American Poker Gold video poker requires fans of common video poker action to rethink their strategies a bit. In this game, you have to make an extra bet just to get to the draw round. While that makes it more expensive to play, the pay table features some nice totals to help compensate.
In the world of video poker, there’s no game more common or popular game than Jacks or Better. It’s played like common draw poker, where you get to keep certain cards and have the others replaced on a draw round. The pay table for the game rewards hands based on the likelihood of making them.
As such, Jacks or Better is the easiest game for newcomers to learn. But experienced players might want to try something a little bit different. That kind of demand has led to a boom in video poker variations, with hundreds of different variations competing for your attention and your gambling dollar.
Many of these games change up the pay tables. Some even add extra twists that change up the common format. But very few of these video poker variations mess with the idea that you only have to bet once at the start of the hand to activate play.
American Poker Gold video poker changes the one-bet-per-hand format. The name of the game might sound odd considering the twist. But it’s known this way because the idea originated with video poker variations in Europe which were trying to emulate the American style of play.
The big difference with American Poker Gold video poker is that you have to bet twice if you want to follow the hand all the way through. You have to bet to get a five-card deal. Then, if you want to pursue the hand through the draw, you have to make another bet that’s the same amount as your first bet.
If you don’t want to see the draw, you simply move on to the next hand. But you still lose the initial bet. As you might expect, this format is a bit more burdensome on your budget than the common Jacks or Better-inspired format.
Luckily, this game finds ways to compensate for this. First of all, it includes a joker in the deck that can be used as a wild card. Anytime wild cards are in play, your chances of achieving rare winning hands are greatly increased.
On top of that, American Poker Gold video poker features a pay table that offers some of the most aggressive payback for winning hands that you can find. There are even a few extra jackpot-style payments available thanks to the wild card’s presence in the game. You can win a lot in a short period, even if overall payback lags a bit behind optimum level.
In the following article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about American Poker Gold video poker. We’ll show you how to play video poker via the basic format, then we’ll show you how American Poker Gold differs from that. From there, we’ll also talk about expected payback and ideal strategy for this unique twist on video poker action.
Why You’ll Love Video Poker
Before you start worrying about the specific style of play for American Poker Gold video poker, you have to wrap your head around basic video poker as a whole. Maybe you’re already an expert who is just reading this to learn whether this specific game is for you; if so, you can skip the basics and the how-to and move on the sections below. But if you’re a newcomer to video poker, you should stop to learn about all it has to offer.
And the good news is that it offers a lot. Many people who love video poker like to say that it’s the best of both worlds for casino games. It gives you the self-contained play of slot machines and the strategic challenge of table games.
That is true, but it doesn’t say it all. Savvy video poker players love video poker because of all the benefits it brings. Here are some reasons why you’ll love it, too.
You can play video poker without the help, or interference, of anybody else. Just find a machine in the casino or an online game and you can enjoy a session of video poker all by yourself. That means excellent privacy and no outside hassles.
You can change up your style of play at any time. This is where the variety of video poker really helps. American Poker Gold video poker is one of a seemingly endless list of video poker games available for your enjoyment.
You can learn how to play video poker in record time. That goes for whether you’re a newcomer or you have some poker knowledge. And, once you learn how to play, you can play video poker faster than most other casino games.
You can use your strategy to increase your winnings. Don’t think that video poker is like slot machines just because they’re usually located near each other in the casino. Video poker actually allows you some control over gameplay.
You can get all the information you need on a video poker game to see if it’s for you. The pay tables are right in front of you. And because there is only one simulated deck of cards in play, you’ll be able to tell how often you can expect winning hands to appear.
You can get competitive payback. Video poker outranks most casino games in terms of how much you can expect back from your initial bankroll investment. Depending on the game you choose, you could also win big in a hurry with a little luck on your side.
You can play online and you won’t be missing out on anything. Well, you’ll be missing out on noise and distractions at the casino. But your gameplay will be exactly the same whether you’re playing video poker at a top gambling website or doing so in a casino.
Hopefully, you understand now why video poker is a favorite of so many. Let’s start the learning process by explaining the rhythm of play of basic video poker. That will give you the foundation for learning the specific style of American Poker Gold video poker.
