Playing video poker in online casinos is a favorite hobby of many people. And many of those who enjoy playing video poker play by luck alone. They don’t bother to try and understand the mathematical principles behind the game. And this is not a “wrong” way to play the game, per se – some people just enjoy letting themselves go to the full volatility of Lady Luck alone.
But some people would love to know about the mathematical probabilities in various poker outcomes and scenarios. These people reach a detailed understanding of the game as compared to their luck-based counterparts. These people manage to learn poker probability – and, in specific, the frequency of different poker hands.
The Poker Hands
A part of the poker probability of getting certain hands is known to everyone playing – given the fact that it’s entirely logical. For example, players intuitively know that the most probable poker winning combination that you will get as you play at Red Dog Casino is a pair of Jacks or better. Likewise, you know that the most difficult-to-get combination is royal flush – this is where the progressive jackpot is set as the highest prize that you can win by playing the game of video poker.
But some of the other probabilities may remain clouded to you as you play. That’s why we have decided to share with you the exact probabilities of getting the poker hands as you play:
- The probability of getting a high card is 50.1177%, or 1 in 2,
- The probability of getting a pair is 42.2569%, or 1 in 2.4,
- The probability of getting two pairs is 4.7539%, or 1 in 21,
- The probability of getting three of a kind is 2.1128%, or 1 in 47,
- The probability of getting a flush is 0.1965%, or 1 in 509,
- The probability of getting a full house is 0.1441%, or 1 in 694,
- The probability of getting four of a kind is 0.0240%, or 1 in 4,165,
- The probability of getting a straight flush is 0.00139%, or 1 in 72,193, and
- The probability of getting a royal flush is 0.000154%, or 1 in 649,740.
Few things become obvious once we analyze the probability theory behind the poker hands. First, the odds of getting a certain hand progressively decrease as the value of the hand increases. The high card has a probability of 1 in 2, and the royal flush combination has a probability of 1 in 649,740.
The fact that the probability of getting a royal flush is 0.000154% means that this is not a scenario that you should realistically expect to happen. With odds this low, you better hope that the progressive jackpot prize standing behind the royal flush card combination is huge. But some video poker variants will only pay you a few thousand dollars as the progressive jackpot prize, which is an outright insult given the fact that only 1 in 649,740 hands is a royal flush.
The RTP of Video Poker Games
Of course, there are variations between the RTP rates of different video poker games. But typically, you will find out in your experience that the vast majority of video poker games have an RTP rate of 98-99%, which is quite good as far as online gambling games go.
But we get ahead of ourselves – what RTP stands for, in the first place, is Return to Player. It gives a percentage of the bets that the game will payout to the players in laymen's terms. If a game has an average RTP rate of 98%, it will pay back 98% of the bets that the players' wager.
But this doesn’t mean that you will win $98 for every $100 that you wager. Playing online gambling games such as video poker wouldn’t make any sense. What RTP pertains to is the long-term game – over millions and millions of hands, the results tend to average out. In the short run, video poker games are much more volatile. Either way, you should always consider the RTP rate of the video poker game of your choice – with the notion that a bigger RTP rate means that the player will get a bigger chance to win, on average.
Implementing Poker Probability Theory
Once you know the poker probabilities behind each of the hands of value, you will make better-informed decisions as you play. You will know when to press on and when to back down, depending on the odds and on how much money you have to back your bets with.
But the absolute truth is that video poker is a game primarily about luck. This means that you can play your entire life and never get a royal flush hand. At the same time, another person could get a royal flush on their third go. Behind every legit poker game stands a Random Numbers Generator (RNG) software that ensures a random outcome of every poker hand that you will get. Sometimes you will get luck – and sometimes you won’t.
While it’s true that luck plays a big part in the game of video poker – it also holds true that knowing probability theory will help the player make better choices as they play the game. Knowing the exact probabilities of getting certain hands as you play will enable you to make better use of your wager money and understand the frequency or rarity of certain hands. Note that sometimes you will get incredibly lucky and perhaps win the rare progressive jackpot prize – while other times you will struggle to get a winning pair of jacks or better.
The important thing to realize is not to take things too seriously as you play video poker. It’s a game of luck, after all, and the best mindset with which to play the game is to play for fun. And if you get lucky and win a big sum of money, this is an added plus.