I am retired from a casino career, in Vegas, and then Mississippi. I was a dealer, front of the house, but I LOVED video poker from its introduction.
I can give you the information I have from real life. Whether that applies to these online casinos, I can’t begin to know.
In the beginning, video poker had 1/4 or 1/5 chips – that meant that one in four, or five, hands would produce a winner, even if that winner was only a pair of jacks for even money. As time progressed and video poker rebuilt Vegas, the odds went steadily up, 1/8, 1/12, 1/16 – etc. And still people played.
And it was perfectly possible to sit at a 1/20 and have a magical time. You have not defied the odds, you were just in the right place at the right time. The machine is unaware that it has been overholding, and is therefore due to release some winners, in order to balance the 1 in 20 odds.
Obviously, online, the machines know it’s US – so do they overpay, underpay? I don’t know. I don’t know who would be willing to educate online players on the subject (and keep their job).
In brick and mortar casinos, I can tell you that the slots or video pokers in high traffic areas like the end of the row, near the cashier, were given higher-pay chips for 24/48 hours. Do online casinos treat a new player the same way?? Can’t answer. Wish I knew. Good luck! Bet