Learn the rules and strategies needed to win the Video Poker
Guide on Video Poker
Video poker is a popular game among casino gamblers due to the real chance they get to beat the house. If you are new to the game, you'll need to learn the rules and strategies needed to win the game.
How to Play Video Poker
This guide covers several essential concepts that every beginner must know and how anyone can improve their winning chances while playing video poker.
The History of Video Poker
The first video poker machine was created in the 1970s, but its history can be traced back to the late 19th century. Since then, video poker has made its way into the hearts of numerous casino players. Better graphics, bigger prizes, and more games have contributed to the game's popularity in gambling companies on the Internet and throughout the world.
The New York-based Sittman & Pitt Company released the first poker machine, which had five wheels with 10 playing cards printed on each of them. The wheels usually spun and would rest to make a 5-card poker hand.
After ten years, the company created a draw version, which allowed gamblers to select which cards to re-spin and hold to replace the previous ones. During this period, gambling was illegal, so the payouts on winning hands were made in liquor and cigarettes.
An employee of Bally's Gaming, Si Redd, came up with a new game idea known as video poker. Bally's Gaming rejected this idea, so Redd offered the patent to the Nevada-based Fortune Coin Company.
By the early 1980s, Redd had started to mass-produce video poker machines and put them in casinos throughout the US. Redd later created the company IGT (International Gaming Technology), which became a strong force to reckon with in the casino world.
The popularity of video poker kept increasing both in land-based casinos and online. That is because the game appeals to lots of different individuals.
Poker players appreciate the opportunity to beat the casino using some strategy, while slots players love the exciting graphics and one-on-one aspect. If you are a novice, video poker is a simple and great way to enter the online gambling world.
Why Is Video Poker Special?
Since the introduction of video poker into the casino stage in the 1970s, it has spread like wildfire and gained incredible popularity among casino players. That's because video poker is among the few games that offer the highest casino gambling odds and allow players to influence the outcome while playing.
In other words, a player's skills can change the game. In addition, the popularity of video poker is due to the low house edge (gains for the casinos) it brings while still offering players an opportunity to get massive wins (in jackpot sizes).
Video poker also gives that anonymity that players desire as they can play the game alone and without the pressure from other players at a live poker casino. That means you won't need to deal with dealers, fellow players, or bosses who dissect or irritatingly comment if you're slow or when you make mistakes. Although these are just a few of the several benefits of making video poker your favorite game, the biggest question is — how can one beat a video poker machine?
You probably have come across the saying that "the house always gets an edge." While this may be tough to refute, video poker seems to be an exception to the rule. It does not matter whether you play Deuces Wild, Jack or Better, or any other variation.
You can beat a video poker machine hands down with the right strategy, knowledge, skills, and a stroke of luck. The fact that you're not competing against other players, but a machine is an advantage, implying that video poker machines are beatable. In addition to this, you have more chances (about five times more) to hit a massive jackpot (as referred to as the Royal Flush) while playing video poker, which puts it among the best casino games.
How to Play Video Poker
There are different video poker versions, but they're all based on the simplest variety, the 5-card draw. You are dealt a 5-card poker hand, and you'll have a chance to keep the cards you wish to retain and discard those you don't want to keep, replacing them with new cards.
These will then make up your final hand. Here are the steps to playing a video poker hand:
- Deposit some funds into the casino site or video poker machine, decide the amount you want to wager on each session.
- Place your bet.
- Press deal to get your first 5-card poker hand.
- Discard any card you don't find useful (you can discard up to five cards).
- Get new cards from the 'virtual deck.'
- Your winnings will be paid according to the game's paytable.
Video Poker Tournaments
Players who are just beginning to learn video poker don't need to concern themselves with tournaments. They need to understand the fundamentals before worrying about the advanced versions of the game.
