Video Poker Payback Volatility
Short-term fluctuations are both the bad side and the beautiful bit of
Video Poker. They're the bad bit when you sit down to play, lose a few
hands in a row and have to walk away a hundred bucks down. They're beautiful
when you realize you're up by a bunch after only 20 minutes and decide
now would be a good time to leave.
One of the hardest aspects of playing Video Poker seriously is learning
to swing with the curves volatility throws at you. Volatility is the word
used to describe just how much up and down your bankroll will experience
for any given machine. The term applies to almost every casino game, in
a way unique to the game in question. Craps players for instance, know
they can lower the volatility of their bankroll by hedging bets. Video
Poker players have the ability to play a machine with low volatility if
that's what they're after, but often find the games they enjoy most have
a larger swing.
Before anything, the most important concept to understand about volatility
in Video Poker, is that it's always present. This means you can sit down
at a machine, play with perfect strategy for the game, and still lose
half your bankroll right away! Don't be discouraged, you'll learn soon
enough that you need a decent bankroll to weather the ups and downs volatility
Let's have a look at what makes a machine volatile. You'll hardly be
surprised to learn that this variable too, is revealed by the pay table.
This makes sense logically. If a machine pays more for hands that occur
less frequently, then you wont receive much of your bankroll back until
you hit those hands. During the spell between these larger than normal
payouts your bankroll has more of a chance to dip down low. This is volatility
For a Deuces Wild machine for example, a good portion of the machines
total return comes from the royal flush and four deuces hands. These hands
aren't common, and without them the machine only pays out around 95%.
The four deuces hand should only come up a three or four times over the
course of a long session (say, 10 hours). The royal flush will only come
out every 90 hour or so. This means if you happen to be playing when these
hands are hit, you'll have a high return percentage, and if you play when
they're not hit, you'll have a low one. Volatility itself.
As you may expect, the machines with the highest overall return percentages,
also have the highest levels of volatility. Simply put, with these machines
you will either win a lot or lose a lot in the short term, and if you
play over the long term, you'll come out near even, or a bit ahead.