Video poker occupies a peculiar place in the constellation of casino games. It’s often lumped together with slot machines, both in brick-and-mortar and online settings. However, as aficionados of the game will quickly confirm, it is decidedly not a slot machine.
Instead, it affords players some measure of control over their fortunes. The ability to choose which cards to hold, which to discard, and when to draw give video poker players a sense of control that slots do not offer.
For players in Michigan who want to gamble but still take the bull by the horns, this page is for you. Here’s your rundown on all the news, information, and tips about video poker in the sections below.
Yes. There are several different options for legal video poker in the state.
Casino gambling as we know it began in Michigan in 1984. In that year, seven federally-recognized Native American tribes chose to open casino locations on their tribal lands as a means of gaining vital revenue.
The tribes argued that their limited sovereignty in the eyes of the US government gave them the right to do so.
The state of Michigan did not immediately agree and began court proceedings. However, other tribes around the country had become embroiled in similar controversies, and after a ruling favorable to tribal interests in the United States Supreme Court, the US Congress decided it needed to clarify the tribes’ position.
Thus, the Indian Regulatory Gaming Act of 1988 came to pass. It confirmed tribes did have the ability to offer casino gambling on their lands if they could come to an agreement with their state governments about it. These agreements, known as compacts, were at the discretion of each state government to negotiate.
Thus, the Michigan-based tribes began moving toward a deal with the legislators in Lansing and finally gained their compacts with the state to offer casino-style gambling in 1993. Though not specifically enumerated in the agreements, one of the games that tribes could now offer with impunity was video poker.
At the same time, lawmakers in Lansing had a problem concerning Detroit. There are no tribal lands close to Michigan’s largest city, and the Canadian neighbor Windsor had recently opened three casinos of its own.
To combat the exodus of dollars into Canada, Michigan passed the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act in 1996. The act created the Michigan Gaming Control Board and empowered it to authorize licensure of commercial casinos in Detroit. Video poker was part of the slate of games authorized by the law.
Since then, three casino properties have opened in Detroit. All three are owned and operated by major gambling corporations and are some of the largest casinos in the Great Lakes State.
There are now 26 casinos active in Michigan, and most of them offer options for video poker.
If you’re itching to get out there and play some video poker now, there’s some good news. The majority of Michigan’s 26 casinos, 19 to be exact, have options for playing video poker.
We’ve already mentioned a few of them above, but here are the locations so you can choose the most convenient one for you:
With 26 casinos inside the state, it makes sense there are some great options for video poker. While some casinos in Michigan are smaller affairs, there are several that offer a Vegas-style experience from start to finish.
Naturally, some of these casinos are better bets for video poker. There tends to be more variety in terms of the number of machines available and the list of playable games.
Here are the best casinos for video poker in Michigan:
Online casinos are coming to Michigan very soon, along with online video poker.
For the time being, Michigan players can use sweepstake casino sites to play real money online video poker anytime they want. Several sweepstakes sites offer real money play across the state.
The most notable of these sites is Chumba Casino, which operates as a sweepstakes site with a dual currency system. You can play video poker with either gold coins, which are not a redeemable currency, or sweeps coins, which can be withdrawn for cash.
Chumba has only a single video poker online game available for players. However, as far as options go, Jacks or Better is a pretty solid choice.
The best way to play video poker for free in Michigan is to make use of the sweepstakes sites mentioned above.
If you want to add a bit more excitement to things, remember that for a sweepstakes site to be legal, players have to be able to compete for the prizes there for free. To meet that requirement, there is a way for you to acquire sweeps coins for no more than the cost of postage.
If you handwrite a request and send it via snail mail to the offices of Chumba Casino. Chumba will then issue you a small amount of sweeps coins, and you are free to use them how you like.
You can repeat this process however many times you wish. It’s painstaking but effective.
You can also find demo versions of online video poker games at many online casinos, even those that are out of state. You won’t be able to keep any of your winnings, but you can use these demos to familiarize yourself with the game and work on your strategy.
Not all video poker games are created equal. Some of them have an impressive array of features while others draw a decided “meh” from the masses.
There are a few video poker games that stand out that you can find in Michigan.
Hot Roll takes the straightforward concept of multi-hand video poker and adds a dice roll to it. It is possible to win payouts on hands far above the customary amounts.
This game is the product of game developer giant IGT and generally functions as a variant of three-play, five-play, and 10-play video poker games.
The eponymous feature, Hot Roll, is available if a player chooses to double their wager on the game. So, instead of paying five units per line for a five-play game, you would pay 10 units instead. The doubling opens up the possibility of a payout multiplier being applied to your normal wins.
This multiplier is determined as the random outcome of two dice onscreen. The sum of the two dice is equal to the multiplier and you can find your wins multiplied by numbers two through 12.
Considering that multi-hand games have a multiplying potential inherently, due to being able to hold the same cards for all of your hands, the Hot Roll adds the possibility you might come out of a single hand as a big winner.
If you’ve been to a casino, you’ve probably seen these types of machines before. Super Star video poker machines are incredibly popular because they offer multiple games on the same machine. They are a common appearance both on the casino floor and embedded into bars.
Most Super Star games feature a variety of limits, game options, and number of playable hands during a game. You often find the ability to play video poker, blackjack variants, and keno on the same machine. The entire apparatus is controlled through a touchscreen interface.
Super Star usually comes with three different buy-in or line values associated with it. These are typically set for play between 25 cents and $1 per line, as most players are comfortable within these limits.
Ultimate-X Poker is a single-hand or multi-hand video poker option that has plenty of fans in Michigan. Like many other video poker games, it is an IGT product.
