Professional Video Poker by Stanford Wong was written quite some time ago, and is now out of print. It contains some information that is no longer current. It is offered as a download at the bottom of the page in its entirety as a historical reference and a reminder of how video poker used to be. Current video poker products are available through our online catalog.
Some of my Nevada friends support themselves primarily by playing video poker. They live in Las Vegas, but occasionally travel to Reno and Stateline and find profitable opportunities there.
I worked with them to devise the strategies they are using. Presenting those strategies is the purpose of this publication. The material in this publication has had more than a year of testing in the casinos of Nevada.
Some of this material has previously been published. Volume 6 of Stanford Wong’s Blackjack Newsletters, published in 1984, presents strategies for playing video poker. Those strategies were devised with accuracy in mind. Speed also is important. You can make more money per hour with an approximate strategy if it allows you to play enough more hands per hour.
The video-poker strategies used by the pros have what I think is the optimal balance between accuracy and speed. These strategies were devised with the intent of maximizing winnings per hour. These strategies differ from perfect play by 0.06%. That is, the strategies in this book capture 99.94% of the payback that a computer would achieve making the best play every time.
If you have seen my 1984 strategies, you may have marveled at how complicated they look. Complicated-looking strategies are not what you want to refer to when you are playing video poker in a casino.
The strategies used by the pros do not look complicated. The reason is we worked together to devise the simplest possible format for presenting the strategies. Each strategy is presented in a compact chart that uses easy abbreviations for the different possible draws. You do not have to memorize the strategy because you can find the correct play for any hand in just seconds. After you have played video poker for a while, you will have memorized the correct strategy for most of the hands you play, and you will have to look at the chart only for advice on how to play an unusual hand.
Proper playing strategy alone is not enough. Not every video poker machine is beatable. In fact, most video poker machines have an edge over you. To make money at video poker, you must be able to identify those machines over which you have an edge. This book tells you how to do it.
And if you are really serious about making money, you not only want to know whether you have an edge, you want to know how much you are expected to make per hour. This book tells you how to find your expected win per hour.
I carry my video-poker strategy in my wallet. I play if I find an opportunity that is attractive enough. In the best video-poker opportunity I personally have played, in early 1987, I estimate my time was worth $150 an hour; the pros play quicker than me, and their time probably was worth $200 an hour on that bank of machines.
You probably will not find any $200-an-hour video-poker opportunities. But you could support yourself at video poker. Video-poker pros still exist as this book is being restyled in 1991; I think they will continue to exist for a long time. Sometimes they find more profitable machines than they personally can play, so they hire other people by the hour to play the machines for them.