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Video poker has only been around since the mid-1970s, but it’s already become one of the most popular casino games worldwide. It combines the bells and whistles of slot machines with the skill of poker – and yes, you can make a living at it if you so choose. Whether you’re playing to make money or have fun, here are five things to remember the next time you’re ready to play video poker.


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Go for Progressives
The key to making money at video poker, at least when you’re playing live, is to find machines that are part of a progressive jackpot network – just like the Megabucks slot machines. Then make sure the jackpot is high enough, maybe something like 40 times the maximum payout for a Royal Flush.

Consult the Paytables
You’ll need to look at the different payouts the game offers to see how much you get for a Royal and how large a progressive you want, but you should also double-check to make sure you’re at a “full-pay” machine or something close. For example, if you’re playing Jacks or Better, you’ll prefer a machine that pays 9/6, meaning nine coins for a Full House and six coins for a Flush.

Bet the Max
On most machines, the payout for a Royal Flush increases dramatically when you bet the maximum five coins. So instead of playing a 25-cent machine and betting one coin, play a nickel machine and bet the max. Same cost, increased payouts. Easy-peasy.

Use Optimal (or Near-Optimal) Strategies
Each machine has a best way to play your cards, depending on the game and the paytable. You can use online calculators to figure out these strategies. Near-optimal play will get you most of the way without taxing your brain too much, but for maximum returns, try learning the optimal strategies – use the Practice Play mode at Bovada Casino to hone your skills for free.


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Manage Your Bankroll
Making massive bets and praying for a Royal is one way to end your casino session earlier than you intended. Use bet sizes that correspond to the size of your bankroll if you want to stay in the game longer. As a rule of thumb, divide your roll into units of 100 and play a unit at a time.