Tuesday, July 16, 2024

How to Play Video Poker 2024 – Essential Rules for Beginners

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Have you ever wondered how to play video poker? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered in our extensive video poker guide for beginners. Here, you’ll find all about poker rules, hand ranks, bet sizes, dealing and drawing, and much more.

Unlike traditional poker, the online version offers a solo gaming experience where you play against the machine rather than other players. And the best part is – the rules are so simple!

What Is Video Poker and How to Play It

Let’s start with the basics – what is video poker and how to play it? Simply put, it’s a casino game that combines the elements of the traditional card game and the features of online slots. The aim of the game is to create the best possible poker hand to win payouts.

So, how does video poker work? You start by placing your bet – select the bet size within the given limit. The usual credit span is one to five coins – placing more means better payouts.

In a video poker game, the game begins when the cards are dealt, and then the players evaluate their hands and which cards they want to keep. The game swaps up the rest, and the players are left with the final hand. Pay tables list payouts for various winning hands, and the game automatically shows wins, if any.

Good to know: Some video poker machines offer a double-or-nothing option, where you can double your winnings or lose them. Another video poker variant may feature progressive jackpots, which pile up over time and offer rich payouts for hitting high-ranking hands.

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Video Poker Hand Ranks Guide

The next step in our online video poker guide is understanding the basics of hand ranks. To grasp how to play video poker successfully, make sure to remember what each rank means.

In video poker, the payouts are based on the final hand card combination, ranging from Royal Flush to Pair.

Below, you’ll find a list of hand rankings from highest to lowest:

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  • Royal Flush: Made up of Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and 10, all of the same suit (hearts, diamonds, clubs, or spades). The best hand to have.
  • Straight Flush: Second best, five cards in a row, all of the same suit. The sequence can be any – for example, 2♠ , 3♠️, 4♠️, 5♠️, 6♠️.
  • Four of a Kind: As the name says, it’s when you have four cards of the same rank, for instance, four Kings (King♠️. King♦️, King♥︎, King♣).
  • Full House: A combination of three cards of one rank and a pair of cards of another, such as three Queens and two 10s.
  • Flush: Five cards, all of the same suit, but not in any specific order, for example, Queen, 10, 8, 6, 3.
  • Straight: Five cards in a row, but not of the same suit, like 5♣, 6♦️, 7♥︎, 8♣, 9♣.
  • Three-of-a-Kind: Three cards of the same rank, for example, three 7s or three Jacks.
  • Two Pair: Two sets of pairs, that is, two cards of one rank and two cards of another, for instance, 10♠️, 10♥︎
  • Pair (Jacks or Better): A pair of Jacks, Queens, Kings, or Aces, which is the minimum requirement to win according to the rules of video poker.

How to Play Video Poker at a Casino

Since we’ve covered the basic video poker rules, it’s time to move on to how to play video poker at a casino. Whether you prefer a mobile casino or online video poker slots, the process remains pretty much the same. The best part is that you can play online and in many US states. Read how below:

Step 1: Choose a Site to Play Video Poker

If you want to learn video poker, the first step would be to find a suitable video poker casino that offers these types of games.

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Then, make an account and register. Why? Because most online casinos offer a welcome bonus to new players who sign up and deposit funds into their accounts. And it’s usually one of the prerequisites for playing real money video poker.

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Step 2: Evaluating the Pay Table Before Choosing a Game

Selecting the right pay table is the most important step for maximizing your earnings in video poker. The pay table lists the payouts for various winning hands. It’s usually displayed on the screen of the video poker machine.

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Focus on specific payouts that will greatly increase your overall return. Also, make sure to set the limit on how much you are willing to spend, and don’t go over it. This will enhance your gaming experience and minimize losses.

Step 3: Find a Video Poker Game You Want to Play

The next step is quite simple – find a poker variant you want to play. If you are playing from the US and have trouble finding a regulated online casino, various offshore casinos we recommend offer different variants of video poker, both for beginners and experienced players. Some of the websites, like Wild Casino or Bovada, offer a variety of poker games, which you can try out before betting real money.

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Step 4: Choose Your Bet Size and Press Deal

Choosing the right bet size involves balancing your bankroll, and the betting limits the game sets.

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Consider a few things before choosing the bet size:

  • Each video poker machine has a range of betting limits. Most allow you to bet one or five coins per hand.
  • Be aware of your bankroll the entire time – assign an exact amount of money for playing video poker and stick to it. Your bankroll should guide your bet size, not the other way around.
  • When you have chosen your bet size and assessed the pay table, hit the “Deal” button and get your first poker hand.

