Online Video Poker

Video poker is a game that combines five-card draw poker and a slot machine. It is a computerized casino game, and as such it has crossed over to the online casino smoothly, and has even benefited from this move. As have we, the players.

In This Game Overview

  • Video Poker History 
  • Video Poker Tips 
  • Video Poker Game Variants 
  • Look Out for... 
  • Video Poker Rules and Terms 
  • Video Poker Basics 
  • Video Poker Trivia  

Video poker stands out as a game of skill, and draws players, equipped with carefully formulated strategies and know-how, who try to win the game. With a low house edge, the possibility of large winnings opens up. Knowing how to play and play well will help the video poker player gain an advantage. Perhaps the following game information will be of help...

The basics of Video Poker

Video poker is a game of skill, and as such it is somewhat complex. But with regard to the rules, they are rather simple. Like other gambling games, it begins by placing a bet, usually a minimum sum, before any cards are dealt.

The player places 1 to 5 coins. In return, after ordering a Deal, he receives five cards from the machine. Like in poker, the player chooses which cards to hold on to and which to discard. Discarded cards are replaced by others from the same virtual card deck, and the hand that now forms determines the payoff. 

Payouts are evaluated according to how rare the card combinations are. The minimum, usually, is a hand of a pair of jacks. Payouts also calculate a house edge, which helps the casino operator keep some kind of revenue from the game. 

An added element is the progressive video poker games, which offers progressive jackpots for the royal flush and even other rare hands. 

Video Poker Rules and Terms

The rules are rather simple and are covered in the previous section. Following are some terms that will help you become more comfortable around the casino game:

  • Hand: five cards held in your hand at one time, before or after a mid-game deal, is called a hand.
  • Complete Hand: if all cards in your hand form one strong combination - a straight, flush, full house, four of a kind or straight flush - it is called a complete hand.
  • Deuces: a basic term in video poker, deuces are the two denomination cards in the deck.
  • Draw: the replacement cards for cards dispensed from the original dealt hand.
  • Double Up: an option given at some online video poker games to double up the bet on a winning hand.
  • Full Pay: look for video poker games that offer full pay, meaning they have the best payout schedule. Examples include 9/6 Jacks or Better, which is preferable to 8/6 Jacks or Better. It brings you closer to an average payback of 100%, or even higher.
  • Multi Play: video poker games that allow up to ten hands at a time.

Keep your eyes open for...

Video poker games deal cards from a virtual deck. This is done at random, and the casino is tested and audited to ensure this is the case. It clears the way for a fair gaming environment, one which allows players to strategically locate opportunities that will grant them an advantage.

There is no magic formula or guaranteed advantage, or else everybody would be playing video poker, and winning too. Players must study what games are best and what pay table strategies are best. Common sense and random play might be fun and even profitable, but not likely to win in the long run. The guide section and its detailed strategy tips might be a good place to start. 

Video Poker Game variants

New variants of video poker games are constantly making their way online. The selection affects the players' choice, as they are always on the look for the game with the most generous payoff tables. But variants differ in more than just the payoff table.

Wild cards have been added to video poker games, as have games with multiple decks, certain combination bonuses and other features. 

The basic five-card draw has variations in its own class. Deuces Wild is one such variant. In this game a deuce serves as a wild card, i.e. it can be replaced for any card the player wishes. The jackpot is won with a hand of four deuces or a natural royal. Four-of-a-kind hands are more difficult to come across in non-wild variants. The royal flush is an extreme rarity in these games. 

Other games include: 

  • Jacks or Better: the most common variation, Jacks or Better starts paying off for a pair of jacks. Playing with perfect strategy can yield a return of 99.54%.
  • Tens or Better: similar to Jacks or Better, Tens or Better pays off for a pair of tens.
  • Bonus Poker: like Jacks or Better, only with a bonus higher payout for a four of a kind. These bonuses differ depending on the specific version and the ranking of the four of a kind.
  • Double Bonus: a version of Jacks or Better with a bonus payout for four aces.
  • Double Double Bonus: this version offers more bonus options to the Jacks or Better-based Double Bonus Video Poker variation.

Video Poker Tips

  • SIRCOMA, which stands for Si Redd's Coin Machines, which later became International Game Technology, was the name of the first video poker machine.
  • When played online, it's just you and the computer, which is just the way many gamblers like it.
  • Video poker returns a low Casinos Edge and can actually return a Players Advantage.
  • Casino video poker is characterized by many highs and lows, the return is usually good, take a look at the payout percentages report of audited online casinos by eCOGRA and other auditors and you will most likely find high returns in the high 90s for video poker games.
  • If you are new to the game of poker video machine than familiarize yourself with the standard poker hand ranking first, if you haven't, as well as with the payout table for each video poker game you play. 
  • Know the casino software developer and notice that there are slight variations in the payouts, and it pays to know them well. Oftentimes, the same video poker game will payout differently depending on the casino.
  • All video poker game machines offer from 1 to 5 coins and some allow you to play 100+ hands at the same time. After deciding on a coin stake ($.01 to $5, depending on the VP game), select the number of coins and hands to play with and click the DEAL button. 
  • Select which cards you would like to hold by clicking on the cards.
  • Generally, it is best to stop risking your winnings on the bonus round and just cash it out.
  • It is advised to bet the maximum number of coins, for there is practically always a bonus award for playing the maximum number of coins in video poker.

Video Poker History

With the introduction of machine games at casinos, and the commercial availability of personal computers at large, video poker too has made its entry to the casino world in the 1970s. As a young game (compared to Roulette and Craps, for example), its popularity today is impressive.

Draw Poker was introduced in 1979 by SIRCOMA and helped video poker increase its share of casino games. In the 80s, the game was becoming less and less intimidating, as people became less nervy by the devices. In the 90s it already became highly popular, largely due to the low denomination machines available at the casinos. With its hold now firm and steady, video poker is now familiar and widely popular among millions of players.

Video Poker Trivia

  • SIRCOMA, which stands for Si Redd's Coin Machines, which later became International Game Technology, was the name of the manufacturer of Draw Poker in 1979, the first widely popular video poker game.
  • Local casinos off the Las Vegas Strip offered video poker games with minimal denominations that were widely popular among local Nevada residents and helped boost the game's popularity to a larger crowd of gamblers.
  • With a low Casinos Edge and the opportunity to win big, the video poker game has developed a large following of skill-minded poker players, not to mention fans of poker and those who like to play it alone (against the computer).
  • Video Poker is one of the most popular casino games, both in land-based casinos and on internet casinos. 
  • There are several variations of video poker. You can find most of them in Atlantic City or Las Vegas casinos. Online casinos generally have a standard selection of video poker games, and depending on the casino and software (playtech, microgaming, etc.), the software will normally include Jacks or Better, Aces and Faces, All Aces Video Poker, Aces and Eights, Deuces Wild Video Poker, Joker Poker and Bonus Poker variations.

See also

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