Playing Basic Video Poker
Step 1: Your Bankroll
A bankroll is just a gambling term for the money that you use to make bets with when you play a game. When you’re playing online video poker, you have to create an account, find a method for funding that account, and then allot money for a session of video poker to be your bankroll. For those playing in a casino, starting a bankroll is just a matter of putting money into a video poker machine.
Depending on the website you use, you might see your bankroll rendered in units known as credits, coins, or perhaps another term. Whatever these units are called, they are usually tied into the denomination of the game. For example, in a 25-cent video poker game, one coin would be valued at 25 cents, two coins at 50 cents, and so on.
Step 2: Your Bet
Betting in American Poker Gold video poker is slightly different than in common video poker in a number of ways. We’ll explain the multiple betting rounds once we get into gameplay below. That’s the big change.
But you’ll also find that most online games that house American Poker Gold video poker allow for a greater range of bets. In typical video poker games, you’re usually limited to bets of one through five credits. This game might extend the maximum allowable wager much higher than that.
In addition, there is no incentive for you to bet the maximum amount in American Poker Gold video poker. You might do so because you’re a high-roller. But it doesn’t give you a strategic edge.
In common, Jacks or Better-style video poker, it’s always advisable to make the maximum wager, because the game is almost always set up to return a higher percentage to those who do. But American Poker Gold video poker doesn’t have that same setup in place. As a result, you have a little more freedom to adjust your betting level as you play.
Step 3: Your Hand
Video poker is set up as a simulation of the card game known as Five-Card Draw. Five-Card Draw features a deal of five cards, from which you get to choose the cards you want to keep. The ones that are discarded are replaced by others from the deck.
You’ll notice the same game play in video poker. But video poker is much simpler. You don’t have to worry about beating multiple players out with a great hand or by bluffing.
When playing video poker, all you have to do win some money back from your bet is to form one of the designated combinations of cards listed on the pay table. In the case of American Poker Gold video poker, here are the hands you’ll be trying to achieve:
Pair of jacks or better
Three of a kind
Straight (five cards of consecutive rank, like 3-4-5-6-7)
Flush (five cards of same suit)
Full house (three of a kind and two pair in the same hand)
Four of a kind
Straight flush (straight with five cards of same suit)
Wild royal flush (royal flush achieved with joker)
Royal flush (ten, jack, queen, king, and ace of the same suit)
Five of a kind
These hands are listed with the hands that are easiest to achieve on the top and the ones that are hardest to achieve on the bottom. Your payback is mostly based on the likelihood of you attaining one of these hands. The harder a hand is to achieve, the more it will pay.
Once you’ve made you wager and hit the icon signaling the deal, you’ll see five cards come up on the screen. These cards will come from a deck of 53.
Why not 52? American Poker Gold video poker includes a joker in the deck. It’s the 53rd card in the deck.
Your chances of receiving these cards are completely random. There’s a random number generator within the software of the machine that ensures that. In other words, don’t try to guess which cards you’ll get based on what you got in previous hands, or else you’ll make poor decisions.
What decisions do you have to make? Well, you have to choose which of the five cards from your deal you want to keep and which you want to discard.
The cards that you hold will be a part of your final hand. You’ll get to draw cards from the deck to replace the ones you’ve discarded. Your final five-card hand, on which you’ll be judged a winner or loser, will consist of the cards you held from your deal and the ones you picked up on the draw.
Keep in mind that the draw will come from a deck of 48 cards. The five you were dealt are already in play, so they’re not included in the deck. You won’t get any cards you discarded back in your hand on the draw.
Making Your Video Poker Decision
You have to make these decisions based on the likelihood of attaining certain winning hands. But you also have to remember the importance of checking the pay table to see how much each hand pays off. This should be a major factor in your decision.
For instance, there might be a deal where you have a good chance of drawing to a flush if you choose one set of holds and discard. Another set of holds and discards might give you a slight chance of making a royal flush. But that might be the correct play because of the high pay waiting for you if you get the royal flush.
