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Video poker is another very popular casino game that you can play at any of the countless online casinos round. The game is popular because it is simple, easy to play, and requires a degree of skill. What makes it even more enticing is the low house edge associated with it and also the chance to put together wins that could result in some really significant payouts. It made its first appearance in the 1970s and once the online casino industry came into existence it was a natural fit into the game portfolio.
As mentioned above, this is a simple game and involves skill, a poker game that plays like a slot. That automatically means that strategy will play a key role in how you fare while playing the game. We will take a look at the different aspects of video poker on this page. Specifically, we will look at a brief history of the game, the different kinds of video poker games available, video poker strategy and basic tips for beginners, and much more.
Like some of the other gambling games, video poker too traces its roots to more than 100 years ago. The Liberty Bell slot machine by Charles Fey towards the end of the 19th century was the first step towards the emergence of the video poker machine. In 1901 Fey added a cool feature to his machine – the Draw feature – that allowed draws made to be held while the second spin was on. In that sense this was the earliest precursor to the video poker machines and the game itself.
So what did the Draw feature do? Basically after the player had inserted a coin and pulled the lever and made the drums spin, after the drums stopped the player was given the chance to hold some of the cards and spin the rest. With that one stroke, a simple game of luck now had an element of strategy added to it; choosing the right cards became very important. The popularity of this version meant Fey was no longer the sole manufacturer of these machines.
The first authentic video poker machine of the modern age came about much later. It started in about 1975 when the Fortune Bell Company started making the first electronic versions of the Bell slot Machines. These were not too popular and the result was the addition of the Draw feature to these as well. The rules of poker applied to the game. Now there was a screen where the player could see his cards and a console that he could use to make his next move – raise, draw, or call.
Things really changed once SIRCOMA (short for Si Redd Coin Machines), the precursor to the renowned company called International Game Technology (IGT), officially made the Draw Poker game in 1979. With this the popularity of the game skyrocketed and now you find video poker in all the popular land-based and also online casinos.
Video poker has been incredibly popular among players across the world because of the skill involved and also the low house edge. There are different variants of video poker offered by a number of high quality software providers. The games all come with the standard features and high quality graphics and animations. Some of the top software providers that offer video poker today include:
There are of course a number of other software providers too offering video poker; the ones listed above are just a sampling. The games can be available in download or instant play mode, depending on the software provider they are from. NetEnt games are all available in the no download mode, while providers like Microgaming and Playtech offer their video poker games in both download and instant play mode. Also, most software providers offer video poker for both free play and also real money play.
Playing video poker for real money is very simple, but it requires a degree of skill as well. Once you have deposited funds into your account and chosen a game to play, you place your wager and are now set to get started. The game is usually played with a standard 52-card deck. Games involving the joker will of course have at least one joker in the pack.
You get dealt 5 cards. Once the deal is complete, you need to decide which cards you want to keep and which you want to drop. You tap on a card shown on screen to hold it and once you are done with the action for the 5 cards, the ones that are not held are dropped. Now click the Draw button to draw new cards that will replace the dropped cards.
The new cards together with the held cards form the final combination for the hand. You win if the hand you have is what comprises one of the hands seen traditionally in poker. How do you know that your hand fits one of these? You just take a look at the hand ranking table on the screen. The hand ranking table also lists out the payout for each poker hand. If you are playing multi-hand poker the payout is shown for all the hands.
The standard game of video poker that we consider is Jacks or Better. In this paragraph we list out for you the hand ranking table for Jacks or Better when you play 5 coins:
|4 of a Kind||25||50||75||100||125|
|3 of a Kind||3||6||9||12||15|
|Jacks or Better||1||2||3||4||5|
One thing you may have noticed from the above table; playing max bet can give you a bigger margin for win compared to the others.
The strategy to adopt while playing video poker will depend primarily on the kind of video poker game you are playing. Strategy is important because it can help lower an already low house edge; in fact there are games where the house edge stands at over 100%; a good example being Full-Pay Deuces Wild – the game has a very low house edge and actually tips it 100.76% for the player to not go out.
Another thing to know: the house advantage will mildly fluctuate depending on the kind of strategy you choose. For instance, a game like 9-6 Jacks or Better could have the house edge differ depending on the strategy you use:
The variance can be higher as well; take for instance the game of 1/7 Double Bonus. The difference is clearly apparent:
Video poker is a game that involves skill and strategy. That is why for beginners a few tips on how to go about playing this exciting game can work wonders in helping them settle down and play to win. Here are a few tips that beginners can use before playing video poker.
For you that want to dig deeper into the art of playing Video Poker, make sure to read the article that talks about Ways to Win in Video Poker that outlines some crucial tips players need to know.
There are a number of myths associated with the game of video poker. We list for you a few of the top myths related to this exciting game below.
There are a large number of video poker variants for you to choose from. So what would be good for a beginner? One of the safest games for a beginner to choose is Jacks or Better (link to the game and review). We say safe because this is the most common form of video poker available at online casinos. The game play is standard and quite easy to get through.
In terms of having better chances of winning, a player may be tempted to try out one of the video poker variants that use jokers. The use of a joker changes the dynamic of a game completely. A hand with a pair and a joker automatically becomes a three of a kind, for instance, so the probability of winning may seem that much higher at first glance. However, you must take into account one critical factor – the probability of a joker landing in your hand in the first place given the fact that there are always lesser jokers than other cards in the deck.