Like flocks of birds online casino players tend to circle the video poker section. These games have been around for decades and one of the many reasons the game quickly gained top status is because it offers a low house edge.
Spoiler Alert! There are even some video poker variants that offer a pay-out percentage of higher than 100%.
Video Poker machines have a lot of similarities to slot machines but there are a few major difference. The most noticeable being the fact that you need some form of strategy and knowledge on winning hands. Like slot machines the outcome is determined by a Random Number Generator but you have some degree of control and by applying the right strategy and skill you determine whether you win or lose.
Let Me Tell You A Story…
A long time ago back in the mid 1970’s a bright distributor at Bally Gaming came up with the invention of Video Poker. The man, Si Redd, pitched the idea to the Bally executives but rejected it as they were not ready to branch out from slots (their focus at the time) to a game that has not been tested by players.
With belief in himself and his invention, Redd convinced Bally to let him acquire the patent on his invention of Video Poker. They allowed this because at the time they didn’t see any potential in it and thus it was useless to them. Redd didn’t waste any time and made a deal with the Fortune Coin Company to form his own company known as Sircoma, also known as Si Redd’s Coin Machines. He then continued to mass produce the new video poker machines. At first the game didn’t really capture the attention of players but by 1981 the game was one of the most popular new additions in many land based casinos.
A year later Si Redd took his company public and changed the name to International Game Technology (IGT) which is to this day instantly recognizable among casino players. The very first video poker game was known as Draw Poker and it featured a lowest possible hand of two pairs. Later on it was changed to Jacks or Better that further fuelled the success of video poker games as it increased the winning hands.
Did you know? The video poker machine was the inspiration behind the very first video slot machines.
While all of this happened decades ago and the gambling industry has seen many changes video poker remains a favourite. Even with the introduction of online and mobile casinos allowing for the creating of more and better video poker games, Jacks or Better remains one of the most played to this day.
And The Fun Begins…
It’s almost romantic and sad to think that video poker games could’ve died and never come to life if it wasn’t for the passion of Si Redd. Because of one man’s initiative and belief you get to enjoy one of the best games from anywhere at any time on your desktop, mobile or tablet device.
To start the game you have to choose how many credits you are willing to bet on each spin. The coin amount ranges from 1 to 5. As soon as you’ve paid your credits you will be dealt your first five cards from a standard 52 card deck (depending on which variant of video poker you play). Remember your objective is to create the highest paying five card hand from the cards you have. Thus, you will have to take a look at what you have and decide which cards you will hold onto and which cards you will discard. Once you’ve made your decision you will be dealt another set of cards, the total amount of cards depend on how many cards you’ve kept. So if you held on to 3 cards you will only receive 2 additional cards. As soon as you have a qualifying winning hand you will be paid according to the amount indicated on the pay table for that specific hand.
Pro Tip: If you’re in it for a chance to strike a Royal Flush then you have to bet the maximum of 5 coins per game round. It takes the maximum coin amount to activate the highest pay-out.
Video Poker Hands You Need To Know
Jacks or Better
This is often the lowest paying hand in video poker. Any single pair of cards that are jacks or higher wins. This can be 2 J’s, Q’s, K’s or A’s.
This is when you have two sets of two cards of the same value. E.g. if you have a pair of Jacks and a pair of 9’s.
Three of a Kind
Much like the name suggest this is when you have three cards of the same value and two other cards of different values. E.g. if you have three Jacks a 10 and a 6.
A hand formed with 5 consecutive cards of mixed suits. That would be an 8, 9, 10, J and a Q.
Any hand of five cards of the same suit such as a 3, 5, 9, A and J of spades.
You might’ve heard of this term in many movies featuring poker games. A Full house is when you have three of a kind and one pair. So if you have three A’s and two 7’s you have a full house.
Four of a Kind
Again an obvious hand quick to memorize, any four cards of the same value result in a Four of a Kind win during which the fifth card is eliminated.