These decisions occasionally will be difficult because of the nature of the cards you’ve been dealt. On other deals, the decision will be quite obvious. Check out our strategy section below to see how to make these decisions correctly every time.
Once you’ve made your decision by pressing the icons for the cards you wish to hold, you can signal the draw to take place. The discarded cards will be replaced and the hand will be complete.
You can play in this manner as long as you have credits to bet. Another option is to cash out your credits at any point.
Hopefully, this gives you the hang of basic video poker. Now, it’s time to see how American Poker Gold video poker differs from this basic style of play.
Playing American Poker Gold Video Poker
As we’ve mentioned already, there is one major difference to playing American Poker Gold video poker from the process described above. And it really is significant enough to affect everything from strategy to payback.
When you play American Poker Gold video poker, you have to bet to activate the deal. But then you also have to bet to activate the draw. That’s not the case when you’re playing most common video poker games.
If you like your deal in American Poker Gold video poker, you have to bet the same amount that you did to begin the hand just to move on to the draw. But if you don’t like the deal, meaning that you don’t think it has much chance of becoming a winning hand on the draw, you can give up the hand. You’ll lose your initial bet and no more, and then you’ll move on to the next hand.
Quitting the Hand
Let’s take a look at how these two distinct processes play out when you’re playing American Poker Gold video poker. Imagine that you’ve made a five-credit wager on a hand and receive the following deal.
This is a deal where there isn’t much in the way of potential. No matter how you configure these cards, you’d need a lucky draw to turn them into a winning hand.
There isn’t even a high card that you can hope to pair up. If you were playing Jacks or Better, the correct play here would be to discard all five cards and hope to get lucky on the draw.
But you don’t have that option in American Poker Gold video poker. You can only give up on the hand if you don’t like what you received on the deal. There’s no way to pay another five credits just to five new cards (which wouldn’t be a good idea even if it were possible).
You could try to hold one or more of the cards and hope to get lucky on the draw. But that wouldn’t be very good strategy either. In this American Poker Gold video poker deal, your best bet is to toss it and move on to the next hand, incurring the five-coin loss and no more.
Of course, if you were playing regular video poker, you’d get to see the draw for free. And maybe you’d get lucky and achieve some kind of winning combination. By giving up the American Poker Gold video poker hand, you run the risk of losing out on a winning combination you might have made.
Playing the Hand Through
Now, let’s take a look at a different deal for American Poker Gold video poker. Imagine that you received these five cards:
Just like the example above, there are no winning combinations to be found in this group of five cards. But there are several different combinations that might become winners with just a little help on the draw.
There are a pair of fours, which could easily be turned into winning hands like two pair, three of a kind, or even better. The four diamonds in the deal leave you just one shy of a flush. And the four, five, and six of diamonds put you three-fifths of the way to a straight flush.
You have to decide then if it’s worth your while to pay for the right to see the draw. If you do, it would double your betting burden to 10 coins. But any winning hand that you manage will, at least, let you break even with that bet, and it could, of course, bring in a hefty profit.
If you do decide to play on with this deal, you just have to hold your cards and signal the draw like you would in a normal game. The American Poker Gold video poker will recognize what you’ve done and withdraw the second bet from your bankroll.
Your other choice would be to quit the hand just as you did above and settle for a five-coin loss. That’s probably too conservative a play in this case, but it is an option nonetheless.
Hopefully, these examples show you how difficult it can be to strategize when playing American Poker Gold video poker. You have another layer of decision-making added to the equation.
Playing With a Wild Card
Wild cards are one of the simplest ways to spice up basic video poker action. In the case of American Poker Gold video poker, a joker is added to the deck, making it the 53rd card. And whenever it shows up in your hand, you most likely will be looking at a winner.
Whenever you get a joker, it will be changed into whatever card makes it most valuable. This is in relation to your final hand.
But when you get the joker on a deal, you have to do some speculating about how best to use it. You know you’ll be holding on to it and paying for the draw because of valuable the wild card is. The key is determining which cards you should onto with it.
