Professional gamblers have a certain allure to the many millions who would aspire to join their ranks. Who doesn’t like the thought of making a lot of money doing something they love, without the hassles and stress of the daily 9-5? In reality, the life of the professional gambler is one of intensity just like any other, and the pressures of making their bankroll work to deliver an income on an ongoing basis means it’s no easy option.
Even amongst successful professional gamblers, there are differences in strategy. Some prefer sports betting, and familiarise themselves with all the different bet types and value-betting strategies that can be used to create an advantage over the field. For others, it’s fixed odds games like video poker. In this latter case, professional gamblers are able to make serious money from video poker machines, but only by understanding the specifics of what makes for successful play.
There are a few strategies most successful professional gamblers will deploy when playing video poker, both to decrease the house edge as they play, but also to increase the amount of money they are able to win when the going is good. It’s this combination of skill and strategy that can so often prove the difference between the winners and the rest.
Playing At Max Coins
The most obvious point that professional gamblers recognise when they’re playing video poker is that it’s essential to play at maximum coins. Different video poker machines and games have different coin limits, and you can basically play at any range of budget. However, every game runs from 1 to 5 coins per hand, and playing at maximum coins often has a distorting effect on the house edge. This is because players get an extra boost to their odds on some hands when they’re playing at maximum coins, effectively ensuring they’re competing against a slimmer house edge than is normally the case.
When you play on one or two hands, this might not make an obvious difference to your game. But when you start playing video poker more seriously, the difference in house edge means you’d be frankly mad not to play at maximum coins wherever possible. Professional gamblers know this all too well, and it means they are always playing video poker with the best possible odds, for the maximum possible long-term return.
Playing Perfect Strategy
At the same time, house edge is only a factor if you play the perfect game. In some games, like poker for example, you can play the perfect game and still lose. But video poker is a game of fixed odds and fixed rules, and there aren’t the variables of other players to catch you out. Instead, there are very firm probability-based judgements players can and should make to maximise their strategy, in terms of which cards to keep and which to ditch with each hand.
Playing the perfect strategy is the only way to keep the house edge in your favour, and as soon as you deviate from this or take risks, you’re playing a dangerous game. Again, professionals know this, and they don’t get too greedy, or take chances they don’t need to. Slow and steady wins the race, and by working on learning the perfect strategy for video poker, and playing at max coins, gamblers give themselves the best possible chance of long-term success.
Similarly, tilting and other forms of emotional play can quickly destroy your prospects. Some players feel at times that it’s worth taking a risk on certain cards, disregarding the probabilities that will work in their favour long-term. Even if this type of approach wins on the occasional basis, it’s not a sustainable strategy, and indicative of a player who will likely struggle to turn professional with their gambling. Tilting in particular is a major cause of rash decision making, spurred on by players who find themselves on a losing streak, or otherwise overly emotional at the video poker machine.
Don’t let your emotions come into it, and try to stick to the rules of maximising odds as you play. By eliminating tilting, and indeed all elements of personal discretion beyond applying the rules of the perfect game, you can do your cause wonders towards becoming more successful at video poker.
While playing on max coins is always an advantage in video poker, that doesn’t mean you should let your bankroll go crazy. It is essential that you keep a tight grasp on your purse strings if you want to succeed as a professional gambler, and that means not getting too greedy with your game limits. Find a game where you can comfortably play at max coins without eating up your bankroll too aggressively, and you should be onto a winner. When you combine tight controls on the money with a strategic, logical approach to holding and switching cards, you stack the odds as firmly as possible in your favour.