7 Jan

Comparing Video Poker vs. Casino Hold’em

Despite similarities, Casino Hold’em and Video Poker are very different.

Despite Multiple Similarities, Casino Hold’em and Video Poker are Very DifferentAs any moderately knowledgeable casino gamer should know, a traditional poker game and video poker machine have a lot in common. However, video poker is a house-banked game, whereas player versus player poker games like 5 Card Draw, or the more modernized Texas Hold’em Poker, use a pot betting system. Each player pays into the pot to become eligible to win the pot, with the pot going to the player with the best hand (or the last player standing if all others fold).

Casino Holdem takes the house-banked card gaming genre to a whole new level, bringing player-vs-dealer Texas Hold’em onto the casino floor – both online and on land.

Comparison of Casino Hold’em and Video Poker

What drew me to write this comparison was a recent question from one of my novice gamer friends who’d just learned about the concept of “house-banked vs. PvP” gambling. He speculated that video poker and casino holdem are both house-banked versions of traditional poker games, thus they must be essentially the same thing, with the primary difference being one is a live dealer game, and the other takes place on a push-button machine.

While that is a distinct difference between the two, there’s a lot more that separates casino holdem from a typical video poker game; excluding the fact that one is based on the hold’em style, hole card + community card edition, and the other is a classic 5 card draw poker variant.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at other ways in which the games differ.

Decision Making

Both games allow players to make decisions, but in very different ways.

Video poker games require the player to make decisions that will impact their odds of winning as the game progresses. Once a hand is dealt, the player must choose which cards to keep, and which ones to discard.

In casino holdem, players have no control over the cards in their hand. The only decision the player makes is whether to fold, forfeiting the original bet, or to call, betting 2x their initial wager.

Proper Strategy

Like traditional poker, the right video poker strategy can take you very far, and there are basic rules to follow in playing the correct strategy.

Casino holdem strategy is not straight forward. With 7 total cards deciding each hand, and an ever-present chance to lose to the dealer, regardless of player hand strength, a specific strategy is difficult for all but computers to quantify. No one wants to give up their money, but the price to continue is high, making it more likely players will ignore strategy, anyway.

Winning Conditions

One of the biggest differences between these games is what it takes to win. In video poker, only the player is dealt a hand. If that hand meets specific rank requirements, the player wins. For instance, Jacks or Better requires the player to achieve a hand with a pair of jacks, or anything better. The higher the rank, the higher the payout.

In casino holdem, the player must beat the dealer to secure any win. And it’s the dealer who must achieve a “qualifying” hand rank for the player to win the full bet. If the dealer’s hand is not strong enough (pair of 4s or better), the player can only win their initial ante bet. Worst of all, even if the player receives a fantastic hand – maybe a full house or straight flush – it’s still possible to lose to the dealer.

House Edge / RTP

Last but not least, the house edge – the casino’s advantage over the player – must be taken into account. The reverse of house edge is the return to player, or RTP. This figure represents the amount of money a player can expect to win back (long-term), compared to their total bets.

The house edge for any video poker game is going to determined by the rules (lowest winning hand) and pay table. With so many video poker variants in land-based and online casinos, the range is pretty high, but the best games offer a very low edge.

Here are some examples of the higher paying games at online casinos.

Video Poker Game
House Edge
2 Ways Royal
Aces & Eights
Real Time Gaming
Bonus Deluxe Multi-Play
Evolution Gaming
Jacks or Better

In comparison to these high paying video poker games – and even most of the ones considered low paying editions – by standard rules, casino hold’em has a house edge of 2.16% (RTP 97.84%). Variant rules can shift the house edge range from 2% up to about 2.5% (98% to 97.5% RTP). It’s all because of the casino holdem dealer qualification rule.

There’s also a side bet available, known as the AA Bonus or Pair Plus Bet. It’s based on the first two cards, and comes with a much higher edge of 6.26% (RTP 93.74%).

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