Gambling in Las Vegas – Video Poker

I played a lot of video poker on this trip to Las Vegas.  My sleeping habits have me starting my day with slots.  That’s usually followed up with video poker after my first cup of coffee, when I can think a little.

One of the first emails I received when I landed in Las Vegas was a warning that the Palazzo and Venetian no longer had 9/6 Jacks or Better video poker games.  That is my game of choice, so I was disappointed.  Checking vpFree’s database I knew that these machines would come and go.  Unfortunately, they went away when I arrived.  I’ll call that sketchy.  🙂

Poor pay tables don’t deter me too much, but I’ll usually play less.  I mostly played the $1/$2 8/5 Jacks or Better games outside of the high limits area at Palazzo.  This trip was fulls of ups and down in gambling as usual, but Video Poker at Palazzo was probably what made me the most money throughout the whole trip.  Let’s take a tour…

Early in the trip I was hitting a handful of medium sized jackpots like this full house.  Jacks or Better seems to be a slow grind and multiple Full House’s is where the profits really come from.  That’s why the “9” in 9/6 matters so much.  In one session I hit about 3 Full House’s in about 5 hands.  Overall, these machines seemed to have a boatload of Full Houses.

Video Poker at Palazzo made up for a lot of my gambling losses.  I only played video poker one other time and that was at Wynn.  I think I won $20 after putting $20 in.  I don’t recall much as this was after a bad run at black jack and after a little too much wine at dinner.

I was down a little for the trip, when I sat down for my final session of gambling for the trip.  The session lasted about an hour and I was unstoppable.  This session erased all of my losses for the trip.  I count every dollar spent as a loss, since I spent the money.  Losses include tips, drinks, coffee, etc.

After grinding about 30 minutes to double my money, I finally had some big hits.  Four of a kind…

Four of a Kind is a great hand.  When playing the $1/$2 games these hands can make up a lot of distance, but they aren’t game changers like a Royal Flush and even a straight flush.  With about 5 minutes left on my trip I hit my first straight flush ever!

All of this brought me back to even for the trip.  NICE!  Even though the pay tables were not in my favor, I was able to make the best out of what I was given.  If I wasn’t winning, I wouldn’t have played but my luck was such that I didn’t feel so bad playing.

Unfortunately, it looks as if any hotel I’d want to stay at in Las Vegas has poor video poker pay tables so this won’t be the last time I deal with this.  As a result I see less video poker in my future trips, but I’ll keep checking the awesome vpFree to see what games are available where.

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Las Vegas Writer, Marketer, Consultant. I love Vegas and everything about it. When in Vegas do 3 things: eat, drink & gamble.


  1. Eric

    Wow. VPFree is an awesome site. Didn’t know that existed. Thanks!

    Might be staying at Palazzo for first time end of April, so I appreciate the reviews and notes.

  2. brandon

    nice work on the royal! I usually cross my fingers for a streak of full houses or 4-of-a-kinds.. Also, I try to get an “extra” drink the frist time the drink lady walks by when I’m in the slots / vid poker area.. then give her like $5. Then they always seem to have an extra one each time they come by 😉

  3. Brandon, I’m usually the same with the extra tip for my first drink. Gotta give a reason to hustle back…especially when playing video poker. 🙂

  4. Eric, I’m glad I can tip you off to vpFREE. It’s an awesome site! I just had my first trip to Palazzo as you can see. Had a great time. Enjoy your trip!

  5. JMP

    congrats on the straight flush. they’re like the hidden gems of VP. I really had to train myself to recognize ‘3 to a straight flush’.

    Do you recall what the bonus poker paytable was like? I’m guessing 7/5? If so, my understanding is that it’s better to play BP b/c you’ll gain a fraction of a percentage point in advantage. Of course, BP is a bit more volatile. If I were in your situation, I’m not sure what I’d do so take this with a grain of salt. 🙂

  6. JMP, if you look at the full size picture you’ll see I was playing 8/5 Jacks. I played a little Bonus Poker, but I tend to stay away from it because of the volatility. I didn’t play enough BP to bother documenting it. Maybe next time. 🙂

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