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Looking for a game that delivers the fast-paced action of a slot machine with odds similar to blackjack? Then look no further than video poker. Already a highly popular casino game to begin with, online video poker is growing even more popular with online bettors thanks to the rise in fame of poker, particularly Texas Hold’em poker (and yet, despite the fact that video poker more closely resembles 5-card draw). Optimized with the use of mathematical strategy, video poker gambling for real money on the internet provides an exceptionally low House Edge and the same exact experience to be found in a brick and mortar casino, where banks of video poker machines of various stakes can be found.

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Video Poker Games and Rules

If you play poker like a seasoned pro, then video poker will be a no brainer for you. But even if you aren’t a mean and lean card playing machine, you can easily pick up what you need to know in order to play video poker well. The best asset, is simply knowing what hands are winning, or “paying” poker hands, and if you aren't familiar, here is a “handy” list of the high ranking poker hands. ( We apologize for the pun.) Missing from that list are two of the highest ranked video poker hands, which are the Royal Flush and the Five-of-a-Kind. The latter is pretty self explanatory: five cards of the same value. And Royal Flush is a hand made up of an Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and a Ten of all the same suit.

To get started, you may want to hone your strategy and familiarity on a video poker game like Jacks or Better. This variety is very commonly found and is great for “learning the ropes”, plus a vast array of games are direct offshoots from Jack or Better, making it even easier to branch out once you're comfortable. Games like Aces and Eights, Aces and Faces, Bonus Poker, Tens or Better and All Aces will be easy to pick up once you’ve familiarized yourself with the logic of Jacks or Better. But when you are ready, it is going to be a great idea to transition to Deuces Wild which has a lower house edge and will give you better odds as a player. This is also the case for a popular variation called, Deuces and Joker Poker, making these games more popular among seasoned players. Other favorites include Power Poker, Joker Poker, and Double Poker.

When playing video poker, first you’ll receive, or be digitally “dealt” five cards, face up. You will then get to select which cards you would like to “hold” or keep and choose which cards you would like to “give back to the dealer” in order to have that same number of cards re-dealt with new cards. These choices are what make video poker a game that allows for more strategy to be used. At the end of the final hand, your hand will be measured in accordance to a paytable that determines value for each hand for that game. For example, a pair of jacks or higher wins your bet back while playing Jacks or Better. It is worthwhile to always take a good look at the paytable for a particular game before getting started and making any bets.

Video Poker Odds

Instead of most online casino games being dependent on odds manufactured by the casino itself, video poker, like regular poker, is dependent on the finite number of combinations that could result from a 52 card deck. This means that the house edge is determined by what amounts the casino offers on a particular game’s paytable. For Jacks or Better it’s a 9/6 chart, which means a Flush pays 6 to 1 and a Full House 9 to 1. For Deuces Wild, it’s 15/9/5, which means a Five of a Kind pays 15 to 1, a Straight Flush pays 9 to 1 and a Four of a Kind pays 5 to 1.

Odds still play a substantial role in a player’s ability to win money while playing video poker, despite poker’s touted title of being a “game of skill”. The winning hand of a Royal Flush will often boat mouthwatering takes on a video poker game’s paytable, but the odds of actually winning with that hand are a daunting 1 in 40,000. Regardless, even those odds are a ray of sunshine and possibility compared to the odds you face win playing the lottery. Where the video poker players odds are really the best is at the lower level hands that players depend on to grind out an overall profit.

Video Poker Tips & Strategy

When choosing a video poker game or when choosing which online casino to play at, always take a good look at the game’s paytable. For instance, if a Jacks or Better game has its pay listed for 8/5 instead of 9/5 like we mentioned above, you may want to consider playing elsewhere because that amount sets up the casino with an additional 2% house edge. Most reputable online casino will offer a healthy paytable, but if you don’t check first you may not be aware if you’re getting the short end of the stick or not.

Deuces Wild’s house edge is actually almost 1% in the player’s favor. This is why it’s nearly impossible to find a game that offers full pay, otherwise the casino would be reliably losing money. Your best bet is going to be to find a Deuces wild game that offers a paytable at 15/9/4 which then brings the house edge to a respectable 1%. Very rarely land based casinos may offer Deuces wild games with an edge that slightly favor the player, but usually for only short, promotional stints.

The maximum bet amount is also an important factor when considering your video poker strategy. Most games have a five chip limit, and it is with that maximum bet that you will be in the running for the Royal Flush jackpot which often will be 2,000 to 4,000 times the amount of your bet. If you have budgeted your bankroll for the length of time your plan on playing hands, and have come to the conclusion that you would not like to bet more than roughly a dollar on each hand, it is best to play a quarter machine at the maximum bet, that is is to play a dollar machine at the minimum bet. The minimum bet is designed to give you a less favorable return. For example, 3 of a kind will pay 3 to 1, 6 to 2, 9 to 3, etc. And for that Royal Flush hand that would have been upwards of 2,000 times your bet, a single chip bet would only pay 250 to 1. So if you did happen to get a Royal Flush you would get $250 on a $1 bet, instead of $2,500 on a $1.25 bet.

All in all, it is worthwhile to consult a strategy guide for the specific game of video poker you plan on playing. But it is a good rule of thumb to never always hold cards that make up a playable “paying” hand and never be tempted by the high card bonus round. The only time it would be prudent to do so is if you are one card short of a Royal Flush, then it would be considered worth it to risk the lower paying hand.

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