As soon as you gain experience, playing video poker tournaments can add some fun. Here are some of the tournaments and how they work:
This event can be designed with either time limits or hand limits. In a hand limit set up, the tournament ends after a specific number of hands (250), while the tournament lasts for a specific number of minutes (20) in a time limit set up. In either case, any player with the most points (credits) at the end wins the game.
Video poker contests and tournaments both have something similar. Top point earners will share a prize pool.
However, in video poker contests, the best players after each session get the top score. Also, the maximum number of sessions players can enjoy per day is 5.
This game allows you to invite other gamers to a video poker game challenge, where you're up against a group or one-on-one. The player who issues the challenge determines the time or hand limit. Most times, Challenges feature fun achievements that players can unlock too.
Comparing Video Poker Vs. Slot Machines
Slots and video poker are often compared because they are the two most common forms of machine gaming. The key distinction between video poker and slot machines is that the former has an intricate strategy that affects the long-term result.
Every decision a player makes will either lessen or improve their winning chances. Slots games involve spinning the wheels again and again while hoping to be lucky.
However, the advantage of playing slots is that they offer more bonuses and fun themes than video poker. It's an attractive prospect for anyone who prefers being entertained to using a stimulating strategy.
Video poker games are also compared with the new digital pull-tab games. Pull tab games can be likened to a hybrid between slots and lottery, where players insert cash into slot-like machines and get tickets. But a modern pull game is more colorful and includes some similar entertaining features as slots.
Whether you choose to play slots and electronic pull tabs or video poker depends on your preferred value. You either love getting special features and bonuses or using strategy to improve your outcomes.
Common Video Poker Variations
Online and land-based casinos offer several variations of video poker — complex or simple, with lower or more generous payouts. The most significant differences between these games are the pay tables, which influence each variation's return percentage.
Jacks or Better
Jacks or Better is the simplest variation of video poker, and that's why new players prefer it. Its 9/6 form offers an attractive 99.5% payback, but there are several low-paying Jacks or Better games as well.
Jacks or Better is the lowest paying hand — a pair of Aces, Queens, Kings, or Jacks. The hand pays out evenly, which implies that you'll get a winning equal to your wager for having a Jacks or Better.
Another essential feature of this variation is that a Jacks or Better hand always gives you the chance to double your winnings through a bonus game. You will get five cards — one faces up, and the others are unknown. Your objective is to pick one card from the face-down cards which have a high value.
This game is another popular video poker variation found in most online and land-based casinos. It uses a standard deck of 52 playing cards.
All Twos or Deuces are Wild Cards, and players can use them to complete their winning hand. 3-of-a-Kind is its lowest hand, and it's paid evenly. A Royal Flush is the best hand, followed by a Four Deuces.
Most variants of the game offer low RTP due to the odds of having a winning hand increase significantly with the Wilds — casinos try to compensate for it. However, the Deuces Wild (full pay) offers a 100.7% return, making it the most popular option among players. The payout on a 4-of-a-Kind is five times the wager, while a 5-of-a-Kind pays 15 times the bet.
Not-so-Ugly Deuces Wild is another variant with generous returns. It's more common among casinos and has a 99 7% payback. There are several other Deuces Wild variations, but due to their lower RTP rates, we recommend playing a full-pay option or one that's close to it.
This game is an entertaining video poker variation, suitable for advanced players and novices alike. It's a simple version played with 53 playing cards — there's a Joker, representing a Wild Card. This game is also known as Joker's Wild, and you'll find several features differentiating it from the regular Jacks or Better game.
It has a significantly higher first winning hand than in most other video poker games — it's a pair of Aces or Kings (Kings or Better). The extra Wild Card gives players a chance to complete a 5-of-a-Kind hand ranked next to a Natural Royal Flush (Royal Flush with no Wilds).
The third and fourth winning hands are the Royal Flush (plus Joker) and Straight Flush. This game gives higher odds of having a winning hand, making it popular among poker gamblers. Of the three kinds of Joker Poker, the original Kings or Better offers the highest return (100.64%) when played perfectly with max bets.
