Introduction to Video Poker

Video Poker is a casino game played based on the same rules that you’d play 5-Card Draw Poker. You are dealt five cards and must make the best possible hand with one chance to draw new cards. The difference when playing Video Poker is that you are playing against the machine instead of other players.

After you’ve been dealt five cards, select which cards to hold and which ones to discard, and you’ll be dealt replacement cards to make up your final hand. Each video poker machine has a random number generator (RNG) that ensures that the game is fair to everyone playing the game as the cards are dealt in a completely random manner. If you have a winning hand, you’ll automatically be paid in credits according to the video poker game paytable.

Jacks or Better is the classic Video Poker game. The pay structure derives from the name and includes the standard hand rankings as outlined below.

  • Royal Flush
  • Straight Flush
  • Four of a Kind
  • Full House
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • Three of a Kind
  • Two Pairs
  • Jacks or Better

Deuces Wild adds the duece wild cards which substitute for any other card in the deck. This gives you the chance to make winning hands more frequently and because of this, the payoff for ranking hands is less, but with the addition of the Four Deuces to the paytable you also have an additional combination to try for that pays off at 1000 credits. This hand ranks just under a Natural Royal Flush. The pay structure difference can be seen below.

  • Natural Royal Flush
  • Four Deuces
  • Royal Flush w/Wilds
  • Five of a Kind
  • Straight Flush
  • Four of a Kind
  • Full House
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • Three of a Kind

Video Poker Game Variations

In Video Poker there are various game variations, each variation will have a lowest winning hand which is the lowest pair at which you can still win the hand.

For example, as already mentioned above, Jacks or Better requires that you have at least a pair of Jacks in your final hand in order to win the hand. Other games may require at least a pair of Tens like in Tens or Better, or perhaps Three of a Kind as in Deuces Wild.

Other video poker game variations include but are not limited to: Aces and Faces, Joker Poker, Aces and Eights and Deuces and Joker. For each of these Video Poker variations you’ll find multi-hand games and many also have bonus versions.

Video Poker Tips

The first rule in playing Video Poker is to try to play a perfect game. What this means is to apply an optimal strategy to each hand and play in this fashion consistently. Jacks or Better is really a simple game to play, but in order to master it, it takes practice and skill. Your first step is to play on a 9/6 Full Pay Machine. What this means is to find a machine that pays 9 coins on a Full House and 6 coins on a Flush when the maximum coins are bet, this is the best payout available.

Managing your bankroll is perhaps the biggest tip you can have if you’re a serious gambler. You should always consider the money you bring to the game as expendable, never gamble more than you can afford to lose. When playing Video Poker, you can choose a game denomination that best suits your budget.

For example, if you started with $100 and you choose a $0.25 game, and you bet the maximum per hand, you are spending $1.25 per hand. Divide that into $100 and you will be guaranteed to play a minimum of 80 hands and this is based on losing each hand. This is where the odds of winning a hand come in. Chances are you are not going to lose every hand and by playing on a 9/6 Full Pay Machine, you should be able to stretch your bankroll as far as possible.

Trying for the Royal Flush takes more than luck; it takes perfect strategy and a bankroll large enough to help increase your odds. If you consider that a Royal Flush only comes around on average every 40,000 hands, then you are wise to have a bankroll large enough to deal with this variance and this can be done by playing the denomination of the machine that supports your bankroll.

Keeping these video poker tips in mind and knowing what the odds are in getting a Royal Flush, it is not to say that luck does not play a part. It is gambling after all and it is very possible that you could get a Royal Flush right off the bat.

Where can you play online video poker? Microgaming and Playtech have both developed video poker games. A lot of the time you can trial them for free before playing for real money, and due to the increasing popularity of Online Video Poker, you can find many variations (including those mentioned above) readily available to play instantly. Not only with the game variations, but also the ability to play multiple hands at a time, up to 100 hands in many cases.

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