Video Poker is a simple game that is quick and easy to learn. The rules may vary depending on what version is being played, but they all operate under the same concept. You always get five cards. The normal poker hand ranks are used, and players can discard or hold as many of their cards as they like. All cards discarded will be replaced at random. If your hand matches any of the winning combinations, you receive a payout.
There is a minimum hand rule that governs how much can be won. The minimum hand rule means a player has to have at least the minimum hand to be eligible and claim a payout. It differs from game to game and depends if the game uses wildcards. Wildcards increase the minimum hand because the player has more chances of creating big winning poker hands.
The minimum hand can be as high as Three Of A Kind, which means the player has to get at least a Three Of A Kind to claim a payout and as low as a pair of jacks. A pair of jacks or tens is the standard minimum for most games. The minimum will vary, so it’s important to check the game before beginning play, to avoid confusion.
The wildcard is always a joker or 2, which means that jokers and 2s can be used to substitute for any card to create winning poker hands. So if a player has three jacks, a joker and one six. It can be four of a kind because the joker, substitutes as a jack. It can also be a Full House but it’s a lower ranked hand, so there is no point in substituting it for a six.
There are nine poker hand combinations that players will be trying to build; they are ranked from lowest to highest in the following way. High cards are rarely used in Video Poker because the lowest option in the pay table is usually a pair of 10s or jacks, so they are not counted as an option. Video poker hands are the same as all other poker variations. The Royal flush is the best and pays the most, except it’s the hand value that matters. Unlike in other poker variants, similar hands are not ranked higher in than each other in Video Poker. A low straight of 3, 4,5,6,7 is the same rank as a high straight of 8,9,10, J, Q and a pair of Aces pays the same as a pair of Queens.
Players can also access the payable before starting and calculate any theoretical returns to play the best game possible, with the highest payouts.
The odds and payout differ for each version, the example below is from the “Jacks or better” Video Poker Game, which is one of the more widely used variants.
Video poker has some of the best player odds of out of every casino game. It has a low house edge of about 3%, which is the casino’s profit on each play, so in theory, 97% of that should go back to the player. Players also get a choice in the outcome, unlike games of random chance.
Bankroll management is an essential strategy that players often neglect. Bankroll management can be just as important as knowing the rules.
It’s a good idea for players to have a set amount they are willing to lose and then stick to it. No matter how tempting it is to exceed that level. Discipline is essential when playing. Doing anything for long periods of time can get monotonous and dull the senses that’s when Video Poker can get dangerous because impatience starts to kick in. Chasing long shots, switching to higher stakes games to win back losses, are all behaviours that seem like a good idea in the heat of the moment.
A general rule for players could be to quit after losing 50% of their coins and save the rest for another day. A string of losses can have a negative effect on emotions and force silly mistakes that only make matters worse. Players should also have a rough idea of how much they are willing to win. Luck can change like the wind, and even though Video Poker can be a slow skill based game, it can still compound losses at an alarming rate. Knowing this information before playing will help limit losses and keep the games fun because you won’t be worrying.
Video Poker isn’t as complex as other forms of poker but there are still many different strategies and angles to consider while playing.
The play style and risk-taking attitude of the individual will depend on what hands they like to play. A basic guide could be, if you have one pair, draw three cards and try to make Two Pairs or better.
If you have Three Of A Kind, draw two cards and try to make Four Of A Kind or a Full House. If you have Two Pairs, draw one. These strategies won’t give you big wins, but they have higher chances of not losing. Chasing a Straight or Flush has a high probability of failure, so it’s unwise to discard a pair to chase. When you only have a high card, it’s best to hold it, get four cards back and hope for the best. Play at your own pace and work out what you want to do. Learn the hands, and eventually, you’ll figure out what you like to play and risk.
Three of a kind should be the primary goal when first starting out because in most hands you will be dealt at least one pair initially. Three Of A Kind opens the door for quads and a full house. This strategy aims to make a low paying hand frequently rather than making a strong, high paying hand rarely. Above all though, have patience and keep clam. Every player is different and what works for one person will not always work for another.