Power Grid Poker video poker stands out from the rest of the video poker pack with a unique bonus round. This bonus round comes up anytime you can achieve a full house on a particular hand. Once you do, you’ll try to navigate a “power grid,” which contains many chances at multipliers and free hands.
Video poker continues to grow and evolve from the most basic versions of the game. It’s interesting that the most popular version of the game is still Jacks or Better, the original format and pay table in video poker. But there’s a demand for variations, and creators have been up to the challenge.
Many of the games which have branched off from Jacks or Better have done so with a pay table adjustment. Sme added wild cards, and others let you play multiple hands on one screen. Power Grid Poker video poker represents one of the boldest departures from Jacks or Better action.
On one hand, gameplay is essentially the same. Like most video poker games, you’ll be trying to make the best possible poker hand through a five-card deal and subsequent draw where you get to replace cards you’ve discarded.
But Power Grid Poker video poker also includes a special bonus round that ensures you of, at the least three free games. At the most, you can earn 40 free games with a 7x multiplier. There’s a wide range of free games and multipliers you can earn between those two extremes.
To get to this bonus, you have to achieve a full house. When you do, you’ll see a “power grid” screen, with various switches lined up in columns. You’ll turn over those switches and see what’s underneath.
Some of the switches have multipliers or free games that you’ll earn immediately. Or you might find a “high voltage” symbol, which pushes you to the next column and ups your chances for more bonuses. Reveal a “short circuit” symbol and your bonus round is over.
Regardless of how far you get across the board, you’ll earn at least three free games.
Get all the way across without getting the “short circuit” and you can hit the maximum of 40 free hands and a 7x multiplier. No matter how well you do, you’ll walk away with something that will boost your payback.
The best part about the extra feature within Power Grid Poker video poker is that you don’t have to bet extra money to activate it. It’s automatically in place at the start of play. Most special features on video poker games costs more than the normal bet for you to get access.
To compensate for this, however, Power Grid Poker video poker makes adjustments to its standard pay table. Common winning hands like two pair and three of a kind are discounted from their normal levels. Those discounts raise the volatility and drop the payback percentage for the game.
If you keep reading below, you’ll find everything you need to know about Power Grid Poker video poker. We’ll explain how to play basic video poker and talk about how the extra feature works. We’ll also look at the strategy you should use to play the game and how its expected payback compares to other video poker games.
Why Video Poker Stands out Among Casino Games
Power Grid Poker video poker might provide a pretty drastic twist on video poker with its clever bonus round. But it still pretty much plays and looks like basic video poker, which is a game that has enthralled casino-goers around the world. It’s also become one of the most popular online casino games as well.
Why has video poker gained so much traction among discerning gamblers? Well, it comes down to the advantages that it provides. Pound for pound, video poker is probably the casino-style game that provides the most benefits to gamblers.
Considering most casino games are stacked against gamblers in many ways, this is no small feat. Let’s take a look at all the ways video poker stands out from other casino games.
Video poker can be played by a single person. You don’t need to have interactions with casino patrons or employees to enjoy the action. That means less hassles and more privacy.
Video poker can be played in a multitude of different ways. By this, we mean the sheer variety of video poker games that can be found in casinos and online. It really allows you to tailor the game to the way you want to play, in terms of both risk and potential earnings.
Video poker is extremely easy to learn. If you’ve played any kind of poker before, you can pick it up in no time at all. Even those who have no background in poker should be able to get the hang of it after several practice hands.
Video poker provides you the opportunity to use strategy. This separates it from slot machines, which are also one-person games but don’t have any strategic component. For those who like the challenge of making decisions to impact their chances of winning or losing, video poker gives that to you.
Video poker puts everything in the open. The probabilities for making winning hands don’t change, and the payback for winning hands is right in front of you on the pay table. Because of all of that, you can compare one video poker to another with no problem.
Video poker is a good gambling investment. In terms of payback, video poker ranks among the best casino games. If you choose your game wisely, play with perfect strategy, and take advantage of casino and gambling sites rewards, you can even hope to make a profit.
Video poker doesn’t suffer at all when you play it online. Many table games just aren’t the same online as when you play them in the casino. But video poker plays and looks the same, whether you’re playing online or live on a machine.