Essentially, Ultimate-X Poker allows you to purchase a multiplier for the hand to follow your current play, and, like Hot Roll, you double your bet to activate the feature.
However, the trick about Ultimate-X is that your results from the current hand determine the multiplier for the next hand. In other words, your performance on the hand in front of you is what determines the value of the multiplier to come.
Here is the multiplier table for a typical Jacks or Better three-play version of Ultimate-X:
Unusually, the multipliers are geared to reward players with lower-ranked hands. The highest possible reward occurs with full houses, not royal flushes.
Exercise caution when you play Ultimate-X video poker. As popular as it is, the signature feature costs double the normal wager, and a downswing can hit twice as hard.
Even though the house edge on most video poker games is quite thin, some of them have no house edge at all. In fact, under certain conditions, you might be able to find video poker games online where you have the advantage, with caveats, of course.
The first thing to recognize is the payouts for various hands on video poker are different from machine to machine. Though the lowest-ranked hands usually have the same ratio, some machines pay more as you climb the table to higher-ranking combinations.
It is critically important you shop for the best pay tables before you begin playing.
The most common way to determine whether a machine has an optimal payout scheme is to look at the payouts for full houses and flushes.
To secure the best odds for yourself, you need to try to find machines that have the highest payouts. For instance, on a Bonus Poker Deluxe machine, the best type of machine to play is a 9/6 machine, meaning you are paid 9:1 on full houses and 6:1 on flushes.
A 9/6 Bonus Poker Deluxe machine has a 99.64% return to player (RTP) percentage, which equates to a 0.36% house edge.
By contrast, there are Bonus Poker Deluxe machines with ratios as low as 6/5. In those instances, the RTP is only 95.36%, or more than 4% house edge. For every $100 you wager, you’re losing $4.28 extra.
Now, that’s an extreme example, but even the second-best paytable on Bonus Poker Deluxe (8/6) has an RTP of only 98.49%.
The level of control you have on a video poker machine is a double-edged sword. While it’s nice there’s less random chance than on a slot machine, the choices you make have a positive or negative impact on the profitability of your play.
So, much like blackjack, you either need to be adept at making the correct decision each time you play, or you need to carry a card that will tell you what to do. Many video poker strategy cards and guides exist on the internet, and there’s no reason to miss out on making the statistically-optimal play each time.
Video poker is a science, not an art, and there is a correct way to play.
If you choose not to use an optimal strategy because it makes the game less fun, that’s your decision. But, understand you’re paying a price for your entertainment value.
Under the conditions that you are playing on games with the highest payout tables and with perfect video poker strategy, we have found the best video poker games you can play in Michigan. Please note this list refers to the games themselves, not the machine. You may have to dig into certain machines to find these variants if it contains multiple types of video poker.
Here are the top five video poker games by RTP:
Many of these games have RTPs above 100%, which means you are at a statistical advantage if you play the game perfectly. So, yes, video poker can be beaten.
However, these particular games are difficult to find these days. An optimal payout machine with no house advantage isn’t something that most casinos want to promote or host.
The second issue is that even if you can find them, these games will come with limited buy-ins.
Still, even the least-optimal machines place you at no more of a disadvantage than most slot machines. So, if you’re just looking to stretch your casino dollar as far as possible, video poker is not a bad place to go.
Video poker, like most types of gambling, can be quite frustrating and the fact you can’t see the cards being dealt could lead you to wonder if video poker is rigged.
If you’re wondering whether there is the artificial and purposeful manipulation of video poker outcomes, then video poker is almost certainly not rigged. Unless you’re playing in a less-than-reputable location, you can rest comfortably in the knowledge that the machine you’re playing is random and fair.
There are two reasons we can be sure there is no shady business going on. First, an established and regulated casino would put itself at terrible risk and liability if it was caught manipulating outcomes. The company might find itself sanctioned, fined, and at risk of losing its license.
The second reason is that the casinos don’t have to do anything to win money. The very definition of the house edge or house advantage is the notion you will lose increasing sum of money as your amount of time playing goes up.
In a sense video poker, like almost every game on a casino floor, is working against you. You are guaranteed to lose over time because of the infrastructure and design of the game.
We highly recommend you locate a video poker strategy guide, or card, and take it with you to the casino. The guide should come with a decision chart to remove any guesswork on your part, similar to the basic strategy guides for blackjack players.
If you just want to have a good time, here are a few basic tips to help extend your playing experience on a video poker machine, regardless of the pay tables or type of game.
Video poker games usually allow you to bet more than a single coin on each hand of poker. The amount varies, but it’s usually between three and five coins.
You should try to bet the maximum each time because of the increased equity you gain at the highest level. Many video poker games either have progressive jackpots or outsized payouts for bettors who wager the maximum and hit a royal flush.
There is an adage that says “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” In other words, a sure thing is worth more than the potential for something bigger much of the time.
This principle applies to most types of video poker. If you receive a winning hand (a pair of jacks or better, for instance) before you draw, don’t make the mistake of throwing it away because you’re chasing a straight or a flush.
Even though the bigger hands pay more, it’s usually better to take the lower payout and fight again on another hand.
Video poker has many variants and each game comes with its own set of rules and paytables.
You mustn’t play each game the same way. The strategy for maxing out your win totals depends on your adjustment to the conditions of individual games.
Don’t just assume what worked on one game will work on another. Instead, use the internet to search for the best strategies for the game you intend to play.
Even if you’re playing one of the rare games above with a positive expectation, make sure to watch your money and never put money into a machine that you cannot afford to lose.
Make sure you avoid chasing your losses. Many gamblers have put themselves deeper into the hole by trying to get back to even. If it’s not your night, accept it, and move on.