Years ago, only one video poker game was available in casinos – Draw Poker. It was the same game as today’s Jacks or Better. Since that first video poker game was introduced dozens of other video poker games have been developed and installed on casino floors.

Players who are new to video poker can become confused as to which game they should choose to play. In fact, the question, “which video poker game is the best for me to play” is one of the most common questions asked.

It would be great if there was a simple “one size fits all” answer to that question. Unfortunately, the real answer is “it depends.”

This article explores the characteristics of video poker games and attempts to match them to the personality traits of players. 

Which is the best video poker game based on your personality? Read on.


  1. Player personality types described
  2. Risk averse personality video poker games
  3. Moderate risk tolerant personality video poker games
  4. Thrill seeker personality video poker games
  5. Factors that affect game selection regardless of their personality
  6. Summary

1 – Player Personality Types Described

Just as in all aspects of life, the personalities of players help define what they like, what they don’t like, what bores them, and what excites them. It also defines levels of excitement or boredom they will tolerate. 

Three general categories of casino player personality types are defined below, along with a brief description. Keep in mind that these are general categories. Although you may not cleanly fit entirely into one of these types, hopefully, you can see where your personality generally fits.

Risk Averse personality

  • These people like to know where they are going and what is going to happen. 
  • They do not like surprises.
  • While they enjoy wins, losses scare them much more than the opportunity for a big win excites them.
  • Their motto could very well be, “Better safe than sorry.”
  • They are quick to leave the game when things are not going their way.
  • They have the least “gambling” instinct of any gambler.

Moderate risk tolerant personality

  • These people also do not like to lose, but realize that losing is also a part of the game.
  • They enjoy a surprise every so often and are willing to gamble a bit to get a nice surprise win.
  • This is likely the most common personality of casino and online gamblers.
  • They will continue playing for longer periods even though things are not going well, but will stop once they reach a preset loss limit or other trigger to stop playing.

Thrill seeker personality

  • These people are playing for the adrenaline fix. 
  • Losses do not mean very much to them.
  • They are seeking the thrill of the big win.
  • Although many of these players have good self-control, they tend to continue to play until they are out of cash – and sometimes even head for the ATM when they run out.
  • These are the gamblers the casinos love.

Video poker strategy

2 – Risk Averse Personality Video Poker Games

Risk averse video poker players want life to come at them at a steady pace. They are not fans of thrill rides. Nor are they fans of speed and other seemingly dangerous activities. At an amusement park, they prefer the merry-go-round or the “lazy river” inner-tube ride to a roller coaster, or the "Scrambler."

Risk averse personalities look for a smooth ride, devoid of twists and turns and peaks and valleys. When it comes to video poker, they prefer games that have a low volatility – sometimes called variance.

Some of the games having the lowest variance (in lowest to highest order) are:

[Note: Variance values throughout this article are not rounded up. They also may vary depending on the pay table of the game being played. That is why the “≈” (approximately equal to sign) is used.]

Players of these games will have the usual streaks of wins and losses. This is the case with any games based on a random occurrence. These streaks will be as mild as they come in video poker – which is exactly what risk averse players are looking for.

3 – Moderate Risk Tolerant Personality Video Poker Games

Those who are moderately risk tolerant tend to find the lower variance games mentioned in the previous section boring. 

In each of the casino games mentioned, there is only one winning hand that can be considered a “jackpot” – the royal flush which pays 4,000-for-5. The royal flush occurs only once in roughly 40,000 hands, on average, depending on the game.

Moderate risk takers need more excitement. They want more frequent jackpot-sized winning hands. They will settle for more frequent “mini-jackpot-sized” hands of around 800-for-1 or more. They know their ride will be more wild – their bankroll will drop more quickly, but the more frequent jackpot and mini-jackpot wins are worth it to them. They are willing to pay the price in higher variance.

