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How to Play Video Poker
The craze of everyone wanting to play Texas Hold’em is dying out a bit nowadays, but poker games of all kinds remain incredibly popular, so it’s no surprise that many games developers are still coming up with new video poker games and machines that players can enjoy.
Although video poker is, in some sense, a much simpler game than all the variants of Texas Hold’em and other multi-player poker games, there are some notable differences and it will take some time before you get settled into the right groove, so we’ve prepared a small guide for everyone who’s looking to make his or her first steps in the world of video poker.
Rules of Video Poker
Video poker comes in many shapes and sizes, so it’s practically impossible for us to break down the rules of every single video poker game out there, but it goes without saying that most players stick to just a handful of the most popular variants.
The basic gameplay is the same across all of them, however, with the player initiating a new round of action by selecting how many credits or chips to wager and pressing the deal button. Five cards are then dealt to him or her, which is where the strategy starts and ends, as the player is then asked to choose how many cards should be exchanged from the same deck of cards.
With the selected cards discarded, new ones are added to the hand and the eventual payout is decided according to the game’s paytable. Once the winnings are distributed, a new round of action can begin. It’s much simpler than Texas Hold’em, isn’t it? And, truth to be told, it’s also much quicker and – for many players – more exciting!
Now for the variants– the most popular of them all is the so-called Jacks or Better variant, with the name implying that payouts starts at hands that have at least a pair of jacks. As one would expect, the payouts then increase if you have a better hand – pairs of jacks (or better pairs) are paid out at 1:1, two pairs at 2:1, threes of a kind at 3:1, straights at 4:1, flushes at 6:1, full houses at 9:1, fours of a kind at 25:1, straight flushes at 50:1 and royal flushes at 800:1.
Next, we have the Deuces Wild variant, which comes with the small detail that all twos are wilds, substituting for any other card in the deck in order to make a better hand. This naturally also brings some new combinations into the picture, making Deuces Wild slightly more off-beat and much more exciting. The payouts start at threes of a kind and continue upwards. Threes of a kind are paid out at 1:1, straights and flushes at 2:1, full houses at 3:1, fours of a kind at 5:1, straight flushes at 9:1, fives of a kind at 15:1, wild royal flushes at 25:1, four twos at 200:1 and natural royal flushes at 300:1.
Another interesting variant is the Double Bonus, which is essentially an interesting take on Jacks or Better that offers different payouts, with the focus being on different fours of a kind. Pairs of jacks or better and two pairs are paid out 1:1, threes of a kind at 3:1, straights at 5:1, flushes at 7:1, full houses at 10:1, fours of a kind (fives through kings) at 50:1, fours of a kind (twos through fours) at 80:1, fours of a kind (aces) at 160:1, straight flushes at 50:1 and royal flushes at 250:1.
To round things off, we’ll also mention the Double Double Bonus variant, which is an even crazier form of Double Bonus in that it goes even further with the payouts for fours of a kind, taking kicker cards into the equation to make everything more convoluted. To be absolutely honest, we’ve found it to be just slightly too irrational, but we’re sure that there’s a good audience for the game somewhere out there.
The Mathematics of Video Poker
It’s hard to pinpoint the main reason for video poker being so tremendously popular in both on-line and off-line casinos, but chances are that many players are enjoying video poker because of the mathematics that typically underpin it. Put simply, if you fish around a bit in the world of off-line casinos, you might find video poker games in which the house has no edge whatsoever – and players can even have a slight edge in some of them if they play according to the perfect strategy! This is, of course, a rare occurrence and, if you want to find one, your best bet are the Deuces Wild video poker games in Nevada.
The good news is that the perfect strategy isn’t incredibly hard to learn, especially in comparison to, say, card counting. The bad news is that it’s nearly impossible to put in nicely in words – and the right strategy is naturally closely connected to the variant you’re playing. You’ll therefore need to browse the various websites out there in order to get the specific ones, as trying to convert the various tables and lists just wouldn’t be too helpful. In any case, our recommendation is to not worry about playing completely correctly too much unless you’re going to invest a lot of time into finding the right brick-and-mortar casino that you can profit from, as the payoff just isn’t likely to be worth it.
Where to Play Video Poker
Although you will need to look around for the right brick-and-mortar casino if you want to have a shot at having an edge in a video poker game, those of us who are content with just a bit of fun can simply turn towards one of the numerous online casinos out there, as virtually all of them have several video poker games on offer.
We’ve checked plenty of casinos out there, but the one that you should definitely give a go first and foremost is the Royal Vegas online casino, as it offers more than twenty unique video poker games, allowing you to explore not only all the variants that we’ve mentioned in this article, but also a couple of slightly more unique ones. What’s more, Royal Vegas have prepared a very generous welcome bonus for all new players, which means that you’re going to get a very nice bankroll boost straight away, while there’s also a massive catalogue of slots to keep you entertained once video poker starts to become a bit boring.
Meanwhile, American players that are looking for a US-friendly casino should certainly consider heading over to the excellent Sloto Cash online casino, which well and truly stands out with its solid catalogue of video poker games. If you’re a video poker enthusiast, this is the online casino that could last you a lifetime, so make sure that you aren’t going to miss it when you next start fishing around for a new place to play at. And yes – there are some juicy bonuses and promotions to take advantage of as well if you’re wondering about that!