All about Video Poker with casino gambling expert Michael “Wizard of Odds” Shackleford

Hi and welcome to our series of
educational videos that are designed to make you a smarter
gambler my name is Steve Bourie and I’m the author of the American casino
guide which is the number one bestselling book in the US on the
subject of casino gambling and travel and the only book that comes with more than
one thousand dollars in casino coupons if you want to know more about me or my
book be sure to visit my website at In this video I’ll be speaking
with gambling expert Michael Shackleford who is also known as The Wizard of Odds and I ask him all about video poker We
video taped this interview with Mike in Las Vegas in September 2010 and I’m sure that it will help to answer
many of the questions that you have about video poker and how you can be a
long-term winner at the game How does a video poker machine differ from
a slot machine? What they both have in common is the odds or the outcomes on the screen are
determined by random numbers the moment the player presses the button
to make his bet random numbers are chosen in
the case of a slot machine they determine where the reels stop, in
the case a video poker they determine what cards you get How
does the paytable of a video poker game affect the
payback percent on that game? The way the paytable affects the
payback percentage of a (video poker) machine is players are going to get each hand a certain percentage of the
time assuming optimal strategy or actually assuming any kinda strategy so say for
example the player is going to get a full house 1 percent of the time if the machine one machine pays nine for a full house
and another pays 8 for a full house the player who’s
playing the machine that pays nine is going to get one extra coin every
100 bets and a good gambler will fight for every
percent that he can get How does a player’s skill affect the payback percentage on a
video poker game? A player’s skill level has a lot to do with the return that he
can expect to get from a video poker machine over the long run if you took a game where a perfect
player would get 99.5 percent I estimate that a completely recreational
player is only gonna get about 95 percent out of
that machine skill is very important in video poker a lot of players play video poker like
they would play live poker keeping kickers and and things like that
that are absolutely horrible in video poker
it’s critical to do some homework on video
poker to learn proper strategy Is a video
poker machine ever due to hit a royal flush? Absolutely not. Much like slot machines each time you play it the odds are
independent of everything else that happened in the
past With video poker excuse me the of hitting a royal depending on
the pay table and strategy is about one in forty thousand and it’s
always gonna be that same probability it doesn’t make
any difference when the last time a royal was hit Can a player use the same strategy on
all video poker games? The player absolutely should not use the
same strategy in all video poker games for example you would be an absolute
fool to use Deuces Wild strategy on any game where deuces were not wild Even on more similar games say double
double bonus and jacks or better they still have a very different
strategy a skilled video poker player will have
memorized several different strategies for the
games that he’s most likely to play and if he comes across a game that’s
over a hundred percent that he deems worth his time to play but
it’s a game that’s not familiar to him he will
learn that strategy before he plays it. Is there a best video poker game to play
for the average player? Most of the time the best video poker games out there are either Jacks or
Better or deuces wild in some casinos Jacks or Better will be
the best in some deuces wild will be the best and some casinos it’ll be something
different so if you just want to memorize one
strategy which should it be? If forced to a decision I would say learn Jacks or Better this strategy isn’t you can learn it simple strategy
they’re not that complicated and you can also once you know Jacks or
Better its easier to learn other strategies
like double bonus or double double bonus because you only have to learn some exceptions to the jacks or
better strategy whereas with deuces wild while its often
a good game that strategy stands on its own and it
doesn’t help you with with other kinds of games. Can video poker
players really find games that are programmed to payback more than one hundred percent? Absolutely. Here in Las Vegas, if you get
away from the strip there are locals casinos that do have some
machines not all of them that are set to pay over a hundred
percent with proper strategy for example where we’re doing this interview at
Sam’s Town they have full pay deuces wild that with correct strategy will pay 100.77 percent of money back. If some games pay more than 100 percent why don’t players
just play those games and make lots of money? For one thing a lot of players are too
lazy to learn the proper strategy for them another thing is that the machines that are set the pay over 100 percent usually
they don’t take very big bets a dollar at the most sometimes just 25
cents the best machine in Las Vegas pays 101.7 percent but it’s just a nickel game so these games are not going to be worth
the time of most professional gamblers however if you’re
just a recreational gambler and are gonna play anyway absolutely look for those machines that
