How to develop a progressive video poker strategy


The jackpots on progressive video poker can get big. Here’s what you need to know, including whether you should play.

On standard video poker games, the pay table is fixed. In other words, the amount paid for a winning hand never changes. For example, if the pay table for four of a kind is 25-for-1, you will always get 25-for-1, regardless of the situation.

This is not the case with progressive video poker games, as the jackpot for certain hands increases the more people play the game. Usually this is for higher value hands like the royal flush or straight flush. Each progressive game is different, though, so you will need to check which hands the increasing jackpot applies to.

On the flip side, many progressive video poker games offset the jackpot increase on some hands with pay-out reductions on other hands.

The Impact on Payback

As the pay-out is often lower for many hands in a progressive video poker game, it is often not worth playing them. This particularly applies when the jackpot values are at a low level.

This situation continues until enough people play the game to start increasing the jackpots. The more the jackpots increase, the more the game starts to move in your favour. In other words, the built-in house edge of the progressive video poker game begins to decrease.

The good potential pay-outs only really happen, however, when you hit one of the jackpot hands, such as a royal flush or one of the other big hands that applies to the video poker game.

Progressive Video Poker Strategy

So how can you develop a strategy to help you be more successful when playing progressive video poker?

The first thing you should do is to carefully choose when you play a progressive video poker game. If you play when the jackpots are low, the house edge is at its maximum. As more credits get added to the jackpot, the house edge starts to move to a more advantageous position.

The second thing to remember is that your window for playing will be relatively short. This is because the jackpot only remains in place until it is won, that is, until someone hits a royal flush or one of the other jackpot hands. Therefore, playing progressive video poker is unlikely to be a successful strategy if you want a slow, steady, and consistent build. Instead, it is for getting in quickly, trying to get the jackpot hand, and then getting out once it is won—either by you or by someone else.

Remember as well that you may find it hard to find a game with a high enough jackpot to make it worthwhile. This is because you will find there are lots of other people doing exactly the same thing you are—looking for a jackpot that has reached a significant level. Once available, everyone starts playing it.

Bank Roll and Playing Tips

All progressive video poker jackpots are won eventually. Therefore, if you want to pursue this strategy, you will need to stay in the game for as long as possible. That means having a big bankroll. Having a sufficient bankroll will make it more likely you will be there when the jackpot is won. Only by being there and being involved do you have any chance of winning it.

In terms of how to play, most people who adopt a progressive video poker strategy change how they play depending on the jackpot level. The more the jackpot increases, the more your play has to be focused on getting a royal flush. Very often, players turn to charts or apps to help them quickly decide the best approach to playing each hand. If you don’t have these tools, you will be at a disadvantage.

Finally, the best advice is to practice in a trial situation where you are not wagering real money. After all, playing progressive video poker is not for everyone, so you need to find out if it is right for you.

Back to Top