Video Poker

Video Poker

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Video poker is the common name for a fixed-odds poker game based on five-card draw and played in either online casinos or on terminals similar to slot machines in physical casinos. 

  • The Payback Percentage for Video Poker Is Far Higher than It Is for Slot Machines
  • You Get to Make Decisions that Matter When You’re Playing Video Poker
  • Video Poker Is Easy to Learn How to Play
  • It’s a Fast-Paced Game
  • Sometimes You Can Get an Edge
  • The Random Number Generator means you cannot predict which cards
  • Strategies can help you to win, but these can take time to learn and memorize.
  • It is a highly volatile game

Video poker is the common name for a fixed-odds poker game based on five-card draw and played in either online casinos or on terminals similar to slot machines in physical casinos. 

As a result, video poker is often referred to as poker slots. However, it differs from slots in one key fashion. Unlike slots, there is a skill element to video poker, which involves playing the hand you are dealt in the optimum manner according to the poker-hand rankings.

How to play video poker

Video poker has many variants, but all are based on one of poker’s simplest varieties, five-card draw. 

The player is dealt a five-card poker hand, then given one opportunity to keep the cards they wish to keep and discard the ones they don’t wish to retain, receiving new cards in return. This then makes up their final hand.

Below is a simple step-by-step guide to playing a hand of video poker:

  1. Deposit credit into the video poker machine
  2. Make your bet
  3. Hit deal to receive your initial five-card poker hand
  4. Discard cards you don’t deem useful (up to all five can be discarded)
  5. Receive replacement cards from the same ‘virtual deck’.
  6. Any winnings are paid out according to the paytable.

The importance of the video poker paytable

When playing slots, consulting the paytable before staking any money is vital and the same is true in video poker, where payouts for the various hands can vary widely from game to game.

There are two main classifications of video poker games when it comes to payouts, ‘full pay’ and ‘short pay’, with full-pay machines boasting average RTP (return to player) percentages of over 99%. 

Some video poker games will even publicise an RTP of more than 100%. However, it’s important to remember that these percentages are based on the player making the best mathematically possible decision for every hand.

Online video poker paytables should be easily accessible when playing and can usually be found in the specific game’s information or ‘i’ section. Below you’ll find an example paytable commonly found in full-pay ‘Jacks or Better’ video poker. 

How to win at video poker

While there is now failsafe way to win at online poker, there are ways to give yourself the best chance of winning over time. 

These ways can be found in a combination of the two factors mentioned in the section above. One is much easier than the other, namely only playing video poker slots with the most advantageous RTP%.

Far more difficult to execute is playing each hand in the mathematically optimal manner. However, players of all levels can improve their chance of earning payouts on each hand by taking the time to consider how probable it is they can improve their hand according to the poker-hand rankings.

Types of video poker

As mentioned above, there are many different types of video poker slots. Listed below are four of the most popular varieties played in UK online casinos:

Jacks or better

The most commonly found version of video poker, Jacks or better, is named as such because a pair of jacks or better is the minimum winning hand. 

Deuces wild

In this version of video poker twos are wild, which means when they appear in a hand they can act as a substitute for any other card, potentially helping to make a better hand.

Bonus poker

Based on Jacks or better, Bonus poker offers a bonus for four of a kind.  

Double bonus

Another game based on Jacks or Better, this time the bonus is offered for four aces.

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