Now that you know why video poker is so beneficial, you can set about trying to learn the game. First, we’ll take you through basic video poker. Then, we’ll explain how Power Grid Poker video poker builds off of this basic game.
How to Play Video Poker
Step 1: Your Bankroll
You’ll use your bankroll as a way of making bets, so that you can win real money in return. If you’re playing on a video poker machine, you just have to put money into the machine to put your bankroll in place. Online players have to create an account and fund that account by either credit card or other alternative methods.
Once the bankroll is in place, you’ll notice that it is rendered on screen in terms of coins or credits. Each of these units will correspond with whatever denomination you happen to be playing. For example, if you make a five-credit wager on a five-cent machine, it means that you’ll be betting 25 cents (5 times .25).
Step 2: Your Bet
Power Grid Poker video poker resembles most standard video poker games in that you’ll be wagering between one and five credits per hand. You can change the bet up each hand, or you can bet the same amount all the time. Your best strategy is to bet five coins per hand, also known as the Max Bet, because that maximizes your potential payback.
There are two reasons for this. First of all, the five-coin bet provides much better return odds on the royal flush than does a bet of one through four coins. At one through four coins, a royal flush pays 250 to 1, but that number jumps to 800 to 1 on a five-coin wager.
In addition, the bonus round available in Power Grid Poker video poker offers payback for the free games based on the size of the bet that triggered the bonus. If you’re betting less than five coins, you’ll be short-changing yourself during the “power grid” portion of the game, which will hurt your potential winnings.
If you find that your budget can’t handle betting five coins per hand, you should consider switching your denomination rather than lowering your bet. That will allow you to keep your payback percentage at its highest level while keeping your budget under better control.
Step 3: Your Hand
Video poker pretty much resembles the common card game known as Five-Card Draw poker. In both cases, you receive five cards on the deal and are then tasked with forming the best possible five-card poker hand. You get to draw new cards from the deck to replace discarded ones to do this.
But there are differences. In Five-Card Draw, you have to try and beat everyone else at the table. You can do this by forming the best possible poker hand. Or you can bluff with big bets to get everybody else to fold.
In video poker, you’re the only one playing, so that lowers the threshold you need to cross to come up a winner. You don’t have to worry about bluffing or anything like that. All you have to do is form one of the winning combinations listed on the pay table.
In the case of Power Grid Poker video poker, you’ll be shooting for the following winning hands:
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)
Royal flush (ten, jack, queen, king, and ace of the same suit)
If you know a little bit about poker hands, you’ll be able to tell that this list moves from easily-achieved hands at the top down to rarely-achieved hands at the bottom. As you move down the list, payback rises. In other words, the harder that a hand is to make, the more it pays back.
You should always keep in mind as you make your decisions during the game. There will be times when it will be worth it to try for the high-paying hands. And there will be other occasions where it’s better to lessen your risk and try for one of the more common, low-paying hands.
Once you make your wager and signal for the deal, you’ll see five cards appear on the screen. These five cards will come from a simulated deck of 52, which contains the same cards as you would find in a standard deck.
It’s important to realize that the simulated deck is always shuffling inside the game’s software. What that means is that every deal will be completely random. Don’t go looking for any trends or patterns from deal to deal.
When you see your five cards, you should immediately be thinking about what cards you want to hold to be a part of your final hand, if any. You’ll get to replace the cards you discard, if any, with fresh cards from the deck.
Once the five cards are dealt, there will be 47 remaining in the deck. These immediately go back into shuffle mode until the draw. Again, that ensures a random result every time.
You have to decide the cards to hold and the cards to discard based on your chances of achieving one of the winning combinations above. And you should also be keeping abreast of how much each hand might pay. Let’s take a look at an example of this decision-making process.
Sample Video Poker Hand
Imagine that you receive the following five-card deal to start off a hand of video poker:
There are no winning combinations in this particular deal. But it does have potential, with several partial combinations that could get turned into winners on the draw. You just have to decide which one to pursue.
For example, you could hold onto the pair of sixes. That pair could become two pair, three of a kind, a full house, or four of a kind on the draw. You’d be drawing three cards to replace the ones you discarded.
You could also make a case to hold the four hearts in the deal. That would leave you just one shy of a flush. One drawback with this strategy is that you’re only dropping one card, which means that the card that comes on the draw has to be just right.
