VIDEO POKER

A Pro Guide to Online Video Poker (Update 2020)

Online Video Poker has been around for many years, although not as long as other casino games like slot machines, blackjack or roulette. The game emerged in 1975 by combining two of the most well-known and popular games into one – slots and poker. This means that players can enjoy double the excitement and winning opportunities while playing video poker. The game is played on a slots-like machine, with the aim to create the best five-card poker hand.

That said, there are many versions of video poker with different rules and gameplay; however, the core premise remains the same. Video poker is a game of luck and skill, making it ideal for new and experienced players alike. Playing online video poker gives you access to a wide selection of games in one convenient and user-friendly location. Let’s look at this casino game in greater detail for those looking to play for free or for real money.

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Video Poker Game History

Video Poker Game History

As mentioned, video poker was created in 1975 by combining traditional slots gaming with the card elements of poker. The first video poker machine was developed in New York by Sittman and Pitt. The initial machine featured five drums with ten symbols each, as well as a deck of cards without the Ten of Spades and the Jack of Hearts.

The player was required to pull the level to get the drums to spin, with the aim being to land cards to create a winning poker hand. In the 1970s, Si Redd from Bally Gaming founded a company SIRCOMA, which is now known as IGT, and together with Fortune Coin Company, created the Video Bell Machine. The first real video poker game, called Draw Poker, was released in 1979.

The video poker industry started booming in the mid-90s with the launch of online casinos. Since then, it became one of the most popular igaming options, with new variations created by some of the top software developers in the world. These days, online casinos typically house a whole game suite of video poker online games, including single and multi-hand versions to appeal to a broader market. Some of the most popular variations you will find at online casinos include Aces and Faces, Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, All American, 10s or Better and more.

Rules of Video Poker Online

Rules of Video Poker Online

There is a reason why video poker is so popular. In fact, there are several reasons. Many players enjoy playing these types of games based on its availability at online casinos, and besides, the rules are simple, there’s minimal skill required and it’s all about fast action. Playing online video poker means that you’ll get to play against a computer program with the aim to form the best five-card hand.

At the beginning of the game, the player places a wager. That said, free versions are available that do not require you to use any money. If you are opting to play for real money, you must adjust your bet. Once this has been done, click the ‘Deal’ button and the game will commence. To start, you are dealt five cards, all facing upwards. You can choose to hold any or all of the cards, none at all or re-deal to create a new five-card hand. This will be the hand that is ranked, and any winning results will be paid out according to the payable.

While this is the general premise of the game, online video poker is available in a number of variations, each featuring slight differences. This is especially true in the paytable and game set-up as well as hand rankings. Typically, though, the video poker rank, from highest to lowest, is as follows:

  • Royal Flush – This is a series of cards in the same suit, with the highest being an Ace.
  • Straight Flush – This is a series of cards of the same suit.
  • Four of a Kind – As the name states, this is four cards of the same value.
  • Full House – This refers to a hand with three cards of the same value and two cards of another value, but the same as each other.
  • Flush – This is a hand with five cards of the same suit.
  • Straight – This is a series of five cards in different suits.
  • Three of a Kind – This is a hand with three cards of the same value.
  • Two Pair – This is a hand with two cards of one value and two cards of another.
  • Pair – The lowest ranking hand, it contains just two cards of the same value.

An important caveat to this game is that you only get paid for your highest-paying.

Video Poker Odds

Video Poker Odds

The odds of winning while playing video poker online will depend on the game you’re playing and the various hands. For example, Deuces Wild offers the highest payout for four of a kind, while Joker’s Wild offers an additional payout if you land five of a kind. It really depends on the individual game rules. When using the best video poker strategy, Deuces Wild has a potential house edge of -0.75%, giving the player a massive advantage. Additionally, Jacks or Better players using optimal strategy can expect a house edge of 0.46%.

When it comes to the different hand ranks, lower odds mean a higher payout. For example, you can land a massive payout for a royal flush; however, the odds of getting that hand can be as low as 1 in 665 000. On the flip side, landing lower hands may pay less, but the odds of achieving this are 1 in 21.

How to Play Online Poker

How to Play Online Poker

What makes video poker, so fun is that it combines skill, strategy and old-fashioned good luck. Once mastered, video poker can be one of the easiest, most enjoyable and rewarding games at online casinos. Online video poker games typically used a 52-card deck, with every video poker variant based on a 5-card draw system. To play any of these exciting and rewarding games, follow the below tips on how to play video poker.

