How to play video poker

One of the most popular casino games, video poker relies on more than just random draw; you’ll need to rely more on strategy than any sort of luck. This is a game all about making the best decision on the fly to turn your hand into a winning one. The rules function similarly to draw poker, making it a good stepping stone from the slot machines to a card game at a table with other players.

A Brief History of Video Poker
When video poker was first released once upon a time, “Jacks or Better” was the only sort of experience available. Nowadays, there are more than 100 varieties of video poker available for play online.

Who Can Play Video Poker?
If you play the game efficiently, video poker offers some of the greatest odds found in a casino. It offers a low house edge and makes a good alternative to slot machines, especially for those who are looking to get a jackpot. In fact, you’re five times more likely to earn a jackpot from video poker than you are from a slot machine; if you regularly play slot machines, video poker is the next natural step to take since they work similarly and are more likely to pay out.

The only catch with moving on from slots to video poker is the fact that you need strategy to get those good odds. Guessing will give odds no better than slots do.

How to Play Video Poker

The actual gameplay is simple enough. First, you get five cards dealt onscreen. Your first decision is to pick which cards to hang onto and which ones to discard and replace with new ones. Tap the ones you want to keep, not the ones you want to discard, and hit the “Draw” button. The cards left untapped get replaced, but you won’t be able to trade again; the hand you end up with is your final hand.

Winning Video Poker

That’s all there is to it; if you have a hand that’s like card-based poker, such as a straight or a flush, then you’ll win. The pot you win will depend on the machine’s paytable.

On a machine’s paytable, you will see five columns that list payouts depending on how many coins you insert into the machine: one to five coins. Earning the best possible hand, a Royal Flush, also earns its own special bonus. For instance, rather than earning 1250 coins by paying 5 coins with a 250 payout, you could earn 4000 coins.

Since payouts don’t generally vary across the columns, it’s usually a safe bet just to bet the maximum number of coins. If five coins is too much to pay, use a machine that offers fewer, less expensive options.

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How to Play Video Poker Strategically

Ever since casinos started becoming more prominent on the Internet, online video poker has become much more popular. With online video poker, it is always very important to set a daily budget and to avoid exceeding it; never play beyond the budget you set for yourself to avoid running into debt.

One thing that makes online video poker nicer than other games is it’s possible to know how much the machine returns before you put a bet down. Typically, the casino profits about 3 percent from video poker, which is also known as the house edge. The return is how much you’ll get back from each hand. If the casino takes 3 percent of the money, then players will get 97 percent of the reward. The paytable determines what the return will be, so feel free to compare this to other machines.

In a general manner of speaking, casinos will either tighten or loosen a game’s return by changing how many coins certain hands will pay out; usually, flushes, full houses, four-of-a-kinds and similar are the ones changed. In most games, it’s best to check the payout numbers for flushes and full houses as they’re most indicative of what the payback percentage looks like. You want to keep your focus on machines with the top returns to give you more playtime to get you more cash.

Video poker games vary how much their jackpots pay by giving fewer coins on hands players win with more frequently, such as two pair and straights. Players may determine their favorite games based on this.

Knowing Proper Strategy

It is not enough to know how much a machine will pay out. Using a strict strategy as you play the game, it is possible to get the best possible return for your time. Because of this, it’s best to know what kind of strategy to use before starting the game so you can play with efficiency. If you make any mistakes while you play the game, the house edge is more likely to increase as you continue playing.

Remember that each game is different, which means a strategy for one game doesn’t necessarily work for another. Playing Deuces Wild with a basic Jacks or Better strategy wouldn’t hold up, for example. Jacks or Better is a good starting point for beginners nonetheless since many games use this variation.

Learning Video Poker Hands:

If you have never played poker before, now’s your chance to learn what each type of poker hand is.
Pair: At least two card values are the same (e.g. two 2s).
Two pair: Two pairs in one hand.
Three of a kind: At least three card values are the same.
Full house: A pair and three of a kind.
Flush: All cards have the same suit (e.g. all are clubs).
Straight: All cards are sequential (e.g. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). This hand has a high and a low end and can’t wrap around (e.g. K, A, 2, 3, 4 will not work).
Four of a kind: All four of a card’s value appear in your hand (e.g. 2s of all four suits).
Straight flush: A hand that qualifies as both a straight and a flush (e.g. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, all of which are clubs).
Royal flush: A straight flush of the highest value cards, 10, J, Q, K, A.

While there are several different strategies to keep in mind while playing video poker, there are a few simple ones you can start with when you’re deciding on your first five cards:

Aim for two pair or better; that means you can shoot for a three of a kind, four of a kind, full house, straight, straight flush or royal flush.
If you have three of a kind, get rid of the other two cards; this is the best chance you have to get the fourth card while giving yourself the chance to get a full house.

Similarly, get rid of the last card if you start with two pair; there’s a chance you’ll get a full house.
If you have jacks or better and four of your cards make up a royal flush, break up the jacks for a shot at the hand or at least a lower-value straight flush.
When faced with a high card and holding a low pair, stick with the pair; you can’t guarantee that you’ll get the higher pair and you could end up with a losing hand.

Of course, once you have learned the proper strategy, the next thing to do is compare the different machines available online. Pick a table that has a good payout where you can practice your new strategies.