Your Ultimate Video Poker Guide

Video poker exploded onto the gambling scene in the 1970s and transformed the casino business within just a few short years. It fueled a major economic shift from table games to electronic slots and quickly became the game of choice for many players. Today, it remains so popular that some commentators dub it the "crack cocaine" of casino gambling. In this article, I explain video poker's ins and outs and discuss its appeal. I also discuss the game's low house edge and share some first-hand proven strategies to help you improve your odds.

What Is Video Poker and How Is It Differ From Slots?

Video poker is a unique game unlike any other. Gamblers often describe this game as a hybrid of slot machines and five-card draw poker, designed to appeal to both slots and poker players. However, what truly makes video poker stand out is how it differs from slots and traditional poker.


At first glance, video poker machines may appear similar to traditional slot machines. You often find them situated beside regular slots on the casino floor. Both machines have features like a coin slot, bill acceptor, player’s card reader, and payout hopper. However, that’s where the similarities end. Video poker is sometimes described as the “thinking player’s slot” because it requires real skill to play well. Unlike slots, video poker allows players to make strategic decisions that can influence the outcome.


The key difference from slots is the ability to choose both the cards to play and the paytable to play on since different video poker variations offer different payouts. Players are dealt cards and can choose which ones to hold or discard to make the best possible five-card poker hand. This infusion of skill and strategy sets video poker apart from the pure luck-based slots.

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Video Poker V.S. Traditional Poker: 7 Characteristics That Make Video Poker Unique

The video poker success formula includes some skills, particularly basic knowledge of poker hands. The gameplay closely resembles five-card draw poker. At the start of each round, five random cards are dealt to the player, who must then choose which cards to keep and which to discard to get the best poker hand. Video poker is solely a battle between you and the machine rather than between you and other players. You don’t need to outplay anyone; just optimize your own hand.


Here is a rundown of unique characteristics that distinguish video poker from traditional table poker:

1 The player plays at their own speed.

There is no pressure to make quick decisions or keep up with other players. You can take as much time as you need to evaluate your cards and determine the optimal strategy for each hand.

2 No need for deceptive skills and tactics.

It's you versus the machine, so forget about bluffing, raising, or checking tactics.

3 Each hand has a fixed odds of winning or losing.

You never lose more than what you bet.

4 An Ace is not the key card.

For instance, the payout for 3 aces is the same as three 7s.

5 Forget about the guesswork.

Again, it's only you versus the payout table. So, there is no need to deduce what your opponents have.

6 A Royal Flush is worth more than a world!

It is the highest-ranking hand in both video and traditional poker. However, it pays out exponentially more in video poker due to lucrative jackpot payouts. For instance, hitting a royal flush on a $1 video poker machine while playing maximum coins may win $4,000 or more, especially if a progressive jackpot exists. The astronomical rewards for top hands are a defining characteristic of video poker payouts. It highlights why the royal flush is so much more valuable in video poker.

7 A good hand will never lose.

video poker offers guaranteed payouts for making certain hands. If you hit a full house in video poker, you are assured of receiving the payout for that hand every time. However, in regular poker, another player could end up with an even better hand, like a straight flush, meaning you win nothing despite having a strong full house.

How To Play Video Poker: The Gameplay Made Simple!

Video poker has become popular in casinos due to its low house edge compared to other games if optimal strategies are used. Unlike table games, video poker offers a solitary experience free from pushy dealers or rowdy players. It uniquely offers players the potential to gain an edge over the house and earn profits in the long run through practiced skill, unlike most casino games where the house edge stays fixed. Now, let’s learn how to play the game.


Classic Machines

Video poker machines are typically located in the same area of casinos as slot machines, arranged in rows known as carousels. Modern video poker machines operate similarly to slots in that paper currency can be inserted and converted to credits for wagering. Buttons on the machine allow players to start and control each game.


Most machines enable betting between one to five credits per play, with the potential payout increasing with more credits wagered. Video poker machines are found in various denominations from nickel to $100, some even allowing players to choose between multiple denominations. The Max Bet button is provided for those wanting to bet the maximum per hand. Hitting a royal flush jackpot requires playing five credits, an incentive for max betting.


How To Play Video Poker Online

video poker

Modern online video poker machines feature enticing themes and graphics, making them even more appealing to players. Additional features like

  • Background music
  • Bonus cards and features
  • Customizable game/pays
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Paytable and game tutorial
  • Bingo and Keno themes


make real money online video poker games the best option who love the strategy of poker games and the fun and randomness of slot machines.


Playing and wagering on an online video poker machine is pretty much the same as what you find at land-based casinos.


Once you feed the machine with money, pressing the Deal button will display five cards randomly selected from a standard 52-card deck, initiating a round of play. At this point, the game mirrors 5-card draw poker. You can hold any of the five dealt cards by clicking on each. After selecting which cards to keep, you must either hold all cards, discard all cards, or hold some while discarding others. Many machines highlight superior hands on the payout table and suggest which cards to hold as guidance. However, the final choice remains in your control.


