Video poker is an interesting and surprisingly rewarding casino game that follows the basic rules of table draw poker but it is much simpler than the traditional game. Although it has been around for more than 30 years, there are still casino players who are unaware that video poker offers the best odds in the casino. In fact, some variations of the game promise a negative house edge if played with an optimal strategy.
Since in land-based casinos, video poker is played on machines that resemble slots, it is often misunderstood and ignored by gamblers as a game that relies on chance. In reality, it requires a good amount of knowledge and skill, the ability to spot the games with the highest return, and the financial discipline needed when taking part in any form of gambling. In this guide, novices will learn the basics of all this, as well as essential aspects of video poker, including the rankings of the poker hands and how they pay out.
The following guide to video poker online also lists the most popular variations of this game and explains the differences between single and multi-hand video poker. It also brings forward the importance of full-pay video poker and includes information about the different software development companies, which have created the most online variations.
Basic Rules of Video Poker
The standard game of video poker is based on 5-card draw poker, which is why it is sometimes called simply draw poker. It is played with a single standard deck of cards, which is “shuffled” before each deal – of course, since this is an automated computer game, there is no actual shuffling. Still, cards are dealt randomly and it is impossible for players to count them or for casinos to manipulate them. There are two deals in each game round and the goal is to form a winning poker hand.
Video Poker Pay Table
There are various payouts in video poker and they depend on the ranking of the specific poker hand that has been formed. In fact, the payout depends not only on the strength of your combination of cards but also on the size of the bet. Usually, the highest-ranking hands in video poker pay a little bit more when betting the maximum number of coins. Here are the payouts for all 1-coin play:
- Royal Flush – 10, J, Q, K, A of the same suit; 250:1
- Straight Flush – 5 consecutive cards of the same suit; 50:1
- Four of a Kind – 4 cards of the same face value; 25:1
- Full House – 3 of one card and 2 of another; 9:1
- Flush – 5 cards of the same suit; 6:1
- Straight – 5 consecutive cards of any suit; 4:1
- Three of a Kind – 3 cards of the same face value; 3:1
- Two Pairs – 2 pairs; 2:1
- Jacks or Better – 2 cards of the same value, a pair of Jacks or higher; 1:1
When players bet 5 coins, however, the payout for Royal Flush jumps to 4,000:1 – typically, it should be 1,250:1 (5×250:1). This is why experienced players recommend always playing video poker with the maximum number of coins.
Video Poker Variations
Jacks or Better
Aces and Eights
Double Bonus Poker
The simplest, most basic form of video poker is known as Jacks or Better, named after the lowest-paying combination that brings a payout. This game does not have wild cards or bonus payouts but the easy gameplay makes it a favorite among casino players.View more...
The Mechanics behind the Game
Video poker players sometimes mistakenly believe that a long losing streak must be followed by a streak of wins that will make up for the lost rounds. Others think that a slot or a video poker machine will be at some point “due” to hit a big win. But these are all misconceptions and forms of the so-called “gambler’s fallacy”. In reality, the game of video poker consists of random, independent events.
To be consistently successful when playing this game, casino patrons need to understand its mechanics. There are two basic concepts every video poker fan should know – randomness and house edge.
How to Choose a Video Poker Game?
Video poker may be a skill-based casino game but still, the outcome is heavily dependent on pure chance. This is why players should carefully choose the variation of video poker and the specific game that would suit their skill level, bankroll, and personal preference.
Winning Strategy for Video Poker
Players who want to generate reliable winnings with video poker should stick to several fundamental concepts – know the basic rules of the game, apply a strategy, and control their spending. Of course, profits cannot be guaranteed since most video poker variations have negative expected value and the house has the advantage. Still, players can significantly increase their winning chances by employing several different tactics.
2Tips for Beginners
In order to play video poker properly, casino players first need to know all possible poker hands and understand the rules of the game. Then, they need to choose a high-return, full-pay variation by checking the paytable. Of course, betting the maximum number of coins is always a good tactic as this is how you take the full advantage for Royal Flush – to avoid spending too much per round, players can simply bet 5 coins of the lowest possible denomination.
They should also make sure they know the optimal strategy for the video poker variation they play – strategy cards can be easily found online for free. Last, but not least, beginner-level players should practice before they start playing video poker for real money. In most online casinos, patrons can play the games in demo mode and apart from that, they can find software that tells them how to play each hand.
Every different version of video poker has its specific strategy, developed and tested by professionals. There are obvious moves such as to always keep winning hands such as Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, or Full House but there are also right and wrong actions when having Two Pairs in Deuces Wild, for example. They will depend on the specific paytable of the game.
To avoid losing all your money on video poker, you should employ at least some basic tactics for bankroll management. The first and most important one is to set up a bankroll – money that is strictly for casino play and that you can afford to lose. Adjusting the bet size is crucial, while some players would also set limits to their losses or winnings in order to know when to end their game session.
Popular Video Poker Games
Major Providers of Video Poker Software
Due to its relative simplicity and very low house edge, video poker has a loyal following, especially among online casino players. Software development companies are, of course, trying to meet the demand for challenging and interesting video poker variations. And many of them have released a good range of single and multi-hand video poker titles over the years.
Can I Beat the Odds in Video Poker?
No, it is impossible to beat the odds in video poker as they are fixed. However, some video poker games offer very low or even negative house edge, which means that if players use perfect strategy, they are likely to make decent profits over time.
Is Video Poker Very Different than Table Poker?
Yes, although video poker is based on regular draw poker, it is played in a very different way. In video poker, you do not play against the dealer or other gamblers – this is a solo game and its bet size, speed and difficulty could be adjusted by the player.
Can I Play Video Poker for Free?
Yes, video poker can be played in a free-play mode in many online casinos and often, players are not even required to register an account. This is a great option when you want to try a new game or practice while using a strategy card. Of course, those who are new to video poker are advised to first play the variation they have chosen for free.