Video poker players can’t play for as high of stakes as you can other casino games. They also don’t get the same kinds of deals slots, keno, or even blackjack players do.
Assuming they can claim a deal in the first place.
It’s not the end of the world, though. You can still find relatively high-limit video poker machines. You could even play multi-hand variants, where the number of hands you can play per hour offsets the denomination you play in.
You can still find deals, too. They’ll just never be as good as they are for slots players.
The online casinos we’ve listed above are undoubtedly the best options for playing high-stakes video poker. Sign up with any one of these and you won’t feel at all like a poor relation of high-stakes blackjack or slots players.
As for the rest of this page, we’ve compiled some other useful information that that high-stakes video poker players should know.
Why Video Poker Players Get the Cold Shoulder from Casinos
In another article, we talked about how and why casinos treat slots players like royalty. They get the best deals, bonus terms, VIP treatment, and more.
That’s not how it goes for video poker players. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Casinos give poker players the cold shoulder.
Here’s what we mean.
Video poker players are often prohibited from claiming bonuses.
If they do get to claim a bonus, it’s smaller than the one offered to slots players.
The playthrough requirements on a video poker-friendly bonus are incredibly large/tough.
VIP programs are harder to earn. You have to play so much more relative to slots or keno players to earn the same perks.
Points to cash-back conversion rates are worse compared to other games.
Maximum stakes are much lower for video poker players. You can play for $25-$100 per hand at the most. Compare this to $5,000-$10,000 for blackjack, $10,000+ for slots, or $75,000 for roulette.
Why are things like this? Why do online casinos give poker players the cold shoulder?
They don’t come right out and say it, but we do have a theory.
We blame it on the house edge. Depending on the machine you play, the house edge can easily be under 0.50%. This is great for players.
But the house edge, or return-to-player (RTP), can get even better than that. There are machines out there that can pay out more than 100%. Though rare, it’s possible to get close enough to 100% and then beat it using casino offers and rewards.
That still doesn’t explain why video poker players can’t get the same perks blackjack players can. Blackjack has an excellent house edge, too. Yet you can still bet thousands of dollars on a blackjack hand. You can still claim bonuses and other offers while playing blackjack (with a few exceptions). Bonus terms are often a little better, too.
Here’s our other theory. It’s harder for blackjack players to play correctly online since they can’t count cards.
This ensures the edge stays in the casino’s favor, while video poker is video poker. You can play optimal video poker regardless of if it’s online or off. In fact, the variance can be low even for a clueless yet somewhat intelligent poker player.
This might, in fact, be the ultimate deal breaker.
We’ve played hundreds of hands of video poker where you win some and you lose some. You can play for a long time on $20 or $50.
This makes it much easier for you to clear a bonus, whereas with other games, you’re more likely to lose and lose relatively fast. Casinos are more likely to come out ahead on a slots bonus offer than they are a video poker bonus offer.
That’s our theory, anyway.
It’s still possible to find a solid high-stakes casino. In fact, depending on the market, it’s still possible to find a casino you can beat…for a short while…and only while you’re clearing a bonus.
That’s too short term for us, and dependent on factors we don’t control. We’re not going to focus on finding casinos like that.
Instead, we’re going to use the next section to explain to you how we go about finding solid online casinos for high-stakes players for the long haul. You might not beat them, but you can rest assured that you’ll have a good time, have offers you can claim, and as reasonable of terms that you can find.
Tips for Choosing the Best Casino for High Stakes Video Poker
How to go about choosing a casino is important for everyone. It doesn’t matter how much money you plan to spend, be it $0.10 per hand or $100 per hand.
That said, high-limit players have different concerns compared to low-limit players. There’s just something about spending more in a session than what people make in a month that forces you to prioritize some things more than others.
What exactly are we getting at? Just that there are specific things you need to look for or think about when choosing a high-stakes casino. Things that won’t apply to budget-minded players.
Things like the points below.
Many casinos lack in this area. They have 5-7 video poker machines and then a few variants.
