All About Video Poker
Video Poker was introduced in Vegas in the early 70’s as an alternative to the simpler slot games, which although very popular with Vegas locals and visitors alike, didn’t appeal to many as they lacked a certain degree of interaction. It wasn’t long before Las Vegas Casino bosses commissioned the creation of a new game, the game of Video Poker, to satisfy the millions of gambling aficionados that wanted a slot game, something simple to play, but also something that could influence the outcome. Our carefully selected toplist lists the best online casinos to play online video poker.
Unlike the various slot machines that require nothing but a push of a button to play, the video poker games require that you have a basic knowledge of the game of poker so you could pick the best hands to win. This interaction between the player and the game is what makes playing video poker so much fun and why the game became so popular.
Facts about Video Poker:
Video Poker is a game based on 5-card draw poker; This casino game is played on a computerized machine similar to that of slots at brick-and-mortar casinos; There are many different variants of the game, but the most popular one is Jacks or Better; If you play optimal video poker strategy you can make a very good profit.
Online Video Poker
Besides the games you’d find in Las Vegas and Atlantic City you also find a wide variety of online video poker games to play at many an online casino. If the more traditional games were good, their online counterparts are even better because, unlike the bigger land-based casinos, there are no restrictions on the games. This means there are hundreds of versions of the games found online and, instead of simply playing one hand per spin, you could play up to a hundred, drastically increasing your chances to win. The graphics and sounds found on the new online video poker games are also far superior to the ones found in the traditional casinos which means you get a lot more entertainment from the online versions which have clever animations and sounds to liven up your day.
The Basic Rules and Strategy of Online Video Poker
Video Poker, as its original name Poker Slots suggests, is a combination of poker and slot games. Like the various Slot Machines, the game is played on an electronic screen but instead of simple reels, rows, and paylines, you’re confronted by a poker hand. You will need some knowledge of the various poker hands to play as you will need to choose which cards to keep and which cards to discard.
That being said, it’s not even close to being the hardest game to play so it’s just as enjoyable for beginners and first-time players as it is and will be for seasoned pro who uses a Video Poker Strategy. Like a game of poker, 5 cards are dealt to the player, you can then decide which cards you want to keep and which cards you want to discard. Once the decisions have been made, you will be dealt cards to replace the ones you discarded. Payouts will be calculated according to the quality of hand you have left.
Video Poker Rules are:
- A combination of Poker rules and Video Poker’s own twists;
- Very easy to learn;
- Are complemented by Video Poker strategy;
- The payout in Video Poker depends on the hand ranking obtained.
How to Play Video Poker
There aren’t too many steps and rules to keep in mind when you play online video poker. You input the number of coins you wish to play and click on deal/draw, or click on the "Play Max Coins" button. You’re now dealt five cards as in five-card draw poker.
How to Play Video Poker for Beginners:
- Place your bet;
- Press the ‘Deal’ button for your cards to be dealt out;
- Select which cards to keep and which to discard;
- Click the ‘Draw’ button for the cards to change and wait for the outcome.
Place your bet
Like other casino games, the first step to playing Video Poker is placing your bet. While playing a typical Video Poker game, you’ll be able to do this either by clicking on ‘Bet One’, ‘Bet Max’ or by simply selecting the amount you’d like to bet using the arrows. Generally speaking, minimum and maximum bets will vary from one game to another depending on which variant you choose to play and at which online casino.
Press the ‘Deal’ button for your cards to be dealt out
Once you’ve placed your bet, the next thing you’ll have to do is to click on the ‘Deal’ button for your cards to be dealt out. Both in Online Video Poker as well as in land-based Video Poker, there’s no dealer present and your cards will be dealt out electronically.
Select which cards to keep and which to discard
Now you’re faced with a decision: which cards to keep and which ones to discard. Use the buttons underneath each card to indicate whether you wish to hold or fold it.
Click the ‘Draw’ button for the cards to change
Once you have selected which cards you wish to keep, press the deal/draw button again to receive replacement cards.
Wait for the outcome
After you’ve performed all the necessary steps, you’ll get your final hand and the only thing left to do is to wait for the outcome.
Video Poker Hand Rankings
In Video Poker, hand rankings really matter. The better your hand ranks, the better your payout will be and the more money you’ll be able to pocket at the end of the game. So if you’ve never played Video Poker or the classic table game, Poker, we really recommend acquainting yourself with their hand rankings. Below we outline each hand ranking from best to worst. These hand rankings are the ones that pertain to Jacks or Better, the most well-known and widely played Video Poker variant.
- Royal straight flush – A royal flush is definitely the best hand that you can have in Joker Poker Video Poker. Essentially, it consists of a Ten, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of the same suit (ie. Either diamonds, clubs, hearts or clovers).
- Straight flush – A straight flush is perhaps the second-best hand ranking you can possibly have in a game of Video Poker. It’s made up of 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. For example, 6,7,8,9,10.
- Four of a kind – As the name implies, 4 of a Kind implies that there are four cards of the same value. Each card belongs to a different suit.
