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Online Video Poker Games

Online video poker games afford players the rare opportunity to cancel out the house edge by executing a perfect strategy. While this isn’t easy, it can be accomplished through research, patience and practice.

Video poker games first appeared in land-based casinos in the 70s. Since that time, they have become particularly popular with serious gamblers, as the element of skill is much greater than the totally random nature of slot machines.

Video poker variations are on the rise with each passing year. Multiple decks and wild cards have been introduced, and payoff tables will often vary from game to game. Therefore, it’s up to the astute player to do their homework ahead of time to increase their chances of winning.

How to Play Video Poker

Learning how to play video poker is easy. First, you bet a certain amount of credits. In the online version of video poker, this money will be withdrawn from your account at the casino. In a land-based casino, you’ll either insert money or a paper ticket with a barcode.

Once you’ve made your wager, press the “deal” button, and you’ll receive your cards. After looking over your cards, you’ll have the opportunity to either keep the cards or replace one or more of them. Once you receive your new cards, the video poker machine will pay out money if your cards warrant it.

On most video poker games, the minimum hand to receive a payout is a pair of jacks. You may also find machines which offer a progressive jackpot payout for the elusive royal flush.

Types of Video Poker

Several types of video poker are available online, and the following list is intended to give beginners a basic understanding of each.

Jacks or Better - As mentioned in the previous section, the most common type of video poker game is Jacks of Better. This means that the player must have at least a pair of jacks to receive a payout. When played with a perfect strategy, the return on Jacks or Better is 99.54 percent.

Tens of Better - Instead of a pair of jacks, the minimum hand needed for a payout is a pair of tens. Payouts for flushes and full houses differ from Jacks of Better, but the overall player’s strategy is the same.

Deuces Wild - All twos are wild in this video poker game. When played with perfect strategy, the return on this game can be as high as 100.762%.

Bonus Poker - Similar to Jacks or Better, but the payout percentage for four of a kind is higher. The player must still have a pair of jacks or better to receive a payout.

Double Bonus - In this variation of Jacks or Better, a bonus payout is offered for four aces. Perfect strategy can yield a return of up to 100.1725%.

Double Double Bonus - Another variation of Jacks or Better, this video poker game offers payouts for a variety of four of a kinds. The return can be as high as 100.067 when played with a perfect strategy.

Video Poker Strategy

There are numerous video poker strategies out there, but I thought I would list one to give you an idea of what they’re all about. The following strategy is for Jacks or Better video poker, and it’s supposed to give the player a return of 99.46% if played correctly. Additional video poker strategy can be found by visiting Bob Dancer’s website or the always-excellent Wizard of Odds.

In the following strategy, all you have to do is look at the list. When you receive your initial video poker hand, figure out all the ways that you could play the hand. Keep the cards for whichever option is highest on the list. For example, you get the following hand:

  • King of Hearts
  • Four of Clubs
  • Nine of Clubs
  • Four of Clubs
  • Two of Clubs

That gives you four to a flush and a low pair. According to the chart below, you should keep the four clubs and exchange the king of hearts for a new card.

  • Straight flush, royal flush, four of a kind
  • Four to a royal flush
  • Straight, full house, flush, three of a kind
  • Four to a straight flush
  • Two pair
  • High pair
  • Three to a royal flush
  • Four to a flush
  • Low pair
  • Four to an outside straight
  • Two suited high cards
  • Three to a straight flush
  • Two unsuited high cards
  • Suited 10/K, 10/Q or 10/J
  • One high card
  • Discard all cards

Video Poker Software

For the truly serious video poker player, there exist a number of computer programs which allow you to practice your video poker strategy. This video poker software is widely available online, and a quick search will turn up even more options than those listed below. The following three, however, are considered to be some of the most reliable on the market.

  1. Dunbar’s Risk Analyzer for Video Poker v1.5
  2. Frugal Video Poker Software
  3. Video Poker for Winners v1.11 (Bob Dancer)

Video Poker Tips

Whether you’re playing free online video poker or wagering your hard-earned money, there are a number of video poker tips out there to help you along. Some of these may seem like common sense, while others require a veteran’s insight into the game. Whichever the case, these should help increase your knowledge and enjoyment of the game.

Always Play Maximum Coins - If you get the highest hand available and play maximum coins, you’ll win a bundle and get a bonus. Therefore, it only makes since to always play maximum coins. If doing this on your current online video poker game is too hard on your pocketbook, then try finding a machine with a lower maximum coin option. Sure, the payout and bonus may be lower, but at least you won’t go broke in the meantime.

Video poker machine, whether online or land-based, do not run “hot” or “cold.” If you hit a Royal Flush, your chances of getting one on the next play are as high as any other time.

If you’re going to play video poker online, take a little time and find the casinos with the best payouts. Most will be very comparable, but you should also keep things like sign-up bonuses in mind.

The cards in video poker are chosen at random. Don’t listen to anyone who says the games are rigged; they don’t know what they’re talking about.

With perfect play, video poker is one of the few games where the house edge can be negated. However, this requires a lot of patience and concentration. If you’re playing online video poker games at home, try to schedule your sessions for when nobody else is around. If that’s not possible, you might try blocking out distractions by putting on a pair of headphones and playing music which relaxes you.

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