Video poker is a type of poker where you know in advance exactly how good your poker hand need to be for you to get paid. There are no other players involved and there is also no dealer hand against which to compare your hand. Example: If you play Jacks or Better video poker, you will get paid for any hand that contains a pair of jacks or is of higher rank than that. If you on the other hand is playing Tens or Better video poker, you will get paid for any hand that contains a pair of tens or is higher ranked than a pair of tens.
Most (but not all) video poker games are based on five card draw poker, but with only an initial bet. A game of video poker is typically played like this:
- You make your bet and start the game.
- You receive five cards from the deck, face up.
- You let the poker machine know which cards you wish to keep (if any) and which cards you wish to exchange (if any). You can exchange anywhere from 0 cards to 5 cards.
- You now have your final poker hand. If it fulfills the requirements for a winning hand, as outlined by the pay table, you will make a profit on your bet. The better the poker hand, the higher the profit. If your hand does not reach the minimal requirements for a winning hand, you will lose your bet.
Examples of video poker variants
|Tens or Better||The lowest paying hand is a pair of tens.|
|Jacks or Better||The lowest paying hand is a pair of jacks.|
|Joker Wild / Joker Poker||The standard 52 card deck is supplemented with one joker card. The joker is a wild card that can substitute any other card to help you form a winning poker hand.
Also, the presence of a wild card makes it possible to form the unusual poker hand five of a kind.
|Deuces Wild||All deuces (2’s) are wild cards that can substitute for any other card to help you form a winning poker hand. It is also possible to get five of a kind.
Deuces Wild exists in several variants, such as Classic Deuces Wild, Double Deuces and Loose Deuces.
|Bonus Poker||Bonus payment for a certain hand rank. Bonus payment for four of a kind is common, but some Bonus Poker machines have other rules.|
|Double Bonus Poker||Bonus payment for a certain hand rank (e.g. four of a kind) and double bonus payment for a specific hand (e.g. four aces).|
|All American||All American is based on Jacks or Better, but pays better for straight, flush and straight flush, and less for two pair och full house.|
|Aces & Eights||Extra large payments for four of aces and four of eights.
Most Aces & Eights video poker machines will also pay well for four of sevens.
|Pick ‘em Poker||Based on Jacks or Better, but with more limited options.|
|7 Stud Video Poker||An unusual form av video poker based on 7 cardstud poker rather than 5 card draw poker.|
Skill or luck?
Unlike games such as roulette and sic bo, video poker will allow you to make a decision even after your initial bet and this decision will bear upon the outcome of the game. Video poker is therefore not a game of pure chance but a game where skill also plays a part. In this regard, video poker is similar to black jack.
For each video poker paytable, there is a statistically correct strategy that will prove optimal in the long run. However, following such as strategy will not in any way guarantee an optimal return in the short run, e.g. during a few hours of play.
The history of video poker
While poker is card game type with roots that stretch far back into history, video poker is a fairly young addition to the poker family. Video poker is played on a screen, not on a mechanical slot machine with physical reels. Video slot machines did not appear until the 1970’s and is was also during this decade that video poker was invented.
One important step in the history of video poker was SIRCOMAS:s release of its Draw Poker machine in 1979. This poker machine became an instant hit and helped popularize video poker.
In the 1980’s, many casinos added video poker machines next to their more traditional slot machines. Casino owners soon found out that video poker machines did not only attract poker players, but also served as a “safe” way for slot machine players to learn more about poker without having to sit down at a real poker table and face flesh-and-blood opponents.