7. Be a Pro at Video Poker
One of my favorite casino games is video poker. Although it appears to be a slot machine, the games inside are very different. This is why:
Both games require you to arrange a line of randomly produced symbols on a computer screen. These symbols in slot machine games could be anything, although they are frequently fruit, bars, playing cards, or novelty symbols related to the game's theme. They are always playing cards in video poker.
The key distinction is that you cannot predict your chances of getting a specific symbol when playing a slot machine game. You are aware of the payouts for each combination, but you cannot assess the house's advantage over you without knowing the chances of acquiring those combinations.
However, the chances of receiving each symbol in a video poker game are the same as they would be if you were using a genuine 52-card deck of cards. (If you're participating in a game with a joker, the deck may have 53 cards.) This helps you out by allowing you to figure out the game's payback percentage.
Okay, I've taught you another new word today. The opposite of the house edge is the "payback percentage," which is used to characterize gaming machines. The amount a game is anticipated to pay back over time can be calculated by deducting the house edge from 100%.
The payback percentage, for instance, is 96 percent if you're playing a slot machine game with a 4 percent house edge. Of course, the ONLY game in the casino where you are unsure of the house edge is the slot machines.
But that's the primary distinction between video poker and slots. By comparing the payouts for each combination (or, in poker words, each "hand") to the chances of getting each hand, you may determine the payback percentage and house advantage of a video poker game.
Here is the other significant distinction:
You don't actually make any important judgments when playing a slot machine game. You stake your money, let the reels spin, and cross your fingers. However, after receiving your five cards in a video poker game, you must choose which cards to "keep." Your new cards are then dealt with by the computer.
This implies that any hand can be played in a fashion that is correct mathematically. Your objective is to increase your anticipated return on each hand.
An illustration of how you might have to compare alternatives in a video poker game is as follows:
Imagine that you are handed a hand with the ace, king, queen, and jack, all of which are in the suit of hearts. The jack of spades is the fifth card you hold in your hand.
There are so two significant possibilities available to you. One of them is in charge of holding the two jacks. That is a guaranteed win after all, but it only offers even odds. You essentially have a 100% chance of receiving a payout of 1 coin. (In this example, I'm using a typical Jacks or Better pay table.)
You might alternatively toss the jack of spades and attempt to get a 10 of hearts. The highest paying hand in the game is a royal flush, which you obtain if you get the ten of hearts. Actually, the odds are 800 to 1. However, there is only one card in the deck that can help you create that hand.
Which option is wiser?
The payment is multiplied by the chance of winning the wager to determine the expected value of a decision.
We already talked about how there is a 1 coin anticipated value and a 100% chance of winning 1 coin.
But first, we need to consider the likelihood of getting a royal flush. The chances are not good. However, we can calculate it precisely.
There is only one possible result for you. But the total number of outcomes is 47. Therefore, your chances of acquiring the card you want are 1 in 477, or roughly 2 percent. The estimated value of 16 coins is equal to a 2% chance of earning an 800 coin reward.
Even though you will miss your hand 98% of the time, you would want to draw for the royal flush because 16 coins are preferable to 1.
This method of determining which choice is superior is incredibly simplistic, as astute readers may observe. Depending on the decision you made, you might also hit a straight, a flush, a full house, three of a kind, four of a kind, or a full house.
However, you get the gist.
You can treat video poker very similarly to blackjack because you can figure out the payback percentage and the right move. There are strategies for beating the house even though the game has a low house edge.
One strategy is to simply stay with very strong pay tables. You can obtain a payback percentage of 100.76 percent if you can discover a "full pay" Deuces Wild video poker game and play it perfectly. That is a 0.76 percent advantage over the house. That is similar to what blackjack players manage to do.
The greatest conceivable variation of video poker, or the one with the highest payback percentage, is called a "full pay" pay table. Less ideal pay tables can be found at different casinos and on different machines within the same casino. They actually frequently do.)
The issue with concentrating on full pay Deuces Wild is as follows:
This game is only offered in a very small number of casinos around the nation. The majority of them are located on Las Vegas' Boulder Strip. Additionally, only low limits are offered for the games.
How much money could you earn professionally playing Deuces Wild at full pay?
In video poker, you always bet 5 coins per hand, therefore you're looking at a $1.25 wager per hand. If you play fairly quickly, you can play 600 hands in an hour. That amounts to $750 per hour of work.
If you win 0.76 percent of that over a long period of time, your profits would amount to an average of $5.70 every hour. Not even minimum pay, that.
However, the majority of video poker players combine games with a little expectation of loss with other elements to raise their overall payback percentage to above 100%.
Here is an illustration of that:
A 99.54 percent payback percentage Jacks or Better game can be played by one participant. But because he also belongs to the casino's rewards program, he receives 0.2% back.
That, though, still does not inspire hope. He is nonetheless engaging in a casino game with a house edge, albeit a negligible 0.26 percent one.
However, this player makes the decision to limit her play to the triple point promotions. She is now receiving 0.6 percent. She has a slight advantage over the house as a result, but since she is retired, she views this as a chance to gamble for free and win nice prizes while on vacation.
She can also wager more money when playing. Both dollar and $5 machines are available in this casino. She is able to wager $25 per hand. Action costing $15,000 per hour. She has a very little advantage over the casino—less than 0.1 percent—but she still earns more every hour—$15 instead of $5.70.
The true masters of video poker wait until the progressive jackpot reaches a size where the player has a very high edge. The house edge decreases as the progressive jackpot increases. There comes a point where the odds are so low that they actually work in the players' favor.
When this occurs, clubs that have an advantage in gambling hold out every seat for certain games. Someone else on the squad will fill in for them when they need a break. The team divides the winnings after the jackpot is ultimately hit.