This is the second highest paying video poker hand. If you have five consecutive cards of the same suit it’s a Straight Flush. So for instance a 6, 7, 8, 9 and a 10 will pay-out the value of a Straight Flush.
This is the hand most video poker players aim to hit as it leads to jackpot winnings. It’s the best hand possible in the game and consists of a 10, J, Q, K and A all of the same suit.
Did you know? The odds of hitting a Royal Flush is as low as 649,739:1.
Video Poker VS. Online Poker
There’s no denying that both video poker and regular online poker has heaps of benefits and provides players with a thrilling gaming experience. Some new players get very confused on what separates the one from the other. There are various differences to the games and it basically depends on what you are looking for in a game that will determine which you opt to play.
It’s a combination of slots and 5 card poker
Is more contained than poker
More variants available
Simpler – less strict rules and strategies
Easier to control bankroll
Requires more skill and strategy
No way to predict outcome of cards
Cards that don’t rank (Jacks or better) results in a loss
Requires more patience
Requires more bankroll management skills
8 Video Poker Games You Don’t Want To Miss!
1. Jacks or Better
This is considered the original video poker game and is mostly based on five card draw. It’s the ideal game for beginners but it’s also beloved among veteran players due to its simplicity. The aim of the game is to create the strongest poker hand but any pair of Jacks or Better pays.
2. 10’s or Better
10’s or Better is considered to be a simple Jacks or Better variant where pay-outs come more frequently. The advantage of playing the game is more wins due to any pair of 10’s or better awards a pay-out. If you are looking for quick and easy pay-outs then this is the game to start with.
3. Aces and Faces
Aces and Faces is played much like Jacks or Better with the only difference being that you receive a higher pay-out for any Four of a Kind featuring J’s, Q’s, K’s and A’s. There is an even bigger award waiting if you manage to get a hand of four Aces.
4. Deuces Wild
Next to Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild is next in line for the Most Popular Video Poker variant crown. The game follows basic Video Poker rules but adds a little twist. All 2’s in the card deck are considered wilds and they can substitute for any other cards in the deck to help create a winning hand.
5. Double Bonus Poker
This Microgaming video poker variant is quick to learn and a lot of fun. Like most other video poker variants it comes with the opportunity to win 4,000 coins if you score a Royal Flush. The name of the game comes from the fact that you are awarded double the pay-out for a four of a kind hand that you would normally get in their Bonus Poker variant.
6. Joker Poker
Joker Poker or Joker Wild is played with a 53 card deck instead of the standard 52 card deck. The additional card is a Joker that serves as a wild and can substitute for any other cards in the deck to create a winning poker hand. The game also enables you to create a Five of a Kind hand which is something not possible in most other video poker variants.
7. 2 Ways Royal
The Royal Flush is the highest paying poker hand you can create when playing any variant of Video Poker. With 2 Ways Royal Flush you have two ways of making a Royal Flush and collecting a jackpot prize. Instead of just 10, J, Q, K and A of the same suite making a Royal Flush you can create one with 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the same suit too.
8. Mega Jacks
Created by Playtech this video poker variant works the same as Jacks or Better where a pair of Jacks is the lowest winning hand. The added bonus of this video poker variant however is that it comes with a progressive jackpot. The jackpot can only be won if you play at maximum bet size for each stake and land a Royal Flush.
Don’t forget about the Gamble Feature… One of the added benefits of playing video poker is that most come with a Gamble / Double Up feature. This allows you to double up halfway or double up entirely on your wins of the previous hands. To activate the bonus round all you have to do is click on the option after a winning hand was played. It’s a quick and easy way of doubling up on your wins but be warned you might risk losing it all. Only make use of this feature when Lady Luck has proven her loyalty during your current gaming session.
Join the Video Poker Party
Now that you are all clued up on all the dos and don’ts of Video Poker you’re probably itching to start playing. If you aren’t already part of an online casino your first task is to find an online casino that is not only safe & secure or fully licensed and regulated but one that also provides a superb welcome bonus, frequent promotions, satisfying customer support and a wide variety of gaming options.
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