Do you like low house edge games involving a few strategic skills and love the simple and fun operation of slot machines? In this case, video poker games are ideal for you!
Take advantage of our comprehensive guide to master this explosive money game right away.
Let’s explore online video poker games. What are they?
If the world of casino games is still unknown to you, the online video poker games must seem abstract… What is a video poker game? To the surprise of some players, a video poker game is simply a clever mixture of the most popular cash games in the world, taking up the operation of the slot machine and the rules of the most famous card game on the planet, poker.
You will quickly see the similarities between the different games: an online video poker machine looks – visually – very closely, like an online slot machine.
Another point to consider
Unlike traditional poker, video poker will have you playing against software and not other opponents. Consequently, any notion of bluff linked to competition between players is eliminated. Therefore, it is customary to associate video poker with classic slot machines, with a share of less chance, because you can have an influence on the result of the game (if you know the right strategies).
A bit of online video poker history
After a hesitant start in the 1970s, especially in the face of the worldwide success of the slot machine, this new genre of gambling is today one of the most popular games in the world.
Building on its success with players wishing to combine the pleasure of the slot game and poker, many variants have thus appeared: Jacks or Better, Ten or Better, Deuces Wild or Aces and Faces, to name a few of these extremely sought after video poker variants, which you will naturally find in the majority of the best online casinos, worthy of the name.
The strength of video poker? A simple and lucrative game.
The rules of the online video poker game stand out for their simplicity: you place a bet, the machine offers you five cards, you choose which to keep and which to discard, the machine gives you new ones and the round ends in obtaining a payout with regard to the power of your final hand.
You may have heard that “the house always has the advantage”. Well, know that the online video poker machine is an exception to this rule! If you choose the right variants, you can get away with it.
What are the basic rules of online video poker?
As with Texas Hold’Em, online video poker is played with 52 cards (with wild cards or not, depending on the variant you play).
At the start of the game, you will receive 5 cards. You can either keep them or exchange them for other cards. If your hand is larger than that of the machine, you win the game: rather simple, isn’t it?
As you might have guessed, the ranking of hands in video poker is identical to that of classic poker. The objective of the game is therefore to obtain the best possible combination of cards. The more powerful your hand, the greater your winnings (according to the payout grid of the variant).
How to play online video poker?
Each round of video poker is both simple and quick. In some online video poker tournaments, more experienced players can even break speed records. Some of them can play up to 2,000 hands per hour (on several machines at the same time).
But before we get there, let’s start by understanding how we play video poker: how does a game of video poker work?
You start by placing a bet for the round that follows;
The video poker machine distributes 5 cards to you: it is your first hand;
Here is the game phase where you must think what you are going to do next. You will be able to keep or discard some of your cards. In fact, 3 options are available to you:
- Your hand contains a winning combination. You decide to keep all of your cards;
- You have cards that can form a winning combination. You choose to discard cards that you consider unnecessary in order to exchange them for new cards in the hope of obtaining a better second hand;
- None of your cards are worth keeping. You decide to discard them all to get a whole new hand.
It’s already the end of the round… We hope your final 5-card hand has a winning combination. If so, you will get a reward in line with the size of your initial bet and the payout grid. Easy peasy, right?
Did you know that… there are different variations of online video poker games?
From this moment, we ask you to pay close attention to what will follow. Variants of video poker are legion in online casinos offering this popular game and each has subtle differences, which are important to master.
Also, it is important to know that some online video poker games are more complex than others. Still others have a higher payout rate than usual. The most popular variant is Jacks or Better. However, that does not prevent you from also enjoying Deuces Wild, Joker Wild, Tens or Better, Joker Poker or even Aces & Faces.
Here are the three major differences that define a video poker variant:
- The minimum winning hand: If we take the example of Jacks or Better (this is the version that we recommend that you practice with), you will need to obtain a pair of jacks at least to reap winnings (at the difference from the classic online poker game where it is perfectly possible to win a round with a high card). Another example is Tens or Better. In this variant, you need a pair of 10 at least to get a payout.
- Wild cards: Much like on classic slot machines, Wild cards act like wild cards. Present only in certain variants, they replace any other card in the game to form a winning combination.
- Hand payout: Even if video poker follows the classification of hands of classic poker, some variants take the liberty of interposing special payouts for certain specific hands. Therefore, we recommend that you always check the payout grid for each variant you play in order to have all the data in hand.
What strategies should be used in Jacks or Better Video Poker?
Jacks or Better being the most popular variant of video poker, we recommend that you practice it for a long time before moving on to other more exotic variations.
To maximize your chances of winning, you can consult the table below. Examine your hand carefully and, depending on the result, choose to keep the highest possible combination from this list. Then discard the remaining cards.
# 1 Royal straight flush | Straight flush | Square
# 2 Four cards leading to a royal flush
# 3 Full | Next | Color | Set
# 4 Four cards leading to a straight flush
# 5 Double pair
# 6 High pair (at least one pair of jacks)
# 7 Three cards leading to a royal flush
# 8 Four cards leading to a flush
# 9 Bottom pair
# 10 Four cards leading to an open suite
# 11 Two high cards of the same sign
# 12 Three cards leading to a straight flush
# 13 Two high cards of different signs
# 14 Jack / 10, Lady / 10, King / 10 of the same sign
# 15 High card
# 16 Discard all your cards!
What is a Royal Flush in Video Poker Games?
The royal flush (straight flush) is made up of five cards whose ranks follow one another and whose colors are identical. It is both a color and a flush – the strongest unbeatable combination. If two straight flushes are in competition, the strongest is the one with the highest rank.
The “royal flush”, sometimes called “imperial flush”, is simply an ace flush. It is the highest possible hand in Video Poker games. It can therefore only be beaten by another straight flush of higher rank.
