a video poker game on a computer screen

Why is Video Poker So Popular?

We recently published a tutorial about video poker strategy.  We never actually answered the important question: Why is video poker so popular?  Video poker has become one of the most popular games at Intertops online casino.  At Intertops Casino, you can play many different video poker variations.  All of them provide the same gaming excitement that has made video poker so popular.

In this article we will discuss one important aspects of video poker and we will talk in more depth about two other important aspects of video poker.

High Return to Player Rate

This is one of the best understood aspects of the game and when players discover how easily they can play the game at little to no cost and with frequent small winning sessions, they often come back to video poker as a great, inexpensive pastime.

Video Poker Requires Deep Thinking

The great return to player rate does not exist in a vacuum. You have to make the right plays on every hand.  We have already talked about the strategy chart in a previous article.   As much as we would like to go for a Royal Flush often, we also understand that most dealt hands are not particularly good.

We need to accept the hands for what they are and also to see more deeply into what may be hidden beneath the surface.  One simple example is a dealt hand with two unsuited high cards.  The general strategy in this case is to keep the high cards.  You have three chances to pair one of the high cards and win your bet.

Go for an Outside Straight

Winning back your bet in hands like this is a big part of getting that high return to player rate we like to speak about.  However, hidden beneath the surface may be chances for better hands.  The unsuited high cards might be a jack and a queen.  The other three cards might be a ten, a nine, and another card. 

The ten is not a high card even though it is part of a Royal Flush because you don’t win in Jacks or Better if you end up with a pair of tens!  The holding of queen, jack, ten, and nine gives you a chance for an outside straight.  In that case, you go for the outside straight hoping to at least pair one of the high cards if the straight doesn’t come up.

Go for a Flush

The same thinking applies if you have three or four cards to a flush.  You go for the flush, still keeping your chances to pair the high card you keep.  You go for the flush with three to a flush even if it means giving up both high cards!  Statistically, we combine the pay out with a pair to the pay out for a flush and compare them to the chances of either happening.  The result, the statisticians tell us, is that going for a flush with three to a flush is better than holding on to the high cards.

No Bluffing

Many players love poker but do not like the whole bluffing side of it.  In fact, on every play an opponent makes you have to evaluate whether he or she is betting from strength or bluffing.  Some top pros will bluff throughout a hand and often they get an opponent to fold a better hand.

Bluffing is hard to do successfully in the long run and identifying bluffs is hard to do consistently.  Video poker gives poker fans the chance to play poker without any bluffing whatsoever!

The Attraction of Making Decisions

In the talk above about making the correct play on every hand, we left out one very odd and amazing fact: many players are inexorably drawn to situations in which they have to make decisions!  In fact, psychologists have studied the whole decision making process to find out why some people thrive on the need to make good decisions while others cannot seem to make even the most mundane decisions.

We all know people who take a long time to decide what to order at a restaurant.  We know people who will shop for hours for a new dress or shirt.  We know people who never move because they can’t decide where they want to move to and what to buy or rent.

Mundane Decisions

Most of the decisions we make are mundane decisions.  What to order in a restaurant is one such decision.  We make many such decisions every day.  However, many decisions are very important.  A decision that affects your bottom line directly is a big decision. 

Businesspeople make such important decisions every day.  So do doctors, nurses, and other people in medical service.  Patients and at times family members also have to make important life-changing decisions.

How Does Video Poker Apply to This?

First, video poker appeals to people who enjoy the pressure of making decisions.  Many of the biggest decisions we make are rife with uncertainty.  As much as online casino games are a simple, fun pastime that allows players to play without thinking a lot, thinking games like video poker and blackjack appeal to players who relax while at the same time they are thinking deeply about their next play.

Video Poker as Practice for More Important Decision Making

Many players enjoy slots as a form of pure entertainment.  In fact, we have over 200 slots in many theme categories simply because players love to experience vicariously the many different settings, time periods, and characters we feature in our slots.

Video poker serves a much different purpose.  People who have to make serious decisions every day like to play thinking games like video poker and blackjack because they see them as a conduit for keeping their minds strong as they contemplate their next fateful life, business, or medical decision.

Quick Analysis

While we want to take our time when we have to analyze a situation deeply, we also don’t want to waste time fruitlessly analyzing aspects of the situation that aren’t relevant to the decision.  Games like video poker, blackjack, Sudoku and others keep our minds focused on the task at hand.  People who play such mental exercised games say that they feel that the time spent on these games is very valuable when they have to stay focused on a matter that requires a deeply analytical decision.

Possibilities

Video poker strategy can be counterintuitive at times.  It is the availability of better hands than a cursory first look might see that may make the difference between a winning session and a losing one.  The same idea applies to many more important decisions.   We need to train ourselves to see possibilities where the average person might not see any.

Donald Trump’s Lifetime of Deep Analysis

People are still wondering how Donald Trump, someone who had never been elected to any office and who had spent years as a reality show host, could win the presidency of the United States.  Donald Trump was elected in his late 60’s after a lifetime of studying people.  He knew exactly what a large number of American voters wanted and although the reality was in plain sight, he was the only person, Republican or Democrat, to see the actual reality!

We aren’t saying that he developed his insights playing video poker.  We are saying that video poker, because of its reliance on analysis, insight, and close observation of hidden possibilities has a lot more to offer than “just” entertainment!