In Video Poker, your bankroll is your boss. Or at least it can be if
you let it. If you know how to play a machine perfectly, have your strategy
all worked out, know for certain that if you give it a good shot, you'll
walk away up, if you have all of this going for you, you can still bust.
Fat Tony has talked a lot about volatility already, and that's because
it's important to understand. With everything else on your side, if you
don't have a large enough bankroll to weather the ups and downs your bankroll
will undergo, you can't win.
But this doesn't mean you have to get the bankroll blues, and it doesn't
mean you have to be a millionaire to make money from Video poker (unless,
perhaps, you plan to make millions from the machines). Just be prepared
to lose, since that's how the machines work: you lose for a while then
win to make up for it, then lose for a while then win to make up for it.
Be smart and always follow a perfect strategy for every hand to make sure
you're keeping as much of your bankroll as possible between hitting big
Some will flat out tell you that you need to be mentally prepared to
lose half the value of a royal flush during a session. This comes out
to $100 on a nickel Video Poker machine, $500 on a quarter machine, and
$2000 on a dollar machine. You can decide where you fit in and choose
your machine accordingly. If what you might loose makes you feel ill at
ease, chances are you're playing at too high a level. You can also decide
how long your session is. If you're prepared to go down $2000 over the
course of a week (more reasonable than an evening for some), then you
simply need to ride the machine out. This is where the mental effort comes
There is a mental trap in Video Poker, and strangely enough it comes
from the fact that we know we can gain a theoretical advantage over the
house. Since we know we're playing in a such a way that we will make money
back in the long run, we inevitably feel like it should start to happen
any time now.. aaaany time now. But we can't force it to happen.
Think about all of the table games for a second. We know the house has
an advantage in the long run, but think about how much money the house
is paying out in all of those games at any given time. Sure they make
more than they lose in the long run, but they need to employ a massive,
massive bankroll to weather the fluctuations, and pull in the cash that
is their theoretical long-term advantage. An underbankrolled player with
a small edge is the casinos favorite customer.
So you know already you can't give up your life for Video Poker. What
do you do as an average Mary or Joe? Basically, without getting into any
long-winded mathematical discussions that would just take up our time,
a good rule of thumb is that we should play with a bankroll equal to three
royal flush payouts. That's $3000 on a quarter machine, and $12,000 for
a dollar machine. And as you learned already, you'll need a bigger bankroll
for any particularly volatile games.