Choose a game

Thanks to the internet, there are hundreds of options right under your nose. What’s more, software providers have developed many variants of these games due to a high demand in interest and a newer generation of players. Decide what type of game you want to play – are you looking for a classic poker experience or a more modern game with bonus features? Before you make your final choice, remember to check the game’s RTP and paytable.

Make your bet

If you are playing for real money, you must set your bet before the game begins. If you are playing for free, this is not required. You can adjust your bet using the game buttons that will be available on your screen.

Deal your cards

Once you’re happy with your wager, click ‘Deal’, and the game will begin. You will automatically be dealt five cards to make up your hand.

Choose your cards

While you’re automatically dealt random cards, you do have the option to choose what cards you want to keep and what cards you want to lose. Click on the cards you want to ‘hold’ and on the Deal/Draw button to replace discarded cards.

Understand your hand

A huge part of winning in video poker is understanding your hand. Since you do have some control over the gameplay (by choosing your cards and creating your best hand), you need to know what constitutes a high or low-ranking hand. In video poker, successful results depend on the value of your hand in poker and the variant you’re playing. Keep this in mind when choosing the type of video poker game you’re playing.

Video Poker Strategy

Video Poker Strategy

Video poker is a game of skill and chance and to achieve the best results; you can implement various strategies into your gameplay. To enjoy the best results while playing, there are some things you need to consider. While these tips will not guarantee wins, it will improve your gameplay and increase your chances of winning.

Understanding the Game

The most important thing to learn before playing video poker for real money is the variant you are playing. As mentioned, while the 5-card rule remains the same across the board, each variant has different odds and highest and lowest rankings. Take time to read and understand the rules of the game before playing. This is a great chance to play for free to get a grasp of what the game entails without risking any money.

Whether you’re playing Deuces Wild, Joker Poker, Bonus Poker or Tens or Better, remember that each version is slightly different and being aware of these small differences help you get the most out of your gaming experience. It helps you enjoy a more successful game and prevents unnecessary or major losses.

Play Maximum Coin Bets

If you’re playing video poker for real money, you’re probably in it to win as much as possible. As such, the best way to do this is by betting max. This allows you to learn the full value of a winning hand if you hit a royal flush. Imagine landing a royal flush, which has the lowest odds, and then not enjoying its full value because you did not play with maximum coins.

Check Paytables and Pay Structures

Becoming familiar with the structure of the game you’re playing will help you better prepare for the outcome and make better choices during gameplay. If you understand the game, you will know when to take risks and when to be conservative, which will help you manage your bankroll and prevent massive losses.

Practice Makes Perfect

Being a game of some skill, playing video poker for free is a good way to practice. Getting a feel for the game and understanding its rules is essential in video poker. That’s why we recommended playing the demo version before betting any real money. Not only can you enjoy some casual gaming with no risk, but you can develop your skills in a zero-pressure environment. Once you’re ready to play for real, you will be confident in your abilities, choices and strategies and enjoy a more rewarding gaming experience.

Use Multi-hand Machines

The gameplay and paytables on multi-hand video poker games are essentially the same as single-play machines. That said, playing multi-hand machines does have an advantage in that it allows you to focus on strategy instead of how much you want to bet. On the other hand, multi-hand video poker usually has a higher variance than its single-hand counterparts. This can still be beneficial if you get a good initial hand.

Master Specific Video Poker Games

Video poker games are generally quite easy while implementing the right strategy can be complex to the uninitiated. Because of this, many players opt to perfect the strategy of at least one video poker game. In this way, you can enjoy better odds while playing as you will have a clear understanding of the game and an optimum strategy in place.

Manage your Bankroll

Consider your bankroll when playing for real money. Firstly, if you don’t have funds to bet with, you won’t be able to play for real money. Secondly, managing your bankroll helps to avoid overspending. There is always some risk attached to gambling, and only players who know how to manage their money and walk away at the right time should be playing for real.

Before you start, decide how much you are going to spend – this could be an overall sum or a more structured plan, depending on your preferences. Keep track of all your bets, all wins and all losses to keep your bearings. It is very easy to get swept up in the moment, especially if you’re on a hot streak, and forget about how much you are spending. Keep perspective at all times, stay focussed and stay on top of your bankroll management.

The Video Poker Variants

The Video Poker Variants

As mentioned before, there are numerous variants of video poker available, with many of them now accessible online through your desktop or mobile device. Some of the most popular versions include the following:

Deuces Wild – Deuces Wild is probably the most popular video poker game around and is one of the more traditional options online. This game features striking graphics and fast-paced action and the standard Hold’em hierarchy. In this game, there is a maximum 4 000x coin payout for a royal flush. Deuces refer to two’s in this game, which are wild, giving the game some extra excitement and intrigue. This also offers more chances to land winning combinations.

