Video Poker Online
Video poker is one of the most popular ways to gamble around the world. Even in places where casino gambling isn’t readily available you can sometimes find video poker games. I’ve seen video poker in gas stations, bars, and airports, among other places.
Video poker combines a little bit of traditional poker skill with slot-style video gaming. If you want to succeed at video poker, you have to learn a little about the games, how they work, and the best kinds of bets to place.
Most video poker machines base their game play on traditional five-card draw poker. Like the name implies, video poker is played on a video screen with features like modern slots. Just like their slot machine counterparts, video poker machines have the same flashing lights, animations, and even 3D graphics and bonus game.
Video Poker Basics
Most video poker titles in fancy casinos use a touchscreen, though older video poker machines have buttons that you push to interact. In video poker, you place a bet and you’re dealt five cards. Video poker machines tend to have small bet maximums and require lots of smaller bets, like slot machines. Bet sizes in video poker range from nickel and quarter bets all the way up to multi-hand high roller video poker machines that can play hundreds of dollars per round, but the majority of machines operate between a quarter and a few dollars per hand.
During game play, you can choose to discard or not discard from your hand to build a better hand. Video poker machines vary, so the winning combinations and payouts for each machine might be different. That information is displayed on a pay table on the machine’s face.
Video Poker Pay Tables
Though many different video poker machine titles and games exist, there isn’t a lot of variation between the amount of pay outs and the types of winning hands. On some video poker machines, the minimum hand you need to win any money is a pair of jacks or better, though all video poker machines are different, and you should study the pay table to learn what hands constitute winning combinations. Video poker machines follow traditional poker hand hierarchy, featuring a pair, two pair, three of a kind, straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, straight flush, and a top hand of royal flush.
Now that video poker machines are getting in on the progressive jackpot and bonus game action usually reserved for slot machines, gamblers are spending more money on their video poker machines. This is the same reason slots started to add new games, bonuses, and side bets: to increase the machine’s intake.
Most of the time you have to play an extra credit to bet into the progressive video poker jackpots, and players will play more hands if they have a shot at a lucrative bonus game. The amount you win from a video poker pay table may be higher or lower based on these progressives and bonus games.
Video Poker Odds
Video poker games offer casino gamblers some of the best odds on the casino floor. Some video poker games, if you play them according to perfect strategy, are actually positive expectation games. In other words, over time, the house can expect to lose money instead of the gambler.
Find the right pay table on the right machine and you’ll find the odds tipped slightly in your favor. If you know what video poker machines to play, and you manage to earn some free drinks or free food along the way, you’ll find yourself squarely in the black at the end of a gaming session. Becoming a member of the slots club and getting a percentage of your play back is an important part of getting a positive expectation deal.
You won’t find a slot machine that offers better than a 98% payback. Video poker machines offer many of the advantages of slot play with better odds. Today’s video poker games are more like video games, with lots of animation, sounds, and even bonus game chances. If you like to sit at a slot machine, zone out, drink a couple of beers, and play a game that doesn’t involve much brain power, video poker gives you a better chance of winning money than slot machines.
Video Poker Tips
Because all machines are different, it is hard to give tips on each kind of video poker available. Instead, here are three rules that can be applied as general video poker tips across all machines.
1. Play free video poker.
Free video poker games are common online. Most online casinos offer play money video poker. This helps you learn the rules of different video poker titles without risking real money. Don’t go into a casino and play video poker without any experience. Free video poker games are everywhere, so try your hand before you sit in front of the real deal.
2. Study a machine’s payout table.
If you don’t know what a video poker machine will pay for different hands, you don’t know whether or not it’s a good or bad video poker game. One rule of thumb, the more wild cards there are in a video poker title, the harder it is to get to the better payouts. You learn things like that by studying payout tables. The video poker games that offer you the best odds have no wild cards at all, and offer payouts starting at just a pair of Jacks or better. Some Deuces Wild games offer positive expectation if played with perfect strategy thanks to the payout table structure. As a counter example, the popular Joker's Wild video poker games has a lowest payout on two pair or better, so it is harder to win on Joker’s Wild than a wild card-less video poker game.
3. Bet maximum.
Everyone’s video poker strategy is a little different, but most video poker players agree that maximum bets are always the best play.
There’s an entire type of video poker machines, called a progressive payout machine, that only pay out the highest jackpots to maximum bets. These machines have different schedules for maximum bets than lower bets, so you’d want to bet the highest amount possible when playing those machines. The trick is knowing how to read a payout schedule and figure out if it is worthwhile to bet max, or if you can save a little of your bankroll with smaller bets.
Now that you know the basics of video poker, follow these three simple tips and you should be able to have some good cheap entertainment at your local video poker game. Look for the best payout schedules and remember that video poker offers some of the better odds of any game on the casino floor.