Single Versus Multi-Hand Video Poker
One of my favorite casino games is video poker.
I like the fact that it relies on more strategy than luck, and if you play it right, you can keep the house advantage to an absolute minimum. I prefer card games versus slot machines, rolling dice, or watching a roulette ball go round and round before landing where I did not bet.
That’s not to say that I don’t like the dice. I’m still learning how to correctly play craps, but for the time being, I’ve really been enjoying video poker.
Here in Atlanta, Georgia we don’t have any casinos in the area. You’ll have to do at least a three or four hour drive if you want to find a decent casino, and even further to find even better ones.
Being far from a casino actually makes it a little bit better for casual gamblers as you’re more focused on practicing strategies with online games and gambling software without losing any actual money. Right now I’m using Hoyle Casino 2008 to work on winning video poker strategies in my spare time.
Let me go ahead and say that at this point in time I’m a casual gambler. I’m there for the fun of using techniques to try to win small amounts of money while also racking up rewards points for free meals. If I can sit at a machine and break even after playing for a couple of hours, then that was a good gambling session. Any profit at that point is bonus since I know that in the end, the house will always win.
The computer software does a fairly good job with practicing techniques except for one small detail – the video poker games pay out at the full rate in the game. Good luck finding 9/6 quarter video poker machines in real casinos. Most of the quarter machines at the Harrah’s in Cherokee, NC are 8/6 and 8/5, and the casinos in Detroit, Michigan are even lower. That’s just money right out of your pocket and given to the casino.
Sure enough, even when playing with virtual 9/6 video poker machines, the computer won in the end. I’ve used both jacks or better and deuces wild while using the strategy charts, and after long sessions my profit has almost always decreased. There were just too many gaps between the big hands, and the small hands didn’t do enough to keep my money up. That was the house advantage at work.
Naturally, when using the multi-hand video poker (fifty hands in Hoyle Casino 2008), my money decreased just that much faster.
If you want to win big money while playing multi-hand video poker, you’re going to need a very large bankroll to ride out those cold streaks that can and will happen. The best thing about multi-hand poker is that it is rare to completely lose all of the bet on a hand of poker. I’ve seen that no matter how bad of a hand that I’ve had, when playing with fifty hands at least a few of them still won something in the end. That felt better psychologically than losing the entire bet when playing with only one hand at a time.
Multi-hand video poker is great for casual gamers. You can gamble for hours at a time and have lots of fun when just using the minimum bet. The only downside is that when you hit the big hands, the payout will be relatively small. Playing at a penny machine is going to have winning hands paying out in the $5-10 range, and not the $4,000+ found on progressive machines.
The Harrah’s in Cherokee, NC does offer multi-hand video poker, but they only had five hands (as of my last visit in December of 2008). The good thing was that it was a nickel machine, so to do five hands only cost a quarter, which was the same cost of doing basic single-hand video poker gaming with most of the other machines found there.
Right now I’m still running simulations as to which style of video poker is best for my style of casual gambling. My goal is to be able to walk into any casino, find the best paying machines, and to use the best combination of betting and playing strategy to maximize my gameplay and earnings.
Video poker is first, “real” blackjack (no video screens) is second, and craps is third.