Video poker stands out as one of the best choices for all gamblers looking to play for real money at online casinos. It combines many of the best elements of table games and slot machines into one exciting package. You’ll find that it’s a casino game that translates very well to the online setting.
There are many advantages that you’ll find when you play video poker that don’t apply to other games. And you can play for real money at online websites that offer a wide variety of video poker variations. It’s an ideal situation for those who like to have the opportunity to win big without the hassle of trying to get to a casino to do so.
In the following article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the world of video poker. We’ll show you how to play and how the different variations bring unique ways to play. And we’ll also take a look at how you can choose the websites that provide you with the best, safest online video poker action.
How to Play Video Poker Online
Playing video poker online is essentially a simulation of the card game known as Five-Card Draw. You get five cards and try to make the best possible poker combination out of it. To do this, you can discard cards from your original deal (while holding others), then draw new cards from the deck.
But when you play Five-Card Draw, you have to worry about beating everyone at the table. That means making the best possible hand or bluffing everyone into submission. When you play video poker online for money, the only person at table is technically you, which makes it much easier to win on a hand-to-hand basis.
Let’s take a look at how the process works in step-by-step fashion when you play video poker at a gambling website.
Bankroll for Video Poker
This money come from the account that you fund when you sign up for an online casino. It will be broken down into units known as credits or coins, depending upon the denomination you’ve chosen to play.
The Bet Size
In most video poker games, you will have the choice of betting between one and five credits, with the size of the bets changing in increments of one credit at a time. There will be an icon on the screen that allows you to toggle between the different bet sizes. You’ll also see one that says something like “max bet/deal,” which will allow you to make the maximum bet then have the deal begin all at once to save time.
You can change up your bet each time if you wish. But when playing standard video poker, it’s always best to wager the max bet of five coins per hand. This unlocks the highest payback for the royal flush hand and, on the whole, offers you the highest average payback percentage.
You’ll receive five cards once you activate your deal. These cards will appear on your screen from left to right and will come from a simulated deck of 52 cards. Each deal will be completely random and independent from any before it, since there is random number software inside the game that ensures that it is that way.
Once you have received the five cards, you have to decide which of your cards you want to hold and which you’ll discard. This is the point in the game where you get a chance to exercise some strategy. Having this element separates online video poker from other online gambling options, such as slot machines or roulette, where winning or losing is completely based on luck.
The cards that you hold will be part of your five-card winning. Meanwhile, the ones that you discard will be replaced by others from the original deck. Your goal is to create one of the winning poker hands on the pay table.
Winning hands may differ depending on what pay table you’re playing. But, for the most part, you’ll be trying to achieve one of the following combinations:
- Pair of jacks or better
- Two pair
- Three of a kind
- Straight (five cards of consecutive rank, like 3-4-5-6-7)
- Flush (five cards of same suit)
- Full house (three of a kind and two pair in the same hand)
- Four of a kind
- Straight flush (straight with five cards of same suit)
- Royal flush (ten, jack, queen, king, and ace of the same suit)
These hands are listed from easiest to achieve (on the top) to easiest to achieve (on the bottom). On most pay tables, the pay rises directly in proportion to the chance of your achieving the hand. The harder a hand is to make, the more it pays.
Once you’ve decided which cards to hold and discard, you’ll activate the draw. To do this, touch the cards on the screen that you want to hold. When you’ve done that, you’ll hit the “draw” icon.
The top cards from the remainder of your virtual deck, which now contains 47 cards, will replace any you’ve discarded. That will complete the hand. If you have a winning combination, you’ll receive payback based on the pay table.
Varieties of Video Poker
One of the great things about video poker is that you never have to play it the same way twice. There are literally hundreds of varieties that you’ll be able to find with ease at casinos online. Here are some of the ways that they separate themselves from one another.
Video Poker Pay Tables
The pay table shows you how much you will receive for specific winning combinations. Take a look at the pay table for Jacks or Better, which is the most popular format in all of video poker.
|Coins/Hands||1 coin||2 coins||3 coins||4 coins||5 coins|
|Four of a kind||25||50||75||100||125|
|Three of a kind||3||6||9||12||15|
|Jacks or better||1||2||3||4||5|
Other pay tables try to spice things up for online video poker players by making it easier for them to win a lot of coins on a single hand. These games usually do this by increasing payback for four of a kind. Anytime that you see the word “Bonus” in the name of the game, it usually means that this type of adjustment has been made.
When you have a video poker game online with wild cards, such as Deuces Wild or Joker Poker, these cards can be turned into whatever card in the deck improves your hand the most. These games allow you much greater opportunities to make rare winning hands. Deuces Wild allows the twos in the deck to be wild, while Joker Poker includes a 53rd card, the joker, as a wild card.
Online video poker game makers are very clever in changing things up for players. One of the ways that they do that is by offering special features to the basic formant. Such special features usually require an extra bet on top of the normal maximum, but the perks they offer can be quite valuable.
Some popular special features offered in video poker include:
- Multipliers: You can have your payback for a typical winning hand multiplied many times over its original amount.
- Free Hands: You would be able to play hands of video poker without having to bet, while still having the chance to earn the typical winnings.
- Wheels: If you play a video poker game with a wheel, you can spin it after certain qualifying winning hands and win large amounts of bonus coins.
