How to Get the Best Results from Video Poker Games
Video poker is in its fifth decade, and remains a hugely popular game in brick and mortar casinos and online. The simple game-play, low house edge and potential for a big payout make this an attractive game for players who remember the originals – and a new breed on online players too. This article takes you through all you need to know to get started with video poker games, including some valuable video poker strategy tips.
Below, there is information on the diversity of video poker games, and the common theme that runs through the game-play. After that the optimal strategy for choosing the right number of coins is covered, and the strategy for going for the big hands too. Next you will find ways to get comps and bonuses through video poker play.
Video Poker Strategy – Choices and Game-Play
Over the years hundreds of video poker titles have been created. Popular games include Deuces Wild, Joker Poker or Jacks or Better. The key variation is whether to include jokers in the deck – which substitute for any card – or having one of the regular cards (like 2s) substitute instead. Having wilds means more good hands are made, so you might see payouts which are bigger without them. A good example would be that a jackpot payment requires a Royal Flush with no joker, while one containing a joker gives a big payout, though not the jackpot.
The game-play itself is very simple, which is one of the main attractions of these machines over the years. You choose your bet amount and number of coins from 1 to 5, then press the “Deal” button. You are dealt five cards and given the choice to hold any number of them and swap (draw) the remainder. If you are dealt a great hand like a Flush or Straight you would hold all of the cards. At the other extreme you can draw them all.
Video Poker Strategy – Pay Tables and the Number of Coins
When you look at the pay table of a typical video poker machine, the top right corner will show a proportionally bigger win than the rest of the entries. This is for the biggest win with the maximum amount of coins. What you will find is that by always choosing five coins, this bigger win will push the house edge on video poker games to a very small amount – ranging from just 0.5%. If you play the same game with fewer coins, then you could easily be giving up 1% or more of every deal to the house.
If five coins seems a lot of money for you, then look out for machines where you can lower the value of the coins you use, such as playing $0.20 at five coins instead of $1 for a single coin. It’s the same amount of money, but it gives you the opportunity to get a far bigger score.
Video Poker Strategy – Going for the Big Hands
Experienced video poker players know that the real money comes from the occasional big win. This means that it is often worth sacrificing those smaller 1-to-1 payouts for pairs when you have a chance to hold two or three cards that might give you a Royal Flush or even a Straight Flush. The variance is higher by playing this way, though you will keep the house edge to a minimum, and enjoy lots of small wins along the way anyway from the more ‘obvious’ holds.
Video Poker Strategy – Comps and Bonuses Make a Big Difference
Video poker machines are famous for having a small house edge; some of them are even slightly in favor of the player when played with a perfect strategy. The machines which do have an edge can be played profitably when you take bonuses, comps and special promotions into account.
Online, you will have a big choice of casino bonuses. These can be based on your initial deposit, or can be loyalty rewards. Before you choose a casino, you should compare the play-through rates required to clear those bonuses, as these can vary considerably between the different casinos.
Brick and mortar casinos also have player loyalty schemes, and you should make sure you register for a card to track your play. These rewards can be in the form of comps for restaurants, and can be boosted by playing at quiet times of the day. Depending on the casino you might even get invited to blackjack or slots tournaments too.
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