Video poker entered the gambling market in the ’70s, and it quickly became a favorite among avid casino players. With the steep growth of online casinos, the game maintained its popularity, especially due to its simple gameplay and low house edge.
Despite not being played at a classic poker table, video poker is still largely accepted among casino enthusiasts. Like any other casino game, video poker comes with odds and probabilities that determine how much and how often a player can win.
In this article, we’ll discuss the video poker odds and explain how they can contribute to your winnings. Moreover, we’ll cover the main types of poker and give you some tips and tricks that might come in handy the next time you choose to play this game online.
Video Poker Odds and House Edge
To state the obvious — no matter which game you choose to play, the odds will vary depending on the online casino you opt for. So, if you want to play video poker, the first thing we suggest is checking out a couple of online gambling platforms and exploring their video poker odds.
Video poker has been created after Stud Poker variants, so you need to use a specific strategy to boost your chances of winning. Since there are various video poker versions, the odds will depend on the variant you choose to play.
For example, a famous version, Jacks or Better, can give players a 99.54% return rate if played with a proper strategy. Still, even if you’re a rookie, the percentage won’t drop too much — usually, it will go down to 99.52%, which means you can get a hefty win.
However, when playing video poker, you should pay attention to pay tables, mainly the 9/6 ones. A game with a 9/6 pay table will pay 9 to 1 if you hit a full house and 6 to 1 for a royal flush. Video poker variants with this pay table are known as full-pay games.
However, you should be aware of some casinos that seem to offer video poker with a 9/6 pay table, when in reality, it’s an 8/6 or 8/5 pay table. Although it may seem like a small difference, your winnings will be noticeably lower.
In terms of the house edge, video poker has a low one compared to other casino games. Actually, what makes video poker stand out is the fact that some variants allow players to erase the house edge. Seasoned players usually go for the full-pay Deuces Wild game, where a five-credit bet can have a return rate up to 100.762%, and the house edge goes below zero, allowing you to claim massive prizes.
How to Play Video Poker?
Compared to traditional poker, video poker is slightly easier to learn. The game starts with you placing a wager and the algorithm dealing you five cards. The next step is to determine how many cards you wish to keep — all, some, or none. The goal is to have the best hand possible, so if you’re not satisfied with the hand you were dealt, you can change all cards.
Once you’ve chosen the cards you want to retain, you should click on the “Draw” option and receive the replacement cards. After that, the game is finished. The algorithm will calculate the payout based on your final hand. Just like in any other card game, the better the hand, the higher the payout.
It seems simple, right? If you’re interested in learning more about the game, here’s a rundown of the basic video poker rules:
- Most variants are played with a 52-card deck. The exception would be any Joker Wild game that introduces one or more Jokers to the deck.
- You can choose between five credit bets and one to four credit bets. Based on the type of wager you choose, you’ll receive a specific payout.
- A royal flush is the highest paying hand. Then, we have a straight flush, a four of a kind, a full house, a flush, a straight, a three of a kind, a two pair, and finally, a jacks or better.
- The bet limits can be anywhere from $0.25 to $1.25 in each round. However, online casinos can offer a wager as low as $0.01.
The Most Popular Types of Video Poker
In the following paragraphs, we’ll introduce you to some of the most popular video poker variants. Some of them offer full-pay, while others come with different return rates. Most online casinos boast dozens of video poker versions, allowing you to pick the one that interests you the most.
Listing them all is nearly impossible, so we’ll mention only the ones present in almost any land-based and online casino. Let’s dive in.
Jacks or Better
Jacks or Better was the first video poker game to appear in the 1970s. The game was based on 5-card draw poker and was initially known as Draw Poker. This version employs a 52-card deck. The lowest winning hand is jacks or better, while royal flush has the highest payout.
A 9/6 Jacks or Better offers you the best odds of winning, with the full house paying 9 times the initial wager. The royal flush pays out 6 to 1. If you play this game with a strong strategy, it can yield a return rate of 99.54%.
Tens or Better
Being the most popular, Jacks or Better has a couple of variants itself. One of them is Tens or Better. It’s practically the same game — however, instead of the pair of jacks or higher, the lowest winning hand is a pair of tens.
Still, keep in mind that this variant comes with a 6/5 game, meaning the full house and royal flush pay 6 and 5 times the wager, respectively, leading to lower winnings in the long run.
Another popular casino variant, Bonus Poker, offers full pay at 8/5 pay table and comes with a range of four-of-a-kind payouts. With an advanced strategy, players can reach a return rate of 99.12%. Some online casinos might offer Bonus Poker as the most profitable variant, mainly because other games give players a mathematical edge over the casino.
Deuces Wild is popular for its simple gameplay and a return rate that can surpass 100%, thus erasing the house edge. What makes this game so interesting is the fact that the twos are wild cards, meaning they substitute any card to create a winning hand and generate bigger payouts.
For example, if a royal flush comprises two or more wilds, it is called a deuces royal flush, and it pays 125 credits. However, a natural royal flush is much more valuable, as its payouts reach 4,000 coins.
Double Bonus Poker
If you choose a full-pay Double Bonus Poker version, you’ll get a 10/7 pay table. Jacks or better bring a win, while the highest-paying combination is four of a kind. Like Deuces Wild, this variant can offer a payout rate of 100.17%, eliminating the house edge.
Joker Poker is another variant involving wilds. In this case, a joker is the wild that can replace any card. To reach a payout, you need at least a pair of kings or better.
Even with a basic beginner strategy, Joker Poker has a return rate of 100.64%, allowing you to score some big wins.
Video Poker Strategy
As stated before, in this game, your goal should be to have the best possible hand, as it will allow you to claim higher payouts. Having said that, many players just choose to wing it, and sometimes, their hunch pays off. However, if you’re more serious about playing video poker, you need to have a clear plan in place.
This basic strategy will suffice if you are a beginner. However, you must understand that every video poker variant requires a particular plan of action. So, once you pick the game you want to play, learn all about its rules and pay tables, and try out different strategies. After you find the one that suits your play style, you’ll be able to diminish the house edge and take the winnings for yourself.
Tips for Playing Video Poker
No matter if you’ve played video poker before or you’ve been planning to, some tips won’t do any harm. Below, you can read some tricks that could help you improve your gameplay:
- Before you start playing, know every game variant inside-out. All of them provide different pay tables, so go for the one you like the most.
- Set a time limit. You can easily get carried away while playing video poker. If you want to avoid losing focus and making costly mistakes, you should determine for how long you want to play.
- Decide beforehand how much money you want to wager. That way, you’ll know when it’s time to stop playing. You don’t want to go down the rabbit hole and gamble more money than you can afford to lose.
- Strive for accuracy. Playing more hands won’t improve your chances of winning, so resist the urge to play as many hands as you can and focus on making the right decisions instead.
No matter what kind of casino you like to play in — whether it’s land-based or online — video poker will always be one of the more profitable games in the lobby. With a variety of hand combinations and pay tables, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
Naturally, applying a proper strategy is bound to enhance the odds of winning and bring you bigger payouts. So, pick a video poker variant carefully, learn its rules, and then work on implementing the perfect plan of action. That is the best way to diminish the house edge and take the winnings for yourself.