- Multiple Hands: You get a single deal but get to play that deal over many different hands, as long as you bet on each of those hands.
There are many other special features which can add some pep to basic video poker play. Once you know how to play a basic hand, you’ll be able to understand these online video poker twists with no problem.
Learning Video Poker Strategy
To maximize your potential winnings when playing real money video poker, you should try to learn the ideal strategy for whatever variation you happen to be playing. You might get lucky making wrong decisions for a while. But over the long haul, the players who do the best playing online video poker are those who make the right mathematical decisions about what to hold and discard on every single deal.
Here are a few ways you can learn ideal online video poker strategy:
- Video poker training software: Training software tailors your instruction to whatever pay table you choose. As you play sample hands and make decisions about what to hold and discard, the software will point you in the right direction. After practicing for a while, these decisions will become second nature.
- Strategy charts: These charts can be found online for all of the major video poker games. You’ll see all of the possible card combinations you might receive on the deal ranked in order of value. That allows you to know which cards are the ones to hold in any deal you might receive.
- Free video poker online play: There are websites and apps which allow you to play video poker games for free. While this might not allow you to learn perfect play, if you practice enough you might start to see where your own particular strategy is going wrong. Free play is also great for beginners in terms of getting the hang of the game’s mechanics.
Check for more tips in our casino blogs.
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The Advantages of Online Video Poker
- Easy Play: Even if you’ve never played poker before in your life, you should be able to get the hang of video poker in a few minutes. That process will be much faster if you have played poker in the past and understand how to make winning combinations. In any case, you’ll likely be up and playing video poker in minutes just after beginning.
- Variety: As we mentioned above, video poker gives you the choice of how exactly you want to play. By picking the pay table and deciding if you want any special features, you can tailor the game to your own preferences. And you can dabble in many different types of video poker if you like to keep things fresh.
- One-Person Play: Unlike other casino games, you are the only one playing video poker at one time. That means that you can play with complete privacy and without any prying eyes. In addition, you can choose your pace of play, going as quickly or as slowly as you prefer.
- Strategy: There are many casino games that don’t allow you any control over the outcome. For those who like the challenge of a strategic game, video poker can give you that. If you play well, you’ll do better than someone making poor decisions in the long run.
- Transparency: By this, we mean that everything you need to play video poker well is right in front of you. The pay table tells you what winning hands you have to make and how much they pay. And the fact that there are only 52 cards in the deck means that you can figure out the probabilities of achieving those winning hands.
- Payback: Online video poker payback is on the high side when compared to other casino games. In fact, there are some varieties that nearly eliminate the house edge and pay back players over 99% of their betting output on average. With games like this, you could make a profit in the long run if you take advantage of gambling rewards.
Choosing the Best Online Casino for Video Poker
Since you’re going to be playing video poker for real money, you’ll want to choose a website that is reliable and trustworthy. How do you do that? Well, you can check out our list for our recommendations, or you can look for these qualities from an online casino site:
- Customer Service: If the site is active in reaching out to you and asking what you need upon signup, that’s a good sign. You’ll also want a site with a good reputation of addressing any problems that ensue. And you should be able to get in touch with them at a moment’s notice if you need to do so.
- Funding Versatility: Depending on your jurisdiction and the location of the site you choose, not all funding options might be open to you. You should check this out up front so you don’t get in a position where you can’t fund the account with your preferred method. Sites with many different funding options remove this problem.
- Big Bonuses: Casino sites that offer video poker should be forceful in trying to win over new customers. In other words, they should be ready to offer you perks right from the point that you start play. And those rewards should keep coming as you continue to play.
- Sound Withdrawal and Deposit Procedures: If the site in question doesn’t make it clear to you from the beginning how you can put money in and get money out, it could cause problems down the road. There is nothing worse than amassing big video poker winnings and not being able to realize them. The best sites can put your mind at ease in this department.
- Reliable Gameplay: You don’t want to choose a site that you can’t trust to work properly. Glitches that happen during gameplay can harm your chances of winning. Make sure to look the site over for any red flags in terms of a video poker gambling site not working properly before you sign on to play for real.
- Variety of Gambling Options: If you want to branch out from video poker, you should stick to a site that gives you many casino games as possible options. And you might also want to consider a site that offers a sportsbook. Finally, look for sites that have mobile components that allow you to gamble on the go, which can be a great convenience.
Online Video Poker FAQ
Can I Expect To Win a Hand If I Haven’t Won One in a Long While?
Because the cards that appear are random and the virtual deck is essentially reshuffled every hand, your chances of forming a winning combination never change. That’s true no matter how many hands you play. Don’t get caught up in trying to guess if you’re “due” to win.
Why Should I Make the Max Bet Every Hand?
When you look at the pay table above for Jacks or Better, the payback for a royal flush is 250 to 1 on bets of one through four coins. But that number jumps to 800 to 1 when you bet five coins. For that reason, you should be making that max bet every time.
Does It Matter Which Website I Choose If I Find the Video Poker Game That I Like?
If you choose an online casino site for video poker blindly, you could end up at a disreputable one. Considering that you’ll be sharing personal and financial information, this could be really problematic. Always do the due diligence to research your video poker website before signing on for good.