8. Improve Professional Poker Skills
Short of having your own casino, betting on sports and playing poker are probably the best ways to make a living off of gambling. That's because, at least in comparison to the other possibilities on this list, these 2 methods are both lucrative and comparatively simple to get started in.
However, winning at poker over the long term is more difficult than you may imagine. And if you're playing Texas hold'em, which you probably will because it's the most played poker variation right now, you're up against a significant amount of luck. In reality, many hold'em players have winning streaks despite their poor performance. They experience severe disappointment once their long-term expectations take hold.
Poker is challenging to win since, in the majority of cases, you have to outperform your opponents not just directly but also by a specific margin. The majority of cardrooms take 5% of each pot. Therefore, in addition to being better than the other players, you must also be far enough ahead of them to more than make up for the 5 percent.
The majority of the professional poker literature I've read advises that you gauge your hourly rate in poker in terms of large bets won. When discussing the game's limits, the huge bet is the number that comes after the /. For instance, if you play in a $5/$10 limit game, your profits are expressed as $10 per hour.
One or two large bets every hour can be expected to win over the long term for a poker professional. However, if you only play online, you can boost that multiplier by playing more hands every hour and by simultaneously playing at more than one table.
You can win four big bets each hour if you're skilled enough to win one big bet per hour and manage to play four tables simultaneously.
Let's say you need to make at least $10,000 each month in order to live comfortably. If $5/$10 hold'em is your specialty, you must be able to win 1000 huge bets per month. 250 hours of gaming every month at 4 large bets per hour. That's a little more than 60 hours of play per week.
The majority of poker players cannot sustain any form of quality of life when playing for 60 hours each week. You must therefore consider strategies to raise your hourly wage.
To achieve this, play many tables simultaneously.
You can achieve this by boosting your hourly win rate.
Playing for larger stakes is one way to do this.
Let's imagine you can make each of these things 50 percent more important. You are now managing six tables at once. You can play for $7.50 or $15. And each hour, you're winning 1.5 large bets.
Right now, you're making about $135 per hour. You must play for 74 hours each month in order to earn $10,000 per month. That's a little more reasonable because it's less than 20 hours per week.
All of these figures are also not exact. Over time, your hourly wage will increase and decrease. Both better and poorer competitors will be present. You might play more or fewer hours every month depending on how much energy you have that month.
Based on changes in your bankroll, you might adjust your stakes. It may be necessary for you to remain at a particular level before going ahead because the competition may get significantly tougher at one level compared to another. It's possible that you'll never improve enough to advance to the following level.
By the way, no limit players use ROI to gauge their progress (return on investment). They consider the amount of money they are investing each hour and the proportion of it they anticipate winning. Furthermore, their financial volatility is greater. However, their prospective earnings are greater.
Return on investment is another important metric for tournament competitors. Even if you only win 20% of the events you enter, you will still earn enough money from those to cover your losses and more.
You might be able to take home the World Series of Poker Main Event if you're exceptionally talented and really fortunate. If you succeed, you'll be able to support yourself for the rest of your life. But even the best players are aware that winning that competition is comparable to winning the lottery.
This is why:
Consider a scenario in which you are three times as skilled as the typical World Series of Poker participant. The entrance cost for this competition is $10,000. Anyone who made it to the final 9 got at least $1 million, with the highest prize in 2015 being $7.7 million.
If you were playing against opponents who are all equally skilled at poker and no better, your chances of winning first place are 1 in 6420. Your chances of taking first place, however, are 1 in 2140 because you are three times as good as any of them.
Although it's still unlikely, that's not quite as unlikely as winning the lottery.
Additionally, you still stand a strong chance of making it to the last 9. Given that you are three times as good as the typical player, the odds of it happening are 9 in 6420, or 27 in 6420. On your $10,000 entry fee, you have a 1 in 238 chance of winning a million dollars.
In this case, your chances of winning anything at all or at the very least receiving your registration fee refunded are actually quite good. The top 1000 positions, or 1000 out of 6420, or nearly 1 in 6.4, received payouts. You have a nearly 50% probability of placing in the money and making at least a little profit if you are three times better than your competitors.
But here's the catch:
It takes a lot of time, work, talent, and intelligence to get to the point where you're that much better than the typical player at those stakes.
Despite not being a physical activity, poker can be seen as a sport. While some people are naturally gifted athletes, others lack the necessary skills to succeed.
Consider it like this:
You probably won't ever be as excellent a quarterback as Peyton Manning, no matter how hard you practice. He simply has more talent at birth than you do. (And I'm sorry to anyone who is the exception to the rule reading this, but what are the chances of that?)
For poker, the same might be true. No matter how hard they prepare, many players will never be talented enough to contend with players like Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, or Daniel Negreanu.
This does not imply that you should forego competing in the World Series of Poker Main Event. Still, it's a game of luck. You still have a chance to win even if you're just half as good as the other players. Simply said, your odds are 1 in 12,000 as opposed to 1 in 6000.
How can one become skilled at poker?
Practice, practice, practice is how you get to Carnegie Hall.
I advise starting out by playing some of the free games available online. Read an introductory book on the game you are most interested in, which is probably Texas hold'em since that is where the action is.
Start playing games with real money as soon as you can. Even when only a small amount of money is at stake, how people play varies greatly. Better hands are winning the pots in even $0.01/$0.02 games, and more players are folding.
You can raise the stakes when you begin to routinely win. As soon as you have enough money in your account to play at the next level without running out of money, you should raise the stakes.
Also, read several pieces of literature about the game. Some of the better ones are The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky, Small Stakes Holdem by Ed Miller, and Super/System, which was edited (and partially written) by Doyle Brunson. The Theory of Poker is actually required reading for anyone who is serious about learning how to consistently win at the game.