The Difference Between Video Poker and Slot Machines

Although video poker is often lumped in with slot machines, it is a much different game. The biggest and most important difference is video poker can be played with skill and slots are based on nothing more than pure luck. If you are simply interested in a mind numbing trip to the casino, where you don’t have to use much brain power to gamble, slots are probably the way to go. However, if you are looking for a game played on a machine (instead of table games), that can be played with a low house edge, and requires skill—video poker should be your choice. In fact, video poker is one of the few games in the casino that can be played with an advantage over the casino. It does require you to play only certain types of machines, incorporate “comps” and promotions, and play each hand perfectly, but it can be done.

Video Poker Different Than Slots

What is Payback Percentage and How Does It Work on Video Poker?

  • Payback percentage is the percentage of money the casino pays out to the customers in winnings over the long term. If a game has a 95% payback, the casino pays out 95% in winnings and keeps 5% in profit. This is an average over a long period of time. It does not mean they keep $5 of every $100 that is played. However, over the long term the mathematics of the game will dictate that they will receive 5% in total profits.
  • The way you calculate payback percentage for video poker is different than slot machines. Video poker machines are not set at a specific payback percentage. In video poker, the payback percentage is computed using the pay table on the screen. Using the pay table on a 9/6 Jacks or Better machine, it can be determined that if you play the machine perfectly, the overall payback is 99.54 percent. That means the casino only receives about half a cent for every dollar put into the machine on average over the long term. That sounds much better than the slot machines that are generally set at 10 percent plus, which means the casino gets at least ten cents of every dollar.

To find out more on playing advantage video poker, check out my books Gamblers Fight Back and A Winning Gambling Strategy…And How To Get It! Each book has sections on finding the highest paying machines, learning perfect play, utilizing comps, and how to incorporate these aspects into a winning video poker strategy.

About Greg Elder

I was 37 years old, a husband and father, a former teacher, college and high school basketball coach, and a business owner, I decided to give it all up (Not the husband and father part) to take a shot at pro gambling. I was coming off a job I hated selling insurance, and I vowed to do something I was passionate about. For the next year I would spend 12-15 hours a day researching, studying, and practicing advantage gambling techniques. The goal was to see if I could sustain our current lifestyle as a professional gambler. I wanted to find out if casinos really could be beat. At the time, I thought it may be the biggest mistake of my life, but my intentions were to have fun trying. It has been an interesting few years since that journey began. My feature book GAMBLERS FIGHT BACK has been released and can be purchased on my author site at I would consider my pro gambling career to be a success on all fronts. I didn't win millions of dollars, but I was able to enjoy every minute of it. It brought an excitement and passion back into my professional life. It has helped lead me to a writing career that I had no idea I even wanted before this challenge. I was able to write a book that shared with others exactly what I learned along the way.. Gambling professionally is not easy, but there are certain things the average gambler can do to increase their chances of success tremendously. That's the information I try to pass along to my readers.

2 Responses to “The Difference Between Video Poker and Slot Machines”

  1. Nice and an educating article for all gambling fans. Never played video poker before, but now i will make sure i do when i learn the basics…..

    • There are many apps, websites, computer programs etc., that will allow you to play and learn the basics. Some will even provide a tutorial where the game will stop and explain every time you make a statistically incorrect play. Glad you enjoyed the post!

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