Tens or Better
This game is similar to the Jack or Better variant — it has the same winning hands order and utilizes a single deck. However, the paytable of this variant offers slightly lower but allows you to win more frequently as a pair of Tens is the lowest paying hand. The full pay Tens or Better is often referred to as a 6/5 Jacks or Better due to the payouts for Flush and Full House being 5 and 6 times your wager, as opposed to 6 and 9 times.
The pay charts vary in different casinos and machines. The game also features a Double button that gives you the chance to double your winnings if you win the bonus game, the Jacks or Better way.
The full-pay game has a 99.1% payback, which is a cool return compared to several other casino games. However, there are also several low pay variations, where usually, the 4-of-a-Kind is lower than the full pay game. Most of these games can boost the house edge by up to 2%, depending on the paytable.
Aces and Faces
This video poker variant is more complex, and it uses a standard deck of cards. The payouts are similar to that of Jacks or Better. The only difference is that Aces & Faces has increased payouts for every 4-of-a-Kind hand, formed by Ace and Face Cards (Kings, Queens, and Jacks).
In an 8/5 Aces & Faces version, a Straight Flush hand ranks lower than Four Aces, and the payout is 80:1 as opposed to 50:1. The next bonus payoff (40 to 1) is paid for four Face Card combinations, with a 99.26% payback percentage.
Several other Aces & Faces versions, such as 7/5 and 7/6 games, have lower expected returns — 99.1% and 99.2%, respectively. Some online casino sites offer a 6/5 variation with a significantly increased house edge and a 97% expected return.
This game also has similar gameplay to the Jacks or Better variation, but it has more generous payouts for some 4-of-a-Kind hands like Four Aces. A four Aces combination pays 80 coins for a single coin wager, while a combination of Fours, Threes, or Twos will payout 40 coins.
The full pay variant is 8/5, which implies a payout worth eight times the bet for Full House and five times for Flush. It offers a generous 99.17% expected return. It's a good option, especially for new players, when combined with a simple strategy.
The 7/5 Bonus Poker variation is popular in casinos, but it returns 98% over time, which is why you should avoid it if an 8/5 version is available. There are several other versions of the game, some of which offer higher RTP than the full pay variation.
An example is the Double Bonus Poker, which is the 10/7 form. Its 4-of-a-Kind winnings are two times higher than in the original variation, but Two Pair and Jacks or Better payouts are both even. The expected return on the Double Bonus Poker is 100.1%.
Progressive Video Poker
These are the most generous video poker games as you have the chance to win a massive jackpot. A Progressive Jackpot Video Poker is a variation that involves a winning hand paying a jackpot that keeps 'progressing' or rising. It occurs when multiple similar video poker machines are linked together, and a percentage of each of their bets is included in the jackpot.
The winning combination is often Royal Flush, though it's a 4-in-a-Kind or Straight Flush in some games. When a gambler hits the jackpot, the expected return increases significantly (over 100%). Expert players use methods to calculate the average expected return of this type of game, and the payback percentage is usually about 100% or higher.
There are several progressive video poker variants, but the most common ones are the progressive Jacks or Better variants. When playing a progressive video poker game, ensure to play with max bets and follow the optimal strategy for that particular variation. Also, look for progressive games that feature Wild Cards as they increase your chances of getting a winning hand.
Strategy Tips You Should Know
After understanding how to play video poker, the next step is learning strategies or tips to boost your winning chances. You'll need to combine your skillset and luck to win a video poker game.
Note that you're not competing against any other player, so you're not benefitting from anyone's bad decision. Here are some tips that can help you to maximize your winning chances while playing the game.
Understand the details of the Game
The most vital thing a player must learn is the variation of video poker they're playing. There are several video poker variants such as Deuces Wild, Bonus Poker, Tens or Better, Bally's All American, Joker's Wild, and Jacks or Better. Take time to go through the rules and understand the details of the game.
Each video poker variant is slightly different. You might suffer some disappointing losses if you don't know the little differences between each version.
