How to Play Video Poker
Video poker is a fun and exciting alternative to classic casino poker. Like slot machines, video poker machines use random number generators (RNGs), meaning the cards that the players are dealt are completely random. Some video poker games have better odds than others, with Jacks or Better, Bonus Poker Deluxe, and Loose Deuces topping the list of games with the best return to player (RTP).
Rules of Video poker
While video poker may look similar to slots, there’s one big difference. Video poker allows players to make their own choices during gameplay. This means players can maintain some control over the outcome of the game. When the right strategies are implemented, some players can even gain an edge. However, it’s important to be familiar with the rules so that you play correctly.
First, know that most video poker games are played with a standard deck containing 52 cards. The exception is joker wild games which have additional jokers in the deck. Players are dealt five starting cards in which they can choose to keep or discard. Any discarded cards are replaced with a new card from the deck. The aim of the game is to match a qualifying poker hand. When players are successful, they win.
What you never want to do in a game of video poker is simply guess. Knowing the different hands is essential to maximize your odds of winning.
How to Play Video poker
While there are many variants of video poker, most work the same way. Here are the basic steps to playing video poker:
1. Choose Your Bet Size
Choose how much you are going to bet on each hand. You can bet one or more, but ideally you want to press the ‘Bet Max’ button to get the greatest return. You have the option of betting between one and five coins or credits. Betting max means betting five coins/credits per game.
2. Receive Your Starting Hand
Once you have selected your bet size, hit the ‘Deal’ button to receive your starter hand of five cards. Some video poker games will deal the hand with all the cards facing up, while others will deal them all facing down before turning them over all at once.
3. Hold the Right Cards
With your starter cards in your hands, decide which ones you want to hold onto. There will be a ‘Hold’ button under each card. Simply click on it to hold the card. You can choose to hold as many cards as you would like.
4. Draw Again to Get New Cards
If you chose not to hold one or more of the cards in your hand, the ones that you do not hold will be replaced. Click on the ‘Draw’ button and these cards will disappear from your hand and be replaced with new cards.
5. Review the Paytable
If you are fairly new to video poker and are not sure which poker hand is best, look to the paytable. All video poker games have paytables and the game will tell you the best possible hand you can make based on the five cards you are holding. You’ll find the best hand possible highlighted on the paytable. The better your poker hand, the more money you will win.
Video poker Hands
It’s important to be aware of the various hands that you may get while playing video poker. Here is an overview of the different types of winning hands:
- Royal Flush – A five card hand of 10, J, Q, K, A – all in the same suit.
- Flush – Five cards of the same suit – e.g. 5, 6, 9, 10, A of hearts.
- Straight Flush – Five cards of the same suit in sequence – e.g. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 of diamonds.
- 4 of a Kind – A total of four matching cards – e.g. 9, 9, 9, 9, J.
- Full House – A pair and three matching cards – e.g. 4, 4, 4, 8, 8.
- Straight – Five cards in sequential order but not the same suit – e.g. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
- 3 of a Kind – Three matching cards – e.g. K, K, K, 8, 2.
- Two Pairs – Two pairs of matching cards – e.g. J, J, 8, 8, 4.
- Pair – Pair of matching cards – e.g. 5, 5, 9, 2, Q.
Understanding the Paytable
In video poker, the paytable refers to a listing of payouts that every combination on a specific machine could result in. What’s great about these paytables is they give the players a chance to see the financial return that they can expect when playing a game.
The payouts for each hand are calculated in the same with the exception of the royal flush. The royal flush typically pays off at 250 to 1 for bets between 1 and 4 credits. If you bet the max of 5, a royal flush pays out 800 to 1. This is why you should always make the maximum bet.
Choosing a Video poker Game
Players that are new to video poker may have difficultly choosing a game. There are thousands of video poker games out there and not all offer a good RTP. If you are just starting out and want a simple game that is easy to play, opt for Jacks or Better. There are no bonus payouts or wild cards to figure out, making it a great choice for beginners.
If you’ve tried Jacks or Better and are ready to move onto more exciting games, try Joker Poker or Deuces Wild. These games will keep you on the edge of your seat because there’s a better chance of making a profitable hand like 4 of a kind or a wild royal flush.
If you’re looking for video poker games that will increase your odds of making a profit, choose games that are known to pay over 100%. This includes options like Double Bonus and Double Double Bonus. However, games can range from casino to casino so always check out the paytable before starting.
How to Win at Video poker
While there is no guaranteed way to win at video poker, there are tips and techniques you can use to increase your odds of walking away a winner. As previously mentioned, you want to first and foremost focus on choosing the right video poker game. This means reviewing paytables to see which pays the best.
Next, remember to play slow. When you play too fast, you are more likely to make a mistake or miss out on a winning hand. Do not rush the game which will help you reduce your hourly losses.
Finally, implement some known video poker strategies. There are a number of strategies out there that can greatly improve your odds of winning by making strategic bets and following an order of holding and throwing back cards to achieve a winning combination.
If you love playing slots, you’ll likely find video poker even more fun. In fact, many avid slots player try video poker and never go back. Not only is video poker an exciting challenge, it also can make you a decent profit with little skill involved. Try video poker for yourself and see why so many people play these thrilling games.