Strategy for Winning a Million Dollars in Video Poker

I’ll be honest with you: I wouldn’t be writing this post if I knew how to make a million dollars playing video poker. Either I’d be out in the Alaskan wilderness, cracking open a beer that I caught, or I’d be relaxing on my back porch.

So, the question is, how do you go about winning a million dollars playing video poker? The truth is that there is no foolproof strategy for making millions playing video poker. Any scheme promising rapid wealth has my suspicions. A basic rule of thumb is that the less effort something takes, the less effective it is.


Here are some non-traditional strategies for winning big at video poker:


Playing progressive video poker, you have a shot at winning a million dollars. Video poker progressive jackpots are far less than slot machine progressive jackpots, typically reset to between $500 and $1,500, and rarely pay out more than two or three times the reset value. Keep in mind that progressive video poker games are quite uncommon; you won’t find any in Las Vegas or Atlantic City.

You could just sit there and keep feeding the slot machine till you got lucky. Consider a maximum wager of $25 per hand, or $5 per credit. You could win a million dollars by collecting enough $30 prizes in a row. It would require 200,000 consecutive 6-credit wins (to pay the cost of each round’s maximum wager) and would likely raise questions with the IRS, but I suppose it is theoretically (given enough decimal places) “possible.”

If you slip and fall while playing a video poker machine, you could seriously injure yourself. You will be entitled to compensation, damages, and (in exceptional situations) a punitive award meant to teach the casino a lesson they won’t soon forget if it is determined that the casino was negligent in checking and maintaining their premises. You should not rule out the prospect of receiving a multimillion-dollar payout. Abusing the system in this way would make you a terrible person. It could backfire if there is no proof of fault and the court throws out the lawsuit.

Those three propositions are quite implausible. My advice is to take a sober look at the situation rather than risking an accident with a dropped drink, hoping for a mathematical miracle, or risking financial ruin by chasing progressivism.


Three Foundational Principles of Successful Video Poker Play

The following three principles are not precisely top secret. They can be found all over the web for no cost. Having authored numerous articles on these subjects, I can attest to their veracity.


After you’ve mastered the game of video poker, there are only three guidelines you need to remember if you want to (eventually) make a million dollars from it:


Figure out the fundamentals

You don’t have to worry about strategy if all you want to do in Vegas is have fun and lose your entire $100 bankroll in the long run.


You need a master’s degree in gambling if you want to make a million dollars playing video poker. Since not all of the books you might be interested in reading are easily accessible online, it’s helpful to live near a decent library. One advantage is proximity to a state institution with a good research library.


You might as well sign up for a few gaming magazines while you’re at it. Subscribe to some Vegas-themed content if that’s where you plan to spend most of your gambling time. Sign up for a handful of online discussion groups. Seminars teaching fair methods for video poker and other games may be available in your area. Just so you know, this isn’t something you can do once per year or twice every year for a few years and then stop. New games necessitate novel approaches, and fresh gambling venues present exciting new advantages. You should really consider making gambling and game theory your life’s work.


Pick Games That Are Fun for the Players

It’s too bad that +EV video poker’s heyday is long behind us. It may still be worthwhile to visit a certain casino or website in search of a select few high-paying games. Specifically, at America’s gambling meccas, you can find enough tables with 10/7 Double Bonus and full-pay Deuces Wild to keep you entertained. If you want to make a million dollars playing video poker, you should probably just play these games, as the other games will hold on to too much of your money over time.


You can play some of the 99%+ titles that casinos still host if you’re willing to take a chance (or wait a few additional years to earn your million). You may find these very much anywhere in the United States, including online, in Las Vegas, in Atlantic City, and elsewhere. Popular variations of video poker games like 9/6 Jacks or Better and the time-tested 8/5 Bonus Poker typically return approximately 99.1% to players. These games, as well as the so-called “Not So Ugly Deuces” games (which we name 25/16/10), provide the casino an edge of less than a quarter of a percent.


Casinos frequently position low-payout video poker machines close to their higher-limit counterparts. This is notably the case in the minority of casinos that offer full-pay games. You should always check the payout schedule before you play.


Spend wisely (and gain bonuses)

Considering the commitment required to amass a gambling fortune, you shouldn’t have any trouble keeping a tight rein on your video poker spending. However, since you should always bet the maximum, your betting options are restricted. Bet size is less important than accumulating the valuable extras that casinos offer their most loyal customers. This includes signing up for the players club, earning club points that can be redeemed for cash, participating in raffles and drawings, playing in video poker tournaments, clipping coupons for bounce-back rewards, and remembering to mail them in after your trip.


You’re cutting into the casino’s advantage for the sake of what feels like a negligible amount of time investment. Using comps essentially increases your already substantial edge in +EV games. Not a huge lot, but it adds up to a noticeable change in the long run.



Now that I’ve reached the end of the post, there’s still one question that won’t leave my head. Can this really happen?


I ran the math (always a risky business) and discovered some fascinating data regarding this passive strategy for making a million dollars playing Jacks or Better. Playing 10/7 Double Bonus for a million dollars will take 294,117 hours (it returns roughly $0.17% every hour if you use flawless technique). That’s presuming you can make zero strategic errors while playing 80 hands every hour. That’s the equivalent of putting in 100 years at the same job.


You could team up with other people to accomplish your goals, but then again, you’re not a billionaire, are you?


In sum, I find it to be a thought-provoking inquiry and a valuable opportunity for education. Someone, somewhere, has made a million dollars (or more) playing video poker, but they are likely an anomaly who has a knack for playing the longest sessions and the games with the best odds while making very few mistakes. Given enough time and dedication at the proper casino, it’s also conceivable to accumulate a million dollars’ worth of rewards.

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