There is a vast array of slots out there – video slots, jackpot slots, classic slots, progressives. And equally, there are myriad table games like Baccarat and BlackJack, and that’s before we get on to the phenomenon of the online Poker boom.
But how about something that’s in between? That’s where online Video Poker games come in.
Video Poker first began life in the 1970s as a way of breaking up the monotony of slots by introducing an element of skill, or at the very least choice, while still being playable alone and at a machine.
The games thus lend themselves well to online play and with the rise of internet casinos, Video Poker was a regular and popular feature from the get go.
Rules of Video Poker online
The basic Video Poker rules are quite straightforward. The hand rankings are the same as standard Poker rankings, with Royal Flush the highest and a pair the lowest (‘high card’ generally does not count for anything, as you are not playing against another player).
You bet a stake at the beginning, and any winnings will be based on a paytable depending on what hand you get, from about evens up to around 500:1 or more for the highest hands.
You will be ‘dealt’ 5 cards to make up your initial hand, after which you can discard as many cards as you wish, which will be replaced by the same number of cards at random (the draw).
That’s about it so far as the rules of casino Video Poker online go; there are a couple of other things – some variants have a minimum scoring pair; for instance the popular ‘Jacks or Better’ Video Poker means, as its name suggests, you need at least a pair of Jacks to score. A pair of, say, 5s, wouldn’t count (though 2 pairs of, say, 5s and 7s, would score).
Also, there may be a double or quits option to allow you to double your money when you make a score.
Due to its nature, there is not really any such thing as casino Video Poker live where you would play against other players.
How do you play online Video Poker?
To actually get to play Video Poker, all you need to do is sign up to a good online casino.
Make sure to check that the casino has a special section for table games or ‘other games’ where the video poker machines will be located. Additionally, and for an extra kick, check the mobile platform and see if that casino is available on the go; that way you’ll be able to play video poker wherever you are.
Most sites will have a section where you can play Video Poker online, and the selection can stretch into the dozens, so you’re likely to find a variety suitable for you.
There will also be Free to Play (F2P) versions out there including those which operate through social media and/or to your mobile which are also a good way to get acquainted with the game and decide if it really is for you, or to try out different strategies.
Remember when you play an online Video Poker game using any bonus money which online casinos tend to offer that it doesn’t usually contribute 100% towards wagering requirements – check with the terms and conditions of your site to get accurate information on that, although it does reveal how good a return you can get with Video Poker (since casinos don’t want you to use all the free money they have given you lest you win something big!).
One other thing with regard to how to play Video Poker is that there are some progressive versions where you put in a small contribution towards a huge jackpot which can be grabbed in the event of getting, say, a Royal Flush.
Video poker strategy tips
There is not so much to say as regards online Video Poker strategy as there would be with regular Poker, since you are only playing against the house and there is no room for bluffing nor, for that matter, raising, re-raising etc.
Also, strategy will vary slightly depending on what variant of Video Poker you are playing (Jacks or Better, Jokers Wild – which use Jokers as a Wild to substitute for any other card etc.).
But there are a few golden rules which will serve you well regardless of which variant you go for.
Keep a pair, even if it’s a low scoring pair which won’t get you any points on its own. This is because you could get 3-of-a-kind, another pair etc. in the draw phase.
Other online Video Poker tips include: Keep any face cards and discard any single non-face cards (except 10s of the same suit as any face card you may have); keep sequential cards in any suit (if you have 4 cards) or the same suit (if you have 3) as they can make up a straight on the draw; retain of course anything higher than a pair.
One other aspect to the best Video Poker strategy is to make use of the various methods of free play in order to hone your skills, which brings us to…
Free Video Poker at online casinos
You can play Video Poker free in one of 3 major ways.
First, you can make use Free to Play (F2P) routes such as those which you can get via social media and other routes. You do not even need to open up an online casino account when you do that.
Another way to play free Video Poker online is to use ‘play money’ at an online casino. They will often let you play as much as you want, though of course any ‘winnings’ you accrue this way will not be real.
And the last way to get to grips with a Video Poker casino game without having to spend any money is to use the bonus money that casinos give as a Welcome Bonus, or sometimes at other times in the year as well.
We hope that was all useful and hope that you enjoy your Video Poker.