If that’s enough for you, then great. However, true video poker fanatics will want more unique titles to choose from.
How much do you want to play for? $5 per hand? $25? $100?
You need to know before you try to find a casino.
The reason why is because you can take two casinos with similar software, yet the games you can play and the stakes you can play for will be different. You can spend a lot of time spinning your wheels.
The fastest way to know what stakes a casino allows is to read our reviews. We usually cover that information. If you can’t find it there, it’ll be worth your time to create an account at whatever casino you want to join and check for yourself.
Keep in mind that you’ll be hard-pressed to find a casino that allows more than $50-$100 on a single hand. Many of the casinos we’ve reviewed or have sent emails to offer stakes in the $25-$50/hand range.
You don’t have to worry about variants. We think it’s worth looking for, and we’ll tell you why.
If you can find video poker variants, such as multi-hand or games where you can try to double your winnings, you’ll have a chance to play for higher stakes. It might not be by playing at a higher denomination, but it can be through volume or simply gambling your winnings.
Playing a variant can be a slight workaround for a casino who doesn’t otherwise offer the high stakes you want to play for.
Not all casinos offer bonuses for video poker players. Not all poker-friendly bonuses are worth clearing, either.
If you want a bonus, you’ll first need to make sure the casino allows poker players to claim it. Then it’s crucial that you check the terms.
The terms are always going to be worse for video poker players due to the low house. That doesn’t mean you should take any bonus that comes your way, though.
What we recommend you do is create a list of your top 5 casinos/bonuses. Then compare the terms to find the best ones.
As a rule of thumb, the lower the playthrough, the better.
Don’t stop there, though. Make sure you also compare things like bonus expiration dates, points you’ll earn (explained more below), dollar amounts, and more.
Try to find the best all-around deal for you.
It’s standard knowledge that optimal strategy says you should wager 5 coins, even if it means playing at a lower denomination. You want to maximize your winnings whenever you hit a royal flush (which is not an abnormal outcome).
If you’re capable of playing for the highest stakes, then our thought process is that it makes just as much sense to play for the progressive jackpot, too. And if you’re capable of playing for it, then you might as well skip the machines that don’t offer a progressive jackpot for one that does.
You might as well go for it.
Not only that, but the math will favor you at some point, too. Once the progressive jackpot hits a certain point, every hand you play becomes +EV and the likelihood that you’ll hit the jackpot goes up.
Now, there’s no guarantee you’ll win the jackpot. It can take hundreds or even thousands of hands before you get there. Due to variance, you can still go broke.
All that said, every hand you play from that point forward will earn you money in the “long run.” This is especially true when you tack on casino bonuses, rewards, and other perks on top of that.
How many casino games can you think of that are like this?
VIP programs are always a good idea, regardless of if you’re playing for a few bucks or thousands of dollars per round. Anything you can get from the casino will offset your losses.
This is especially important for high-stakes players because you’re spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars per hour. Even getting something as little as 1% cash back will add up fast.
But VIP programs are not created equally. You want to compare programs to see which one will benefit you the most. We’d even argue that this is more important than comparing bonuses.
More specifically, you want to compare how much money you need to spend for every point the casino gives you. Then compare how many points it takes to receive $1 (or however much) in cash back, or to get whatever perks you’re aiming for.
Don’t forget to check to see if perks like cash back or bonuses (from the VIP program) have a playthrough you need to complete before you can cash it out. That will play a major role, too.
These are the most important things we think about when choosing a high-stakes video poker casino. However, there are a few other common or lesser important things you want to check for as well.
You’re going to spend lots of money every hand. It makes sense to ensure that you’ll have recourse if something goes wrong, such as the casino not paying you a jackpot or cashing you out.
This is unlikely to happen, but it makes sense to prepare for the worst.
We recommend online casinos licensed by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). There are others, but these are the best in terms of ensuring gambling sites follow the rules.
Even if a casino has a solid license, they can still screw up. They can have shoddy support. They can skip out on paying jackpots. You want to do your homework to make sure that the casino you join has a reputation of treating their (high-limit) players well.
