Everything You Need to Know About Video Poker
When you think about the game of poker, you probably imagine a table filled with players, many wearing large hats, chomping on cigars and glamorous ladies who keep their cards close to their chest. It’s easy to think that to play poker, you need a huge amount of skill and knowledge of the game and in terms of top-level tournament poker, few would disagree that this is the case.
However, there is another form of the game that does not require anything more of a player than the ability to recognise what is a strong poker hand. There’s no need to be able to ‘read’ an opponent, no need to spend years honing your perfect poker strategy and people being able to read your play is also never a concern when you try your hand at Video Poker.
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It may sound strange, but Video Poker actually has more in common with slot games, than it does playing poker in the traditional way, yet it is a game that is often overlooked by both poker players and slot gamers. However, it is a hugely fun and engaging past time that typically offers a player some of the best odds, in terms of the house edge, available in any game at a casino.
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Part of this lack of take up may be down to players not understanding how Video Poker works, certainly in some parts of the globe, it is not as popular as say traditional casino card games, slots or roulette. In others though, notably North America, Video Poker is hugely popular and in this article, we will explain exactly why.
How does Video Poker work?
Unlike standard poker, which sees you take on fellow human players to try and achieve the win, Video Poker pits you against the software itself and a typical game will take on the following format.
Players will begin by, if available, selecting the number of hands they want to play and also the bet size they want to make on each hand. When they have done this, the deal button is pressed and each hand that the player is playing, will be dealt five cards face up.
The player then looks through the cards in each of their hands and tries to make the best poker hand from the cards that they have available. In order to help them do this then can make a decision about each of the five cards they have been dealt. They can either hold onto the card, or they can select the card to be discarded.
Once a player has selected which cards to hold and which to discard for each hand, they then click the deal button again. The discarded cards are removed from your hand and fresh cards from the pack are dealt to you in their place. Each hand is then judged on its strength and if it meets the minimum requirement for a payout in the game, that hand will be a winner.
Video Poker games list the winning hands for the game on screen, so it is easy to cross-reference a hand to check if it is a winner, but you don’t need to worry as the software will always check all of your hands and automatically award you the cash if your hand is a winner.
The higher that your hand is ranked, then the greater the payout for you will be. Common hands, such as qualifying pairs of cards, two pairs or three of a kind will pay out smaller amounts than rarer poker hands, such as flushes, straights, full houses, straight flushes and the ultimate hand in most versions of the game, a Royal Flush. These higher value wins can see players win back large sums of money, but they are, of course, much more difficult to land when playing.
It is these matching of symbols and selecting which cards to hold and which to discard, which makes Video Poker very much like an old style slot where you could hold certain symbols and then respin the others. This is why many slot gamers often get first introduced to poker, through playing Video Poker, rather than tournament poker.
Are all Video Poker games the same?
No, there are a number of different variants of Video Poker, all of which are based around the same basic game as outlined above, but with a couple of minor tweaks and changes which can alter the chances of a players success in the game, either for the better or worse.
Often, the name of the Video Poker game will give you an idea of the tweak that has been made to that particular game of Video Poker. For example, in Deuces Wild Video Poker, this usually means that any number two (known in card lingo as a ‘deuce’) dealt to a player will be a ‘wild’ card which means it can be used by the player as any card in the pack to help them create a better suit.
In some games the title will give you an idea of what the lowest winning hand is in the game. Tens or Better Video Poker therefore means that only hands of a pair of tens or higher, will see you land a win on the game. Jacks or Better is a similar variant but for this game, you have to land a pair of Jacks or better to win.
Other than the variance in what selected cards can do in the game, Video Poker can also differ by the number of hands played. In some games you can play just one hand at a time, in others you can play a few hands at a time, and in some games you can play multiple hands. It is not difficult to find games where you can play around 50 hands of Video Poker simultaneously. However, it should be remembered that to play 50 hands, you will need to place 50 bets, one for each hand, in order to play.
Add to this the differences in the size of the bets available, which can range from just a few pence, to a much higher minimum bet, and you can see that Video Poker can be tailored to any player, based on a number of preferences and it is simply about finding the game that you enjoy the most and which suits you best.
What are my chances of winning in Video Poker?
Of course, all casino games have an edge in favour of the house (called, the house edge) but some games are markedly more in favour of the house than others. The good news for Video Poker players is that along with Blackjack, Video Poker actually offers players more favourable chances of winning than other casino games such as slot games, baccarat, roulette, keno and similar.
The odds of winning are still in favour of the casino, but not by as much as in other casino games. The exact odds of winning for players vary from each version of Video Poker to the other but in some cases they are close to 50/50 on each hand, which is about the best odds you can find on any game at an online casino.
Is there a strategy available for Video Poker?
Yes, although you are not playing Video Poker against another player, there has been analysis undertaken across millions of hands to come up with what many people believe is an optimal Video Poker strategy you can follow.
The strategy details what actions you should take when presented with certain selections of cards, and it is believed that over a long period of time, this method will prove to be more profitable than simply playing off-the-cuff.
Many sites offer a simple downloadable strategy for video poker which you can use when playing if you so wish.
What video poker games does Bet365 Casino offer?
If you fancy playing Video Poker at bet365 Casino then the site offers the following games:
- Aces and Faces Multi Hand Video Poker
- Four Line Aces and Faces
- Deuces Wild Multi Hand
- Deuces Wild
- Four Line Deuces Wild
- 25 Line Aces and Faces
- Jacks or Better Multihand
- Caribbean Stud Poker