Video poker combines the ease of play you get with slots with the strategy and skill one needs to play poker. Unlike other pokies, video poker allows you to influence the outcome of the game depending on your skill level and understanding of the game. The decisions you make will have a direct impact on the outcome of the hand – unlike most other online pokies which are often left up to chance. The more knowledgeable you are about the game you’re playing, the better prepared you’ll be to enjoy it (and capitalize on opportunities).
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Types of Video Poker
It is important to distinguish between single play and multi-play poker games. In a single play game, you play only one hand at a time. A multi play game starts out the same as a single play game, you are dealt the same 5 cards to start. You then choose which cards you would like to hold and which you would like to discard. In a multi-play game, after you select draw, your hand is split into as many hands as you have selected. For example 4 hands on a 4 play game. The draw is then run independently for each individual hand. Your initial cards are the same on each hand, but the draw will provide each hand with different cards. When playing either single play or multi-play poker the strategy for playing is the same across both. However, with multiple-play video poker, you will need to sit down with a bigger bank roll than if you were playing single play poker.
Beside single play and multi-play there are also multi strike poker, spin poker, quick quads and super times play.
After selecting which type of machine you will play you also have the option of which game you are going to play on the machine. There are literally hundreds of different variations of video poker but I have compiled a list of the most common.
- Jacks or Better – In this game of poker you will not be paid out any money unless you have, as the name suggests, a pair of Jacks or higher. This is one of the very first variations of online video poker to be introduced. Depending on how well you implement your strategy you could receive pay rates of up to 99.5%.
- Joker Poker – This variation to the game includes the standard deck containing 52 cards except in this deck two additional joker cards are added. This increases the players chance of getting a better hand and adds an element of fun.
- Deuces Wild– One of the most popular variations of the game which involves all the 2s in the deck turning into wild cards. The wild card can substitute for any other card to make your hand the strongest hand possible.
- Tens or Better Bonus Poker – Similar concept to Jacks or Better but the player receives payouts for lower valued hands.
- All American – Is another variation of Jacks or Better, but with increased payouts for a flush or straight. The difference is that the payouts for various winning hands may be higher than other hands for example on a straight or a flush.
How to Play Video Poker
The rules are essentially the same as 5 card draw poker. The difference here is that you are not playing against an opponent and you can’t lose your initial bet. You start by depositing coins into the machine and place your bet. You are then shown 5 cards on the video screen with the goal being to have the best starting hand possible from those cards. The option you now face is to decide how many cards to hold, as you want to try build the strongest hand. The cards you don’t choose to hold will then be discarded and replaced with new cards – still from the same 52 card playing deck.
You now press the deal button where the machine will replace the cards with new cards. Based on your final hand the machine will pay you according to the pay schedule posted on the machine. Of course the better your hand the more the machine will pay you.
You should look out for the ‘practice’ play function, this function allows you to play the game for free. Familiarise yourself with the game and once you have a grasp on it then you can choose to play for moolah. Also keep a look out for the auto hold function, this function automatically holds the cards that are statistically more likely to end in winning hands.
Strategy and Tips for Playing Video Poker
- Lower pair is relatively good hand when playing video poker. There are 36 possible hands which you can receive on a draw, a low pair is the 16th best hand you can get. Since you are not playing against an opponent getting a low pair puts you on the stronger end of hands and you will receive a decent pay out on your bet.
- Don’t hold 3 cards to get a straight or flush. Rather hold 3 cards to try for a straight flush, but never for a straight or flush.
- Do not draw on inside straight, rather draw on an outside straight. Inside straight would be 6,7_,8,9 whereas an outside straight would be _,7,8,9,10_. Drawing on an outside straight will give you a higher chance of receiving the best hand possible when compared to a draw on an inside straight.
- Don’t hold a kicker. What is a kicker you ask? A kicker is an unpaid card held with a pair. For example 8,8,K. The King would be the kicker and should never be held since they add no value to your hand.
Advanced Strategy of Playing Video Poker
Using a slow down strategy is one way that you can increase your chances of winning. How could playing slower be beneficial? This is simply because you want to play for as long as possible, and increase your chances of drawing a royal flush. The faster you play, the quicker you will lose your money, since the house edge is designed in this manner. Minimizing losses is the key to a successful strategy.
The Royal Flush
On a machine with 100% return you should always bet the maximum number of coins because you will earn bonus coins when you hit the royal flush. The odds of hitting the royal flush are low but the prospect of earning the massive bonus is often worth it.