- Full house – A full house consists of any 3 cards carrying the same numerical value together with 1 pair. For example, you have 3 cards with 4s on them and two aces.
- Flush – A flush consists of a poker hand made up of 5 suited cards that are not in consecutive order.
- Straight – Five consecutive cards of mixed suits are known as a straight.
- Three of a kind – Two cards of different value together with three cards of equal value is known as three of a kind.
- Two pair – A two pair consists of a set of two cards that are of the same value or two other cards that are of different values.
- Jacks or Better – Any single pair that’s either made up of Jacks or higher will win the hand. For example Js, Qs, Ks or As.
Video Poker Payouts
The strength of your hand depends on which type of Video Poker game you play. Different Video Poker variations have different payout structures. However, the payouts are always based on traditional poker hand rankings. Have a look below to find the different hand rankings:
Full Pay Jacks or Better Machine Payout
|Four of a Kind||25|
|Three of a Kind||3|
|Jacks or Better||1|
As you can see from the paytable above, when it comes to Jacks or Better you need at least a pair of Jacks or Tens to be eligible for payout. Yet, in some other variants of the game, this might differ.
Some Video Poker variations have wild cards or jokers which makes it possible to create other hands such as five of a kind. There can also be different payouts for, say, a royal flush including a wild card and a natural royal flush. The key here is to always study the payout table before you start playing so you know how to play.
Types of Video Poker
Like traditional poker, there are a few different types of video poker that you can play. There are different rules for the various games and you will have to make sure you know what they are before you play as the rules and the hand values will directly affect your winnings. There are also a few versions of video poker that do come with progressive jackpots and depending on the size of the game or the casino involved, you could be looking at a million dollar jackpot. If you do have some knowledge of poker, it’s always best to choose the version of video poker that resembles the game you know the closest. The variations include the likes of:
Jacks or Better Video Poker
If you feel like you may get lost within the numerous variants of video poker and just want one good and trusty one to go to, then all you need to do is stick to playing Jacks or Better Video Poker. If you have never played any video poker before you should get the hang of playing this one before moving on to any of the others. This is by far the most popular video poker there is. You may also find it in some online casinos as Draw Poker. In order to win in this game, as the name implies, all you need is jacks or better to get a payout. If you want to learn more about this game, read our in-depth article on Jacks or Better Video Poker.
Aces and Faces Video Poker
This is a variation of Jacks or Better. It is very similar but the slight difference is that there is a higher payout for four of a kind outcomes with aces and faces cards, hence the name of the game! It also uses the standardised 52-card deck like in Jacks or Better. If this sounds like a game you want to get in to go on over to our article on Aces and Faces Video Poker to learn all the rules and winnings combinations.
Deuces Wild Video Poker
In this fun version of online video poker winning becomes a hell of a lot easier as the deuces become wild card. They can be any other card in the standard 52-card deck of your choosing in order for you to make a winning combination or hand. The payouts aren’t as great with this version, but if you are looking for something a little different and want to spice up the game this is for you. If you want to know all about this exciting game, visit our page on Deuces Wild Video Poker so you go into the game completely prepared to win and receive the payouts you want.
This is a great game for those who like to use wild cards. Instead of a 52 pack of cards like other video poker games, this one uses 53 cards by including the joker. In this variation the joker card acts as a wild card, so you can use it in order to make a winning combination with the cards you have been dealt. To discover all there is to know about the Joker Poker variation of Video Poker go to our dedicated page on Joker Poker so you will feel like a seasoned pro as you play.
Tens or Better Video Poker
This variation of Video Poker makes it pretty easy for any player to win some kind of payout, it will just be slightly smaller payouts in comparison to other games to accommodate for the larger amount of possibilities for players to win. It’s closely related to jacks or better, but in this case you only need tens or better in order to get winnings. If you want to really get a hang of this game read through our article on tens or better video poker so you know all the rules, winning hands, and playing tips to get you those payouts you really want.
Video Poker History
The history of video poker is longer than it might appear. Poker has been around in a form similar to its current one since the 19th century, and the precursors of video poker have been as well. The first machine that resembled a video poker machine was the one created in 1891 by inventors Sittman and Pitt in Brooklyn, New York. While there was obviously no actual video, the machine did randomly create poker hands. The machine did not have an automatic payout due to a large number of combinations. It was incumbent upon the proprietor of the establishment, usually a bar, where the machine was located to pay patrons. The machine worked similarly to a slot machine, in which players pulled a lever to set the drums that produced the poker hand in motion.
In the 1970s, computer technology advanced far enough to create and market true video poker machines. SIRCOMA, the precursor to International Game Technology (IGT), created a draw poker game in 1979 that began appearing in casinos. The video poker games were immediately popular and grew to include different variations of draw poker (with wildcards).
As technology has improved, so have video poker machines, which remain as popular as ever. Furthermore, video poker translates neatly to online casino play, and it has developed a considerable following. Many video poker machines today also feature a progressive jackpot, a jackpot fed into by many linked machines that often produces a massive prize pool for video poker players to shoot at.