Video Poker Guide

Video poker is an interesting mix of slots and the exciting strategy game that is poker. It features the suspense that goes hand in hand with slots and requires specific skills. It has been one of the most popular games among casino fans for decades. Whether you go to a land-based venue or register at an online casino, there will probably be a section holding several video poker games.

Video Poker

Along with the expansion of technology, the casino industry has been expanding. New games go online monthly, and so do new websites. This activity has never been more convenient than it is now. Instead of traveling to a brick-and-mortar venue (possibly even planning a road trip to get there), you can play any game you can think of at your home. Additionally, thanks to mobile gaming, you can access most casinos on the go using your smartphone or tablet.

An online video poker game doesn’t differ much from its traditional form. In terms of the rules and concept, it’s pretty much the same. However, it offers various benefits that land-based casinos don’t (the convenience of not leaving your home is just one of them). So, without any further ado, let’s dive into the subject of online video poker.

What Is Video Poker?

Even though slots have always been quite popular, players wanted something new and different at a certain point. And that’s how video poker came to be across venues of Las Vegas in the 1970s. The game had that appeal and simplicity of slots, yet it called for some poker knowledge and strategic thinking, and the entire community was hooked. 

Given the popularity video poker gained when it appeared, you can only imagine how big of a hit its online form was (and still is). The main reason is the fact that the Internet offers more options than traditional venues. For starters, you can browse through countless titles until you find the one worth your money. Additionally, you can play multiple hands per round instead of settling for one. Lastly, the design of online video poker games is far superior to the one of traditional machines, with animations and sound effects that make the whole experience even more fun.

How to Play Video Poker at Online Casinos?

As you already know, video poker combines slots and poker. Essentially, there’s an electronic screen, but instead of looking at it in the hope of a winning combination, you can form one yourself. The combination of symbols is actually a poker hand. While the game is more challenging than slots, it’s also more fun as you get to decide which cards to keep and which ones to discard.

The concept of the game is similar to that of a standard poker game. Thus, you’re dealt a total of five cards. Afterward, you need to form the strongest hand possible, and it’s up to you to choose which cards to keep. When you discard certain cards, you’ll be dealt new ones. In the end, your payout will depend on the strength of your poker hand.

Hand Ranking

If you’ve ever played standard poker (or even taken an interest in the game), you’re familiar with the hand ranking. It determines your outcome as well as your payout, so it’s quite important. The following table ranks poker hands from the strongest to the weakest.

Royal Flush10, Jack, Queen, King, and an Ace of the same suit
Straight FlushFive consecutive cards of the same suit
Four of a KindFour cards of the same rank (four Aces, for instance)
Full HouseThree cards of one rank and two cards of another rank
Flush Any five cards of the same suit
StraightFive consecutive cards (their suit doesn’t matter)
Three of a KindThree cards of the same rank and any two other cards 
Two PairA pair of cards of one rank and a pair of cards of another rank
Pair of Jacks or BetterA pair of Jacks, Queens, Kings, or Aces

Do You Need to Read Video Poker Reviews?

There’s nothing stopping you from loading the first game that catches your eye, placing a bet, and getting started. However, it may be useful to explore the game that interests you beforehand. Since you’re playing online, you’re only a step (a click, that is) away from all the information you need.

Just like there are casino reviews, there are also game reviews. So, when you find a poker game you like, you may want to google its title and see what you can find about it. Not only will you learn everything about its mechanics and rules, but you’ll also get to read other players’ reviews. More often than not, they can be more than helpful.

Can You Get Video Poker Bonuses?

In addition to the convenience, there’s another big advantage of online casino gaming — bonuses. Every casino offers various promotions. Some target new players (welcome bonuses), some are designed for regulars (VIP points), and then there are those that can be used for a specific game (or a whole category).

You can easily find a video poker bonus if you choose the right casino. That is, if you register at a trustworthy, licensed website that has a decent selection of promotional offers. Video poker bonuses are usually deposit bonuses — the casino will match your deposit so that you can have more money to bet.

Advantages of Playing Free Video Poker

Reading reviews isn’t the only way you can explore an online game. You can also play it for free to see whether you like it and whether it’s worth your money.

Free video poker allows you to explore different games from the category and play them for fun. If the casino has the free play option, you neither have to make a deposit nor register to access the games in demo mode.

How to Create the Best Video Poker Strategy?

Creating a video poker strategy is similar to creating a poker strategy. It’s even simpler, as you won’t need to bluff and read others’ bluffs, as you won’t have other players in front of you. 

There are some basic steps you should take to improve your chances of winning. First of all, you should only play at reputable casinos. You’ll easily recognize them — they have a license, they’re transparent about their terms, and their payment conditions aren’t predatory.

Moreover, make sure to choose the game with the lowest house edge possible. It’s true that the house wins in the long run, but the more player-friendly the game is, the higher your chances.

Finally, memorize hand ranking and keep your knowledge of poker at the ready. When you get caught up in the game, you’ll find it tedious and time-consuming to look up the hand ranking table.

Closing Thoughts

Video poker has combined two very different games. While slots are all about luck and simplicity, poker requires strategic thinking. However, the two blend in together perfectly, delivering a game that’s both fun and fruitful if you know how to play it.