Video poker games that are geared to this personality type include the following (in lower to higher variance sequence):

  • Deuces Wild ≈ 25.5
  • USA Poker ≈ 25.8
  • Double Bonus Poker ≈ 30.0
  • Double Aces and Faces ≈ 30.3
  • Deuces Wild Bonus ≈ 32.0
  • Joker Poker ≈ 32.8
  • Super Bonus Deuces Wild ≈ 36.4
  • Super Double Bonus ≈ 38.6
  • Deuces Wild Double Bonus ≈ 40.5
  • Double-Double Bonus ≈ 42.0
  • Double-Double Aces and Faces ≈ 42.6
  • White Hot Aces ≈ 43.8
  • Triple Bonus and Triple Bonus Plus ≈ 44.9

There is quite a range of variances in this list. It is the longest list of games for the most common type of video poker player. It allows risk tolerant players to pick the level of risk that they will tolerate.

4 – Thrill Seeker Personality Video Poker Games

Thrill seekers are not satisfied with one jackpot and one or two mini-jackpot sized hands. They want more frequent jackpot-sized and mini-jackpot wins. They will have severe bankroll fluctuations to achieve these multiple large wins. They know it and they don’t care.

Here is the list of games offering multiple jackpot and mini-jackpot winning hands listed in lower-to-higher variance sequence.

  • Super Double-Double ≈ 50.9
  • Super Aces Bonus ≈ 63.2
  • Triple Double Bonus ≈ 100.11
  • Royal Aces Bonus ≈ 184.1

These are astronomical variances, but they offer several chances at BIG wins. That is what the thrill seekers seek – the thrills of big wins.

video poker

5 – Factors That Affect Game Selection Regardless of Their Personality

In the previous sections, variance and jackpot sized hands were the only considerations. There are other, general considerations that apply to all video poker players – regardless of their risk tolerance. Let’s take a look at some of them.

A major – perhaps THE major consideration when choosing a video poker game to play is its return. At one time the majority of video poker games on the casino floor paid 99 percent or higher. Those days are long gone.

By carefully looking, players can still find video poker games that return nearly 99 percent, if not more. But players must look for these games. Most video poker games on today’s casino floors (or available online) have returns in the 97 to 99 percent range. Return can make a huge difference in results.

A 1 percent reduction has a major impact. Consider a quarter player. Each hand costs $1.25 (5 times the quarter). It is very easy to play 500 hands per hour. 500 hands at $1.25 per hand amounts to $625 in bets. One percent of that is $6.25. This may not seem like a lot, but over time, it adds up.

Another consideration is the denomination being played. Players must play a denomination that is in line with their bankroll. There are articles on this website that discuss proper bankroll size. If in doubt, check them out.

Also, be aware that each game – and potentially each different pay table of that game – needs a different playing strategy to get the best return. There are also articles on video poker playing strategy available on this website. Check them out if you feel you need more information.

This article covered variance of single-play games. If considering playing multiple line games, be aware that for each additional line played, the variance increases. Increased variance requires an increased bankroll size. As an example, 9/6 Jacks or Better single play has a variance of 19.51. Here is what happens to the variance as the number of plays increases.

Plays Variance


3 70.34


10 372.12
25 1,667.70

The variance increases dramatically – as do bankroll requirements. Keep this in mind if you are considering playing anything other than single-line video poker.

By following the guidance contained in this article, you should be able to determine the perfect video poker game for your personality type.

6 – Summary 

  • Video poker comes in many different flavors – meaning players of many different personalities can find a game to their liking.
  • Whatever the risk tolerance, there is a video poker game available for it.
  • Variance determines how severely bankroll will vary during play.
  • Higher variance means a higher bankroll is required.
  • Return, denomination of the game, bankroll, and proper playing strategy are all also necessary in order to produce the best results.

Jerry “Stickman” has been involved in casino gambling for nearly 30 years. He is an expert in blackjack, craps, video poker and advantage slot machine play. He started playing blackjack in the late ‘80s, learned several card counting systems and used these skills to become an advantage blackjack player and overall winner of this game. He also acquired the skills necessary to become an overall winner in the game of craps, accomplishing this by a combination of throwing skill and proper betting techniques. Stich is also an overall winner playing video poker.