What you must keep in mind is that the total payback displayed on these machines always includes the royal flush. The royal flush is considered such an important factor that you are actually expected to lose quite a bit until you hit the royal flush. So be prepared to lose quite a bit of money until you eventually hit the royal flush which will bring your cash back up to 100%. The odds of you getting the royal flush is about 1 out of every 40 000 hands so there is no guarantee that you will ever get it, and if you don’t be prepared to lose quite a bit of money.
Join a slot club before you insert you first coin. Every major casino has a slot club and acts as a loyalty system where you can win tons of freebies. The card measures how much and how frequently you gamble. If you are someone that spends a lot of time at the casino you will receive bonuses for being a loyal customer. Where a particular game gives you a rebate of 0.5 % in cash for your video poker play, you can the play for example 9/6 Jacks or Better machine with a return of 99.7%. By adding the rebate to this figure you can essentially give yourself a slight advantage of 0.2% on your next round of video poker!
In-Depth look at two Online Video Poker Games
ALL ACES POKER
Microgaming has one of the biggest online video poker offerings and All Aces Poker is one of the most popular video poker games of them all. What makes this such a popular game? Well, in my opinion not only is the gaming experience provided excellent, but even better than that is the fact that the house advantage on this game is one of the lowest ever. It is considered to be sit at around 0.08%, this makes the payout percentage a very attractive 99.92%. This is rumoured to be highest paying online pokie game to be found on the internet!
However in order to maximise on these great odds, you will have to play the game optimally and I will share two very important tips with you! Firstly, when setting up the game click on the option settings tab. Look for the option “Auto Hold” and turn it on – as discussed above the software will then automatically hold onto your best starting hand and give you the best statistical start from the get go.
My second tip is how many coins to play – play max coins so that you can be in the running for any Jackpots. In order to make this more affordable, play with the coin denominations so that you get the most bang for your bank roll!
JOKER WILD DOUBLE UP
Joker Wild Double Up video poker from NetEnt is the next evolution of online video poker games. These have been designed to have more of a computer game “feel”. What kind of features can you expect? Joker Wild substitution, Kings or Better poker hand, Double Up feature. This all makes for an entertaining and highly profitable game play with a RTP of 97,95%.
Joker Wild Double Up can be played as a single player or multi-player video poker game (up to 25 hands) that can be played with various coin values and different bet levels. What makes this game a little different? A Joker Wild is added to the traditional deck of 52 cards that will serve as a substitute for any other card – used to help a player create the highest poker hand possible. The game also adds on a hand – Kings or Better, meaning more chances to win. But wait I am not finished – there is also a Double Up gamble feature allowing players to double their game winnings up to 5 times!!!
This game does offer a free play version – so play for a while before committing any bank roll!
Video Poker – Glossary of terms
- Action: The amount of money that the player wages
- Bankroll: The total amount of money that the player has set aside for gambling. Put aside in their account which they deposit to the online casino
- Bust: When the initial hand does not improve after drawing additional cards
- Cash Out: Player credits converted into real money, which the player can withdraw.
- Coins: Value of a coin depends on the video poker game you are playing. For example on a $1 machine each coin will be worth $1, 5 coins would be worth $5.
- Credits:After depositing money into the video poker machine, this money is referred to as credits which the player uses to gamble.
- Cycle: This is the number of hands which the machine requires to deliver a jackpot payout.
- Denomination: The value of the cards in the particular hand.
- Discard: After the initial hand, the player can choose to discard whichever cards they do not want, after which the missing cards will be replaced with new cards.
- Draw: The replacement cards after the player chooses to discard are known as draw cards.
- Drawing Hand: The hand which the player has after discarding and drawing is known as the draw hand or final hand.
- Expected Return: Over the long term this is the amount which the player can expect top be returned by the machine.
- Hand: The 5 cards displayed on the screen
- Hold: After the initial deal, when you choose to keep a card it is known as a hold.
- House Edge: This is the long term advantage which the game has over the player, in other words the profit which the game will make over the long term.
- Jackpot:Top payout offered by the machine, this depends on the particular rules of the game but will usually be for a royal flush
- Kicker: An unpaired card which accompanies a pair.
- Max Bet: The maximum number of coins which can be betted on a particular hand
- Pat Hand: This hand cannot be improved after the initial deal since it is the highest.
- Progressive Jackpot: Small percentage of each wager goes into the progressive jackpot which gets progressively larger as the game continues. The jackpot can be won by hitting, for example, the royal flush.