After confirming the selections, pressing the Deal/Draw button will replace any discarded cards with new ones from the remaining deck. With no opponents, the goal is simply to form the highest-ranking poker hand possible in this single draw. The payout scale rewards better hands per standard poker rankings. You can alter held cards anytime before hitting the Deal/Draw button again. This gameplay mechanic of choosing cards to retain or discard adds an engaging element of skill and strategy to video poker.


The objective of Video Poker is to make the highest possible poker hand with your one draw.


How To Find The Best Video Poker Machines With The Highest Payouts?

When playing video poker, choosing the right machine is more crucial than deciding which cards to hold or discard. Video poker machines come in many types, including Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, Joker Poker, Bonus Poker, and Double Bonus, to name a few popular ones. Each machine has its own set of rules, payouts, and optimal strategies. Sitting down at random machines without understanding the differences between various video poker variants is not a winning approach. The informed video poker player selects machines selectively.


Online casinos frequently introduce new versions while older, more favorable games may phase out. Although the machines look alike, payouts can vary wildly between different titles. So, the ultimate winning formula is to find the highest payout video poker machines or games with the highest RTP(Payback) percentages.


Video Poker Payouts Explained

When selecting a video poker machine, the pay table denoted by the numbers separated by a slash is crucial – it indicates the machine’s RTP- the number of coins you can win on certain pay categories. Typically, in most games, these numbers represent the payouts for a full house and flush when betting a single coin. A 9/6 machine pays out 9 coins for a full house and 6 for a flush. An 8/5 machine has lower payouts of 8 and 5 coins, respectively.


Though the difference seems small, it significantly impacts the overall expected return. A 9/6 game returns 99.5% to players over time, while an 8/5 game returns only 97.3%. This means your money will disappear almost 6 times faster on the 8/5 machine, with expected losses of $40 versus $240 for 12 hours of max coin play on a dollar machine.


Your Gaming Style Also Matters

Video poker machines pay four-of-a-kind jackpots differently. Some reduce payouts on commonly occurring hands like straights and two pair. It impacts a game’s overall volatility and return. You must decide whether you prefer playing longer sessions on lower variance titles, like Jacks or Better, or taking bigger risks seeking infrequent massive jackpots on high volatility machines like Double Double Bonus Poker. Typically, those strictly focused on earning profits stick to less volatile games like Jacks or Better to minimize risk. No wonder it is one of the most insanely popular video poker games out there. Understanding your motivations and temperament is key to picking the best game. As a rule of thumb:


Always check the pay table and seek out the highest payback percentages.


7 Proven Tips To Increase Your Winning Chance on Video Poker

I have been a fan of online video poker, and I started by playing free games on websites like Playing with virtual credit allowed me to practice, master my poker hand ranking, and try different strategies without risking my hard-earned money. I suggest you do that, especially if you are new to this game.


Here are 7 top tips I tried while playing online video poker, which really paid off.

  • Shop around for the best pay tables to find machines with the lowest house edge. Even small differences can hugely impact your results over time.
  • Use strategy guides or software to learn the mathematically best plays for each machine. Mistakes will cost you.
  • Take advantage of free games and demo mode at online real-money casinos.
  • Bet Max on machines with royal flush jackpots to qualify for the top payout.
  • Play slowly and carefully. Video poker rewards patience and discipline.
  • Take advantage of bonuses offered by online real money casinos.
  • Be wary of rapid-fire games that increase speed. Avoid increasing the game’s speed, especially if you are a newbie. Always take time to make optimal decisions.


Wrap Up

There you have it; everything to try a hand at Video Poker. It combines elements of slots and poker into a casino game with a reasonable chance of winning if played using optimal strategy. With so many online versions, choosing the right game and playing with discipline is key to maximizing potential profits. Though results rely partly on luck, video poker rewards knowledge, patience, and skill.


Ready to try a hand? Click on one of our featured online casinos and let the fun begin now!

How To Play Video Poker FAQs

  • What Online Casinos Offer The Highest Payout Video Poker Games?

    Betonline, Wild Casino, Super Slots, HighRoller Casino, and Fan Duel are the most trusted online casinos to play Video Poker in the United States and worldwide.

  • What Is The Easiest Video Poker For Beginners?

    Jacks or Better is the easiest and most popular title you can play. It has the lowest house edge, especially when played with optimal strategy. Try to find machines with good pay tables, like 9/6 Jacks or Better.

  • How Do I Know If A Machine Has A Good Pay Table?

    Check the payouts for a full house and flush. 9/6 machines (9 coins for a full house, 6 for a flush) are best. Avoid machines below 9/6.

  • Should I Always Bet Max Coins?

    Betting max coins qualifies you for the biggest jackpots, so yes, it can be a winning strategy as long as you can afford it based on your bankroll.


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