Be aware of pay tables at video poker slot machines

Nov 12, 2013 3:00 AM

Look before you cross the street. It’s something we learn as children.

It’s an adage we shouldn’t forget when we’re in the casino. It’s something I’ve learned the hard way more often than I’d like to remember. The examples aren’t as extreme as being hit by a car but they’re not good.

Video poker is my solo casino game of choice. I practice during my free time on my WinPoker iPhone app. I scour the vpFREE2 database online to know where the best returning games should be. I’m usually prepared when I walk into a casino to play.

That preparation usually works to my advantage. I play the games with the smallest house edge almost to perfection. I visit certain casinos and know where the banks of machines are that have the games I want to play. I can usually get into the video poker zone without even looking, and that’s not the smartest thing.

After playing the same machines for a while it’s easy just to operate without paying much attention to the game. After all, if the game has been the same for every visit why would things change?

Well, sometimes things change so it’s important to check the games before playing.

I was recently at a casino that had changed all of their video poker pay tables. Everything I studied online went out the door. I must have beaten the rest of the video poker community to these machines because it didn’t seem as if anyone was aware of the changes.

The video poker bank I wanted to play no longer had pay tables I was comfortable with. Thankfully, I looked before I fed my money into the machine.

I walked around the casino and saw it wasn’t just my bank of machines that was changed. Every video poker game seemed to have a different pay table than I remembered. I grabbed a beer and left the casino.

This isn’t the first time this has happened and it won’t be the last. Casinos change their video poker pay tables every now and again. It’s their right to change pay tables just like it’s mine to spend money elsewhere.

Check the pay tables before playing.

Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gambling and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Follow Marc on twitter @eastcoastgamblr. Check out his blog at www.AC2LV.com Contact Marc at [email protected].

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