The Basics of Video Poker
Video Poker Gameplay
Video Poker Strategy
The best thing about video poker online is that it is identical to playing in a land-based casino—only with significantly fewer hassles!
At Wild Casino you’ll find all of your favorite video poker games including Deuces Wild, Joker Poker, Jacks or Better and All-American Poker in both single hand and multi hand formats. If you’re looking for the latest trend in video poker the Wild Casino casino offers the innovative gameplay of Pyramid Poker. Since all of our video poker games offer a wide range of stakes and bet sizes every player will find the game they’re looking for!
Video poker is a relative newcomer among casino games with the first machines introduced in the late 1970’s. Since then it has exploded in popularity and become an essential part at Wild Casino.
In the early 2000s, gaming industry experts estimated that video poker accounted for a 70% share of the floor space at land-based casinos. Traditional slot machines have regained a bit of market share but video poker is still going strong.
Players like video poker because it offers a more favorable payout structure than slot machines. It also involves a greater level of strategy and gives the player more control over what is happening on the screen. Casinos also love video poker machines because they require very little overhead and labor to operate.
The Basics of Video Poker
Video poker isn’t really a poker game at all.
There’s no similarity whatsoever with live poker at a casino or on a poker website. A more appropriate description would be that it is a slot machine based on a deck of regulation playing cards. The player more control than with a slot machine and video poker pay tables leverage the hand ranks found in actual poker play. This means that most players understand the ranking of winning hands the first time they play video poker online.
It also means that the payouts and hold percentages of video poker games are circumscribed by the mathematical probability inherent in the card game itself.
For example, the odds of drawing five cards randomly from a 52-card deck and making a royal flush is 649,740 to 1. Drawing a four of a kind from the same scenario has a probability of 4,165 to 1. The probability of making both hands on the draw is significantly higher. The result is a game that on balance offers the best odds for players of any slot machine type device.
The exact house edge varies based on the specific game rules and accompanying pay table but most are in the single digits. In a competitive market like Nevada, there are video poker variations with a hold percentage of less than 1% with perfect play. Pay attention to the term ‘perfect play’ as it is extremely important.
There are now hundreds of video poker variations with more being introduced all the time.
Another trend is multi-hand play where a player is dealt a number of hands simultaneously with the most common multiples being 3, 5, 10, 25 and 100 hands.
Another great thing about video poker is that it translates perfectly to online play. The experience of playing video poker online at Wild Casino is identical as land-based casino and the same strategies will work in both settings.
Video Poker Strategy
Let’s return now to the term ‘perfect play’ that was used earlier. Any video poker payback percentage is stipulated on ‘perfect play’. What does this mean?
There are always paranoid gamblers who don’t believe this, but video poker machines deal cards with a random number generator (RNG). The exception is video lottery terminals (VLTs) that only look like video poker machines—with this type of device the wins and losses are predetermined.
If you’re playing video poker online at Wild Casino, you’re playing a video poker machine that deals at random. The first five cards are dealt randomly and any cards you draw are also randomized. The math of poker hand probability takes care of the rest.
The fact that we know that video poker machines deal cards at random, along with the probability of each individual hand appearing plus the pay table of an individual machine provides some extremely valuable information. It’s a simple mathematical function to determine the statistically best play in every situation and for every draw. All the player has to do in order to achieve ‘perfect play’ is learn how to properly play each situation based on the underlying math.
The overwhelming majority of video poker players will have no concept of ‘perfect play’. Instead, these players will rely on guesswork, hunches or try to track the cards that have been dealt to determine what has ‘already been drawn’ or alternately what cards are ‘due’.
Other players just play seemingly at random. Games that involve wild cards or other rule variations are even less intuitive to play correctly. To follow ‘perfect play’ there are situations where the correct move is to break up a winning hand to draw to a higher ranked hand. Many recreational players struggle with this thinking that the correct move is to ‘take what they’ve got on the table’. Many wild card-based games produce frequent situations where the correct move is somewhat counter intuitive based on ‘real world’ poker strategy.
There’s nothing wrong with playing video poker or any other casino game however you want. If you’re happy just playing hunches and hoping for the best then more power to you. No matter whether a player is trying to achieve perfect play or just a recreational player having some fun they share a common characteristic. Both would prefer to walk out of the casino having turned a profit. Since it’s surprisingly easy to learn ‘perfect play’ for most games there’s no real reason not to do it.
Aside from knowing the correct play for the situation, the other major component of video poker strategy is machine selection. Assuming that your goal is to end up with more money in your pocket than when you started, your best option is to play the variation that you are most conversant with.
Many serious video poker players love Deuces Wild due to its generally high return rate. Even so, if you know nothing about Deuces Wild strategy and have a good grasp on Jacks or Better that’s the game you should play. The other component of machine selection is finding the best pay table. Like slot machines, you also have the option of playing a game with a set jackpot amount for a Royal Flush (typically 4,000 coins on a Jacks or Better machine) or one that features a progressive jackpot.
Ready to give Video Poker a try? Play it at Wild Casino today!