Learn how to play video poker, why you should consider playing it online, where to play video poker, and most importantly how to win video poker here.
Why Play Video Poker?
Unlike slots and some other casino games, video poker is a skill-based game. This means you can influence the outcome to some extent by making smart decisions. That’s always a plus and is part of the reason video poker is a favourite of many casino players.
You can learn and use video poker strategies, including cheat sheets which teach you how to win video poker quickly. Once you understand the probabilities of winning with each hand and what you should do with the cards you have been dealt, it becomes much easier to succeed playing the various video poker games online.
So, the top reason to play this game is that, much like blackjack, you have some control. It isn’t 100% luck, although of course luck does play its part.
Playing Video Poker Online
Online video poker has many advantages over playing in a physical casino. Here are just some of the basic reasons you should play video poker games like Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild online.
Video Poker Bonuses
You might have noticed already, but online casinos are handing out free cash hand over fist to entice you to try them. Since the competition is so intense and the running costs are so low for online casinos, they can afford to give you welcome bonuses, cashback bonuses, and even no deposit bonuses.
Taking advantage of these should be a no-brainer. These essentially mean free video poker for real money.
There are lots of different video poker games. While they all follow a basic set structure, the rules vary and the payouts vary from game to game.
Most online casinos offer multiple variants of video poker all in one place. Rather than walking around a huge casino searching for them, you can just click to flip between games and play lots of different types of video poker.
If one online casino doesn’t have the exact game you want to play, another will. Again, these can be found extremely quickly and easily, rather than having to search in physical casinos.
Low Stakes Video Poker
Especially when you are starting out, you won’t want to bet huge amounts per hand, at least until you get the hang of it.
Once you master video poker strategy and win consistently you can look at high stakes games, but until then it is best to start smaller. Online casinos can allow you to play for less since they don’t have the colossal costs associated with running a bricks and mortar venue.
If you’re a high roller, this won’t concern you and there are plenty of high stakes video poker games you can jump into right away. However, for the rest of us, this ability to start small and work our way up is a great thing.
How to Play Video Poker
There are lots of different types of video poker, and how you should play your hand will depend on the type of game you are playing.
For example, Deuces Wild is not exactly the same as Jacks or Better. You need to know the differences between video poker games to play effectively.
That said, all video poker games follow a similar pattern. You are dealt five cards, and you get to decide which ones to keep by clicking those cards. After you have decided which cards to hold, you click the ‘deal’ button and the other cards will be replaced. This constitutes one round of video poker.
Video poker is engaging and exciting because you will constantly have to make decisions.
For example, when you are dealt your first five cards you may see two possible winning combinations. You might have four of the five cards needed to make a flush, but at the same time, you might have a pair, one of which is the card of a different suit, preventing you from getting the flush if you hold it.
What should you do? Should you hold the pair, or should you drop one of the cards making the pair and try for the flush? That’s a decision you will have to make, and there are video poker strategies and strategy sheets you can use to help you until you know the probabilities by heart.
Video poker is a game of endless decisions involving strategic thinking. This is what allows you to influence the outcome to some extent. Learning to play video poker and win consistently is a matter of learning how to play the cards dealt so as to give yourself the greatest probability of winning.
Factoring in the probabilities, the potential payouts which are based on the strength of the hand and are found in the paytable, and trying not to let emotion and wishful thinking overwhelm common sense and math is the secret to winning video poker.
You can use some video poker training software, or play free video poker until you have a good grasp on how to play and have learned how to win consistently. Once you feel ready, you can start playing real money video poker.
Video Poker vs Slot Machines
There are some key differences between video poker and slots. If you play slots online, it may be wise to graduate to video poker.
The Skill Factor – You can’t influence the end result in slots. It’s a game of 100% luck. When you play video poker, you can. It’s that simple.
The Returns Factor – Some video poker games return slightly more than 100% when using a perfect strategy. Slots rarely return more than 96%. This may not seem like much, but it is a massive difference. There are some big differences in returns between video poker styles, too, so be sure to hunt out the games with the best returns.
The Jackpots Factor – Both games give you the chance to win massive amounts of money. Whichever you play your life could be very different by the end of the game.
Video Poker Variants
There are different types of video poker. Here’s a quick list of the basic types of game. This is not a complete list of all types but does cover the most common, popular variations of video poker.
Aces & Eights – This is a Jacks or Better variant, but can have a payout percentage of 99.7%. All hands which are a pair of Jacks or better will receive a payout. How much you get depends on the hand, and you should refer to the paytable to see which hands are strongest.
Deuces Wild – This is a wild card variant, meaning all two cards of any suit can be used as any card in the deck. Obviously, this makes it much easier to win. You need to have three of a kind or better to receive a payout, but because it is so much easier to win due to the wild two cards, the payouts are a little less generous.
Double Bonus – Double bonus plays exactly like Jacks or Better, except that when you receive a winning hand you will be given the option to either take the cash or try to double it. If you try to double it, you will receive five more cards, four of which will be face down, with one facing up.
You will have to pick one of the downward facing cards, and if it is higher than the up facing card, you will receive double your money. The flipside is if it is lower, you lose your entire payout.
Jacks or Better – This is without a doubt the simplest version of video poker. As long as you receive a pair of jacks or better, you will win a payout.
Joker Wild/Joker Poker – This is another wild card variant, except this time the joker can be used as any card to make winning hands. You need to receive a pair of kings or better to get a payout. If you use a perfect video poker strategy, the payout is a little over 100% in this game (long term).
Tens or Better – As is probably obvious from the name, this one plays exactly like Jacks or Better, except you will receive a payout if you receive a pair of tens or better. Again, how much you get depends on the strength of the hand. Refer to the video paytable for accurate payout information.
Mobile Video Poker
You can play video poker at mobile casinos, either live on flash sites through your browser, or by downloading a mobile casino app.
Most apps are compatible with iOS and Android devices of all kinds, including phones and tablets.
The advantages here are that you can play from absolutely anywhere provided you have signal, and many online casinos give bigger, often exclusive bonuses to mobile players,
Mobile video poker is catching on fast. Download a world-class mobile casino here to get started.