Yet another way to play this hand would be to hold onto the six, seven and eight of hearts. That would be put you three-fifths of the way to a straight flush, which is one of the highest-paying hands in the entire game. And, by getting two cards on the draw, you’d still have the ability to make many other winning combinations.
This is a case where you’ll need to balance the risk of going for certain winning hands with the reward of potentially making them. Not too many video poker deals will be this tricky in terms of the decision-making. Many of them will leave you with a much more obvious choice about what to hold and discard.
Once you’ve made your decision, you’ll press the buttons corresponding to the cards you want to hold. The others will be discarded and replaced once you press the “draw” button. That will be the completion of the hand.
You can play video poker like this as long as you have credits remaining. Or you can cash out your winnings when you choose to quit.
Basic video poker is as simple as that. Now, it’s time to learn how to play Power Grid Poker video poker, specifically in terms of its big twist.
Power Grid Poker Video Poker Special Feature
When you play Power Grid Poker video poker, it will mostly progress like described above. You’ll make your bets, get dealt the cards, hold some and discard others, and watch your winnings rise and fall depending on the results.
The only time that this rhythm of play changes is when you receive a full house. You’ll get the payback listed on the pay table for the hand (4 to 1). But then you’ll enter the “power grid” for bonuses.
What you’ll see on your screen is a bunch of columns with different “switches” on them. The switches are boxes which have rewards or phrases hidden underneath them, which will be revealed as you touch them on the screen (or click on the icon).
The possible outcomes of these switches:
The number of switches in each column decreases as you move across the board. You’ll see six on the far left, then five, then four, then three, then two.
You’ll start by picking switches in the first column. And you’ll continue to pick switches until you get either the “High Voltage” or “Short Circuit” symbol.
If you get the “High Voltage” symbol, you move to the right to the next column. And if you get the “Short Circuit,” the bonus ends.
The reason you do this is to see how many free games and bonus spins you end up with. At the very least, you get three free games from the bonus, even if you hit the “Short Circuit” in the first column. If you manage to make it through all five columns without ever hitting the “Short Circuit,” you receive the maximum 20 free games at a 7x multiplier.
Each column will include one “High Voltage” symbol and one “Short Circuit.” Here are the other awards in each column:
Column 1: 1x, 1x, 2 Free Games, 3 Free Games
Column 2: 1x, 1x, 4 Free Games
Column 3: 2x, 4 Free Games
Column 4: 4 Free Games
Keep in mind that the multipliers and free games are added together as you move across the board. You start with 3 free games and at a 1x multiplier (which basically means you’re getting the amount listed on the pay table).
But if you turn over a multiplier of 1x on the grid, it pushes the multiplier for your free games to 2x. Get another one with a 2x on the grid, and it would go up to 4x. Free games add up in the same way.
Review a few of our other notes on the bonus in Power Grid Poker video poker below.
The multipliers are only in place for as long as the free games are available. And the free games will commence as soon as your bonus round choosing switches is over.
Also, keep in mind that you can activate another bonus round while in the midst of free games by getting another full house. Whatever free games and multipliers you get from that grid bonus will take place at the conclusion of the current run of free games.
If you do get all the way to the end of the grid for the 20 free games and 7x multiplier bonus, this supersedes any free games or multipliers you’ve earned in the Power Grid to that point. In other words, 20 free games and 7x is the max.
Winnings during the free games will be based on the bet that you made prior to entering the grid and whatever multipliers are applied. For an example of how multipliers work, imagine that you formed a hand that would have earned 30 coins normally, but it comes on a free game with a 2x multiplier. In that case, you win 60 coins, since 2x (times) 30 is 60.
Power Grid Example
Let’s take a look at how the extra feature on Power Grid Poker video poker might work. Imagine that you’re lucky enough to get a full house. You’ll see the grid activated on the screen.
You have six possible switches to choose in the first column. The first one you choose first reveals a “2 free games” symbol. On the screen in the free games space, you’ll see that added to the three you started out with, giving you five.
On the next selection, you hit the “High Voltage” symbol. That means that you move over to the next column.
This time around, you have five switches from which to choose. And you choose the “High Voltage” symbol right off the bat.
What this means is that you move over another column. It keeps you alive for more multipliers and free games, while also leaving open the opportunity to make it all the way across the grid for the maximum bonus. Yet it’s not ideal, because you weren’t able to add any free games or multipliers that column.
