Video poker

Video Poker Guide

This is arguably the second most popular casino game, behind slots and as a result, there are many things to like about the game of online video poker.

Highly regarded by players, this is based on the game of 'five-card draw poker' and at first, this was played on traditional gambling machines. Originally, this was a game that was based purely on luck and did not really require any kind of skill, because of the fact that it did not have an option to draw or hold any of the cards.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes.

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How to play video poker

Essentially, the majority of video poker games are based on the original Five Draw format where players are able to then decide whether to keep the hand they already have or discard this for a new one.

In addition to this, you can also keep the video poker cards that are useful, especially if you have a chance to get a royal flush, straight flush, or four of a kind.

When you discard the card or cards that you do not want, these are then issued from a virtual deck, and as a result, any winnings are paid to you according to the pay-table for the hand that you win with.

Video poker is one of the easiest games to learn because of the simplicity that is associated with it, while video poker machines also have free video poker on offer before you play with real money.

This is also the case when you play video poker online. Many forms of this have a demo mode that you can take advantage of which gives you the chance to get used to how the game works, depending on which variation that you play.

Ultimately, playing video poker is all about being able to see if you can make the best hand and gambling on which cards to stick with and which ones to let go.

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Why the video poker pay-table is important

When you play video poker, it is crucial to know how much that you can win from different hands. There are two main classifications of video poker games when it comes to this which include 'full pay' and 'short pay', with the former boasting an RTP (Return-Player-Percentage) of over 99 percent.

It is often the case that some video poker machines and online video poker games will publish the RTP as being over 100 percent, though this is on the premise that the player makes the best mathematically possible hand for each round.

On each game, it should be easy to access the pay-table and these can usually be found under the relevant game's information section. Understanding how this works is really important to giving you the best possible chance of making a winning hand with video poker.

Also, they will show you what you can expect to win for each hand, based on how much that you stake as well and it can be the case that this differs based on the particular video poker variation.

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Video poker games

Types of Video Poker games

As briefly touched on, there are many different types of video poker games that you can find at most online casinos. Below are the most common ones that you can usually choose to play, with these varying in terms of how popular they are.

Jacks or Better Game

This is a popular video poker game at online casinos and the reason why is because all you need to form a winning hand is literally a pair of jacks or better. In Jacks or Better, the aim of the game is to create the best possible hand and if you are familiar with Texas Hold'Em then you will be able to recognize these.

The easiest 'hand' to collect is literally called 'Jacks or Better' and can be a pair of jacks, plus cards of a higher value, however, this hand is the lowest ranked. Then you have two pairs, three of a kind, a straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, straight flush, and a royal flush as explained below:

Two Pair: This relates to there being two pairs of cards which are of the same value.

Three of a kind: A hand where you can have three cards that are the same number, such as three 6's.

Straight: For this hand, you can have five cards from different suits and these are in consecutive order.

Flush: For example, you could have five cards that are all diamonds, hearts, spades or clubs. As long as they are the same suit.

Full House: Where there are five cards and these include three of the same in addition to a pair. (three 4's and two 5s)

Four of a Kind: This is when you have four cards that are identical (four 5's)

Straight Flush: Where you could for example have five consecutive cards for one suit. (2,3,4,5,6 of hearts)

Royal Flush: This is the highest and best hand that you can get in the game, though it has to include the Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10 in the same suit.

Deuces Wild Game

Players like this video poker game, because the number two is classed as a wild (commonly popular in online slots games). When you get a two (Deuce) in Deuces Wild, this means that they can act as a substitution for any other card which can significantly increase your winning potential. In Deuces Wild, most of the hands that you can make, mirror those from Jacks or Better, though with some subtle additions and you will find these below:

Deuces royal flush: This is the same as Royal Flush, with one card replaced by a deuce.

Four deuces: Four twos

Natural royal flush: A 10, a Jack, a Queen, a King, and an Ace of the same suit.

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There are some video poker strategies and tips that can be applied while you are playing and while these do not carry any guarantee of winning, because every online gambling game is random, for some players, they can be effective. Let's take a look at some that are used.

Learn the rules

This is a very basic strategy, though arguably the smartest thing to do before you play video poker as it will help you to understand the possible hands that you can get a lot better and why a hand with 2, 3, 4 in for example might not be effective.

Play progressive video poker

When you do this, it significantly increases your chance to win a large amount from a relatively small stake. Jacks or Better video poker games are known to offer the best progressive poker games, however, it is worth checking on the paytable first as these can differ dramatically. Progressive games in video poker can also have good bonuses and these are able to provide the player with the chance to substantially increase their chances of winning big.

Look for good bonuses

There are many online casinos that offer attractive bonuses for video poker and when you take into account that it is one of the easiest online casino games to win at, these can be particularly effective. This is especially the case if you want to build up a good bankroll.

Hold on high cards

Depending on which game you are playing in video poker, one of the best things to do is to keep hold of the high cards if it looks likely that you can make a hand. While the best hands have the rarest cards, the beauty of video poker machines, is that these are completely random. It means that within two or three spins, you could have a Royal Flush.

Become a member of a player's club

Although this might appear counter-intuitive, it can also be a good thing to do at an online casino. This is because it gives you the chance to earn special bonuses and even VIP status where you can get further benefits as well.

House Edge in Video Poker

Renowned for having one of the most favorable house edge percentages in the online gambling industry, this is one of the reasons why many experienced gamblers play video poker.

The house edge in video poker can be as low as 0.06 percent which means that the player has a great chance to win, though it is also worth checking the pay-table as well because this can have a direct influence on the house edge and mean that it can be higher.

In the game Jacks or Better, if you look at the return to player percentage, you will find that it is very favorable to the player at 99.54 percent, which gives you a house edge of 0.46 percent. This means that you have a huge chance of winning against the house when you play this game and because of how random it is and the fact that there are only 52 cards, it is easy to understand why it is such a popular game.

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Fun Facts about Video Poker

There is no doubt that video poker is a highly popular game, though it actually has an interesting history as well. Below you can find out more about this exciting game and how it came to be!

- The first poker machines were mechanical with five reels and these would spin in exactly the same way as a slot machine.When they finished five cards would or wouldn't form a poker hand on each of the corresponding reels.

- Charles Fey invented the first video poker machine which was called ‘Skill Draw’.

- Skill Draw meant that it was no longer just a game of chance!

- The first poker machines only had 50 cards. The two missing were Jack of Hearts and 10 of Spades.

- Software provider International Game Technology significantly enhanced video poker and are still a big name today!

Video poker FAQs

Can you make money playing video poker?

It is definitely possible to make money when you are playing video poker, especially compared to other casino games, because of the simplicity that is involved.

However, what is important to remember is that the game is completely based on luck because like every other online casino game, it has a random number generator (RNG).

When you factor in the house edge as well, video poker makes for one of the easiest casino games to make money from, however, it is important to remember to gamble responsibly as well and do not chase your losses.

It could be that you might prefer Jacks or Better to Deuces Wild becauseof the format of how the game works. This means that firstly, you really need a grasp of how each one works first as well as each poker hand before you gamble with real money.

What is the best video poker game to play?

This really depends on your personal preference and taste. While each one has its advantages and disadvantages, for many it comes down to which one is their favorite. Essentially, there is no right or wrong answer. You will find a lot of online casinos that offer each format of video poker which are also just as effective when you play on mobile.