Video poker burst onto the scene at a beautiful time. The poker boom hadn’t hit, and the slot machines were enjoying the same immense popularity they do today.
That gave video poker a unique opportunity to lure players away from both games. Slots enthusiasts didn’t have as many options at the time, and the progressive jackpots weren’t nearly as substantial. Meanwhile, savvy blackjack players were keen on spotting another game that could lead to long-term wins in the casino. That gave video poker an immediate boost in popularity.However, the landscape is changing. Video poker machines are vanishing, and the devices that give players a chance to win are all but extinct.
By examining why video poker is a dying breed, we can shed light on the significant aspects of the game. In the casinos, demand draws a response. It may not be time for video poker to vanish completely.
The Advantages of Video Poker
Video poker has a ton of benefits for the players.
However, that leaves out a significant piece of the puzzle. The house edge on your average penny slot machine will be around 11%.
If more people knew about this fantastic benefit, it alone could steer the games’ popularity back in the right direction. Unfortunately, it looks like we’ve passed the tipping point.
The Lack of Progressive Jackpots
Let’s face it, many people are gambling in the hopes of hitting one massive jackpot that changes their life.
Every day, thousands of hopeful gamblers look for their shot at winning the most money possible. This desire to strike it rich has made the lottery so popular.
Casinos are never ones to pass up an opportunity to cash in on the greed of the masses. So, they attach massive progressive jackpots to games with a high house edge and rake in the money.
The casinos don’t mind it when a player hits the jackpot because they aren’t winning house money; they’re winning your money. All of those losses that go into the progressive are entirely independent of the money the casino keeps.
I’ve never played a video poker variant tied to a progressive jackpot. But from the stories I hear from other gamblers, these games typically had horrific pay tables.
Sadly, people would rather get rich quickly than slowly make a repeatable profit playing video poker.
Video Poker Lacks the Appeal of More Exciting Games
Video poker suffers because it lacks the excitement of many casino games. Most players never realize that they can make money on the fair games.
Even when you’ve mastered the strategy, it seems more mechanical than anything. You’ll see the same hands repetitively, and your play is always going to be the same.
It’s incredibly challenging to play video poker with a group of friends. You’ll be too involved in your own decisions to chat, but nobody will get excited about big wins. Video poker is opposite in nearly every way to the craps table when it comes to having an exciting evening with friends. Even the slot machines do a fantastic job of celebrating your small wins on your way to being broke.
You are going to get bored playing video poker. The casino offers too many more entertaining games for players to feel like they’re wasting money by not enjoying their time.
Casinos Are Offering Fewer Machines
Casinos focus their attention on getting the most money from every available inch of space.
It isn’t much of a surprise that the casinos choose to take out the games with the lowest house edge.
Today’s gamblers are placing much more emphasis on entertainment than profitability. The casinos are too happy to acquiesce, and the video poker machines are the latest victims.
Players Aren’t Rewarded as Much by the Casinos
The rewards programs offered by land-based and online casinos are a huge selling point for players. The gifts they earn from playing their favorite games help offset some of their losses.
These comps may start relatively small, but the rewards quickly add up to something of more value for avid gamblers. Since video poker has such a low house edge, the casinos can’t afford to offer the same comps on video poker as they can for slot machines.
Savvy gamblers may understand the actual value lies in the total of wins or losses. But for the masses, a game where they still lose and aren’t having as much fun needs a selling point.
Pay Tables Are Scaring Players Away
What about the scores of savvy casino veterans that have been profiting from video poker for years? Indeed, these players are still spreading the good word about video poker.
The modern casino gambler cares more about entertainment than profits. So, a minimal slide in the casinos’ favor doesn’t dissuade them.
The casinos know that video poker is waning in popularity. But they also know the slots will quickly be filled with more profitable games.
Gamblers Don’t Want to Learn Strategy
Part of the crux of becoming profitable at video poker is learning the strategy. Many players have no interest in learning an essential technique for a game.
The task is made more accessible by using a chart that outlines the best play for every hand, but it’s tedious gaming. You lose the thrill of making any decisions. Instead, your entire session becomes predicated on how the strategy card tells you to play. When your focus is on entertainment, strategy can sometimes get in the way.
There are plenty of players that don’t want to think too much in the casinos. That puts video poker near the bottom of their list.
Variety of Games Is Dwindling
The selection of video poker games available has never approached the massive offering of slot machines.
However, there were many years where the variety of good games was ample enough to keep players interested. As the casinos push the best games out the door, players are left with little to no variety. It’s hard to sell gamblers on the idea of playing the same boring game on trip after trip.
The lack of variety is both a cause and effect of video poker being a dying breed.
When you look at why video poker is a dying breed, you see several factors. Many of these are directly related to the loss of interest and diminished support for the game.
That will help you find the best opportunities for success while simultaneously preparing you should the unthinkable occur. No game is safe when it ceases to yield profits for the casino.