It may seem that video poker games are the same everywhere but experienced casino gamblers know that that’s just not the case. Different casinos offer different models of games, different denominations, different rules and more importantly different payout percentages. Recreational gamblers just find a casino they ‘like’ or–even worse–that they think is ‘lucky’ and play whatever games they find there. Sometimes they find good games or win despite themselves. In the longterm, however, this is just one more thing that ‘squares’ do that keep them losing money in the longterm. If you’re taking a trip to Las Vegas just to ‘have fun’ there’s nothing wrong with this approach. That being said, most people have more ‘fun’ when they’re winning money than they do losing money. For this reason, casino selection should be a consideration for even recreational players.

We’ll divide the ‘casino selection criteria’ into ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ criteria. In most cases, primary criteria will focus on the games themselves–payout percentage, type of games, denomination, etc. Secondary criteria will include everything else that could be a factor in selecting a casino that doesn’t involve the games. For example, some people prefer to play in a non-smoking area of the casino. For these people, the availability of this option might be a ‘secondary’ criteria. On the other hand, if they hate ‘secondhand smoke’ enough it might be a primary criteria. Note that these definitions are fluid and not set in stone. If you’re in town for the Super Bowl or ‘March Madness’ a casino’s sportsbook might be a primary concern, not a secondary one. If you’re in town for a convention, a casino’s proximity to meeting facilities might also be a primary concern. For the most part, we’re going to assume that your primary objective is getting the best gambling odds and your ‘secondary’ concern is everything else. Just remember that depending on your individual circumstances these definitions might not be as clear cut.


This is where video poker players have a big advantage over slots players. You can just look at pay tables and calculate a machine’s payback percentage. And that’s one of the things you’ll do for the primary casino selection criteria. First, you’ll decide what game or games you want to play. If you’re looking to play ‘Bonus Deuces’ and a casino doesn’t have it the other considerations like denomination or payback doesn’t really matter. You can find information about which casinos have which games online or else you can just do a little ‘legwork’ and walk through the casino.

Once you’ve determined the game you want to play the other two primary selection criteria are denomination and payback percentage. These decisions are often made together. For example, it doesn’t matter to you if a casino’s dollar video poker machines offer a 99% payback if you’re playing quarters machines. Typically, the higher denominations offer higher payback percentages within an individual casino–but there are exceptions.


This is ‘everything else’ that might be a consideration for you in choosing a casino to play at. While there are three very important consideration in the ‘primary’ criteria this is whatever is important to you. It might be a good buffet or restaurants. It might be a casino’s layout if you prefer a more ‘wide open and airy’ casino instead of one that feels cramped and confined. It could be location, it could be where you have a rewards card or it could be because its close to where your wife likes to shop.

If you’re in town for gambling and gambling alone your secondary casino selections will probably have a lot to do with your comfort and enjoyment. If you’ve got other objectives for your trip they might have other factors. The point is that no one can tell you what your secondary concerns should be.