Royal Flushes In Video Poker vs. Table Poker

 Royal Flushes In Video Poker vs. Table Poker

Video poker is a much different game than table poker. In video poker, you’re playing draw poker, is rare to nonexistent on the tables. You’re not playing against other players, you don’t have to try to read anyone else’s hand and you don’t have to evaluate whether to raise, call or fold.

One other important difference: Video poker moves much, much faster than table poker.

Still, I sometimes get emails from table poker players who want to draw comparisons between the games. One arrived in April from a veteran player who’s surprised by all the attention royal flushes get from video poker players.

“I’m almost 80 years old,” he wrote. “I have been playing poker all my life, mostly Hold’em and seven-card stud, and only very rarely see anyone get a royal flush. [Almost] never.  Yet it seems like video poker players get them all the time. How can that be?”

Royal flushes are rare hands in any game, but in the seven-card games the reader plays, the actually come up a little more frequently than in video poker. In seven-card stud, the chance of completing a royal is 1 in 30,940, a little better than the 1 in 40,000 or so for video poker’s five-card draw games.

They’re much rarer in five-card stud games, at 1 in 649,740. You could go many, many years without seeing a royal. However, in seven-card games, they come often enough that those who play a lot will see the occasional royal.

However, video poker moves much faster than live poker, so video poker players have many more opportunities to draw rare hands.  You might see 30 hands per hour at a table poker game. A reasonably fast video poker player will see 800 hands per hour.

At 30 hands per hour, each player at live poker will average one royal per 1,000-plus hours of play. There’s no guarantee. You could see two or three royals in that time, and you might go 2,000 or 3,000 hours without one.

But in video poker, the player who gets in 800 hands per hour averages a royal once per 50 hours. Speed can be costly when the cards are bad, but it also makes royal flushes a realistic part of the game.

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