When you’re aiming to win, choosing the best game has everything to do with its expected return. It’s what the industry calls the theoretical return to player, or RTP for short. The rules of each game and its pay table will determine the RTP, based solely on mathematical probabilities.
Most video poker games boast an RTP of 98% and up, but there are a few with lower RTPs that should be strictly avoided. Deuces Wild is one of the most popular video poker variants in the world, but only among those who don’t pay attention to strategy. Its four wild cards make the game seem more rewarding, more fun to play, but the trade off is an RTP of 96.77%. If you come across a game called Louisiana Poker, steer clear! It has the worst RTP I’ve ever seen in a video poker game, coming in at just 93.45%.
On the opposite end of that spectrum are ultra-high RTP games. An online variant known as All Aces presents an RTP of 99.92%. That means that, with the right strategy, players can (theoretically) expect to win back 99.92% of all money wagered (in the long term), and will conversely lose 0.08% of all money wagered. This still gives the edge to the casino, but it’s so slight that, with the tiniest smidgen of luck, you can easily make a profit.
Thus, picking the right game is all about choosing the one with the highest RTP (i.e. lowest house edge). As I stated above, to the best of my knowledge, the highest RTP video poker game online is All Aces (99.92%). It is a game developed by Microgaming. You can view the entire line-up of Microgaming video poker variants and their respective RTPs here:
Luck = Volatility
When I say luck, I’m talking about the volatility, or variance, in a game. All casino games exude volatility. If they did not, short-term and long-term results would be equal. In turn, there would be no winners, just a lot of small-time losers.
Variance is easiest to explain in terms of flipping a coin. The odds of landing on heads or tails are 50/50. They are always 50/50. That doesn’t mean that a coin that lands on heads will land on tails the next time it is flipped.
It is the variance that often results in two, three, four, even ten or more of the same results at a time. These are short-term results, and rarely match the expected return. However, if you were to flip a coin one million times, those long term results would be a lot closer to the expected 50/50 percent of heads versus tails.