Playing poker at a land-based casino is a real art, especially when it comes to “people reading” and perfecting your own “poker face”. Luckily, thanks to video poker, you can enjoy all the thrills of a poker game, but without having to face a dealer or any other opponents. Read on for details on how (and what) to play.
What is video poker?
Video poker is a mash-up between five-card poker and online casino slots and has been a firm favourite amongst gamblers since the mid-1970s. The difference between video poker and classic online slots is that you have a certain amount of control over the outcome when playing video poker, as opposed to simply clicking the “spin” button and hoping that luck is on your side! This type of poker is extremely straightforward, so only a basic knowledge of the game and its various hands is required to win.
The benefits of playing video poker online vs live poker and online slots
Are you a complete newbie when it comes to playing video poker for money? Even if you’ve never tried your hand at poker before, you can still enjoy playing video poker. In many ways, it’s the best way to learn the rules of the game before stepping it up a notch and giving live casino poker a go. After all, its simplistic nature makes learning the game much easier as you can concentrate exclusively on your own gameplay.
There’s an element of skill involved when playing paid or free video poker games. If you take the time to read up on game strategy, you’ll find you can play at returns of higher than 100% – something you’ll never get from a slots game!
Finally, many gamblers prefer playing video table games instead of live games (either at a brick-and-mortar or online casino) because it’s a lot easier to stick to their bankroll. Betting in a live poker game can be quite erratic, particularly when going head-to-head with aggressive players. On the other side of the coin, since the game is 100% computerised, video poker bets are more systematic.
Choosing your variant
If you’re someone who believes that variety is the spice of life both in and out of the casino, you’re in luck! Just like in the world of live poker, there isn’t just one single variant of video poker, so you’ll need to spend a bit of time working out the best game to play based on your personal preferences and bankroll.
Not sure where to start? Jacks or Better is usually considered the ideal game for beginners as it’s fairly simple to follow and easy to get started. The paytable isn’t too complicated and you won’t get bogged down in complex game strategy while you figure out the essence of the game and gradually hone your skills.
Once you’ve mastered Jacks or Better, you can then think about branching out into other types of poker games. We recommend Deuces Wild as the perfect follow-on game as it allows the twos to act as wilds, substituting for other cards to help you create more winning lines.
How to play a hand of video poker
Ready to start playing? Here’s our step-by-step guide for a successful game.
- Decide on the amount you’d like to bet.
- Press “Deal” to receive your five cards from the “dealer”.
- Keeping the different poker hands in mind, decide which cards to reject and which ones to keep. Not happy with any? You can exchange all five if you want to.
- Next, you’ll receive your replacement cards from the “dealer”.
- Based on all the cards in your hand and your chosen bet, you’ll receive your relevant payout or forfeit your bet.
It really is as simple as that! But, of course, while playing is easy, refining your knowledge of the game takes much longer. The high potential returns are based on players making the best mathematical choices with the cards they’re dealt, and that’s something that takes a bit of time to learn. So, be patient, brush up on your skills in other ways if you wish, and just enjoy the game!
How to win hands at video poker
Always check the paytable of the game you’re playing before wagering real cash. Every game is different and paytables can vary quite significantly. Obviously, you’ll want the best potential returns to stand the best chance of winning!
Remember that the highest prizes are paid out for a royal flush of ace, king, queen, jack and 10 of the same suit. Next comes the straight flush, which is a run of five cards in the same suit. If you manage to get four-of-a-kind across each suit, this hand can be quite profitable, too.
A full house is three matching cards and a pair of matched cards, followed by a flush, which is five cards from the same suit but not in order. A straight is five cards in sequence that don’t belong to the same suit and is ranked higher than a pair of matching cards.
Our video poker casino games to try
The Phone Casino has plenty of great video poker games for you to explore. These are a handful of our players’ top picks.
- Crazy4Poker: This game uses Three Card Poker as its inspiration but, as the name says, it’s based on four cards. The goal is to create your best four-card poker hand with the cards you’re dealt. It’s up to you to beat the dealer!
- Jacks or Better (Double Up): This is a version of the classic Jacks or Better poker game for the high rollers. You can keep doubling your winnings by playing hi-lo with random cards.
- Joker Poker: This is classic video poker with a twist – jokers are wild and make the highest-paying hand when combined with your other four cards.
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