How to Play Video Poker?

Video poker is probably the best thing that ever happened to poker players. A lot of players find sitting at a poker table intimidating. Furthermore, playing table poker is nowhere near as convenient as video poker is. It all begun back in the 1970s when the first video poker machines appeared in bricks and mortar casinos. Today, video poker is the most popular casino game with a hands-on approach.

This makes video poker much more similar to an online slots game than normal poker. There is one significant difference between video poker and slots games, though, in that you can still determine the outcomes in video poker. There is an element of strategy in the game that is simply not present in the vast majority of slots games. 

If you’re wondering how to play video poker, then this video poker guide is just what you need.

Top 5 Video Poker Casinos with High RTP Games

  1. 888 Casino Logo
    888 Casino
    5 / 5
    Flag usPlayers from USA Accepted
    No Deposit
    $88
    Deposit Bonus
    up to $1500
    Flag usPlayers from USA Accepted
    18+, New players only. £88 is granted as FreePlay (FP), FP must be claimed within 48 hrs of receiving the email and expires after 14 days, FP wins are credited as bonus and capped at £15, exc. JP win. Bonus wins are capped at £500. To withdraw bonus & related wins, wager 30 x (bonus amount) within 90 days. Wagering req. vary by game. This offer may not be combined with any other offer.
    Details

Play Video Poker – Everything there is to knowhow to play video poker

So, now that you know what the game is, you might well be wondering how you actually play it. If you are completely new to poker then you do need to make sure that you have some basic knowledge before you dive straight into the world of video poker. It is vital that you know the names for all of the various poker hands that you can be dealt.

You can find information about poker hands very easily online, and it is a good idea to become very familiar with these before you start to play video poker. Although video poker is intended to be as simple as possible, you need a good grounding of basic poker knowledge if you are to be successful. It will also help you understand this video poker guide more clearly.

The game works in a very simple way, though, and there is none of the tension of having to compete against other players. Playing video poker can be an excellent way to get a good grasp on the fundamentals of the game if you are new to it, but would like to graduate to playing against other players in a proper online poker room

How to play video poker: Simple Steps

This is how you play a game of video poker at the vast majority of online casinos.

  1. Log into your online casino account and select one of the video poker games
  2. Hit the play button to have hand dealt to you
  3. Select the cards that you want to hold or discard
  4. Hit the deal or draw button to replace the cards you want to be discarded
  5. Check to see if you have won according to the pay table on the screen
  6. If you win your hand, the game may offer you a chance to double your win on the draw of a card

Video Poker Strategy

As with any form of gambling, it is important to be as knowledgeable as possible about the game before you try and formulate a strategy. As we have stated above, the bare minimum you need to know is the terminology of poker when it comes to identifying the names of various hands. Each hand consists of different combinations of cards, and winning combination has its own name.

As well as knowing the value of each of these hands, you will need to be able to identify them quickly and make bets according to their relative value. An easy way to do this is to use video poker strategy cards, and we will take a closer look at these later on.

But it is also important that you have a good idea in your head before you play about how to approach a typical hand of video poker. We will give you some simple tips with which you can get started in the next section.

Video Poker Basic Strategy Explained

One way of getting the better of the RNG that controls a typical game of video poker is to concentrate on hitting royal flushes. This type of high-paying hand tends to give you good video poker payouts, but holding out for it does also mean that you might sacrifice lower-value winning hands. As you will see from the video poker strategy cards that we show later in this article, a royal flush does give you big prizes. Holding out for royal flushes is risky, though.

Perhaps a better basic tactic for the newcomer to video poker strategy is to favour as many winning hands of any type as possible, regardless of their value. So, for example, you might want to save a high pair every time you are dealt one, even though this would forego the chance of claiming a high-value win like a royal flush. This strategy would see you potentially collect more wins, but they would be of lower value overall.

The thing to consider, though, is that most lower value wins simply allow you to continue playing without bringing you any substantial rewards. The key to taking home better video poker payouts is to use a mathematically derived strategy. This is where video poker strategy cards become important.

Video Poker Strategy Cards

One important aspect of formulating a strategy for video poker is the use of video poker strategy cards or charts. These can look a little complicated and daunting to novice players, but they are in actual fact very simple to understand. They work by allowing you to quickly calculate the chances of success for the cards in your hand. You do need to know the names of the various types of poker hands in order to properly use the strategy cards.

How to use a Video Poker Strategy Chart?

All video poker strategy cards tend to work in the same way, even those that are intended for variations of the game such as Deuces Wild. You can read about video poker variations elsewhere at this site, so, for now, we will concentrate on standard video poker.

A strategy chart offers you the chance to see how potentially valuable your hand is. The highest paying hands go at the top of the video poker strategy chart. Lower paying hands will usually be found further down the chart.

You use the strategy chart to determine the value of the hand that you have been dealt. You can then analyse your hand to see which cards you need to discard in order to improve your chances of forming a winning hand.

