Video poker is perhaps the latest of the casino games categories to come into being. It was developed in the 1970s when Si Redd of Bally branched out from slot machines to develop the first video poker games, which were ultimately marketed in partnership with Fortune Coin Companies. This partnership today is known as IGT. The video poker games were computer simulated games played on consoles. The success of these video poker machines paved the way for electronic video slots. After online slots, video poker games are the most popular at online casinos.
Almost all the online video poker games are based on the philosophy of draw poker, in which you can exchange any number of cards from your dealt hand. The final hand is compared against the poker hand rankings in a payout table, with the higher ranked hands paying more.
Variations of video poker available at online casinos
The basic video poker variant at US online casinos is Jacks or Better. It starts paying from a pair of jacks or higher and moves to a royal flush. Other online video poker variants are built around this. There are those that involve wild cards which can substitute for other cards to make poker hand rankings. In Deuces Wild all the twos can act as wild cards. Joker Poker is played with 53 cards in which the extra card is a joker, which is a wild card. Other online video poker variants have been developed by allotting different payouts to four-of-a-kind hands with different cards.
US online casinos offer both single hand and multi-hand video poker variants. In single hand games you play one hand at a time. In multi-hand games you can play a number of hands at the same time. There some off beat titles like Mystery Bonus Poker and Pick ‘Em Poker as well.
How online video poker is played
You begin by selecting the coin size and the number of coins. The product of these is your total bet. You will be dealt five cards from a single deck. You have the option of replacing as many cards as you want. You click on the cards that you want to retain. When you click the draw button the remaining cards will be replaced from that deck. This means that you cannot get back the cards that have been discarded. Your final hand will be compared against the payout table. If you have not got the minimum hand ranking that pays out then you will lose your bet. If you have a paying hand ranking you will receive the payout as specified in the payout table. There is a separate payout table for each number of coins wagered. The payouts are multipliers that are applied to the coin value and credited to your account.
Strategy that can enhance your win potential playing online video poker
If you look at the different payout tables you will see that the payouts for a winning hand ranking are in multiples of the number of coins wagered. But the payout for the royal flush with five coins wagered is a jackpot payout that is more five times the payout with one coin. This leads to the golden rule of online video poker, which is always play with five coins.
Online video poker variants offer an average return of about 99% if played with optimum strategy. This means that you should acquaint yourself with this strategy before playing. The strategies are different in the case of different online video poker variants. Usually they are given as an ordered list of card combinations to hold. You should hold a card combination that is highest on that list. A useful rule is not to break combinations that will already pay out, with some exceptions.
Advantages of playing video poker online
- Online video poker variants offer high average returns to players of about 99%.This means that you are unlikely to lose loads of money playing video poker if you play with the correct strategy.
- The highest payouts are about 800 times the bet amount, which are higher than in most other online casino games.
- Players who do not like to be totally dependent on luck will find online video poker a good option because a fair amount of strategic decision making is involved.
- Multi-hand online video poker speeds up the game play, which helps players who can wager for only short periods of time.
Disadvantages of playing video poker online
- The optimum strategy in online video poker is quite complex and there are no simplified tools like the blackjack strategy card. So it will be hard work to master this strategy.
- Playing online video poker for real money without following the optimum strategy will lead to a drastic fall in average return to players and this is not desirable.
- Unlike blackjack and roulette, video poker is not a glamorous land casino game and therefore online casino players are not likely to walk the extra mile to get involved for that reason.
- The visual appeal in online video poker is not as enchanting as in online slots.