Free Video Poker Online
Playing free video poker online makes a lot of sense, as the game offers all the excitement of traditional poker with a few new wrinkles added in. It’s also a solo game, meaning you can play by yourself without having to deal with a lot of people doing their best Phil Hellmuth impression. Finally, playing expert strategy on some video poker machines will actually tilt the advantage in favor of the player, which is why some dedicated gamblers opt for video poker machines instead of slots.
In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of video poker, as well as listing the wide variety of games available. Once you’ve picked a suitable Internet casino, you’ll be able to play free video poker online with minimal effort.
Types of Free Video Poker Games Online
Even if you’re going to play video poker for free, it still helps to know about the available games. The following are some of the most popular options, although the selection will vary from casino to casino.
Jacks or Better Video Poker – The most common variety of video poker, this game is also referred to as “draw poker.” Players receive a payout based on the strength of their poker hand, and they must have at least a pair of jacks before they can finish in the money. The most coveted hand is the royal flush, and the game will offer a return of 4000 credits if you make the maximum wager. Playing five credits (the maximum) yields a theoretical return of 99.5%, while playing with fewer credits offers a possible return of 98.4%.
Double Bonus Video Poker – A variation of Jacks or Better, this video poker machine offers an additional payout for getting a hand with four aces. The 10/7 version of the game--meaning 10 times your bet for a full house and 7x for a flush—offers a theoretical return of 100.2% when combined with expert strategy. The lowest payout is one credit for getting a pair of jacks on a one-credit wager, while the highest is the royal flush (4000 credits on a 5-credit bet). The bonus for four aces pays 800 credits for a five-credit wager and 160 credits for a wager of a single credit.
Bonus Poker – Another game based on Jacks or Better, but this time a higher payout percentage is offered for a hand with four of a kind. Different versions offer varying levels of payouts, so always search for the one that give you the best chance of a big payday.
Double Double Bonus Video Poker – Another Jacks or Better variation, but this time the game offers additional payout based on various four-of-a-kind hands. The royal flush remains the top payout with a maximum jackpot of 4000 credits, while the biggest four-of-a-kind bonus is awarded for four aces combined with a two, three, or four.
Deuces Wild Video Poker – All twos are wild in this version of video poker, and a four of a kind hand occurs at an average rate of once every fifteen hands. A royal flush comprised on non-wild cards offer the top payout of 4000 credits, while a royal flush made up of one or more wild cards offers a 125 credit payout for the maximum wager. The lowest hand that pays is three of a kind, while playing maximum coins with perfect strategy yields a theoretical return of 100.8%.
All American – One of the highest return versions of video poker, this Jacks or Better variant offers increased winnings for straights, flushes, and straight flushes. It also reduces the payouts for pairs and full houses.
Tens or Better – This game is like Jacks or Better, except it begins to offer payouts with a pair of tens or better.
Low Pay Free Video Poker
While the full-pay versions of video poker can give the player an edge over the house, casinos also have plenty of low-pay versions designed to offer lesser payouts and therefore greater profits for the house. Luckily, you can spot these machines by looking at their pay tables, and it’s always wise to steer clear of them in favor of the more generous machines.
The full-pay version of Jacks or Better, for example, offers nine times the player’s bet for a full house and six times the wager for a flush. This would be expressed as 9/6 Jacks or Better. Short-pay versions of the game range from 9/5 Jacks or Better to 6/5 Jacks or Better. Since a large amount of players won’t bother to look at the pay tables, they’re likely to play one of these games instead of their more generous counterparts. This results in bigger hauls for the casino, which makes up for any losses they might suffer on the full-pay versions.
Now that you understand the basics of the game, you can play free video poker online like a pro. Even though you won’t increase your bankroll this way, it will prepare you for the day when you decide to visit your favorite casino and put some real money on the line. Just remember to manage your bankroll and utilize perfect strategy, and you should walk away a winner more often than not.
The History of Video Poker
Video poker got its start in the 1970s thanks to Si Redd, who was then working for Bally. He pitched company executives the idea of a game based around draw poker, but they were more interested in slot machines at the time. So Si took out a patent on the game, partnered with Fortune Coin Company from Reno, and started his own enterprise known as Sircoma.
The game of video poker got off to a slow start, but it began to pick up momentum in 1981. With his newfound success, Si was able to take Sircoma public, and it’s now known around the globe as IGT (or International Game Technology). Video poker is still going strong, and a visit to any casino will reveal hundreds of variations and even more pay tables.