Video Poker Online: Beginners’ Tutorial

Video poker online is a truly amazing game that emerged in the United States in the 1970s. It’s an ideal fusion of online slot machines and poker. If you’re passionate about both slots and card games, you’re sure to fall in love with video poker at first sight! Read this guide to find out what video poker machines have to offer to gamblers, how they’re similar to and different from slots, and how you can boost your winning chances with no stress!

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Video poker games

Luckily for gamblers, there is a bunch of exciting video poker online variations available across online casinos:

  • Jacks or Better;
  • Deuces Wild;
  • Joker’s Wild;
  • Bonus Poker;
  • Joker Poker;
  • Double Bonus Poker;
  • Double Double Bonus Poker;
  • and some others.

Each variation has its own payouts table and optimal strategy. Plus, you may spot minor differences in the gameplay. Pick the game that excites you most!

How to play video poker

Video poker online

Let’s make a quick overview of how to play Jacks or Better game without going too much into detail. You might be wondering why this video poker version is called this way. It’s pretty simple! Because the lowest paying combination in this game is a pair of Jacks. In other words, in order to get a payout, you need to have a pair of Jacks, a pair of Kings, a pair of Queens, or a pair of Aces (all these hands collectively refer to as “Jacks or Better”). If your hand is lower in value than these combos, you’ll have to walk away empty-handed.

When playing any video poker game, your goal is to collect a winning hand. The more rare the combination, the more money you’ll get for it.

Now let’s take a look at the gameplay.

  • Start the Jacks or Better video poker game and hit the “Deal” button.
  • You’ll be dealt a starting hand of 5 cards. This game uses a standard 52-card deck, and the cards are dealt randomly by a shuffling machine.
  • After evaluating your hand, you can choose to hold or discard any card.
  • If you choose to discard a certain card, you need to draw a new one.
  • If you end up with a winning hand, you get paid.

Here are the standard payouts for paying hands in Jack or Better.

  • Royal Flush is a gem combination of Jacks or Better. It pays the highest and triggers a whopping x250 payout.
  • Straight Flush pays x50.
  • Four of a Kind can bring you a x25 payout.
  • Full House has a varying payout that ranges from x6 to x9, depending on the video poker machine that you’re playing.
  • Flush pays x5 or x6.
  • Straight is worth x4.
  • Three of a Kind is worth x3.
  • Two Pair pays x2.
  • Jacks or Better is worth x1.

Keep in mind that you only get paid for one hand that carries the biggest value.

Jacks or Better Payout Table for 1-5 Coin Bets

Play video poker like a pro: Winning tips

The thing we love most about video poker is that you can improve your winning chances with no to little effort.

  • If you have a Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of Kind or Full House, you must hold it.
  • If you have a Three of a Kind, get rid of the remaining two cards. If you have Two Pair, discard the remaining fifth card. By taking new cards, you have more opportunities to form a high-paying hand.
  • Be sure to always place maximum bets - if, of course, you can afford it. Why? Because if you happen to hit a Royal Flush, you’ll get the maximum payout of x4,000! Compare it to the standard payout of x250. There is quite a difference, right?
  • Pick a video poker game with a comfortable minimum bet. If you have a limited budget, you should steer clear from one-dollar video poker slot machines because they’re likely to eat up your bankroll before you can properly enjoy the game. Instead, stick with quarter machines that accept smaller bets.

Pros of video poker games

We won’t get tired of stressing that video poker is a great gambling game. It took the best from slot machines and poker, creating a brand new casino entertainment. If you’re still unsure if video poker is worthy of your time, continue reading! We bet that the list of advantages below will convert you into a hardcore video poker fan!

  • Don’t be fooled by the appearance of video poker machines. Although they look like slot machines, video poker is not a game of chance like pokies. When playing video poker, you have a certain extent of control over the outcome of the game. You can make your own decisions that affect your performance. This makes video poker similar to card games like blackjack and poker where you need to analyze your hands, make strategic decisions, and calculate each move. If you’re a fan of skill-based card games, video poker will leave you speechless!
  • Video poker games boast a very low house edge. And as if that wasn’t enough, players can take the casino advantage even lower by applying the optimal strategy. This is something you can never do on online pokies. If you have the discipline and patience to follow through with the optimal strategy, you have all chances to beat the casino. In fact, video poker is one of few casino games where you actually gain the upper hand over the casino. (Pun totally intended!)
  • Big-name online casinos offer a striking selection of video poker games. You can pick the variation that fits your skill level, personal gambling preferences, and bankroll.

Video poker

FAQ on video poker games

What does video poker have in common with slots?

- If you’ve ever seen a video poker machine at a land-based casino, you must know that it looks almost identical to a slot machine. Just like pokies, video poker games feature no dealer or other players. It’s just you one on one with the game. Also, video poker machines are based on the random number generator (RNG) which is responsible for dealing random cards to players. Finally, video poker online has a player-friendly gameplay which is straightforward and easy to master.

How do I pick the best game?

- The most important thing is to choose a good online casino to play at. This way, you can rest assured that video poker machines that you’re about to play are 100% fair and not rigged. Plus, a legitimate casino always pays out winnings to its clients like clockwork. Here is one more tip. Don't rely too much on knowing the standard gameplay and payouts. If, for example, your favorite variation is Jacks or Better and you think you know it in and out, you still should examine the rules and payouts for your selected video poker machine. There can be minor deviations in gameplay that you might not know about.

Can I play video poker online for free?

- Yes. Gambling sites online allow users to play video poker with virtual credits. Be sure to use this option to get acquainted with the game, train your skills, master the optimal strategies, and approach new video poker variations. Remember that video poker is partly based on skills and your ability to form winning hands, so practicing in demo mode is a wise thing to do.

How much do video poker machines pay out?

- With the help of the optimal strategy, you can raise the payout rate to a staggering 99%. For example, if you’re using the optimal strategy for Jacks or Better, you can reach a 99.5% RTP. As for Deuces Wild, here you can count on a 100% RTP. Incredible, right? This makes playing video poker online more profitable than playing slots. As you probably know, most slots tend to pay back between 95% and 98%. At the same time, you should be careful so as not to get carried away with your wagers - especially if you can’t boast a fat bankroll. Although video poker machines are known for their sky-high payouts, no player is insured against hitting a losing streak. You might have five, six or even ten empty hands in a row. If you manage your money wisely, you’ll have no trouble overcoming an unlucky streak and making juicy profits.

Can I win a jackpot playing video poker?

- Yes, it’s quite possible! Online casinos have progressive video poker slot machines on their gaming portfolios. Just like progressive slots, they are linked into large networks that share the constantly growing jackpot pool. If you’re playing a progressive machine and end up with a Royal Flush, you’ll trigger the life-changing jackpot prize. Sounds amazing, huh?