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Video Poker – The Skill Debate


By: David Walker

You will find some die-hard video poker players in any brick and mortar casino or in any online casino who have done their homework on the game. These players have read every book imaginable on the subject and are often convinced that the only beatable game in the casino is indeed video poker. The players have studied every variation of the game and are convinced it can be beaten regularly for profit. These people will never believe that their game of video poker is anything less than a game determined by skill and they are right.

Just as in online Texas Hold’em games, video poker games are supposed to deal random hands and give the player the opportunity to use what they know to make the most out of the hand they are dealt. These random hands are valid poker hands and then give the player the opportunity to control the outcome of their game.

Critics of video poker will argue that the game is on a RNG (random number generator just like slot machines) and therefore the machine is set, just as slot machines are to payout a certain amount within a certain time. These same critics would like for you to believe that while you play video poker online, you will be given the illusion of being in total control over your hand when in fact, you are not.

These claims are rubbish if you think about it. The reason is clear. Video poker machines are set to pay back a percentage based on “perfect play” or near perfect play. You will of course have a more favourable outcome if you learn how to play the hands you are dealt with properly so you have a chance of beating the machine. This is true of any card game and just like in the online version of Texas Hold’em, you will increase your chances for a favourable outcome if you play like you are supposed to play.

The RNG can play a significant role in your starting hands of course but the same RNG factor plays a role in the new cards you receive when you discard several that you won’t need to make a winning hand. This is one of those games which can be debated all day long as being a game of chance, but ultimately there have been enough books written on the subject to prove it is indeed a game of skill.

David Walker runs free bets and UK poker websites. A free email course: “Seven Days to Better Betting” is available at both of these websites.

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