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Slot machines and video poker machines have a lot in common, but they have notable differences as well. We will go into more details as to what makes them unique and what their differences are.


So what makes video poker and slot machines the same? First, they both look the same. Both machines are coin operated. The player sits in front of them and pushes buttons or pulls a lever to operate them. Both machines have a hopper for the player's winnings in coins or in a form of tickets for the new versions. So the machines basically look the same and serve the same purpose, which is to let the gamblers play without any interaction from another player or a dealer.

Both video poker and slot machines run on random numbers generated by a chip aptly called as random number generator or RNG. The machines still gets a series of random numbers even though nobody is playing them. This series of randomly generated numbers is like a wheel of fortune that stops spinning as soon as a player places a bet.


What makes the video poker and the slot machine differ from each other is the random numbers generated within them. The program for the RNG of the slot machine is designed so that the machine pays out a percentage of the amount of money that runs through it at a certain percentage which is usually about 83% to 97%. The amount of money is known as the payback percentage determined solely by the program of the random number generator. It is impossible to determine the payout percentage of a slot machine by merely looking at it. It would probably take hundreds of thousands of trial and error to figure it out.

The random number generator on a video poker machine is another story. It replicates a deck of 52 or, in some other poker variation, of 53 playing cards. The video poker machine has the same odds of getting the same card as an actual dealer dealing from an actual deck of cards. Because a player can mathematically figure out the odds of getting each hand and because the payouts are determined by the hand the player receives, a player can somewhat estimate the payback percentage of a video poker machine quite easily.

It is also because of the difference in which the random number generator produces the outcome of the player that we can tell the other differences of the slot and video poker machines.

  • The casino can change the payout schedule of a video poker machine to change its payout percentage. On a slot machine, its RNG has to completely reprogrammed.
  • A video poker machine with the right payout schedule generally receives a positive expectation as compared to the slot machine that always receives negative expectation.
  • With the right strategy and a good play, a video poker machine can have a payout percentage from 97% upwards. A slot machine can have a payout schedule beginning from 91% upwards.
  • There are no skills needed on a slot machine. A player needs to be skilled in playing a video poker machine.

When you are in a casino and want to play either a slot machine or a poker machine, you can have a grasp of what both machines can offer you. You would probably see more players sitting in front of a video poker machine than on the slots. Making decisions is a lot more fun than watching meaningless reels spinning on the monitor.