are set to pay over 100 percent and many casinos for example here in Sam’s Town
they have big signs that say something like optimal play video
poker return over a hundred percent with
optimal strategy Do casinos ever make a mistake and offer a 100 percent game in
a higher denomination? one of the best video poker games is
called full pay deuces wild it’s characterized for paying $25 for a
while flush 15 for a 5 of a kind nine for a straight
flush five for a four of a kind three for the
full house and two for a flush and straight With
optimal strategy that game pays 100.76 percent you might ask what’s the most I can bet
on that game? I think the highest I’ve ever seen it
for is fifty cents usually it’s just a quarter or nickle
however about a year ago Caesars Palace here in
Vegas accidentally set their one hundred
dollar denomination game so it’s a five hundred dollar maximum
bet to full pay deuces wild a very rich skilled player found out about that and he played that
game very very hard and at first I hear that
he was way down but then he hit four deuces I think twice and then hit a royal and I think that he won over a hundred thousand dollars
before the casino realized that they completely blew it and changed the paytable Is there such a
thing as a professional video poker player? There absolutely is such a thing as a
professional video poker player here in Las Vegas their are hundreds of
them and what these players do is they
seek out the best machines they know all the strategies very well
some of them are out there hunting for progressive machines
where the jackpot is high there are any number of angles that they
can use to to get their odds over a hundred percent sometimes they will play at machine
that’s under 100 percent but they’ll do it because of points mailers and other niceties that
the casinos gives them on top of their play How can a player improve their skill at
playing video poker? There are plenty of books, websites, software that show the player the correct way to play just about any given pay table out there my website
for example has strategies for lots of common games like jacks or better
and deuces wild lotsa software out there where you can
put in any paytable in game and it’ll
tell you a correct strategy books about video
poker it is not difficult to obtain good information about how to play video
poker How does volatility affect the players bankroll on a video poker
machine? First of all there’s volatility in any
form of gambling when you play any game for a long time it’s like throwing a dart at a bell
curve that’s going to determine your win or loss with video poker that bell curve
can be very wide for some games like double double bonus or can be tighter
with some games like Jacks or Better You can tell the more volatile games if they have a lot of high-paying awards at the high end for example four aces and a
2-3 kicker and if you can see that they’re
paying only one for a two pair and putting and making the high pays higher that’s
going to be a more volatile game than say a jacks or better game playing video poker is like riding a
roller coaster your bankroll is gonna go way up and way down all the time and that is just a fact of the game it’s just
the laws of mathematics that you’re going to have great days,
horrible days and some days in between How do Players
Club benefits and casino promotions affect the overall payback percentage
on a video poker machine? Well first of all those things don’t affect the
machine itself if for example a 9/6 Jacks or Better
machine is gonna pay 99.54 percent with
optimal play no matter what the casino is giving you through their Player award program
however the player is a fool to ignore the
benefits that the players club will give them The
player absolutely should always use his player
card in the machine no matter what kinda machine it is and
the player should carefully consider how much do I have to bet to earn a
point and how many points do I have to earn to get a dollar of say
cash or free play or comps how generous is the casino with mailers if I ask for a comp how
generous are they gonna be the astute video poker player absolutely considers very carefully the niceties that the casino will give the player on top of the paytable of that machine What is your best advice for video poker
players? My best advice for video poker players is first of all hunt out the best
machines you absolutely should go looking for the best machines and you
don’t necessarily need to check every single machine in a whole
casino there are good websites like that list for every casino what are the
best video poker machines in that casino what
denominations and sometimes information about where
they can be found for example here at Sams town they have full pay
deuces wild you have to know what the full pay Deuces Wild pay table
is go look for it and then once you start
playing it play the best strategy that you can video poker strategy can get very
complicated but if you’re just a recreational player it’s fine to just use a simple strategy
that will get you very close to the optimal return How can people learn more about you and
your work? if you want to improve your odds in any
casino game I welcome you to visit my website it’ll show you the correct strategy to at least a hundred different casino
games or you can buy my book gambling 102 which will show you how to play the most
common casino games don’t forget that you can see more of our educational
gaming videos on our YouTube channel just go to

