While some people group video poker with slot machines they are actually very different games. Video poker can offer almost zero house edge and sometimes machines actually have payout percentage of over 100%. Video poker also has a skill element in the fact that you need to know what to hold. If you are a slot machine player then we highly recommend you try video poker.
Video Poker History
Invented by Si Redd (Founder of International Game Technology) in 1979, video poker has become a very popular game. There are now hundred of variations and games with up to 100 hands played at a time. Interestingly enough the game was almost never released and when it was it was not a hit with players.
Aim of the Game
Your aim is to get the highest possible poker hand (See : Poker Hand Rankings)
Video poker is an electronic version of five card poker. Each game uses one virtual deck of 52 cards (53 for games with a joker). You get five cards dealt, choose which ones to hold and then draw additional cards in the hope of improving your hand. You are then paid on wins as per the pay table.
Video Poker Variations
There are hundreds of variations of the game. The most popular ones are;
- Jacks or Better - The lowest paying hand is a pair of Jacks
- Double Bonus - Offers big wins for several four of a kind hands
- Deuces Wild - All cards with a value of 2 are wild
- Joker Poker - A wild joker card is added to the deck
Each of the different variations will have a different pay table. You will also find varying pay tables for the same game variation. The key as a player is to always look for the best possible pay tables. These games are known as Full Pay and offer the best pay out percentage. For example full pay Jacks or Better has a payout percentage of 99.54% when played perfectly.
How to Play
To play video poker you select a machine and then insert some money to get credits. You then have to choose how much you want to bet per hand. As the pays improve the more you bet you should only ever play max bet which is five coins per hand. Pressing max bet or deal will deal five cards.
You can then select to hold all or any of the five cards on the screen. You then press deal to receive new cards for any cards you did not hold. The final hand is then reached and if it is a winning hand you will be awarded a win according to the payout table. A this pint you can often try to double up your win.
The gamble feature actually has no house edge. There are five cards dealt on the screen with the one on the far left dealt face up. Your aim is to pick a card that has a higher value than the face up card. This of course is all luck as you cannot see the other cards. If you win your get double your initial win. On most games you can keep doubling until either the gamble limit is reached or you lose.
Sequence of Play
- Insert money into the machine
- Select your bet size (Max bet is recommended)
- Press deal
- Five cards are dealt
- Select cards to hold
- Press Draw
- Any wins are paid according to the pay table
- Double Up option
- Start again
Where to Play Online
The following site all feature a good range of video poker games and all offer full pay Jacks or Better games. As a new player at any of them you will be able to claim a welcome bonus which means you get more play for your cash!