There was a time not too long ago when video poker was the Golden Goose for advantage gamblers.
Games that could theoretically return over 100% at significant stakes were relatively commonplace, and paired with the right cashback opportunities, could see those willing to grind it out extract a notable edge over the house. Beginning in the 1990s, computer systems enabled the savviest players to learn the right play in every situation, allowing them to max out their advantage, with possible edges exceeding 2% on select days.
At 600 hands per hour and at just the $5 denomination, that would equate to a positive expectation of $300 per hour.
And compared to blackjack card counters, it was less common (although not impossible) for a video poker pro to be 86’d from the casino.
But unfortunately, the rise of sophisticated computer programs also allowed casinos to quickly figure out who was beating them and how.
Since, the climate for advantage video poker players in gambling meccas such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City has become more and more inhospitable.
At present, it is still possible to squeak out an advantage playing video poker, and to do so consistently at the lowest of stakes.
But earning what most would consider to be a lucrative, or even decent, living may soon become an effort in futility.
For APs situated in Las Vegas, there is no shortage of advantage video poker plays.
Games such as Full Pay Deuces Wild, that return 100.76% with optimal play, are commonplace at off strip casinos.
According to video poker tracking site vpfree2, there are two dozen Vegas casinos (and a few more in Reno) that offer games with theoretical returns of over 100%.
But, and this is a big but, nearly all of those games can only be played at the $0.25 denomination or lower.