It’s a well-known fact downtown beats the pants off the Las Vegas Strip when it comes to player-friendly casino odds. It’s true for video poker, too. (On average, slots downtown are about 10% “looser” than slots on The Strip.)
According to a popular video poker expert who goes by “Coach Kitty,” downtown boasts some of the best machines and odds in all of Las Vegas.
She’d know. Coach Kitty estimates she plays an average of 850 hands an hour, or about 14 hands a minute. That’s 14 decisions a minute, and we can barely decide what to have for lunch.
We prodded Coach Kitty to reveal some of her favorite video poker bars and machines, and she was up to the challenge.
There are a number of factors that make certain video poker bars “better” or “worse” (many serious players value casino freebies like food “comps” nearly as much as the money they make from their video poker wins), we asked our expert to name her favorite video poker spots with an emphasis on the most appealing odds of winning.
Vue Bar at The D
Among the benefits of this second floor watering hole at The D is the quality of the drinks, says our expert. We have independently verified this assertion.
Vue Bar happens to serve up some very good video poker odds as well.
Our video poker coach says, “You not only have the best chance of getting the best quality drinks, there’s also a good full-pay game with a progressive, in quarters.”
To be specific, the best game is Bonus Poker in quarters.
The ultimate goal of many video poker players, of course, is to try and find games that give as close to 100% payback, or “full-pay,” as possible.
Casino Bars at Four Queens
Happily, Coach Kitty names the casino bars at Four Queens as having great video poker. We say “happily” because we play there often and had no idea why. (Hint: It was mostly the liberal comps and long liquor pours.)
Coach Kitty says, “At both the casino bars at Four Queens, they have almost full pay Double Double Bonus video poker in 50 cents.”
Remember, the denomination is multiplied by five, so that’s $2.50 a hand. For the most part, the higher the denomination, the better the payback.
The two bars are Kings Bar (near the casino’s west entrance, pictured below) and Palace Bar (near Wana Taco).
Among the other attributes of these bars, our expert says the bartenders are among the friendliest in town.
Boar’s Head Bar at Main Street Station
Our expert not only loves the video poker at Boar’s Head Bar, but also the beer.
“It’s a very nice bar, especially because they have microbrews from the nearby Triple 7 [Restaurant and Brewery] on tap. The bartenders are very nice there, too.”
Ultimately, though, it’s the gamble that makes Boar’s Head one of the best places to play video poker in Las Vegas.
Coach Kitty says, “They have 9-6 Jacks or Better, which is really the best game with the lowest variance, in quarters, 50 cents and $1.”
The “9-6” refers to the payout for full house and flush. It’s kind of a shorthand for video poker players to tell if a game gives them more bang for the buck.
Now You Know the Best Video Poker Bars Downtown
Now you know some insider secrets about downtown’s best video poker bars!
Video poker is unique in casinos because, unlike a shot machine, skill plays a big part in how your session goes. The more you know about the game you’re playing, the better your chances of winning.
Each video poker game has nuances in strategy, so bone up on the game you’d like to try with an app.
The WinPoker app ($9.99 in the Apple store) is popular among aspiring video poker players looking to get an edge.
If you find the right game, and the right bartender, video poker can be fun and lucrative, and offers some of the best odds for players in the casino.
You’re Not Going to Believe This, But…
Here’s an update to our story!
Following our chat with Coach Kitty, we started playing at her recommended video poker bars, and just a few weeks later, our very first royal flush! That’s a $1,000 win.
That’s right. We got our first royal flush after nearly two decades of playing video poker, and we got it at the video poker bar at Four Queens. Thanks, Coach Kitty!
While winning in casinos has a lot to do with luck, the more you know about the games, the luckier you’ll be!