If you love poker, you’ve probably played Video Poker once or twice, or maybe more. This popular version first appeared in the casino scene back in the ’70s and has skyrocketed ever since. In this post, we’ll discuss a few smart video poker strategies that can help you elevate your game. But let’s start at the very beginning, for those who’re new to this.
What is Video Poker? And How Do You Play It?
Video poker is basically based on five-card draw poker. The game is played on a computerized console similar to a slot machine, or online. You can find plenty of free video poker games with no registration.
Playing video poker is quite simple. After you insert money into the machine, you place a bet of one or more credits and press the “deal” button. You’re given 5 cards (hence five-card draw) and you now have the option to discard one or more of them in exchange for new cards drawn from the same virtual deck. After the draw, the machine will payout if the hands played match one of the winning combinations (these are posted on the paytable). Contrary to table poker, you may discard all five of your original cards if you choose so.
One of the reasons why video poker became so popular, is the fact that it’s one of the few casino games in which the house does not have the advantage it enjoys in most other table games or slot machines. With this in mind, there are plenty of tips and some basic strategies you should follow.
Video Poker Strategies You Should Know
1. Before You Play, Practice
Practice is key in acquiring and honing any skill, no matter the field. Any sport requires extensive practice sessions in order to know the game and to excel at it. The same goes for playing video poker. Despite not being anywhere as intense as soccer, rugby, or other sports – it does have a toll on your mind, and that’s where you need the most practice.
The best way to practice video poker is by downloading a video poker app to your desktop, smartphone, or tablet. Some may cost up to $50 or so (which will probably be well worth the investment), but you can also find video poker apps for free, like this one on the App store.
Most video poker applications deliver the same features. They include the pay tables and resultant strategies for a number of video poker games. You’ll be able to customize the games so you can practice the exact game and version that you plan to play in real life.
2. Know The Pay Tables
Like other slot machines, Video poker also has pay tables. What are Pay tables?
Well, video poker games pay a certain amount based on the combination you get as you play. The Pay Tables show for each combination of symbols and the number of coins bet – how many coins or credits you can win. Since all the probabilities mirror a 52-card deck, the odds of getting any one of the symbols in video poker games can be easily calculated.
Let’s say you have a choice between two video poker machines: One with a Paytable that returns 99.65% with perfect play, while the other returns 97.5%. It may look insignificant, but your money will last longer on the first machine, and you’ll increase your chances of beating the house.
That’s why it’s key that you perform proper research in order to identify and select the video poker machines with the best pay tables.
3. Know What To Avoid
When you play “Jacks or Better,” (the most common variation of video poker where payoffs begin at a pair of jacks) – avoid the widespread blunder of holding a kicker. Many players make that mistake, believing that retaining a kicker will give them a bigger chance to win with a higher payout.
You should also refrain from keeping three cards in an attempt to get that straight or flush. It will eventually leave you in a losing position. Having said that, there are cases in which you can keep all three cards and that’s when you really can pull off a valuable straight flush.
You need to understand this basic strategy for winning a video poker machine – don’t ever give up a winning hand just to pursue an even better hand.
4. Play Slower Hands
This might sound like one of those trivial video poker strategies, but it’s probably the only tip that’ll keep you in the game. Yes, we all know that the more we play – the more we tend to lose. However, video poker is different from online poker.
In the first, the key strategy is to play fewer hands, while in video poker you need to play slow. The last thing you want to do is play fast and lose lots of money in a short period of time. Playing slower hands will lessen your hourly losses, allow you to survive longer on the machine, and increase your chances to hit that royal flush.
So go ahead and take your time, at video poker no one will be pushing you to make your next move. Play slow and safe, at your own time.
5. Always Monitor the Bonuses
As you surely noticed when surfing through online casino sites, there are plenty of promotions and bonus offers at every site, every day of the year. The problem is there are so many bonuses out there – that players tend to ignore them. Don’t do that.
By finding and targeting the right bonuses and promotions – you can increase your chances to win at video poker. The simple reason is that these bonuses are basically free money for you to play more games. The more games you play on a machine increases your chance to win.
So don’t ignore all these bonus ads, moreover – you should contact a casino’s sales and ask for special bonuses that they might offer you.
Hope you enjoyed our five video poker strategies. Our last tip: If you find yourself in new scenarios where you don’t know what to do – just google it or email us – we’ll be happy to help!