Why Video Poker Is a Dying Breed

Video Poker Background

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.

One of the significant advantages is the low house edge.
Many novice gamblers tend to lump video poker in with the other electronic gaming machines, mainly slots. When viewing the games from a pure entertainment standpoint, the new wave of slot machines appears to have more to offer.

However, that leaves out a significant piece of the puzzle. The house edge on your average penny slot machine will be around 11%.

Please Note:
In video poker, it’s possible to play with a negative house advantage. Still, most games will give the casinos an advantage of around 2%. One of the most overlooked aspects of video poker is the players’ ability to profit long-term. The game can provide a positive expectation when gamblers combine the best strategy with the correct games.

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.

That’s an enormous part of what has made slot machines so popular.

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.

Please Note:
So, the casinos genuinely get excited when a player hits an enormous jackpot. The player is instantly a casino celebrity, and they become a part of the casino’s marketing campaign. There’s no better way to sell the idea that you can become an instant millionaire than blitzing you with previous winners.

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.

So, it is all feast or famine.
You are the lucky exception who wins a jackpot, or your bankroll dies going for broke. Your odds of finding a video poker machine with a progressive are slim but know that any you come across will have an inflated house edge.

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.

The majority may not care.
They’d rather spend their leisure time playing games that are fun than toiling away on a boring game to squeeze out a small profit. I understand where they’re coming from by not playing games that don’t entertain them. The problem with video poker is that it becomes monotonous.

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.

That has led to the casinos offering fewer video poker machines.

It isn’t much of a surprise that the casinos choose to take out the games with the lowest house edge.

Please Note:
That leaves players with a limited variety of boring games that won’t give you much chance of winning. The utter lack of quality games has advantage gamblers going elsewhere. It also means new casino gamblers have fewer chances to bump into the game and fall in love.

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.

The diminished rate that comps are earned turns players off, and they merely stick to their slot machines.

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.

Well, yes and no.
The casinos have begun stealing the opportunity to profit from players by only offering games with poor pay tables. It’s a shift that many blackjack players will relate to as the casinos swap to tables paying 6 to 5 for a natural.

The modern casino gambler cares more about entertainment than profits. So, a minimal slide in the casinos’ favor doesn’t dissuade them.

Blackjack is among the most popular games globally and can overcome the adversity of worse rules. Video poker doesn’t share that luxury. So, as the casinos phase out the games with the best pay tables, the attrition rate soars.

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.

Please Note:
You can still find video poker machines in most major casinos, but the writing is on the wall. You may want to examine the similarities between what’s killing video poker and your favorite games.

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.

About the Author
Rick Rockwell profile picture
Rick Rockwell
Sports/Casino Writer
Blog and News
Rick has been a professional writer for over 14 years with an extensive resume spanning projects and clients from around the world. But, his passions have always been sports and sports betting. Whether it’s being a credentialed media member to major sporting events, climbing into a racecar or a pro wrestling ring, Rick’s sports and sports betting knowledge, passion and versatility is on display with each article he writes for TSG.

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