Video poker is a great way to enjoy a card game without having to be at the tables. The pace is also much faster and you can play on a smaller budget (if you want).
Another benefit to playing video poker is that there are strategies you can utilize to reduce the house edge to the point where you’re seeing a 100% return or more. You can’t say that for the majority of games that you’ll find in a casino.
I actually prefer video poker to any casino game when I can’t find or play live poker. I’m pretty plain and just stick to Jacks or Better, but there are plenty more video poker games to play than that. I’m going to go over all of those plus the basic details on how to get started playing video poker below.
Video Poker Basics
Ok, the first step to playing video poker is finding a game to play. There are many options. Listed below are the most common ones.
Video Poker Games
- Jacks or Better
- Joker Wild
- Double Jackpot
- Jackpot Deuces
- Double Joker
- Double Bonus
- Deuces Wild
- Deuces/Joker Wild
- Bonus Deuces Wild
- Aces and Eights
- Dbl Dbl Bonus
- Dbl Dbl Jackpot
- Loose Deuces
- Pickem Poker
- Tens or Better
The biggest difference between most of these games is that some will use a wild card (or two) and others won’t. Games with wild cards will also have different payout tables than games that don’t. In most cases, wild card game payouts will be top heavy due to the fact that hands are easier to make.
Video Poker Variations
Some video poker games will have different variations that you can choose from. The most common variations will be progressive jackpots and the ability to play multiple hands at once.
Progressive machines take a small fraction of your wager and put it towards a jackpot. These machines are generally on a network so anyone on a similar machine will be contributing towards the jackpot, making it grow quickly. When someone hits the winning combination (usually a royal flush), the jackpot is awarded. Then the process starts all over again. It’s not uncommon for jackpots to be in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars.
Multi hand variations are games that allow you to play more than one hand at once. Some will allow you to play as few as 3 hands simultaneously while others allow you to play as many as 100 hands at once. How it’s played is you’re given 5 cards like normal. You’ll pick the cards you want to keep which will be the same for all hands that you’re playing. Then once you hit deal, each hand will play itself out individually.
Other video poker variations include quick quads, spin poker, super times pay and multi strike poker.
Video Poker Betting
Once you pick your machine and variation, then you need to choose how much you want to bet. This is a two-part process.
The first part is choosing the denomination you want to wager. This is the minimum amount that you will bet per hand. I find that the amounts start out around $.05 and are available in $.25, $.50 and $1+ increments.
The second part is deciding how many coins you want to play. You can play anywhere from 1 to 5 coins. This is an important decision because the number of coins you choose to play determines how much you’re paid out in the event that your hand wins. At the same time, the number of coins also determines how much you’re paying per hand. If you play 1 coin at $1 denominations, then it’s $1 per hand. If you play 5 coins at $1 denominations, than it’s $5 per hand. If you’re playing a 52-hand variation at $1 and 5-coins, then it’s $5 per hand or $260 per round.
What I suggest doing is always playing 5 coins, even if it means playing in a lower denomination. The reason being is that the payouts are much better at 5-coins and you don’t want to make a hand like quads or a royal flush and not receive the maximum payout possible.
Playing Video Poker
Once you have that all setup, then it’s time to play. Just hit deal and you’ll be given a new hand. The game play will vary from machine to machine, but the basic idea is to make the best 5-card poker hand. You’ll pick the cards you want to hold and then hit deal. The ones you don’t want will be exchanged with new ones. Then, if you have a winning hand based on the pay table, you’ll be paid accordingly. If you don’t, you lose. From there you can then choose to start a new hand or cash out.
And that’s all there is to it — it’s that easy to get started in video poker. But why not see for yourself? You can do so easily by checking out our recommended sites in the chart above. Just visit one of those sites, create an account and you’ll be playing your preferred video poker game before you know it.