Video Poker: A Question of Luck or Skill?

Skill and luck buttons on a keyboard

Video poker: a game that completely divides opinion when it comes to the skills needed in order to succeed. Perhaps the biggest argument is whether the game is completely based on luck, or whether there is a real skill to winning money. At Droid Poker, we like to give you the inside scoop on questions such as this, which is why we’ve come up with our comprehensive answer to this divisive and much-discussed question…

100% Payouts – Or More!

100% spelled in cloudsThe first thing to consider when it comes to this question is the fact that some of the different video poker machines are programmed to payout at over 100%, meaning that, in theory, every machine should make a loss. That’s not a great business plan, so what is going on?

The fact is this: there is a definite skill to playing video poker, which involves having a predefined strategy, in a bid to play the “perfect game”. If you swap cards at the right time, hold when needed and know when to risk it for a big win, you should come out on top in the long run. Perhaps that explains why a select few people actually manage to make a living playing video poker? If it was down to luck, they wouldn’t – they use the small advantage given to them and exploit it through consistent and sensible play.

Random Cards

While the above is very true, it is only true for those with a complete and full understanding of the game – something that can take years to hone and even longer to master. Therefore, most of us are in the more amateur bracket. This means that to win money, luck is going to play a large part. For instance, that full house you made yesterday? It was luck. The royal flush you are hoping to make tomorrow? It is just hope – hope that the machines are kind and give you the cards you need.

On a side note, it is important to tell you this: the video poker machines are completely random. There is no set amount of high paying hands they can give out, therefore one royal flush can easily follow another: conversely, you might then wait for months before another one.


Skill and luck on a blackboardWhen you lay the two points out above, just like we have, there doesn’t seem to be much of an argument. People bicker for eternity over just the two points above, arguing over which one outweighs the other. The fact is this though: both luck and skill play their parts at different times in a player’s life.

When you first start playing the game, luck will be your main source of income. You can hope to hit those elusive big hands, but you’ll only turn a profit if the poker machine wants you to. Don’t let this dishearten you though, as this beginning period is your chance to learn; your chance to perfect your game; your chance to take it to the next level.

Once you have reached the higher echelons of the game – when you have a full understanding of the ways in which to play every single possible permutation of hands – you will be able to stop relying on luck and instead use skill to increase your bank balance. So, skill wins out in the end, but only if you have some patience…

So, there you have it – beginners need luck, while experts can rely (almost) solely on skill. Now, please stop arguing and just get on with playing the game instead!

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