Video poker was developed in the 1970s by Si Redd. He marketed these games in partnership with Fortune Coin Companies. This partnership evolved into IGT, which is one of the biggest global gaming companies. In land casino, video poker games are played on consoles consisting of a screen and random number generator based processor. In online video poker, the processor is located at the servers of the online casinos.
This section describes the different online video poker variants. It also explains the game play and provides some insights into the optimum strategy. Finally the advantages and disadvantages of online video poker games are discussed.
- There are a large number of online video poker variants with different payout tables and some that use wild cards, so you will not be strapped for choice.
- Video poker can be played in multi-hand format, sometimes with as many as 100 hands at a time. This speeds up the game play considerably.
- Most online video poker variants offer an average return to player of 99%, but this return can be achieved only if the player uses optimum strategy.
- Video poker games offer reasonably high payout ratios at the top level, that are lesser than only online slot games.
Online video poker variants
The most commonly played video poker variant is Jacks or Better. The payout table starts from a pair of jacks or higher hand ranking and moves to a royal flush. The other video poker games have been developed by introducing variations. In All American video poker, for example, the hand rankings remain the same but the payouts are changed to increase the volatility. There are a whole range of video poker games in which additional hand rankings have been introduced. The Bonus Poker variants have different payouts for four-of-a-kind hands with different cards. Another way of introducing variation is through wild cards. These cards can substitute for other cards to make poker hand rankings. In Deuces Wild video poker the twos can act as wild cards as well as twos. Joker Poker is played with a deck of 53 cards with the joker acting as a wild card.
Video poker games can also be played as multi-hand games in which you can play a number of hands at the same time. This increases the speed of the game play considerably. Some Dutch online casinos allow you to play up to 100 hands at the same time. Different online casino software providers have their exclusive variations. Microgaming offers a range of video poker games called Level up. These are played in the same way, except that successive wins pay out with multipliers. Playtech offers a title Pick ‘Em Poker that is structured in a completely different way. NetEnt offers a video poker series called Pyramid Poker in which each hand faces three distinct payout tables.
How to play online video poker
You place the bet by selecting the coin denomination and the number of coins. When you click the Deal button you will be dealt five cards from a single deck. You click on the cards that you want to hold. These can be any number from 0 to 5. Then you click the Draw button and the remaining cards will be replaced by others from the same deck. So you will never get back the cards that you have discarded. Your final hand will be compared against the payout table for the particular online video poker variant that you are playing. If your hand does not match with any poker ranking on the payout table then you will lose your bet. If you have a match then you get the corresponding payout. There are different payout tables for the number of coins wagered. The payout will be multiplied by the coin value selected to convert to credits, which will be added to your balance.
Online video poker strategy
The golden rule while playing any online video poker variant is to always select the maximum five coins while placing the bet. The payout for the royal flush with five coins wagered is a jackpot payout that is more five times the payout with one coin. So if you hit a royal flush and have less than five coins staked you would be kicking yourself. You can vary the coin size so as to get a bet suited to your bankroll.
Online video poker variants offer an average return of about 99% and this attracts many players. There is a caveat involved. You have to play with optimum strategy and this means that you need to acquire the requisite skill. The optimum strategies are different for different online video poker variants so you have to learn them separately. Usually the strategy is in the form of an ordered list of card combinations. You should aim to hold the highest possible card combination on that list. In subsequent articles we will deal in detail with the specific strategies for different online video poker variants. A useful rule is not to break winning combinations but for some exceptions.
Advantages and disadvantages of online video poker
Online video poker variants offer average returns of about 99% when played with optimum strategy. Video poker is a game of skill, which is great for players who do not want to depend solely on luck. The top payouts are about 800 times the bet amount, which are the highest for games offering 99% return.
The main disadvantage is that if you fail to use the optimum strategy, which is quite complex, the average return will fall drastically.