Video Poker is one of the most popular and profitable gambling entertainments — many Canadians play it in casinos. In fact, it is a “mixture” of a slot machine and the famous 5-card Poker.
Here, gaming machines are equipped with the usual buttons for bets and moves, all winning combinations and payouts for them are summarized in a special table, only on the screen. Instead of rotating reels, 5 cards arranged in one row are shown.
In online free Video Poker, all of the above components are included in the game interface and they are transmitted to the monitor screen.
Video poker history
Many players consider Video poker a young game, but they are mistaken. In fact, the machines with this game have appeared in land casinos a long time ago.
The ancestors of modern Video Poker were the devices made by the American company Sittman and Pete in 1891. They had five reels with cards depicted. Pulling the lever, the player spun the reels and, after stopping them, got a poker hand. Winning or losing depended on the value of the combination of cards.
The last stage of the evolution of this game happened in 1995, thanks to the efforts of Microgaming, which included free Video Poker games in the list of the slots of its first online casino.
The game is played according to standard rules (5-card poker). The goal is to collect a paid combination of five cards, making no more than one exchange.
All winning combinations of cards are displayed in the Paytable, which is necessarily present in each game interface. Usually, this table includes all or most of the standard Poker High combinations. A Joker is used in some machines, although this combination is not paid as generously as a “clean” High hand. It is better to learn more about all winning combinations, payout, and other nuances before starting gambling.
The rules and the game process
Playing Video Poker is quite simple. First, the player bets, pushes the Deal button, after which five cards appear on the screen.
Further, assessing the game situation, the player can save all the cards that will help him to form a profitable combination. To do this, the gambler must click once on the desired card or use the Hold buttons, which are located under each of the five cards. With the next available move, all unselected cards are replaced with new ones for free. If the resulting combination is provided by the Paytable, the player receives a prize.
In the event of a win, the gambler can be offered to play the bonus game and double winnings.
Bonus games in Video Poker
Most often, four closed cards and one open are laid out in front of the player. They must choose any of the closed cards. If the chosen one is higher than the first one opened, the payout is doubled. Otherwise, the bet will be lost.
Sometimes there are other options for bonus games, where, for example, you need to guess the color or the suit of a closed card. In any case, the player can always miss a bonus round, if they do not want to risk.
Types of Video Poker slots and the game strategies
Since there are a lot of variants of online Video Poker, and it is almost impossible to memorize all the rules and strategies of the game, special programs for analyzing poker combinations are created to help players.
However, some types of game and the strategies must be remembered.
Jacks or Better
It is the most common slot machine of this game type. To win you need a pair of Jacks or the better combination of cards. Different slots have various payout offers.
The most profitable slot machines are those ones that pay 6 credits for Flash and 9 credits for Full House. They return up to 99.5% of the money you bet.
Tens and Better
Tens and Better resembles the previous type of the game. However, the payment of winnings begins with a pair of tens.
Typically, these machines pay less to compensate for the extra winning chance that comes from a lower initial payout level.
The strategies for both types of Video Poker mentioned above are exactly the same, except that in the first game, the high card starts with Jacks, and the second one with 10. Play Video Poker games free first before you gamble — it will help you to understand the strategies.
Wild Joker is a game involving one or more Jokers — cards that can replace any other cards for making various combinations. Since the use of a Joker means that high combinations of cards will be more common, the initial combinations for which the payout is paid are a pair of Kings or two pairs.
Here, Video Poker strategy is significantly different from the two previous games; it is more diverse and considers a fairly large number of possible combinations. Some slot machines with Wild Joker let the player win a lot.
Here, the deuces play like a Joker. You need at least 3 cards of the same rank and at least a Straight Flush to get a modest win.
Slot machines in this series have the greatest potential for winning; therefore, they are popular among professional players. Choosing them, you will get a dynamic game.
Progressive Video Poker slots
This is a certain number of Video Poker slots with an ever-increasing payout amount for the highest combination of cards for games with a maximum bet. The increase in this amount depends on the number of tokens invested in all progressive casino slots. Each token is counted by a common computer system and adds a certain percentage to the total jackpot. The Jackpot amount is indicated on the special digital table.
Playing these slots can bring success since the amount of payments for the maximum combination of cards is the greatest one. The value of progressive Jackpots in this game can be quite impressive, but to win, the gambler will have to play only on the highest stakes.
Optimal Video Poker strategy can be used in most games. Especially effectively, it shows itself in varieties close to Jacks or Better. In this popular version of Video Poker, the winning combinations start from a pair of Jacks.
The principle of this strategy is quite simple. The player must adhere to the following recommendations for holding cards: it is advantageous to leave any ready-made combination, bet Hold on all consecutive or suited cards (two pairs, high and low pairs, cards for Straight and Flush), as well as unsuited and suited high cards from Jack to Ace.
If there are no matches listed above, it makes sense to leave one high card or exchange the whole hand at once (this is the most extreme option). Using this strategy in Jacks or Better casino advantage is reduced to 0.5%.