Aces & Faces – This is another widely-accessible game at betting starts from as little as 0.01. Here, the aim is to make the best possible five-card hand, although the exciting kicker is that there are some winning combinations not typical in traditional poker. These can be made up of various Ace and face cards, as the name indicates. What’s more, the game offers a bonus game where you could double your winnings.

10s or Better – This is another popular option for players as it allows for wins on lower-ranking hands. As such, payouts can be as much as 5x your coin amount with a 10-pair hand, while a royal flush will earn you a max payout of 4 000 coins.

Jacks or Better – Easily one of the most renowned of video poker games, Jacks or Better is a five-card game that requires players to land a pair of jacks in your hand or better to win, hence the name. Jacks or Better is known for its low variance and above-average payouts.

Double Bonus Poker – Bonus Poker is based on Jacks or Better and uses the same principles, although the difference is that this version carries higher payouts for four-of-a-kind hands. It has a higher variance than Jacks or Better, but landing four Aces means you win big.

Joker’s Wild – Joker’s Wild is played using an additional wild card, which means it can substitute any other card and boost the payout for certain winning hands.

Best Video Poker Software

Best Video Poker Software

There are numerous top-tiered software developers who contribute to the video poker selection available at online casinos. Software providers develop and code the games and paytables, so these will vary from one developer to the next. Providers like Cryptologic, Microgaming, Playtech, Real Time Gaming and Rival Gaming are some of the top companies known for their excellent video poker contributions. In fact, they have developed over 75% of the video poker games currently available at online casinos.

What makes software providers important in video poker is that each will have different graphics and payout percentages. Of course, graphics can be important to many gamers, while for others, it is just an addition to the overall quality of the gaming experience. Payout percentages, on the other hand, affects the ultimate success of your game.

It’s hard to say which casino provider has the best odds, as they vary from game to game. That said, all of the best providers ensure their games are fair at all times. That’s why it is important to only play at the leading online casinos and avoid rogue, unreliable sites.

When it comes to video poker, there are three leading software providers worth mentioning:

Microgaming

Microgaming is a leader in igaming products and one of the pioneering software providers in the industry. The company has been creating igaming products since 1994, making it one of the oldest and most reputable casino game developers in the business. Microgaming has been producing mobile games since 2004, longer than any other company. The provider boasts a diverse selection of video poker titles, including some of the most popular at online casinos. These include Aces and Eights, Bonus Deuces, Deuces Wild, Jacks or Better, Aces and Faces, Double Double Bonus Poker and more.

When playing Microgaming video poker games, their titles are easy to understand, and they include a complete paytable and instructions page on each game’s help tab. They use a standardised paytable across the board, which makes things easy for first-time players. Many of their video poker machines also boast a top prize of either 4 000 or 5 000 coins on all of the platform’s titles. This easy approach makes it a hassle-free gaming experience.

Playtech

Playtech is another leading name in casino game design. The company has been around for a long time, with a focus on creating top-quality casino games that everyone can enjoy. They are leaders in the slot machine arena and have also made an impression among video poker fans thanks to their excellent offerings. Players have the choice of playing Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, Bonus Poker and Joker Poker in the comfort of your home or while on the move.

Betsoft

Betsoft is more of an up-and-coming software provider in terms of reputation in the industry. The developer is a leader in creating mobile games and 3D slots and has also developed quite an impressive selection of video poker games over the years. Betsoft is prominent at European online casinos compared to other countries, so players native to that region will be more familiar with the software provider. That said, Betsoft is a top option for those looking for quality video poker games like Jacks or Better, Aces and Faces, Bonus Deuces Wild, Deuces Wild and more.

Play Video Poker for Free

Where to Play for Free

Once you have decided to give video poker games a try, you may be wondering whether to play for free or for real money. Both come with advantages, and we recommend both options at some point during your igaming journey. Free games are great for those looking for entertainment and fun. There is no need to fund your account and, sometimes, you don’t need to register at an online casino. However, if your goal is to win big, then playing for real money is the way to go. Below we look at the advantages of playing video poker for free.

Advantages of Playing Video Poker for Free Online

  • Enjoy unlimited gaming opportunities in a fun and pressure-free gaming environment.
  • There is no need to make any deposit or fund your account – gaming is completely free even on casino apps.
  • Play any variant or title you choose, even new ones, with no risk or obligations.
  • Perfect for those looking to practice strategies and learn a new game before playing real-money bets.
  • You can easily switch from free games once you are ready to play for real money.