Our reviews are a great place to start. You can also do some searching in casino forums around the web.
This might be obvious, but we want to put it out there in case it’s not.
It’s important to double check the casino’s banking limits to ensure they’re high enough for you to deposit what you need to play with.
If you can play 600-1,000 hands per hour (totally doable) and you plan to play for $100 per hand, it’ll make sense to have a five-figure (or larger) bankroll.
Will the casino let you do that? They may not post it on their banking page. You might have to reach out and ask them.
This goes for cashing out, too. If you’re playing for thousands of dollars, it’d make sense that you’d win and/or want to cash out thousands of dollars. Make sure the casino you want to join can accommodate this; otherwise you’ll be in for lots of headaches.
And possibly lots of fees, too.
Don’t forget banking fees.
If you’re depositing or withdrawing thousands or tens of thousands of dollars at a time, the fees you have to pay can add up fast. This is especially true if the fees are percentage-based.
We recommend trying to find a casino that doesn’t charge fees, though this is getting harder to do. If you have to pay fees, find a flat-rate-based fee over a percentage-based fee, as a percentage-based fee will get larger the more you deposit. It can get terribly expensive.
If you can swing it, see if the casino will waive the fees altogether for a high-stakes player (assuming they don’t already).
Just ship them an email and ask.
Tips for Winning at Video Poker
Even if you’re capable of spending hundreds of dollars in one sitting, you don’t want to just spew it. You should try to do everything you can to win as much money as possible.
Otherwise, you might as well be a slots player.
We gave you several pieces of advice above. For example, you want to find bonuses, VIP programs, and so on. All of these things are great at putting money in your pocket.
This isn’t all you can do, though. Here are a few tips to help you get as much out of your next video poker session as possible.
Experts suggest starting with 9/6 Jacks or Better. Not only is this an easy to learn, but it has a low house edge, too – 0.46%. Deuces Wild is also a good game.
They also suggest holding a pair in most cases. A pair gets you your money back in games like Jacks or Better. It can also turn into a two pair, three of a kind, full house, and quads.
Always play the max bet even if you have to play at a lower denomination. There’s a 4:1 difference between the 4th and 5th tier for a royal flush.
Learn what a good pay table looks like and try to find one when you play. A good example is Jacks or Better. In some games, a full house might pay 9 credits, and a flush 6 credits. In other games, they’ll pay 8 and 5. The difference in house edge between these two games is a MASSIVE 2.3%. To put this into perspective, you’ll lose 6x faster playing the games with the smaller payouts.
Learn optimal strategy for the games you want to play. You can find strategies for all the common games online. Make sure to learn the strategy for the specific game and pay-table you’re playing. Just use Google.
Many games offer a double-up variant. If you want low variance or if the game you’re playing offers a 100% or higher RTP, you should decline it. If you want to maximize how much you win and you can deal with high volatility, you should take it.
Play for free before you go to the casino or log in to play online. It’s a great way to practice strategy. There are also lots of quizzes online that you can use to test your knowledge.
While you can play hundreds or thousands of hands per hour, you should first focus on making the correct plays before you focus too much on volume. Every mistake adds up, and considering how small the house edge already is, it’ll add up fast.
Stick to these strategies, and you’ll increase your chances of winning.
Don’t stress, though. Even if you screw up, but are pretty smart about how you play, you won’t lose more than 2%.
It’s still a fair amount, but it’s better than just about any other machine or non-skill-based casino game you could play
Video poker players tend to get the short end of the stick. They get smaller bonuses and far worse bonus terms, assuming they’re given deals at all.
They also don’t get the greatest VIP perks, either. Many casinos also don’t let you play for as much as you can other games.
That said, if you play your cards right and choose a solid casino and the right game, you can shift things into your favor.
This is important for everyone, but especially high-stakes players. Every percentage point in your favor counts. Because when you’re betting thousands of dollars, it all adds up fast.
Stick to our list of recommended casinos and use our tips above, and you just might come out all right.