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Video Poker

Video Poker is a draw poker in slot machine form. Players Hold or Discard from five cards showing and get a second deal, or stand with a pat hand. It has become the most popular game of chance among casino players in the U.S. Eighty percent of respondents to a recent survey in Las Vegas said they played video poker.videopoker

There are important differences between Video Poker and Table Poker worth noting as follows:

  1. In Video Poker the House is represented by a machine not a dealer and the video machine does not attempt to beat you.
  2. You don’t have to figure out what the other player’s hand could be like when playing against other players.
  3. You cannot bluff.
  4. You do not run the risk of being beaten by another player. If you have a strong hand, you win. In Table Poker, you could have a strong hand like three of a kind and lose to another player who has a better hand.
  5. A good decision in Video Poker may be a bad one for Table Poker. What is advantageous to hold in Video Poker may prove disadvantageous in Table Poker and vice versa.

Since its introduction in the early 1980’s, Video Poker has grown into one of the casino’s most popular games. Unlike regular Poker, which is played against other players at a poker table, Video Poker is played individually on a machine that uses video technology to create a Poker hand.

Based on classic Five Card Stud, Video Poker challenges players to build the best possible five-card hand. The player is dealt five cards and has the option of discarding any or all of the cards. New cards are dealt to replace the discards.

Payoffs are based on a scale, paying players for hands as low as a pair of tens or Jacks all the way up to a Royal Flush. Like slot machines, Video Poker machines are available in many denominations, with 25c and $1 machines being the most popular. Many casinos also offer progressive payoffs or bonuses for Royal Flushes or other special hands. Video Poker provides variety too, with versions ranging from ‘Jacks or Better’ to ‘Deuces Wild’ and ‘Jokers Wild’.

The ranking of hands starting from the highest are as follows:

  1. Five of a Kind
  2. Royal Flush
  3. Straight Flush
  4. Four of a Kind
  5. Full House
  6. Flush
  7. Straight
  8. Three of a Kind
  9. Two Pair
  10. A Pair

Five of a Kind is only possible when using a Joker or Wild Cards and is the highest possible hand.

Video poker - some terms explained

Aces and eights

A video poker variant where four aces, eights and sevens all receive bonus payouts

Aces and faces

A variant where four aces or four identical face cards receive a bonus payout

All American

A variant which has better payouts for straight flushes than 'Jacks or Better'

Bonus deuces wild

A game in which all deuces (twos) are wild, creating extra bonus payouts

Bonus video poker

A variant where some hands receive extra bonus payouts

Deuces wild

Any form of video poker where deuces (twos) are wild

Double bonus

A version of video poker where bonuses are paid for various four-of-a-kinds

Double jackpot

A video poker variant with bonus payouts for four-of-a-kind hands that have an ace or face card kicker

Jacks or better

The 'original' video poker game - a hand must contain at the least a pair of jacks to be a winning hand

Joker poker

A game in which a joker (which acts as a wildcard) is added to the deck

Kings or better

A version where the payouts are greater than 'Jacks or Better', but the minimum winning hand is a pair of kings

Tens or better

A variant in which the payouts are less beneficial than 'Jacks or Better', but the minimum winning hand is a pair of tens

Them's the facts, now hit the machines!

Video poker is the game in casinos - both online and real world - that has the smallest house edge. Most forms of video poker have a house edge of less than one percent if the game is played with perfect strategy. Unfortunately, perfect strategy in video poker is not easy to master, and it's certainly not easy to memorise.

Once you've at least managed to get your head around how to best play video poker, you really do have the chance of winning a bit of cash on the machines, but don't forget to walk away if you encounter a losing streak. Gambling is both thrilling and entertaining, but it can also be addictive. Play responsibly and you'll undoubtedly find video poker a great deal of fun!

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