Video poker has become one of the most sought-after casino games at both brick-and-mortar and web-based casinos. It is attracting a lot of attention from seasoned players and casino novices alike, as it provides an exciting gaming experience with relatively simple rules. Video poker strategy looks at the game, and ways in which you can maximise your chances of success.
Just like physical poker, there are many different kinds of video poker available to play. And playing video poker is easy. For most games, you only have only two decisions to make – how much you want to bet, and whether you keep discard any cards from your hand.
How to play video poker
The most basic form of Video Poker is a game where you place your bet and are dealt five cards. You then select which cards to keep, and which to discard – replacing them with new cards from the deck. Once you have replaced any cards you wish to throw, if your poker hand is better than the minimum paying hand, you win a cash prize. And the stronger your hand, the better the prize you win.
For example, if you receive 3h, 6c, 7s, Jh and Ah, then you don’t have a winning hand. But you may opt to keep perhaps the Ace and the Jack, and try to make a pair of either card. Or you may keep the Ace, Jack and three in the hope of landing a flush of hearts. Winning hands are based on the traditional poker hand values, given by their relative rarity. A pair is the most common, and usually the lowest winning hand. So in most games, you have to make a pair of either tens, jacks or better. Any pair from two to nine would be a losing hand.
If you get three-of-a-kind in any hand, that would win you more than a pair, a flush would win you more than a straight, a full house more than a flush, and so on. Hit a Royal Flush and you usually win the game jackpot, which can be a considerable sum depending on how much you wagered in the first place. Hand rankings are usually clearly displayed on the game page for each video poker game, which you should familiarise yourself with before developing your video poker strategy. You can read more about the variety available at online platforms here Best Video Poker Games To Play In 2020.
Why you should play online video poker
There is one great reason why if you’re a poker player and a casino fan, you should consider playing video poker. The game has become so popular because it brings into the mix a low house edge (profit to the casino) while still giving you, the player, a chance to win big (in terms of jackpot size). Games such as Jacks or Better offer a house edge of just 0.46%. In roulette, the house edge is 2.7% for a single zero wheel and 5.26% on a double zero wheel. And the slots carry a house edge of anywhere from 2% to 15%. So you can see that video poker offers a far greater chance of success each turn. A nice place to start when developing a video poker strategy.
You can also Improve your bankroll at Bet365 Casino with a great welcome bonus to start your video poker career off on the right foot. You can claim the offer just for signing up and use the bonus cash not just to get the hang of how video poker is played, but also potentially win some big cash prizes. The chance to claim a bonus and use it on any games on the casino floor is something you will rarely see at any land-based venue.
Your options for video poker are also much larger online than at brick-and-mortar casinos. Instead of a few machines on the casino floor, you have an almost unlimited video poker selection online. There are a multitude of online video poker platforms, which you can access from the comfort of your own home minutes after creating a casino account. You’ll find the best of them here at our trusted online gambling sites in the USA.
Video poker offers great variety
Online casinos offer a real variety of video poker games. Some even allow gamblers to play more than one set of five cards on any given turn. A set of cards is called a ‘line’, and games of 4, 10 or even 25 lines are available to play. In some games, players can also gamble winnings by selecting a card that is higher than one selected by the computer. Not so much a video poker strategy, more a game of luck – if you pick a higher card, you double your money. If it’s lower, you lose. And you can double each win as many times as you like, provided you keep winning. There is also an option to bank half of your winnings and double the remaining half. With this in mind, here are some of the most popular variations:
Jacks or Better – Perhaps the best known form of the game. Players win with hands that include a pair of jacks or better.
10-Line Jacks or Better – A progressive jackpot game where a small percentage of each wager goes into a central pot. When a player hits the big combination, usually the Royal Flush, the Progressive jackpot pays out. Players can play up to 10-lines per game.
Deuces Wild – Another popular format. The four ‘2’ cards in a pack are wild, which you can use to make up the best possible hand. It can give a losing hand some great possibilities, and means an incredibly low house edge of 0.27%
Aces and Faces – Players must make a hand of a pair of Aces, or face cards (jack, queen or kings) or better.
