You are pretty much guaranteed to find video poker machines in virtually every casino in the world. They are very popular and many casinos have dozens of machines with a number of variations of the game, all with slightly differing rules and payout tables. The game is also offered by most online casinos, again with many versions. The basic principle is largely the same across them all.
Video poker is essentially a twist on five card draw. You are playing against the house, however, rather than against other players. There are no additional betting rounds either: you just place your stake at the start of each game. The idea is still to create the best possible five card poker hand, discarding cards and exchanging them for fresh ones if required.
Players then get paid out depending on the strength of the hand they make and based on the appropriate payout table. The payouts will depend on where you are playing and the rules of the specific game. Video poker is really quite straightforward and provides the opportunity to potentially win a large sum of money.
Video Poker is one of the most popular games with online casino players; they are on virtually every casino site on the Internet. Below we explain all about video poker online and provide a list of the best places to play. We also look at some of the different variants and discuss some basic strategy.
Playing Video Poker Online
Playing video poker games online is really the same as playing them on a casino machine. You'll find these games available at the vast majority of online sites, and many of them have an excellent selection of variations. We've put together the following list of the best places to play video poker online.
These casino sites all come highly recommended; they have great software, are easy to use, and are very reputable and trustworthy. If you plan on playing video poker online, we advise you to take a look at the list before even thinking about trying anywhere else.
When playing video poker games at an online casino, the first thing is to decide what stake to play. You'll usually be able to choose a base stake ranging anywhere from $.01 up to several dollars (or equivalent currency), and then decide how many units to play per hand. The more units you play per hand, the bigger your payout will be for winning hands.
Once having done this, you'll be dealt five cards. Your objective in the game is to get the best five card poker hand, based on traditional hand rankings. After the initial deal, you'll have the opportunity to exchange some of your cards (usually up to three) if you want to try and improve your initial hand.
After you have chosen which cards to exchange, you'll be dealt replacements and have your final hand. At this point, if you have a winning hand, you'll be paid out according to the relevant table. The minimum hand required to win, and the amount for different hands, will depend entirely on the variation of the game and where you are playing.
It really is as simple as this. Your payout will be automatically added to your account balance and you'll be able to play another hand immediately if you choose.
Video Poker Variants
Given the popularity of video poker, many online casinos have developed their own variants. As such, there are hundreds of different games that can be played. There are a few types that are particularly common, however, some of which will be covered in a bit more detail.
The most common variation of video poker is Jacks or Better. This is one of the simplest forms of the game with, as the name suggests, a minimum requirement of a pair of jacks to win. Tens or Better is very similar with just a pair of tens required to win. You are more likely to get a payout in Tens or Better, but the payouts for some of the higher value hands are lower, so there's a trade-off.
All American is also very similar to Jacks or Better. This version of the game offers higher payouts for flushes, straights, and straight flushes, but lower payouts for full houses and two pairs. Deuces Wild is a variation where the twos can be used as wild cards, while Joker Poker includes jokers as wild cards.
There are many more, but these are probably the most frequently encountered. You'll also find that most online casinos offer multiple line versions of video poker as well. In these games, you are still dealt five cards to start, and then you must choose which to keep and which to discard. After, you'll be dealt multiple hands based on the cards you have decided to keep. This gives you a greater chance of hitting a winning hand, but it's more expensive to play multi line games.
Video Poker Strategy
A lot of people assume there's no strategy involved in video poker and that it's just a game of chance. While there's obviously a great deal of luck involved, there's some strategy as well. It's possible to maximize your potential returns by knowing which cards to discard and which to keep in any given situation.
Optimal strategy changes from game to game, and ultimately depends on the exact rules of the game. Many of the decisions are fairly straightforward (for example, if you are dealt three kings, you would keep them all and discard the other two), while others require a bit more thought. If you want to get the absolute best possible return when playing video poker, you'll need to study and memorize the required strategies. For the most part, however, if you use common sense and logic, you won't be far off the best return in any case.
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: November 2015
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