Video Poker

Introduction To Video Poker

Video poker as a land casino game played on computer consoles was popularized by IGT in the early 1980s. When online casinos were launched in the mid 1990s video poker was introduced there as well. Today video poker is a separate game category at online casinos with a number of variants and played in different formats, including multi hand games. Each online casino offers most of the standard games and also some unique variants. Video poker games are not purely luck based games but require simple strategy. Players who use optimum strategy can get long term average returns of about 99.5%.

How To Play Video Poker

The play begins with the selection of a coin denomination. Then the player selects the number of coins he wants to wager. Usually this number is from one to five. The total bet placed by the player is the product of the coin denomination and the number of coins and is indicated in the operating console. The player clicks the Deal button and five cards are dealt face up. The player can replace any number of these cards as he thinks fit. The objective is to maximize his chance for getting the best possible payout. The player clicks the cards he wants to keep on Hold. Then he clicks the Draw button and the remaining cards are replaced. The final hand of the player is matched against the payout table and if it forms a winning hand then the payouts are made as indicated in the table. The amount won, if any, is displayed in the operating console.

Video poker can also be in multi hand formats. In some online casinos there are separate games for different number of hands and in other casinos the players can choose the number of hands from within the game. The game proceeds in a similar manner. At first only one hand is deal and the player selects the cards he wants to keep on hold. This selection is replicated on all hands. When the player clicks the Draw button the remaining cards are dealt independently to each hand from separate decks. Each hand is compared to the payout table and payouts awarded. There are a large number of video poker variants like Jacks or Better, Aces and Faces and Deuces Wild. The mechanism of the play is essentially the same, but the payout tables are different. In Deuces Wild the twos act as jokers and can substitute for other cards.

Video Poker Strategy

There are two aspects to video poker strategy. The first deals with wagering. The correct thing to do is always wager five coins in every game. The payout for a royal flush with five coins wagered is much more than five times the payout with one coin wagered. And this is a chance not to be missed. If by doing this the player is exceeding his budget then he should reduce the coin denomination.

The real skill in video poker is in knowing which cards to hold. Some online casinos offer games with Auto Hold facility. These automatically mark as Hold the cards as per the optimum strategy. Hence players should not disable this feature. If this feature is not available then players will have to learn the optimum strategy. Players should also be aware that the strategy will be different for different video poker variants. The most important rule is never to break a winning combination hoping that a better combination will be drawn. However there are two exceptions to this. A paying combination must be broken by discarding the fifth card if the player is holding four cards to a royal flush. The player must keep four cards to a straight flush even if he has to break a paying combination.