Video Poker is a fairly simple game that is easy and quick to learn. Depending on the version you are playing, the rules of online video poker may vary, however they all operate under the same concept. In video poker 5 cards are always dealt. Normal poker hand ranges are used, and players can discard or keep as many cards as they want. All discarded cards will be replaced at random. If your hand matches any of the winning combinations, you will receive a payout.
There is a minimum hand rule that governs how much you can win. The minimum hand rule means that a player must have at least the minimum hand to be eligible and claim a payout. It differs from game to game and depends on whether the game uses wild cards. Jokers increase the minimum hand because the player is more likely to create great winning poker hands.
The minimum hand can be as high as Three of a type, which means that the player has to get at least a Three of a type to claim a payout and as low as a pair of Jacks. A pair of Jacks or tens is the standard minimum for most games. The minimum will vary, so it is important to check the game before starting to play, to avoid confusion.
The wild card is always a wild card or 2, which means that the wild cards and 2s can be used to replace any card to create winning poker hands. So if a player has 3 Jacks, one joker and one 6. It can be four of a kind because the joker substitutes like a cat. It can also be a Full House, but it is a hand of lower rank, so there is no point in replacing it with a 6.
Video Poker Hands
There are nine poker hand combinations that players will be trying to build; they are ranked from lowest to highest in the following way. High cards are rarely used in Video Poker because the lowest option in the pay table is usually a pair of 10s or jacks, so they are not counted as an option. Video poker hands are the same as all other poker variations. The Royal flush is the best and pays the most, except it’s the hand value that matters. Unlike in other poker variants, similar hands are not ranked higher in than each other in Video Poker. A low straight of 3, 4,5,6,7 is the same rank as a high straight of 8,9,10, J, Q and a pair of Aces pays the same as a pair of Queens.
- High Card – Has no combinations. The highest ranked card determines the strength of the hand. Most of the time high cards are useless in Video Poker and pay nothing.
- A Pair – Two cards of the same denomination. The lowest that is payable is usually 10s or jacks. Low pairs can still form a full house or quads though.
- Two Pair – Two sets of pairs. Two cards of one denomination and two of another.
- Three Of A Kind (Trips) – Three cards of the same denomination.
- Straight – A straight is a set of five cards in sequential order. It doesn’t matter about suits as long as the numbers are in the right order. Ace is counted as 1 in the event of a low straight and is the only card that can be used both high and low. When drawing for a straight, there are two different kinds of draws, and it’s handy to know the difference because one is vastly better than the other. They are
- Open-ended Straight Draw – Is a poker hand with four out of the five cards needed for a straight except the missing card is the next one in sequential order. So 5,6,7,8 X. The term applies to a Straight Flush and Royal Flush as well.
- Inside Straight Draw – Also known as a gut shot draw is a poker hand with four out of the five cards needed for a Straight. The missing one is always a middle card, for example, 5, 6, 7, X, 9. This concept applies to a Straight Flush and Royal Flush as well.
- Flush – Five cards of the same suit. There are four suits diamonds, hearts, spades and clubs. It doesn’t have to be in the correct sequential order; the suit is the only thing that matters in a Flush.
- Full House (A full Book) – A Full House is three cards of the same denomination along with two of another. It’s a combination of Three Of A Kind and A Pair.
- Four Of A Kind (Quads) – Four cards of the same denomination. Suits don’t matter.
- Straight Flush – Five cards in sequential order that are all the same suit. A Straight Flush is a combination of the Straight and the Flush.
- Royal Flush – A Royal Flush is an unbeatable hand in poker and has the highest payout odds in Video Poker. A Royal Flush has to consist of a 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of the same suit. It’s a combination of the Straight and the Flush with the added stipulation that it has to be a high straight. 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace. In some games of video poker, it will trigger a large jackpot because of its rarity.
Players can also access the payable before starting and calculate any theoretical returns to play the best game possible, with the highest payouts.
The odds and payout differ for each version, the example below is from the “Jacks or better” Video Poker Game, which is one of the more widely used variants.
Video Poker Odds
Video poker has some of the best player odds of out of every casino game. It has a low house edge of about 3%, which is the casino’s profit on each play, so in theory, 97% of that should go back to the player. Players also get a choice in the outcome, unlike games of random chance.
Video Poker Strategies
Video Poker Bankroll Management Tips
The essential and very important strategy in video poker is the management of financial resources. Many poker players often forget it.
First of all, it is highly recommended that you only play with money that you can afford to lose. That is to say that you have a fixed amount that you are willing to lose and then stick to it.
Discipline is essential when playing video poker. You can’t surpass that level, no matter how tempting.
Spending a lot of time playing video poker can become monotonous and dull your senses, that’s when Video Poker can become dangerous because impatience begins to take effect.
A general rule for video poker players is to stop playing after losing 50% of your coins and save the rest for another day. A chain of losses can have a negative effect on emotions and force silly mistakes that only make things worse.
You should have a rough idea of how much you are willing to win. Although luck can change instantly, video poker is a slow game based on skill, which can still increase losses at an alarming rate. Knowing this important information before you play will help you limit losses and keep the fun out of the game.