Example of Joker Hand
Let’s imagine that you receive the following five-card deal in American Poker Gold video poker:
Since you received the joker, you know you’ll be holding on to it. And, as we said above, you’ll definitely want to pay for the draw. But you still have to decide which other cards you want to keep.
Keep in mind that you do have the option of holding the joker only and dropping everything else. But that wouldn’t make much sense with this deal. You have too many good things happening here.
Any time you have a joker in American Poker Gold video poker, you know that you have at least a pair, since it can be changed to match up with any of the other cards in the deal. That means you have a pair of aces, which, as we’ll see when you get to the pay tables, if a paying hand, albeit one that doesn’t pay much. You could keep just the ace and the joker and hope to improve the hand from there by drawing three cards.
You also might want to try holding on to the three, four, and five. The wild card could be imagined on the front or back of that group of cards. And your chances for a straight would be excellent, since you could get it with an ace, a two, a six or seven.
What about flush draws? You could keep the three, four and ace of spades and think of the joker as another spade. Or you could keep just the three and four of spades with the wild card and hope for a potential straight flush.
There are a lot of options here. Let’s imagine that you decide to keep the joker and the three spades to go for the flush. Imagine that the draw turned out like this:
At no point did you ever envision the joker as a four. But, because of the draw turned out, that’s exactly what it will become. That gives you three of a kind, which is the highest-paying version of this hand.
This example demonstrates how useful a joker can be. Remember that you don’t have to figure out what the joker will be on the draw. The software of the machine will automatically determine which way the card is best deployed.
But when you get one on the deal, you have to look ahead to all the possibilities. It can be tricky, but it’s always a good problem to have.
American Poker Gold Video Poker Pay Tables
Now you know how to play American Poker Gold video poker in terms of the rules and mechanics of it. It’s time to start learning about the game in terms of how it pays back winning hands and how that affects strategy. And that means learning about the pay table.
The pay table is always something you should check upon encountering any video poker variation. Any decision you make in terms of holds and discards should be based on the specific pay table you’re playing. And, in the case of American Poker Gold video poker, you should also use it to help decide if you should continue with a deal into the draw and make the extra bet.
Let’s take a look at the pay table for American Poker Gold video poker.
Five of a kind
Wild royal flush
Four of a kind
Three of a kind
Pair of jacks or better
Let’s look now at the full-pay (highest-paying) pay table for Jacks or Better for some context:
Jacks or Better Pay Table
Four of a kind
Three of a kind
Jacks or better
You can see that there are many differences between the two. First of all, American Poker Gold video poker includes a few winning hands that can only happen in that game because of the presence of the wild card.
For example, you’ll see 5 of a kind right at the top of the American Poker Gold video poker as the highest-paying hand. You can only achieve this hand with four cards of the same rank and a joker. With no wild card, this hand is impossible in Jacks or Better.
You’ll also see payback on the American Poker Gold video poker for both the royal flush and a wild royal flush. Here is the distinction:
Wild Royal Flush:
As you can see, the wild royal flush only happens because of the presence of the joker acting as the queen of spades. The regular royal flush pays more on the American Poker Gold video poker pay table because it is a rarer occurrence.
Throughout the pay table, the American Poker Gold video poker pays either the same as or, in most cases, more than the Jacks or Better pay table. This is the case for every hand but the regular royal flush, which is the highest-paying hand in Jacks or Better.
That’s the good news about the American Poker Gold video poker pay table. But the bad news is that the requirement of having to make an extra bet to get to the draw round and achieve those hands will mitigate the benefits. When you think of it in those terms, the Jacks or Better pay table is actually more profitable in most cases, because you’ll only be betting half as much.
One note about the American Poker Gold video poker that is important to note: It pays back even-money for a pair of Jacks or Better. That distinguishes from other versions of American Poker, which often only start paying back at two pair.
That little change helps the player out a bunch. It will allow you to keep your bankroll a bit more stable because a pair of jacks or better is a combination that will appear often. As a result, you should be able to play longer with a small bankroll than you would without that payback in place.
American Poker Gold Video Gold Payback Percentage
For serious video poker players who hope to make a profit playing the game, payback percentage is the most important piece of information you can have on a specific game. It will estimate how much of your original bankroll you’ll return after betting all of it.
