Slots Variations

Video Poker vs. Slot Machines

Video poker machines are in fact quite similar to the slot machines but both of them have their own differences too. Players seem to constantly argue about which one is better, video poker or slot machines.

Video Poker

Payback starts at 97% and increases

Player skills play important role

Positive expectation

Payout ratio change is simple


Payback end at 91%

No skills needed

Negative expectation

Payout ratio change takes long time

The similarities between slot machines and video poker

Slot machines and video poker are in fact quite similar to each other. They are both operated by coins and have a lever or a button to operate the game. Both of them have a hopper which pays out the winner the coins. The machines are similar in appearance and have been made with the same purpose. Both of these machines operate using the random number generator for deciding the outcome of the bets. This is a computer program which constantly generates a series of number combinations. Every time that a player will hit the button the RNG will display the number combination which had been on the cycle at that very moment.

The differences between slot machines and video poker

There are quite a lot of differences between slot machines and video poker. The way the RNG works in both of these machines is the main difference. In the slot machines, the RNG is programmed to pay out a particular percentage of the money as winnings. This is known as the payback percentage and can be determined by the settings of the program.

However, in video poker the RNG duplicates the deck of 52 cards. The odds of getting any particular card would always be the same as it would be in a real deck of playing cards. The payouts are all determined by what hands the player is dealt. For this reason, a player can calculate the payback percentage on the video poker machine which is not possible with a slot machine. This is the main difference in how the random number generator produces the outcome of the bet. Because of this main difference, several other differences are created which are as listed below:

  • In video poker, the skill of a player does play an important role. However, in slot machine the player skill makes no difference at all.
  • In slot machines, the payback percentage can be anywhere on the higher end above 91%. However, in video poker the payback start at 97% and then move up from there.
  • In video poker it is possible to have a positive expectation. However, in slot machines there is always a negative expectation.
  • Any casino that wants to change the payout ratio of the slot machine will have to reprogram the RNG. In order to change the payout percent of a video poker machine the process is quite simpler.

These were some of the main differences between the slot machines and the video poker machines. Those who want the best return on their bets can play the video poker with their best possible strategy. However, those who just want to enjoy themselves can play slot machines. No skills are required to play the slot machines.