How to Play Video Poker


video poker machine

Combining many of the elements of poker with the excitement and anticipation of slots, video poker is a game that requires a good strategy and an ability to make quick decisions. A good sound knowledge of the game combined with some playing skills will greatly increase your chances of winning at video poker. A good start to get you into the game of video poker is to read the ReadyBetGo’s Guide to Video Poker. Another good plan is to read about the latest in video poker strategies. For anyone wanting to get one step further learning about the history and rules associated with video poker may be of benefit, as will checking out the best in training software for video poker.

For anyone who enjoys gambling and enjoys winning even more, video poker is a better choice than slots, simply because the odds of winning are greater than slots provide. Each draw comes from a freshly shuffled pack (virtual of course!) and the secret house edge or tight machine is not even a possibility.

What makes video poker more exciting and alluring than many online casino games is that is has a positive expectation. Simply put a positive expectation exists when a game is guaranteed to pay out more than is put in. Video poker is one of those games that if you play for long enough in the best way and play on the right machine you can be assured of getting more than just your money back.

While that is an exciting element of video poker it does not mean you should hand in your resignation at work and take up video poker playing full time. It takes a lot of effort and skill to become a full-time professional video poker player. What you can do is play in your spare time and if played well you can have a lot of fun and finish with the same money you started with, give or take a small margin. This is like getting a free vacation or a night out at zero cost to you.

Basic Video Poker

If you are already familiar with poker then the transition to video poker should be easy. The fundamentals are the same. Just as in the table game of poker, so too does video poker have a draw and a hierarchy of hand ranks, but that is where the similarities end. You are playing against a machine so trying to bluff is impossible and there is no pot. There is no option to raise or call. You are dealt five cards and you can then choose to keep all or some of them. If you want to replace some cards the machine will deal you the replacements. The cards you now hold comprise your final hand. Winners are then paid in line with what is posted on the pay table on the machine.

The simplest and most basic version of video poker is Jacks or Better. Any player holding a pair of Jacks or better wins. There are other versions where deuces and / or jokers are considered wild cards and can be designated whichever card the player requires. The minimum winning hand is usually required to be higher in a game involving wild cards, when it will take a pair of Kings or better to win, or even two pair or three-of-a-kind. Where the multiple-hand option is available a player can elect to start with the same cards in every hand for as many hands as he or she wants but the draw is different every time.

Poker Hands

The same principle applies whatever the video poker version is that you are playing. You’re dealt 5 cards, you draw and whatever cards are then in your hand is what you play with.

There is very little difference in the buttons on a video poker machine and a slots machine, the main difference is that the video poker machine has a “Deal” button where the “Spin” button would be on a slots machine. Each card also has a “Hold” button. The video poker machines available today are usually equipped with a touch screen so all you have to do to hold the cards is to touch them.

A word of caution: It is imperative that you press the hold button for a card if you intend to keep it. Players have been known to get caught up in the excitement of being dealt and potentially winning hand but forget to “Hold” the cards. They then press the “Deal” button again and instead of winning are dealt 5 more cards, leading to a great deal of disappointment at both losing and at making a simple mistake.