Video poker is a game of skill and, as one of the best-odds games, players have a real chance to win some money. With that in mind, whether you’re gambling online or stepping out at the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas, managing your bankroll is of utmost importance: You have to make it last to have a chance at winning some decent cash.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to basic money management for video poker.
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1. Be goal-oriented – Don’t be that person who notches a nice win and then cycles it all back into the game only to break even – or worse yet, walks away a big loser. Have a win goal when you sit down, and if you hit it, call it a night. On the opposite side of the coin, have a loss limit for when it’s time to walk away. Perhaps your stop spot is 20 percent on either side of your original bankroll.
2. Have reasonable expectations – Many gamblers take $1,000 and hope to run that up to $10,000, $25,000, $30,000 … you get the idea. But those are unreasonable expectations and keep the casinos in business. A more reasonable expectation is a 10 or 15 percent profit. Imagine you had a mutual fund or stock that regularly made that return on investment. Most investors would be thrilled. Next time you’re playing video poker and reach a 20 percent to 25 percent profit, consider what a great night you’ve had and be happy to book a win.
3. Don’t be underfunded – Determine the appropriate bankroll for the stakes you’re planning to play. You want that money to last. If it’s not going well handling setbacks, move down in stakes so you can survive downswings better. Hopefully you can profit in the long run.
4. Track wins and losses – Keeping track of wins and losses will help you determine not only your hourly win rate (hopefully not a loss rate), but also help you deal with the IRS if you do notch quite a few winning days for the year. (Winnings are taxable but losses can be deducted at the expense of those winnings).
5. Pick a reasonable pace – Beginners learning video poker Basic Strategy may want to play more slowly as they learn. There’s no rush and it can make for an entertaining night. More experienced players who have really reduced the casino edge may want to play more quickly so that the hourly win rate trends upward.
6. Take a break – Staring at that screen for hours and trying to play perfect strategy can wear on the eyes — and brain — after a while. Weariness can lead to mistakes, which can lead to more losses and a lower hourly rate. Get up, walk around, chat with friends, maybe grab a coffee. It’s always good to keep your head and regroup. Then go back, stay positive, and play well. Hopefully, more winnings await.
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