Now, on to Column 3, which has four switches. The first switch you choose features a 2x multiplier. Add that to the 1x you have, and you now have a 3x multiplier, in addition to five free games.
Behind the second switch is a “4 Free Games” symbol. Add that up and you’re now at nine free games.
With the next switch, you find the “High Voltage” symbol. You’ve really maxed out this column, getting the two available rewards and surviving to make it to the next column.
That fifth column has just three switches. The first one you turn over reveals “4 Free Games.” You now stand at 13 free games and a 3x multiplier.
On the next switch, you reveal the “High Voltage” symbol. That means you move on to the final column.
In the last column, there are only two choices. One holds a “High Voltage” and the other holds a “Short Circuit.”
If you pick the “High Voltage,” you’ve made it all the way through. You are automatically awarded the maximum bonus of 20 free games with a 7x multiplier, which replaces all the games and multipliers you amassed to that point.
On the other hand, if you pick the “Short Circuit” switch, you still get to keep what you’ve accumulated across the grid. You’d be looking at 13 free games with a 3x multiplier.
Obviously, this example is a very fortunate one, in that you were lucky to rack up rewards and avoid the “Short Circuit.” There is no way to strategize for this, of course, since you’re picking the switches blindly.
Still, the average outcome of a trip through the grid should leave you with a handful of free games and a small multiplier. And that can be very valuable to you as you play Power Grid Poker video poker.
Power Grid Poker Video Poker Pay Table
When you settle down to play video poker, you should always be looking at the pay table to see what to expect. The pay table will help to dictate the strategy that you’ll be using. And it will also help you compare the video poker game you’re playing to others like it.
We spoke above about the fact that Power Grid Poker Video Poker adds an extra feature without asking you to bet anything above the norm. But it turns out that you do pay for it, in the form of a somewhat diminished pay table.
Let’s take a look at the pay table available for Power Grid Poker video poker.
Four of a kind
Three of a kind
Jacks or better
Now, as a way of comparing, let’s take a look at the full-pay (highest-paying) pay table for Jacks or Better, which is the most common video poker variant.
Jacks or Better Pay Table
Four of a kind
Three of a kind
Jacks or better
As you can see, each pay table contains the same winning hands. But how they pay those hands off makes a lot of difference in the game play you can expect.
You’ll see that the Power Grid Poker video poker pay table has one edge in that it pays twice as much for four of a kind hands. That can be beneficial if you’re the type that plays video poker hoping for significant single-hand payoffs.
You’ll also see a big discrepancy in the payback for the full house. But this can be excused in Power Grid Poker video poker because that hand actually turns out to be quite valuable due to the fact that it activates the Power Grid bonus.
What you really want to focus on is a pair of hands at the bottom of the pay table. Notice that, on the Jacks or Better pay table, three of a kind pays off at 3 to 1 and two pair does so at 2 to 1. Meanwhile, the Power Grid Poker video poker pay tables pays 2 to 1 for three of a kind and even money (1 to 1) for two pair.
Three of a kind and two pair are relatively common winning hands in video poker. They show up often during gameplay, especially compared to other, higher-paying hands above them on the pay table.
These hands serve a purpose in that they allow your bankroll to steady while you’re shooting for some of the higher-paying hands. But because of the discount you’re getting on these hands when playing Power Grid Poker video poker, you’ll have a much harder time sustaining your bankroll.
This factor on the Power Grid Poker video poker pay table, combined with the amount of the game’s payback that is tied up in the Power Grid bonus, renders the game somewhat volatile. In other words, you’ll have stretches where your bankroll soars, especially if you hit four of a kind or a full house.
But you’ll also be much more prone to harmful slumps when playing Power Grid Poker than you would be playing Jacks or Better. As a result, you’ll need to make sure your bankroll is robust.
Otherwise, you could lose it all if one of those slumps comes up early during your session, which would deprive you of the chance for the higher-paying stretches.
Payback Percentage for Power Grid Poker Video Poker
Payback percentage is essentially the bottom line for all video poker games. It anticipates how much you can expect to return from your initial bankroll when playing the game for a long period of time.
If you only play video poker sporadically and for short sessions, payback percentage likely won’t have much of an impact on you. The sample size of your play would be small enough that luck would still be the main factor in the outcome.