Like a normal flush, a straight flush can be “white”, if this convention is accepted at the table.
What is ” Double or Nothing” in real money video poker?
Some online video poker machines will offer you the game Double or Nothing in case of victory. At the end of the round, the virtual dealer will offer you the opportunity to double your winnings. To do this, the dealer will first show you a card. You will then be presented with four other cards face down. You will only have to choose one. If your card is more powerful than that of the dealer, you will double your winnings. Otherwise, you will lose everything! You can repeat this challenge as many times as you like if you win against the dealer.
This is one of the rare situations where the house edge does not exist. You are practically at the same level with the casino.
Tips: how to win at online video poker?
While video poker is a game of chance, there are many ways to influence the game. First, choose the right variant of video poker. Then you must apply an optimal strategy.
Always place the maximum bet
Most video poker games allow you to bet between 1 and 5 chips. We advise you to always place the maximum bet in case you have the chance to get a royal flush. Indeed, at Jacks or Better 9/6, obtaining a royal flush on a maximum bet will win you a gigantic sum (4,000 to 1). With a minimum bet, the payout ratio drops to only 250 to 1. In addition, some video poker games are associated with a progressive jackpot. You can only win it by getting a royal flush on a maximum bet. Even if the jackpot prize associated with video poker games is less interesting than that of progressive slot machines (like Mega Moolah, for example), it is always fun to win the jackpot!
Choose the game with the best payout rate
The payout rate corresponds to the share of bets received by the machine and paid back to the players in the form of winnings. It differs for each variant of video poker. Note, however, that a high payout rate is generally associated with a higher volatility rate (recurring losses, but significant gains). Here is the payout rate of the most popular variants:
Deuces & Joker: 99.06%
Tens or Better: 99.13%
Jacks or Better: 99.54%
Aces & Eights: 99.78%
Double Bonus: 100.17%
Joker Wild: 100.64%
Deuces Wild: 100.76%
Beware of the payout grids for the casino’s advantage
It is essential to choose the video poker games that offer the best payout grids. For example, there are Jacks or Better Full Pay 9/6 and Jacks or Better 8/6. These figures correspond to the payout you will receive for certain combinations.
For 9/6, you will win 9 times your bet with a full house and 6 times your bet for a color. For 8/6, you will only win 8 times your bet with the full house. Although this may seem trivial, know that the payout rate is going from 99.54% (9/6) to only 98.39% (8/6).
Learn to manage your hands well by following the right strategies
There are still many people who play video poker without knowing the strategies. Of course, anyone can be wrong, even the biggest players. But it is by learning from mistakes that you maximize your chances of winning in the long run. For the same variant of video poker, there are several complex strategies to apply. They are all based on a probabilistic logic. Let’s see some basic principles:
- It goes without saying that a first hand with a straight flush, a square, a full house, a straight or a flush should be kept without any hesitation;
- You can make an exception to the previous scenario, if your suite or color has a good chance of giving rise to a royal flush. Indeed, this combination is so lucrative that it is worth sacrificing your color or suite;
- With a set, you must always discard the other 2 cards from your hand (unless you have a full house);
- Do not keep three cards in the hope of getting a straight or a flush. The odds of getting the two cards you are missing are too low;
- If four cards potentially allow you to form a sequence, you must make the difference between an open or a closed sequence before making any decision. In the first case, it may be interesting to try the rest by discarding the unnecessary fifth card. On the other hand, if you are in the presence of a closed suite, it is more complicated to win. For example, if you have 4 ♠ 5 ♥ 7 ♣ 8 ♦ D ♠, only the substitution of the lady by a 6 would allow you to constitute a sequence. Unlikely that to happen… On the contrary, with 4 ♠ 5 ♥ 6 ♦ 7 ♣ V ♠, the jack could be replaced as well with a 3 as by an 8 to constitute a suite;
- Do not discard a low pair by default (lower than the pair of jacks). It can be the start of a more interesting combination like a set, a full house or even a square.
Make way for free online video poker!
Since the rise of online casinos, players have benefited from many advantages specific to online gambling, such as the possibility of obtaining bonuses for playing for free or even playing without depositing real money via the test mode offered through the best gaming platforms. Could you imagine arriving at a land-based casino and receiving money to bet and play for free? Obviously not! And when it comes to the video poker game – one of the most played games in the world, remember, online casinos are no exception!
By setting your sights on Sugar House online casino, you will be able to discover the joys of free online video poker. Both for beginners and for experts, the various free online video poker games will allow you to:
- Discover, step by step how a video poker machine works,
- Train by memorizing step by step the different combinations,
- Test different strategies before switching to real money video poker.
How to play free online video poker without downloading?
To take advantage of the numerous advantages linked to the free online video poker game without downloading, it will be enough to register on our website. Yes, we offer this gaming option.
We can only encourage new video poker enthusiasts to familiarize themselves with this poker machine before they bet any real money. More complex than a slot game (requiring no thought), playing online video poker for free turns out to be essential not to lose money in your first bets.
Once ready and confident, you can then switch to online video poker games for real money and try to win! Playing video poker online cannot be improvised: admittedly, simpler than the traditional poker game, this game still requires learning and memorizing combinations, don’t forget!
Did this article make you want to play video poker online? Perfect! In this case, it is now time to prove yourself and try to get the royal flush if coveted… Do not hesitate to train for a long time to save yourself from making beginner mistakes when trying your hand at free online video poker. As soon as you have full ownership of your methods, you can switch to real money.
We offer the best video poker games, with the most advantageous payout rates. Register with your eyes closed and don’t forget claim your welcome bonus to start off!