Step 5: Drawing the Cards

After you’ve hit the “Deal” button, you will receive your first five cards. This is where you need to decide which cards to hold and which to discard. Once you’ve chosen your cards, press the “Deal/Draw” button again to replace the discarded cards with new ones from the deck.

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After the second attempt, you get your final hand and the results according to the pay table of the video poker machine.

Step 6: Results and Payouts

Once you’ve completed the second draw and received your final hand, the video poker machine immediately calculates the results. If you have won, the screen shows the winning combination as well as the payout amount, and your account receives the winnings.

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After this, you can start a new game by choosing the bet size and pressing the “Deal” button again.

How Does Video Poker Work: Pay Table

Next up in our ‘how does video poker work’ guide comes the crucial element – the paytable. It outlines the payouts for various winning hands and influences potential earnings. Understanding the game’s paytable is essential for making decisions during the rounds.

The structure of the pay table is as follows: it lists the possible poker hands (e.g. Royal Flush, Four of a Kind) and the corresponding payouts for different bet sizes. The table below shows the standard payout amounts for a 9/6 (full pay) video poker machine according to the betting sizes:

Winning Hand 1 coin 2 coins 3 coins 4 coins 5 coins
Royal Flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
Straight Flush 50 100 150 200 250
Four of a Kind 25 50 75 100 125
Full House 9 18 27 36 45
Flush 6 12 18 24 30
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
Three-of-a-Kind 3 6 9 12 15
Two Pairs 2 4 6 8 10
Pair 1 2 3 4 5

As the table shows, when betting the maximum number of coins and hitting the Royal Flush, the player receives a bonus, which increases the payout.

Different variants of video poker, like Jacks or Better or Joker Poker, have unique pay tables, which reflect the specific rules and hand rankings. In Jacks or Better, players receive higher payouts when they have a pair of Jacks or higher. Joker Poker includes a wild card, which can replace any card in the deck, which further changes up the potential payouts.

Variations in pay tables, such as 9/6 Jacks or Better compared to 8/5, impact the game’s return-to-player (RTP) percentage. Higher paytables provide better potential returns than lower ones.

Understanding the structure of the paytable helps develop strategies for holding and discarding cards. By carefully analyzing and selecting games with better pay tables, you can increase your chances of success and have more fun playing video poker.

Types of Video Poker Bets

Poker bet types are another essential part of any video poker rules guide. In essence, each of the options affects the game’s risk and potential payouts. Understanding them can help you make decisions and develop different strategies when playing video poker online. Below, you’ll find the main types of bets available in video poker:

Single Coin Bets

A single coin bet is the minimum bet you can place, and it uses one coin per hand. This option minimizes your risk but also offers the lowest payouts. This approach is suitable for beginners or players with a lower bankroll. However, this type of bet does not qualify for the bonus payouts since they are typically associated with the maximum coin bets. Players who have just started to learn video poker might begin their game with single coin bets to get comfortable without risking much money.

Multi Coin Bets

Multi-coin bets involve placing more than one coin per hand but not more than the machine’s maximum, which is usually five coins. Betting multiple coins increases your risk, but it also increases potential payouts. Multi-coin bets are a balanced approach, offering higher payouts than single-coin bets while spreading the risk. Players with a moderate bankroll can opt for this to increase their payouts without risking it all with maximum coin bets.

Maximum Coin Bets

Maximum coin bets involve betting the highest number of coins allowed per hand, typically five coins. Betting the maximum number of coins qualifies players for the highest possible payouts, especially for premium hands like a Royal Flush. Experienced players or those with a larger bankroll often opt for maximum coin bets to take full advantage of the game. However, this approach requires a higher risk tolerance and a bigger bankroll to endure extended play periods without hitting greater wins.

Author’s Tip: In essence, players who are just starting to learn how to play video poker should start with single or lower multi-coin bets to minimize risk and get familiar with how the game works. Experienced players should aim for maximum coin bets to maximize potential payouts, especially for high-paying hands like Royal Flush.

Video Poker Buttons

Understanding various buttons on the video poker machine is essential if you want to learn to play video poker. Below, you’ll find a description of each button and how to use it.

  • Deal/Draw: Starts the game by dealing cards. After players choose which cards to hold and which to discard, hitting the button again replaces the discarded cards with new ones from the deck.
  • Hold/Cancel: Located below each of the cards, this button lets players keep selected cards after the initial deal. If a player changes their mind, pressing the “Cancel” button will deselect the cards.
  • Bet One: This button allows players to increase the bet size by one coin per press. It’s used to adjust the bet before starting a new hand.
  • Max Bet: Pressing this button automatically bets the maximum number of coins allowed and deals cards.
  • Coin Denomination: On machines with multiple coin denominations, pressing this button allows the players to choose the value of each coin they wish to bet.
  • Pay table/Help: This button displays a pay table for the selected variant and payouts for different hand combinations based on the selected bet size. Additionally, pressing the button may provide players with information about the rules of the game, hand rankings, or special features.
  • Cash Out/Collect: Once a player has finished playing or wants to cash out the winnings, they can press this button to redeem their payouts.