But once you start playing video poker for session after session and hundreds of hands, that luck will start to balance out. Your results will instead mimic what the payback percentage (calculated by combining the probability of making winning hands with payback totals on the table) predicts it will be.
The payback percentage for Power Grid Poker video poker sits at 95.6%. Hypothetically, that would mean that you would have $956 remaining in your bankroll after playing a session where you put $1,000 at stake. You’d be looking at a $44 loss.
Don’t overreact to the negative expectation, because the vast majority of casino games have odds working against the player. This is the so-called house edge, which keeps casinos and online gambling sites in business.
It is concerning, however, that Power Grid Poker returns less than 96% to players. There are many video poker games with expected payback percentages over 99%. With games like these, you can overcome the house edge by keeping losses low and taking advantage of loyalty rewards from casinos and top real money online casinos.
Unfortunately, the rewards you earn probably won’t be enough to get you to an expected profit while playing Power Grid Poker video poker. The payback percentage is just too low. This game is more suitable for those who like the high-volatility aspect because it puts them in the range of jackpot-style payouts.
Strategy for Power Grid Poker Video Poker
To play any video poker variation with perfect strategy, you need to make the right decisions every time you choose what to hold and what to discard. These decisions should not be made by hunches or guesses. You should be making the choice that brings the highest expected value to each deal.
What does that mean? Well, there are 32 different ways you can play any particular deal, in terms of combinations of holds and discards. But there is only one right combination that maximizes the potential of the hand over the long haul.
There are times when this correct play isn’t always the right one for the draw that you get. But a single draw is based on luck. Over hundreds and hundreds of draws based on a particular deal, there is just one correct play that will, based on probability and payback totals, bring the highest value to the hand.
Tailoring Your Strategy for the Grid
In terms of Power Grid Poker video poker, you have to adjust basic strategy to account for the importance of the full house. The example showed just how valuable getting into the Power Grid can be. If you get a run of good hands within your free games, your payback can be immense.
For that reason, you should always have the hold that gets you a chance at the full house in the back of your mind. As an example, let’s look at the deal we showed you above.
And remember, we came up with three distinct possibilities for how to pursue the hand:
Hold the pair of sixes
Hold the four hearts
Hold the six, seven and eight of hearts
Of those three possibilities, there is only one that keeps the full house in play, and that’s the first one. When you have a deal like this where it’s close between several choices, you should probably lean to the one where the full house is within your reach.
Barring that, you should make sure you seek the proper ways of learning strategy for video poker. That doesn’t mean trial and error, of course. There would be no way to tell which plays were right or wrong based on the outcomes of a few hands, which could be skewed by luck.
Instead, you should get some help. Find resources that have already figured out all the math and will let you reap the rewards with perfect Power Grid Poker video poker play. We suggest the following:
Video Poker Training Software
Training software is particularly useful for those who are new to video poker. You can play sample hands, learn to use a bankroll, and learn the rhythm of video poker play. Plus, you can learn perfect strategy along the way.
As you play these sample hands, you’ll be faced with decisions about what to hold and what to discard in the same way as if you were playing for real money. When you make a wrong decision, the software will tell you where you went wrong. Pretty soon, you’ll learn the right plays just through repetition.
A strategy chart is a better choice for video poker instruction for those who already know how to play and want to learn the right plays for a specific game like Power Grid Poker video poker. All you need to do is memorize the chart. As soon as you can do that, you can take the knowledge with you when you play for real.
When you see a strategy chart, you’ll be looking at a list of all the combinations of cards you might receive on a deal. These combinations are ranked in terms of their expected value. When you spot the cards in your deal that the most value, you’ll know that they’re the cards you should be holding.
Power Grid Poker Video Poker Pros and Cons
Pros of Power Grid Poker Video Poker
Exciting bonus round with excellent rewards
Even at its worst, you get three free games for the bonus round
Good payoff on four of a kind
Cons of Power Grid Poker Video Poker
Low payback for common hands makes the game volatile
Need for stout bankroll
Relatively low overall payback percentage
Conclusion on Power Grid Poker Video Poker
Power Grid Poker video poker, whether found in casinos or as part of top gambling websites, can definitely provide a jolt of excitement to your next video poker session. It might not be the game you want to play long term. But, as a short-term diversion, it can certainly offer you some potentially electric payback.
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