The strategy chart will allow you to calculate the relative probabilities of drawing the right cards to form a winning hand.

Example of a Video Poker Strategy Chart

Here is an example of a video poker strategy chart. You can see how simple it is. It is absolutely vital that you know names for each poker hand before trying to use this. You can find more sophisticated strategy charts online, and each variant of the game tends to have its own strategy cards. The table below tells you the relative value of each hand for a typical game of standard video poker.

Hand

1 coin bet

2 coin bet

3 coin bet

Royal flush

250

500

750

Straight flush

50

100

150

Four of a kind

25

50

75

Full house

9

18

27

Flush

6

12

18

Straight

4

8

12

Three of a kind

3

6

9

Two pair

2

4

6

Jacks or better

1

2

3

Hand

4 coin bet

5 coin bet

Royal flush

1000

4000

Straight flush

200

250

Four of a kind

100

125

Full house

36

45

Flush

24

30

Straight

16

20

Three of a kind

8

15

Two pair

12

10

Jacks or better

4

5

Video Poker Payout

When checking the potential payout from a video poker game it is a good idea to check the Return to Player percentage. This can usually be found in the further information section relating to a specific game at your online casino, or by simply researching the game online. The RTP for most games is around 95% or better, but there is a lot of variation according to game type.

It is important to note that these RTP percentages are calculated over the course of potentially millions of games. They are not a guarantee that you will always receive the same percentage of your money back that you have gambled. Always check the RTP of a game before you play, though,  as this will give you a good indication as to how difficult it will be to win a substantial video poker payout.

Video poker odds

When it comes to video poker odds, it is possible to make more mathematical calculations that can help you make better decisions about which cards to hold and draw. Odds will always change significantly after you have held or drawn cards, so you need to take this into account too.

The odds on you receiving each winning hand in a game of video poker can be seen in the table below. These video poker odds relate to the chances of you being dealt each of these hands, not how you can subsequently build a winning hand by drawing and discarding cards.

Hand

Odds

Royal flush

649,740 to 1

Straight flush

72,193 to 1

Four of a kind

4,165 to 1

Full house

694 to 1

Flush

509 to 1

Straight

255 to 1

Three of a kind

47 to 1

Two pair

21 to 1

Pair – Jack, King, Queen or Ace

7.69 to 1

Any pair

2.37 to 1

Video Poker Rules – Easier than Poker but Just as Rewarding

As you can see, knowing how to play video poker is not too difficult. This is a very simple and accessible form of the game that almost anyone with a basic knowledge of poker can play. Due to the way that outcomes are generated by an RNG, it is important to have a video poker strategy that is based on mathematics rather than a hunch or some kind of imagined instinct.

For this reason, it is vital that you use video poker strategy cards to shape your video poker basic strategy. These charts make assessing the value of your hand very simple, and allow you to make quick decisions about which cards to hold and which to discard. Getting to know the relative values of each hand will help you make faster decisions during games.

Video poker payouts can be very good for players who are prepared to put the time and thought into formulating a proper strategy. Always remember that mathematics is the basis for video poker, rather than trying to bluff opponents into making poor decisions, as in ‘proper’ poker. Always remember that you are playing against a machine, and take the emotion out of your decision making wherever possible.

Video Poker Guide FAQs

What is a royal flush?
While you should have a good basic knowledge of poker hands before you attempt to play video poker, knowing exactly what a royal flush is will be of particular help. A royal flush is where your hand consists of ace, king, queen, jack and a 10, all of which are the same suit. A video poker strategy chart will always put this hand at the top.
What are the different types of video poker?
There are many different varieties of video poker out there at online casinos. You will come across Deuces Are Wild, which is where cards with a value of two act as wild cards; Jacks or Better, where any hand containing a pair of Jacks or cards with a higher value wins; Double Bonus, where four aces gets a bonus payout; and Double Double Bonus, which offers bonus payouts for four of a kind hands.
Do video poker games go on hot and cold streaks?
This is one of the bigger fallacies that many online gamblers operate under. As video poker games are determined by an RNG, there is no chance of a game going on a hot or cold streak. Computers do not have emotions, outside the realm of science fiction anyway. Stick the mathematics when it comes to how to play poker video. Trust video poker strategy cards over instinct and emotion always.
Why is there some variation in video poker strategy cards?
If you are already checking out video poker strategy cards online you may have noticed that there are some variations between them. This is simply due to different experts taking slightly different approaches. There are also many variants of video poker and these will always differ slightly. The important thing is to find one that works for the particular variant of video poker that you enjoy playing.
Do you have to play video poker for real money?
No you do not. Most casinos will offer a form of the game where you can play for free in some kind of demo mode. If you are new to the game you should take advantage of the opportunity to do this. It can be a very useful way of sharpening up a strategy for video poker, and allows you to get a real feel for the game before you risk your own money.

New Online Casinos