Slots and video poker games look very similar. They both attract you with flashing lights and sounds, are played on a machine, and offer cash prizes based on the outcome of a spin or deal.

But there are some key differences that many casino goers aren’t aware of. The games have entirely different odds, rules, and winning outcomes. So it’s important to understand how they differ.

Not the Same: Playing and Winning

When it comes to the player’s involvement and the potential returns, video poker and slots greatly differ.

Slots don’t require much involvement or skill. You essentially place your bet and press spin or pull a lever. If you land on the right combination, you win the payout associated with that combo.

On the other hand, there are scores of books written on video poker.

Take for example astute gambler and teacher Bob Dancer who wrote a popular book called ‘Video Poker for the Intelligent Beginner’. In it he discusses variations with the highest returns and practical strategies.

A pro video poker player will tell you that it can take years to master the game in such a way that you are generating consistent returns. If you do reach a point in which you understand the intricacies of the hands and possible moves, you can reduce the house edge to zero.

Realistically, most players are able to reduce the edge to 0.5%-1%.

Slot machines use a mathematical algorithm, known as a random number generator, to determine where the reels will stop. No spin can be predicted or explained and there is no strategy that could reduce the house edge.

The only practical strategy that could influence your odds on a slots game is to play at a slowed pace and limit your time to no more than a couple of hours on a given machine. Keep in mind this way of playing isn’t going to guarantee a win or a loss.

Progressive Jackpots

You can find a progressive jackpot on slots and video poker, but the way to riches is different.

A slot’s progressive jackpot is released on a random spin and nothing more. The pot is often thousands or millions of dollars which also means winning is not common. One of the most popular progressive jackpots is Mega Moolah, purely because it hits quite regularly with huge six, seven and even eight-figure prizes!

To win a jackpot on a progressive video poker game, you’ll need to be equipped with the right tactics and ready to apply them at the right time.

Most jackpots require players to hold a royal flush, although there are other variations that could trigger a win. Unlike in slots where a player could win six and seven figure jackpots, video poker jackpots are generally a few thousand dollars.

Slots embody the glitz of the casino floor but video poker encompasses calculative moves and patient tactics. The best game for you to play depends on your playing style and overall idea of what makes your perfect casino experience.