Video Poker One Of The Oldest Still One Of The Most Popular
Some of the first electronic games available in casinos were video poker games. Very similar to slot games these types of games have translated very well to the online world. If you are mad about slots but want something that is a bit more of a challenge video poker might be the game for you. Most versions of the game have the lowest house edge of all casino games. The typical percentage runs below 1% for the house and unlike slots games, a strategy can be put in place to increase your chances further. There are some variants that if played correctly can yield a positive return for the player. Let’s not get carried away though, professional video poker does not await you. We are talking maybe a return in the region of 101%. What is does mean is you get way more bang for your buck. Your bank roll goes a lot further and you get to play way more games. Also there is a really good feeling that comes with beating the house using your brains and not just luck!
Based On Five Card Draw – Just No Bluffing And No Opponent
Video poker is an excellent introduction to the wonderful game of poker. If you are new to the game then video poker will give you a good grounding of the hand structure. Of course the table game is a long way removed from the video version but the hand strength is the same. The game is generally played with the bog standard 52 card deck. Unless of course you are playing Jokers Wild but we will get into that a bit further on. Jacks or Better is considered the standard game which as the name suggests a pair of Jacks or better is needed to get a payout.
- Pair of Jacks or Better
- Three of a kind also known as a set or trips
- Straight all five cards ascending in order e.g. 2 3 4 5 6 of any suit
- Flush all five cards the same suit any order
- Full house one pair and a set together
- Four of a kind also known as quads
- Straight flush five cards same suit in ascending order
- Royal flush ten to the Ace in the same suit
The payouts for each hand varies from version to version and this determines the different strategies that can be employed.
The Fun Begins
So the game starts with you placing the bet. Depending on the version you will have different limits available. Some will have only two bet sizes others will have a lot more to choose from. Anyway the bet is made and five virtual cards are dealt. You choose which to hold and which you wish to redraw. You click on redraw when your choice is made and the cards that are not held are redrawn. The resulting hand is paid out if it is a winner. The payout tables for each game are readily available and are a big part of choosing which game to play.
Which Are The Best Payers? – The Clue Is In The Title
When it comes to Jacks or Better there are some variables that determine the overall payout percentages and subsequently which strategy to use. It usually revolves around the payout for a full house and flush. These two hands are the median and the best payout you will get is 9 times the stake for the full house and six times for the flush. These numbers will be in the game title usually. The game will be called 9-6 Jacks or Better. The other two common forms are 8-5 and 7-5 Jacks or Better. A number of casinos market their versions with huge royal flush payouts. The thing is the flush and full house will have terrible payouts, and the sets and two pairs will be shaved as well. This is a huge house advantage as the royal flush is a long shot. The differences in payout levels are sometimes subtle but they do make a big difference to the long game. The best game you will find in terms of low house advantage is 9-6 Jacks or Better. There is a standard strategy to this version and it gives the player the best chance to book a win overall.
The Basic Strategy
This basic gameplay works with 9-6 Jacks or Better. If you are new to playing the game this is the best place to start. There are countless free to play sites where you can practice and hone your play before committing real cash. This is one of the few casino games that practicing first really helps. This strategy can be used as a baseline but different versions will change the way it works. Not to worry though there are quite a few websites with tutorials for the different versions available. First a little terminology. A high card is a Jack, Queen, King or an Ace. The ‘Gut Shot’ is a draw to the straight where one specific card is needed usually from the middle e.g. 5, 7, 8, 9 so the 6 is the card needed to make the straight. ‘Open ended’ is a straight draw where two cards can complete the straight e.g 2, 3, 4, 5, so the Ace or 6 will make the straight. There is an obvious way to play hands most of the time but sometimes there will be conflicting hands and a decision on the best way to play it will need to be made. This is the order of play for the most basic gameplay.
- A dealt royal flush, straight flush or four of a kind is a pat hand do not redraw any cards hold them all.
- Four cards to a royal flush hold them and redraw the fifth
- Full house, straight or a flush this is a pat hand hold them all. Three of a kind redraw the two others
- Four cards to straight flush hold them and redraw the fifth
- Two pairs hold them and redraw the odd card
- High pair hold and redraw the other three
- Three cards to a royal flush hold them and redraw the other two
- Four cards to a flush hold them and redraw the fifth
- Low pair hold them and redraw the other three
- Open ended straight draw hold them and redraw the fifth card
- Two suited high cards hold them and redraw the other three
- Three cards to a straight flush hold them and redraw the other two
- Two unsuited high cards hold them and redraw the other three
- Suited King/Ten, Queen/Ten or a Jack/Ten hold them and redraw the other three
- One high card hold and redraw the other four
- None of the above redraw all five and pray!
This may all seem a bit out of wack but it does make sense. There are much more in-depth strategies for more advanced play but this is great for the beginner. Here’s an example; you get dealt four diamonds the Ace, 2, 8 and Ten and the 8 of spades. The right way to play it is to keep the four to a flush and disregard the lowly pair of eights. The chance of hitting another diamond is far higher than hitting another pair, trip eights or better.
Like All Things You Can Take It As Far As You Want
Some websites out there take the strategy to the nth degree and with some variants the complex nature can really take the fun away from playing. Learn the basics and they can be applied to most types with a bit off adjustment. The interesting play comes with the Deuces Wild and Jacks Wild variants. You then get the 5 of a kind in the mix. The naturals and such. The Deuces Wild is one of the best player edge games there is if played with the correct strategy. Play the 9-5 Deuces Wild (that’s 9 for the straight flush and five for the four of a kind) and you are looking at a gain off around three quarters of a percent. Yep we know not much but is a win. Video poker is a firm favorite with both the players and the casinos. Most of the time the players don’t play perfect strategy and the casino wins in the long game. Players love it because they can use strategy. Land based casinos adore the game because it brings in players. Online casinos love it because they can see endless tweaks to the game. The payouts can be manipulated in such a way that the player thinks they are on to a good thing but in fact the casino has just doubled its edge. There will be video poker as long as there are casinos to play it in. Bonus games wild cards extra payout levels for quad 8’s or Ace’s there are a ton of ways the game can be spiced up.