Let’s say that you’re playing a game with a payback percentage listed at 98%. You walk into the casino with $1,000 and bet all of it during a session. At the end, the average result would be that you’d still have 98%, or $980 remaining, a $20 loss.
In the world of video poker, you can find many games with a payback percentage of higher than 99%. These games are ideal because they offer you the chance to make a profit in the long run. Even though you might be expected to lose a little bit when you play because of the house edge, you can compensate for that with perks from real money online casinos or land-based casinos.
Unfortunately, American Poker Gold video poker falls short of that threshold. The payback percentage sits at around 96.6%. That’s actually solid for the American Poker family, but not near the 99% we mentioned above.
You probably can’t expect to make a profit playing this game over a long period of time. As a result, it is not a recommended option for serious, profit-seeking video poker players.
But casual players might enjoy the action. Remember that payback percentage only governs the results once you’ve played thousands and thousands of hands of video poker. If you only play occasionally, your results will be based on luck more than anything else.
Don’t sweat the payback percentage if you only play video poker once in a while. If you feel comfortable with the style of play for American Poker Gold video poker, it could be a great choice for you.
Strategy for American Poker Gold Video Poker
When you play any kind of video poker, the only way you can hope to reach maximum payback percentage is if you play the game with ideal strategy. That means making the correct mathematical decision every time you play a hand.
In most video poker games, that means just deciding about holds and discards. But in American Poker Gold video poker, it also means that you have to decide which are the right deals to bet on the draw and which you should simply give up.
As we mentioned above, the way to handle the choice of whether to pay for the draw or not is to decide if there are any cards worth holding. If not, you should probably just move on to the next hand and cut your losses, rather than hoping to get really lucky on the draw.
It’s probably not a good idea to hold a high card only in the hopes that you might draw another of the same rank to get a pair. Think of the math of this situation to illustrate why.
Imagine that you were betting five coins on a hand. That means you would have to bet 10 coins for the draw. But the high pair would only pay you five coins in return, for a five-coin loss. You’d need a really fortunate draw to do better than that.
In other words, you probably shouldn’t move forward in an American Poker Gold video poker draw unless you have two cards worth holding. That at least means you have a good chance of getting a winning draw to offset the size of the bet.
Getting Some Strategic Help
If you think you can come up with strategy for American Poker Gold video poker on your own, you might be heading down the road. The math involved with choosing between 32 potential holds and discards on each deal is hard enough. Now, throw in the math involved in choosing whether to move forward with a draw and you can see how it might get a little tricky.
Luckily, there are others out there who have done the math. In fact, they’ve done the math (or at least they’ve programmed a computer to do the math) for every possible deal you might receive. And they know what the right play is in each case.
That just leaves it up to you to learn that information. Here are the two methods of video poker instruction that we suggest.
Video Poker Training Software
If American Poker Gold video poker is one of the first times you’re playing video poker, video poker training software might be a good choice for you. You’ll learn the strategy that you need for this specific game. But it will also help you get the hand of playing video poker in general.
When you use this software, you’ll input all of the information from the pay table you’re playing. The software will then tailor its instruction to this. As you play, you’ll be pushed in the right direction when it comes to deciding what to hold and discard from tricky hands.
Strategy charts might be the better choice for experienced video poker players. You just have to memorize the chart to get the information you need. The tricky part might be finding a chart that’s tailored exactly to American Poker Gold video poker.
If you can find such a chart, you’ll see a list of all the possible card combinations you might get on the deal. The combinations are ranked based on how valuable they are going into the deal. With this information memorized, you always know which cards to hold from your hand.
Having the joker in play gives you wild card action
Relatively nice payback for mid-priced and high-paying hands
Rare American Poker variant that pays out for high pair
Extra bet for the draw makes the game expensive
Tough strategy considering the extra layer of decision-making
Overall payback is less than ideal
Conclusion on American Poker Gold Video Poker
American Poker Gold video poker stands out for its unique betting format. Unfortunately, that format is a bit of a burden on the player. Still, the wild cards and the nice pay table readings will make up for some of the negatives.
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