Where to Play for Free

Play Video Poker for Free

Many online casinos on the net allow you to enjoy free video poker games. To find the best casino to suit your needs, check out our list of recommended casino sites. We only recommended the best casinos in terms of safety, reliability, gaming options, facilities, user experience, banking and security, so you can rest assured that you are getting the best advice. All of our reviews are thoroughly researched, honest and unbiased as we aim to present players with the best information to help you make an informed decision.

Video Poker Strategy

Video Poker Strategy

Video poker is a game of skill and chance, so it is best to have some background knowledge and skill before playing for real money. As such, there are some strategies you can implement to enhance your gaming experience and improve your chances of winning. While players have the choice in terms of betting decisions, there are some popular video poker strategies to use during gameplay, including the following:

  • Hold Royal Flush, Flush, Straight, Four-of-a-Kind, Full House, Three-of-a-Kind and Pair hands at all times.
  • If you have a Three-of-a-Kind hand, get rid of the remaining two cards and aim for a Four-of-a-Kind or Full House hand.
  • If you have a two Pair, remove the extra card for the chance to get a Full House.
  • Only ever break up a Flush or a Straight when you are one card short of a Royal Flush.

Video Poker on Mobile

Video Poker on Mobile

Mobile gaming is now the leading way players access their favourite online casino games. Thanks to modern technology, mobile gaming is more accessible and enjoyable as ever, with almost every casino operator and software developer adapting their games and software to ensure they are mobile-friendly.

When it comes to video poker, many games have been optimized for mobile casinos, but how does it compare to a traditional desktop website? Video poker translates well on mobile devices and is responsive to the smaller screens of smartphones and tablets. That said, video poker games are not as widely available as online slots and table games on mobile. Yes, many titles are optimized, but the selection is not as broad, and variety is limited. That said, steps are being made to allow for the same video poker experience on mobile as you would get at a desktop or land-based casino.

Live Video Poker

Live Video Poker

Live video poker is a popular option for players looking for a more realistic and immersive gaming experience. Many software providers have created live versions of video poker games to add to the games lobby, which promises an authentic, live gaming experience wherever you are in the world. These options may not be as common at live casinos as table games, but leading online casinos will have a good selection to choose from. This will include popular titles like Deuces Wild, Aces and Faces, Jacks or Better and Joker Poker, to name a few. Visit one of our recommended online casinos for access to some of the best live video poker games on the internet.

Our Expert Conclusion

Our Expert Conclusion

Playing video poker can be a truly rewarding experience. With so many options and rule variations, even an expert gambler will find a new challenge playing these games. What’s more, software developers are always bringing out new versions and variations to appeal to a broader market, all with updates and payout changes. This means that playing video poker is always a learning experience.

We suggest mastering one type of video poker game and playing for free until you are comfortable and knowledgeable about the rules of the game. Video poker can be played for free or for real money, making it a great option for players wanting to learn the rules of the game before making a financial commitment to one variation. It is best to try a few games for free before choosing the right one to suit your needs. Overall, video poker online offers fast action and plenty of rewards once you have the rules and gameplay down.

FAQ Online Video Poker

✅ How do you play online video poker for free?

Playing online video poker for free is easy at a top-rated online casino. All you have to do is visit an online casino and create an account, although in most cases, you don’t have to join a casino to play for free. Once this is done, you can visit the video poker selection of the casino’s games lobby to access the free games. In most cases, there will be an option to play using the ‘demo’, ‘free’ or ‘fun’ mode. Choose this option and start your casual gaming without having to bet any real money.

✅ How do free online video poker games work?

Free games work like real-money games, with the only difference being that you won’t have to manage your bankroll. The software uses a random number generator to determine which card wins; therefore, there is no strategy or tricks you can use to guarantee a win. All results are random when playing for free and real money. You also don’t need a casino account to play – all you need is a solid internet connection and be based in an accepted country to access the casino’s selection of free games.

✅ Can I use an online video poker strategy?

Yes, many strategies and tips exist to improve your gameplay and your chances of winning. It should be noted that these strategies do not guarantee any wins as results are random. As with many casino games, the key to getting good at video poker is practice. A good idea is to try a video poker variation for free to get a grasp on the game before betting for real money.

✅ What are the odds of online video poker?

The odds will vary per hand and per game. The house edge on one game will be different from another, while things will also change depending on the strategy you are using. Be sure to check the paytable to determine your odds when playing online video poker.

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