video poker, while more consistent, are also significantly smaller. If you are looking to make a fortune while playing this casino game, practice patience and settle for lower odds but more frequent wins.

Neither form of machine game is superior, each have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Whether you prefer one over the other would most likely have to do with your own personal preferences.

Slots embody the glitz and thrill of major jackpots, while calculative moves and patient tactics encompass the game of video poker. Your opinion will depend on the kind of bets you like to make and your vision of an ideal casino experience.

In both cases, we recommend that you choose a legitimate and well-established casino to avoid being unjustly banned the moment you start winning (make sure to avoid Virtual Casino Group’s subsidiaries; see the full list here).

For slots and video poker games, we highly recommend EnergyCasino as they have an incredible range of award-winning slots games as well as progressive video poker games such as Jacks or Better. If you register through this link, you will receive 15 free spins before depositing to get a feel for the site.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

(Cheesy Hunger Games reference aside, we do wish you the best of luck!)

Be sure to complete your PokerNews experience by checking out an overview of our mobile and tablet apps here. Stay on top of the poker world from your phone with our mobile iOS and Android app, or fire up our iPad app on your tablet. You can also update your own chip counts from poker tournaments around the world with MyStack on both Android and iOS.

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