Check Pay Structures
Ensure to understand the structure of the video poker game you're playing to enable you to prepare for any outcome. Knowing the favorite video poker game's pay structure will help players make better decisions when risks are attached.
They can get confused if they are not sure of the payout on a certain hand. The pay structures can also differentiate between the game you should play from another. You'll always want to choose a game with more lucrative payouts.
Play the Maximum Coin Bets
Every player who plays video poker wants to win the game as much as possible. You can best achieve this by playing maximum coin bets.
That way, you can receive full value for getting a royal flush. Imagine getting a royal flush and earning a percentage of your potential win because you didn't play with the maximum coins.
Manage Your Bankroll
Your bankroll is another major factor to consider. If a player doesn't have any money to bet, they are not likely to play video poker.
Before hitting the casino floor or online casino, try to make a note (whether it's on paper or a mental note) of the amount you're planning to spend. It could be the overall amount, or you can structure it by recording the details of each bet.
If you keep track of your losses and wins, you will hardly lose your bearings. It's very easy to become lost in the spirits of a massive win or get depressed after a cold streak. Keep your focus, maintain perspective, and keep managing your bankroll.
Practice, Practice, and Practice
Several countries and regions have legalized online gambling. In the United States, it's been legalized by many states, which implies that gamblers can practice playing the game for free from the comfort of their home at a casino site before moving to a land-based casino to play.
There's no limit to the number of times you can practice to improve your skill at video poker. The more practice you get, the better your chances of walking away with profits. While video poker involves some level of luck, your playing experience will only increase your chances of winning.
Join the Slot Club
Several casinos allow gamblers who hit the machines on their casino floor to join slot club memberships. If you're looking to gamble at the casino, signing up to their spot club makes absolute sense.
Doing this will make you eligible for possible discounts and complimentary offers. You will also have the opportunity to win bigger money or play extra video poker games.
We advise going through the terms and conditions of the slot club first to ensure you are not signing over more than what you can afford. If you are okay with it, join the club and take advantage of every benefit that comes with your membership.
Video Poker is a simple game to play, and you can easily do this with a low house edge. It would be best to learn how to find poker machines with a low house edge and follow the best strategy. Learning video poker comes with so much fun, and if you love skill-based gaming, you won't mind going through the journey to becoming a successful gambler.
If you follow all that we've explained in this comprehensive guide, you can begin playing within a few minutes. Once you've understood how to play, search your preferred casino for the best variation of the game.
It might seem like a daunting task, but it will quickly increase your chances of earning more potential profits. We recommend playing at Vegas Aces as they have the best video poker variations and offer exciting bonuses.
Frequently Asked Questions
Vegas Aces Online Blackjack Reviews
There are lots of video poker versions, but this one is the best I've found so far. Aside from offering more choices (Jacks or Better, Deuces, Wild, etc.), it offers a pretty low house edge. I am losing sleep playing this game too much as it is highly addictive. The Vegas Aces team is doing an excellent job!
This game feels like you're at a real casino. Right now, I can't even detect any glitches as I always enjoy a smooth gaming experience. It's a great way to lose track of time when you're bored as it offers fun and thrills that will keep your mind busy. I'll certainly recommend this game to every casino gambler. Keep it up, guys!
Wonderful game! It's the closest to the real deal anyone can find. The look, feel, and sounds of this app are just like being in Vegas Town. The odds are great too. Vegas Aces have a favorably low house edge on these games, making players want to play more and increasing their chances of making profits.
It is an absolutely amazing game. I have been looking for a nice game like this for a while without any luck until I found this video poker game. It's a great way to relax and thrill yourself. I don't get too serious about playing, but I can imagine the outcome of doing the live version after this.
I love video poker. It is a fast-paced and highly addictive game. It offers so much fun and entertainment while waiting for an appointment or something. I usually play it for a few minutes every night before going to bed. I also play it during lunch breaks at work when I'm less busy.