2 Ways Royal – A similar game to Jacks or Better but featuring High and Low Royal Flush win options.
Video poker strategy basics
Just like slot machines, randomness is involved in Video poker. The instant the player hits the ‘Bet Max Credits’ or the ‘Deal / Draw’ button, a random number generator determines the draw of the cards – the virtual equivalent of shuffling. Or, if you like, you can think of it as playing with an infinite deck. And once the player has selected which cards he will hold, he replaces the others in the same way. However, this is where the similarity with random slot machine play ends.
Video poker allows players to have a say in the game they have chosen to play. It therefore not only offers some of the best odds in casino gambling, but is one of the few casino games that give you the chance to influence the game’s outcome. Yes, your skills can make a difference. As a player, you have control over the initial five cards that you are dealt. It’s your choice what you do with those five cards. Your decision (along with how many coins you should wager) is whether you should hold or exchange those cards.
So if you’ve never played video poker before, you’re probably wondering how to decide which cards to hold. Firstly, keep in mind this basic strategy on how to win at online video poker – you should almost never give up a winning hand in an attempt at getting an even bigger hand. From here, your video poker strategy is simple – build the best hand you can, every hand. And be aware that the order of best possible hands may vary slightly, depending on which game you are playing. Once you have a video poker strategy, you’ll find all the video poker action you want at good online platforms such as 888casino.
Video poker strategy tips
As a general rule, you should hold any winning combinations. But there are exceptions. As the name suggests, a high pair in Jacks or better video poker is JJ, QQ, KK, or AA. If you have a high pair, you’re already guaranteed a payout, so there are very few reasons to break it. In fact, there is only one situation where you should. This is when you have four cards to the Royal Flush (you already have four of the five cards needed). So if you have Ah, As, Ks, Qs, and Js, it is worth going for the jackpot and breaking your pair of Aces. If your card comes in, you’ll win a huge payout, more than justifying the risk. Otherwise, always keep your high pair and try to improve it.
One common mistake to avoid when dealt a low pair is choosing to keep an additional high card. For example, if you are dealt 5, 5, Q, J, 8, keeping 5, 5, Q and only discarding J and 8 is a big mistake. This will drastically reduce your win rate. But when you have four cards to the flush, you also should break your low pair and try to hit your suit. Apart from this exception, you should always keep your pair, and don’t chase unlikely draws.
And what should be your video poker strategy if you are dealt a ready-made hand from the initial five cards? Keep it, with one exception – Flushes and Straights. As ridiculous as it sounds, it makes sense to break a made straight or a flush if, again, you have four cards to the Royal Flush draw. In terms of jackpot winning opportunities, this one’s backed up by the maths.
Video poker strategy is about quality not quantity
With most video poker games, you can usually wager between 1 and 5 coins. You should always play maximum coins. Jacks or Better video poker offers the top payout for a Royal Flush. And playing maximum coins gives you the chance of a bonus win when you hit one. You can of course drop down to a lower coinage if you aren’t comfortable with the five-coin bet. The only difference is you won’t be playing for the jackpot.
Also, apply a ‘slow-down strategy’ when playing Jacks or Better. No one will chase you or call the clock if you take some time to decide what cards to keep. You can play and go on a break anytime you want. Video poker, unlike online poker, is a game where the greater the number of hands, the greater the chances of losing your money – so you need to play slower hands. This lessens your hourly losses and allows you to play for longer, increasing your chances of hitting a royal flush or making a decent profit. Don’t rush, and don’t play for volume. Many players often ignore this basic gambling principle and therefore lose a lot of money within a very short period.
There are always plenty of promotions and offers on the Jacks or Better video poker, along with its other variations. Target the right promotions, and you stand a better chance of winning since you’ll get free money to play more games. And don’t forget to manage your bankroll. Leaving the casino with a small profit is better than leaving with nothing at all. So to get started and develop your own video poker strategy, check out our trusted online casino sites in the USA. And good luck!