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36 thoughts on “All about Video Poker with casino gambling expert Michael “Wizard of Odds” Shackleford

  1. I don't know how VP games in Macau are operated. The information in this video applies to U.S. games in major gaming states such as Nevada and New Jersey. Keep in mind that even in the U.S. there are some video poker machines that do not act in this manner. Exceptions are Class II games which are based on bingo. Also, in New York the video poker games are not random. The results are pre-determined and it is like paying a scratch-off lottery ticket. See americancasinoguide com for more details.

  2. Great video, this really enlightened me on the subject of Video Poker. Maybe now I'll do better at it, equipped with the knowledge and advice I received from this video.

    Thanks Steve.

  3. Video poker games in Atlantic City work the exact same way as VP games in Las Vegas. One of the states that does have different VP games, however, is New York. At the casinos at pari-mutuels in NY the cards in the VP games are not dealt randomly. Instead, it is like you are playing a scratch-off lottery ticket with a pre-determined number of winners and losers. Therefore, the pay table you see shown in the front of the VP machine is meaningless because skill is not a factor when playing.

  4. Oh come on now, there are certainly more boring people in the world than Michael and me! If you ever met us we could show you a great time in the casinos.

  5. i saw one at trump plaza AC. a VGM using Bac as the game. you either pick player, bank, or tie, and you wage bets, i think it was a 5 cent machine. lol.

  6. I´m Edward from Brazil.
    I´m a lottery player, and I´m here on youtube searching for videos about
    cassino games, to find out if I´ve more chances to win than on lotteries.
    I´ve learned that slot machines are not random, but it´s pre-programmed,
    so I won´t play on them. Now I´m trying to find out about video poker.
    Let see how it goes.
    I´ll check your website later.

  7. It depends on the casino. Some will aloow it, but usually at a reduced rate that is lower than other video poker games in the casino. Some casinos, however, will not give any comps at all. I do know that at NYNY casino in Las Vegas they have 9/6 jacks or better, which is only 99.54% return and they don't give any comp points. Those machines have had the card readers removed.

  8. lol poker on machines. seriously how dumb do you have to be to play on one? just play the real game so you wont get ripped off that much

  9. Actually, video poker is a very good game to play. There are people who make a living playing video poker machines, but you need to only play the best-paying machines and combine them with a good-paying players club, or other special casino promotion in order to make it profitable.

  10. but how do you know that the program isn't set so you intentionally lose? at least in real poker no one can change the outcome. can you really trust the machine?

  11. Gaming regulators require that the games be played as if dealt from a randomly shuffled 52-card deck. You just need to make sure you play in a regulated jurisdiction. Also, don't play in New York state or in the state of Washington. Those VP games are not dealt randomly and there is no skill involved. Those games work like slot machines.

  12. wow am actually going to start trying video poker games, always see people playing them but now I have a somewhat good idea on what to do, and going to try it when I go to Vegas next month.

  13. What can a professional video poker player make in a week/month/year? How long do they play for per-week/day? Just a ruff estimated? Ohio, just opened four casino's. Thank God.

    Excellent videos. Thank you.

  14. My first time playing video poker I used my poker knowledge and in a hour won 60. But after watching this I see how easy it is.thanks.

  15. If there are winning video poker players, and if casinos are giving them enough free "comps" so that they can make a living off it, why are the casinos even doing that? Is it because there are enough uneducated people that play for fun and without proper tactics? Do their payoff to the casino make up for those the casino "pay" with comps?

  16. Sir, is it possible to "grind" Jacks or Better a few hours a day for a part-time income supplement (w/ proper bankroll management / allocated budgets)?  Looking for something less stressful than Hold Em as a counter-balance.  Thank-you.  Excellent channel with eye-opening information, sir.

  17. so basically its a slot machine its going to steal your money so if you want poker go see the dealer because the cards have better odds

  18. I prefer the 5 of a kind triple play progressive jackpot machines as opposed to the royal flush jackpot. And if you're dealt 4 aces and the joker, the minimum jackpot for max credits is $50,000 and progressive from there. And a straight or royal flush pay 500 credits, while the 5 of a kind pay 4,000 credits. There's 13 ways to get 5 of a kind but only 4 ways to get a royal flush. And I hit the 5 of a kind often. Bob Dancer's instructional CD explains all the strategy of that game as well as other games.

  19. Here in Connecticut the Mohegan Sun Casino does not offer any benefits for playing 9/6 jacks or better. However, the 8/5 game next to it does. Be careful, the signs are very small and dark if you are playing them.

  20. How did you arrive at 'one extra coin every 100 bets' mentioned at 1:45, just because one machine pays an extra coin for a full house? No one is guaranteed a full house every 100 bets are they?

  21. No one can even define 'professional video poker player.' Why don't you define what a 'progressive' machine is for those who don't know? And you don't earn a living by getting free stuff if the stuff isn't room and board, 365 days a year. I suppose you could wear your comped polo shirt while sleeping on your comped beach towel on the sidewalk until security comes out and makes you move to tent city to hang out with the homeless and scrounge for your next meal cause you can't possibly play enough coins to get a year-round hotel room and restaurant pass.

  22. Why isn't every machine clearly labeled with the payout % instead of just a pay table? It looks like a person has to have a set of strategy cards with them to find the exact game/pay table and then look for the % on the card.

  23. We should also point out that professional video poker players receive a lot less scrutiny from casinos than card counters. You can play anonymously and nobody in surveillance will notice your strategy.

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