Poker

November 29, 2022

Can Video Poker Games Have an Over 100% Return Rate?

Nathan Williams
Written byNathan WilliamsWriter
Researched byRajesh NairResearcher
Localised byLeticia "Letty" SantosLocaliser

Many people claim that gambling results are 100% luck-based. But these people don’t tell you that games such as blackjack and video poker allow players to reduce the house edge using an optimal strategy. But despite the consensus about lowering the house edge in poker, the jury is still out if players can enjoy positive 100% return rates. So, for the doubting players, this article will help you understand why it’s possible to play with a negative house edge in poker. Read on!

Can Video Poker Games Have an Over 100% Return Rate?

What is the house edge in online poker?

The house edge in poker is basically the average loss percentage for players in every wager they make. If you look at it from the casino’s point of view, this rate is the mathematical advantage for the house. This figure ensures that the live casino gets its cut from every wager you make, whether it’s a win or loss.

Here is a more practical example; the house edge in Caribbean Stud Poker is 5.22%. From this example, it’s safe to assume that a player will lose an average of $5.22 from every $100 wager they make. Now you know why playing a video poker game with a low house edge is critical to your success at the casino. 

Video poker strategies to reduce the house edge

The worst mistake that poker beginners make is playing blindly. Although luck plays a huge role in poker success, players ultimately need a strategy to outwit their opponents. If you still doubt this analogy, answer this; why are players like Daniel Negreanu and Johnny Moss so successful in the game? It’s all about strategy!

With that in mind, below are some strategies to include in your daily poker sessions:

Select the right poker paytable

The good thing about playing live poker is knowing your expected return rate before playing. Unlike slot machines, video poker games show players their expected returns for each hand on the paytable. That’s why it’s critical to research and identify the most generous video poker pay tables. 

Many poker games at the best live casino sites offer 9/6 and 8/5 paytables. These numbers are the payouts for combinations of a full house and a flush. For example, in a 9/6 paytable, the numerator is the full house payout, whereas the denominator is the flush payout. So, if you play on the 9/6 paytable, you’ll receive a higher payout, which might be the game changer. 

Below are the payout percentages for different paytables in Jacks or Better, assuming you use the right strategy.

  • 9/6: 99.54%
  • 9/5: 98.33%
  • 8/5: 97.25%
  • 7/5: 96.17%
  • 6/5: 95.12%

Bet the maximum coins per hand

If you’re still new to video poker, take this advice and bank it. Always bet five coins per hand to get the Royal Flush bonus. Wagering fewer coins decreases the payouts, essentially giving you longer odds in the long term.

However, it’s understandable that placing a $5 wager per hand can be detrimental to your bankroll on a $1 poker machine. In that case, select a game that supports $0.25 bets per hand and wager the maximum coins. This will give you a maximum coin value of $1.25 and remain in contention for the jackpot. Now talk about playing smart!

Patience is ‘king’ in poker

According to Daniel Negreanu, one of the most respected poker players, starting slowly earlier in the game is critical. The six-time WSoP champion advises players to hold their horses because poker is about surviving for the long haul. He says that doubling chips early in the game can make players lose everything, especially if other players are also doubling. 

Meanwhile, determine the aggressiveness of your play by how fast the blind sizes are increasing. In a tournament where the blinds are snowballing, the blinds focus more on the monetary value than survival. Please don’t create a mountain of chips and blow them off while trying to carry the pot too early.

High cards vs low pairs

One of the most critical strategies in poker is learning that low pairs offer more value than high cards. While holding a jack or higher will win you more hands, you’ll enjoy even more significant payoffs with low pairs. This also applies if you have a hand combination with low pairs and two high cards, like King and Queen. 

For example, you can get 4 hearts, 8 hearts, 8 spades, King of spades, and Queen of hearts. In this example, keep the pairs and discard the rest. Reason? You’ll win 4.556 hands out of the 16,125 possible draws. That’s not all; you can get two pairs with 2.592 winning hands, giving you a 1:1 payout. So, keeping the high cards can be tempting, but the power of low pairs is even more compelling to keep them. 

Poker games with a negative house edge

Several poker games can give players more than 100% RTP, especially the full-pay versions. A famous example is Deuces Wild, which lets players with an optimal strategy enjoy a 100.76% RTP. In this game, all twos are Wild cards, and four-of-a-kind hands can occur almost a third of the time.

Another poker variant that can go over 100% is the Double Bonus. This game pays out a bonus if players land four aces, and the RTP can hit 100.17% with an optimal strategy. Note, however, that this positive return rate is only available on a 10/7 paytable. 

Like Double Bonus Poker, Double Double Bonus Poker is another Jacks or Better variation with a super-friendly payout. This game has a theoretical return to player of 100.07%, meaning you can expect to win more often in the long run with an optimal strategy. The RTP is available on a 10/6 paytable. 

Other full-pay poker variations include:

  • Joker Wild – 100.65%
  • Loose Deuces Wild – 100.15%
  • One-Eyed Jacks – 99.98%
  • Super Aces – 99.94%
  • Triple Deuces Wild: 99.92%
  • Double Joker Wild – 99.91%

But although playing full-pay poker variants might sound tempting, finding them online can be challenging for apparent reasons. Many casinos wouldn’t want to give skilled players a “highway” to easy wins. After all, they rely on the house edge to get their cut from your wagers. But that said, you can find some of these titles at top online live casino sites. 

Final words about playing video poker with positive RTP

It’s one thing to find a video poker game with a positive expected value and another one to trigger this payout. In other words, you must use an optimal strategy to maximize your winning chances in this card game. 

Also, online casinos rarely offer video poker versions with over 100% RTP. But still, you can enjoy high return rates with games such as All Aces by Microgaming (99.92%) and Aces and Eights by Real Time Gaming (99.78%).

But if the live casino doesn’t offer these versions, play on the 9/6 Jacks or Better table and enjoy a 99.54% RTP. It’s all about using the right video poker strategy on the ideal poker variant.

About the author
Nathan Williams
Nathan Williams

Nathan "KiwiKing" Williams brings a touch of Kiwi flair to the global live casino arena. Blending his analytical mind with an infectious passion for the game, he crafts content that guides, informs, and entertains.

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