Video Poker is a popular choice for novice and experienced players alike, which naturally fuels widespread interest in video poker playing strategy. With the feel of real poker and the accessibility of a slot machine, video poker is a great option for any gambler.
Due to its format, video poker is also a game that players can enjoy online. The best part about the two options is the seamless transition players can make between playing online and in casinos.
What is video poker?
Video poker is a digitized version of five-card draw. A player receives their first five cards, decides which to keep, then receives an equal number of cards that they discarded. The goal is to create the best five-card poker hand possible.
Most games require the player to have a pair of Jacks or better to win, though some versions might require trips or higher. In a casino, video poker machines are similar in size and style to slots. Because the game is played onscreen in brick and mortar casinos, online play is exactly the same.
Which video poker game variation should players choose?
There are many unique versions of video poker, although the most popular include Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild. The version a player chooses comes down to personal preference. However, the goal for every player is to play “full pay games,” also referred to as “9/6 games,” regardless of which game they choose.
These types of games refer to the payoffs available to the player. When examining the pay tables on a game, versions that pay 9x for a full house and 6x for a flush are full pay games. Games attach their pay tables to the machine or place them on the screen, so the information is available before betting.
Video poker strategy
Although video poker and slots share a few similarities, video poker is less chance and can involve key decision making. The most important strategy to remember when playing video poker is to bet the max amount of coins possible. In general, the games allow players to bet between one and five coins. The main goal of video poker is to hit the royal flush. By max betting, players have the chance of getting 800:1 on a royal, a bonus compared to 250:1 with four coins.
Once a player decides on the game to play, how to play becomes a little more complicated. Luckily, despite the common misconception that they are illegal, cheat sheets are readily available for video poker. Even if the brick and mortars casinos look down on this practice, using a cheat sheet online eliminates the pressures of hovering floor supervisors.
Although some games might alter the procedures depending on minimum hand requirements, the general rules are the same. Below is the strategy on when to keep and discard. In parentheses is in what order a player should chase the hand. For example, it is better to keep three royal flush cards instead of keeping four flush cards in the same hand.
When to keep five cards:
- Royal Flush (1)
- Straight Flush (2)
- Four of a Kind (3)
- Full House (4)
- Flush (6)
- Straight (8)
When to keep four cards:
- Four to a Royal Flush (5)
- Four to a Straight Flush (9)
- Four to a Flush (13)
- Four to a Straight (15)
- Two Pair (10)
When to keep three cards:
- Three of a Kind (7)
- Three to a Royal Flush (12)
- Three to a Straight Flush (16)
When to keep two cards:
- High Pair (11)
- Low Pair (14)
- Two to a Royal Flush (17)
- Two High Cards (18)
When to keep one card:
- One High Card (19)
When to keep zero cards:
· Nothing good in the hand (20)
Is online video poker better than playing in casinos?
Like when choosing which video poker game to play, choosing between playing in a casino or online also comes down to player preference. Because the games are identical in both settings, the decision comes down to the environment. Many players enjoy the freedom and convenience of online play.
The attractive bonus offers, unabashed use of cheat sheets, lack of surveillance or other players, and comfortability are paramount. However, many players enjoy the casino ambiance; free drinks, the ability to play other live games, and the camaraderie. As long as full pay games and max betting are available, where to play is almost irrelevant when it comes to strategy.