Video Poker isn’t as complex as other forms of poker but there are still many different strategies and angles to consider while playing.
Video Poker has many benefits over the traditional live version. One of the big advantages is that there is no rush when playing online. There are no other players to contend with and zero pressures when making decisions. Players can take a few minutes to think about their poker hands before deciding what to do. It’s crucial when dealing with a tough hand to keep calm and think about the right course of action. Stopping to think can often mean the difference between a Two Pair and a Full house.
Aim for wins rather than huge payoffs. Winning on a Pair is still a win. The goal, other than having fun, is to win and win as often as possible. Patience and a calm mind pay off in poker. Reckless plays like going for inside Straight draws or long shot hands in the vain hope of winning is a fast way of losing all your coins.
Check the pay tables before playing and know the rules, a lot of Video Poker variants have different pay tables. For example in the game Deuces Wild, the 2s can be anything, so hands are easier to make and the pay scale is less because of that.
For players who enjoy big risks and going for the jackpots, always bet the maximum to be eligible for all big jackpots. The Royal Flush Jackpot in Jacks Or Better is only payable when you bet the maximum 5 coins.
Practice before you play, there are free versions online that can help players hone their skills and learn the different poker hands. Consider using a strategy table, they are available online and can walk you through each hand as they come up, so you’ll never be confused how to act.
Basic guide to playing hands
The play style and risk-taking attitude of the individual will depend on what hands they like to play. A basic guide could be, if you have one pair, draw three cards and try to make Two Pairs or better.
If you have Three Of A Kind, draw two cards and try to make Four Of A Kind or a Full House. If you have Two Pairs, draw one. These strategies won’t give you big wins, but they have higher chances of not losing. Chasing a Straight or Flush has a high probability of failure, so it’s unwise to discard a pair to chase. When you only have a high card, it’s best to hold it, get four cards back and hope for the best. Play at your own pace and work out what you want to do. Learn the hands, and eventually, you’ll figure out what you like to play and risk.
Three of a kind should be the primary goal when first starting out because in most hands you will be dealt at least one pair initially. Three Of A Kind opens the door for quads and a full house. This strategy aims to make a low paying hand frequently rather than making a strong, high paying hand rarely. Above all though, have patience and keep clam. Every player is different and what works for one person will not always work for another.
Frequently asked questions
1. What is the main objective of video poker?
The only goal is to make the best five card hand possible and beat the computer. The rank of the hand depends on how much the payout is. Refer to the games payout tables for more information on how much.
2. Is Video Poker easy to learn?
Video Poker is based on the simplest version of poker, Five Card Draw, it’s the easiest poker variant and a good introduction for new players to learn. Video Poker doesn’t require bluffing, reading players or complex betting strategies. It’s even simpler than Five Card Draw, and shouldn’t be too hard to pick up. There are also help screens in the game browser if you are need help figuring anything out.
3. Is Video Poker like Texas hold em?
Texas Hold Em is played with several other players and has a whole different style of gameplay. The hand values are the same though. So if you already know Texas Hold Em poker hands, you are already one step ahead.
4. Is Video Poker easier than live poker?
Maybe. Some players structure their whole strategy around bluffing and reading other players. In Video Poker there is no bluffing or reading, the computer cannot be bluffed or tricked. There are less things to worry about when playing Video Poker but whether it’s easier depends on your playstyle and how you win hands.
5. What does a loose game mean?
It’s a comment on a games payout. A loose machine or a loose game refers to one that pays out frequently and in large amounts.
6. Can the Video Poker online slot machine be manipulated to give online casinos an unfair advantage?
As with all online slots, Video Poker relies on a random number generator that is constantly dialing, regardless of whether the player is interacting or not. Legitimate and honest online casinos want people to become regular gamblers, and for that reason they don’t manipulate their online gaming machines.
7. Can a ladder consist of a Queen, King, Ace, 2, 3?
No. Straights can only be in the correct sequence. Any other combination is not valid and you will not receive any payment. So 4,5,6,7,8 and 9,10, Jack, Queen, King are two examples of heterosexuals in the right order.
8. Does a Flush have to be in sequence?
A normal flush can consist of any 5 numbers, as long as they have all the same sticks. A Straight Flush and a Royal Flush, however, require the correct sequence and the same suit, so your payouts are significantly higher.
9. Why is there a casino profit margin, isn’t that unfair?
The house profit margin is the way legitimate online casinos make money, otherwise many honest online casinos wouldn’t work. In Video Poker it is very small percentage and a player with a solid strategy should not notice the small amount.
10. What is a bad heartbeat?
A bad hit is when you lose with a strong hand that has a high statistic to win. The phrase is generally not used much in Video Poker because most of the game revolves around the formation of paying hands rather than defeating other players.
11. What is the best strategy to play Video Poker?
It all depends on your goals. If you just want to win, then try to get Pairs, Two Pairs and Three of a Kind, they have the highest odds and are relatively easy to get frequently. If you get a pair, get rid of three in the hope of getting at least one other pair or better.
If you want to win the big jackpots, then you have to aim for the straight and higher and always bet the maximum. Some jackpots, like the Royal Flush, only count if the bet is maximum.