Video Poker vs. Standard Online Poker

Video poker and standard online poker share some key aspects, such as hand rankings, but they are significantly different in gameplay and strategy. Read the list to see the main differences:

Category Video Poker Standard Poker
Social Interaction In video poker, you compete against a machine, aiming to form the best hand possible. Standard online poker involves playing against real opponents, which adds a social and competitive element to the game.
Game Dynamics Video poker has a fixed structure with no betting rounds. Instead, you place a single bet, get five cards, and decide which to keep or discard. Standard online poker includes multiple betting rounds, which allow players to raise, call, or fold based on the strength of their hand and how well they can read the opponents.
Bluffing and Strategy In video poker, there’s no need for bluffing since you play against the machine. In standard online poker, bluffing, strategic play, and hand reading play major roles in winning pots.
Payouts and Rewards Video poker offers fixed payouts based on the strength of the final hand, as determined by the machine’s paytable. Standard online poker rewards players based on the size of the pot, which is determined by the size of the bets and the outcome of each hand.
Payouts and Rewards Video poker offers a limited selection of game variants, such as Double Bonus Poker or Jacks or Better. Standard poker at offshore poker sites provides a wide variety of games, including Texas Hold’em, Omaha, or Stud, as well as various tournaments.

Different Types of Video Poker Games Online

Like any other popular casino game, video poker has its different variations. Each of these variants has its unique rules and paytables, which allow you to choose based on your preferences and strategy.

Below is a list of the most common types of poker games you can find at offshore casinos:

  • Deuces Wild: In this type, all 2s (deuces) act as a wild card, which can replace any other card to form a winning hand. Since this significantly increases the chances of winning, Deuces Wild is one of the most favorite games among people who play video poker.
  • Jacks or Better: This is the traditional form of video poker. Players need at least a pair of Jacks or higher cards to win. The straightforward rules and a standard pay table make it an excellent choice for beginners.
  • Double Bonus Poker: This game offers bonus payouts for Four-of-a-Kind hands, particularly for aces. While the increased payouts for these hands seem enticing, the game usually has lower payouts for other hands.
  • Bonus Deuces Wild: It’s a game that combines the elements from both Deuces Wild and Bonus Poker. This variant offers enhanced payouts for specific Four-of-a-Kind hands while still featuring wild deuces.
  • Double Double Bonus Poker: Double Double Bonus Poker is a version of Bonus Poker that pays even more for Four of a Kind hands, especially when combined with specific kicker cards. A kicker card is the highest unpaired card in a player’s hand that’s not part of the primary hand combination.
  • Joker’s Wild: In this variation, a joker is added to the deck as a wild card, which increases the chance to win. This wild card can lead to different combinations and strategies compared to other video poker games.

Learn Video Poker: Beginner Tips & Strategy

Want to become an expert on video poker? Check out the following quick tips and tricks that can easily help you learn how to play video poker and improve your chances of winning:

  • Know the Rules: Get to know how video poker works, including the basics, such as hand rankings and paytables.
  • Understand the Strategy: Learn the basics of the video poker strategy, such as which cards to hold and which to discard.
  • Practice for Free: Many online casinos offer free poker games where you can practice without losing real money.
  • Pay table is Your Friend: Understanding different variants of the pay tables will help you make the most of your bets.
  • Take Advantage of Bonuses: Some casinos offer bonuses or rewards for playing video poker, so make sure to take advantage of any available promotions.

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Top Online Casinos for Video Poker

So, now that you know how to play video poker at a casino, the next question is where? First, it’s important for video poker players to find a trustworthy online casino that offers different poker variants and bet sizes, as well as those that offer playing both for free and real money.

Many brands that we review have a decent video poker selection, but our top choice is Wild Casino. The site offers a large selection of video poker machines where you can practice for free and play using real money.

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What is the main goal of video poker?

What cards are the best to hold in video poker?

Can you win playing video poker online?

Is video poker a skill-based casino game?

How do I win at video poker?

Can I play online video poker for free?

Responsible Video Poker Gambling

Gambling can be a fun and enjoyable pastime, but it can also lead to serious addiction, which is why you should remember to gamble responsibly. Entertain yourself without stress and make every moment of your gaming experience a positive one.

If you or anyone you know need help, don’t hesitate to reach out to some of the support groups below:


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