What Is Video Poker

Developed back in the mid-1970s, Video Poker evolved into one of the most viral game choices of gamblers worldwide. Since then, the game has only been growing in popularity. Are you a passionate poker player? If you are, you will love our article.

Get to Know the World and History of the Famous Video Poker

What exactly is Video Poker? It is a five-card draw poker-based casino game. You can play it on a console which is very similar in size and overall appearance to the slot machine.  

The first models of Video Poker machines appeared around the same time the first personal computers popped up. This was back in the second half of the 1970s and was considered as highly technologically advanced, even though it may seem primitive according to today’s standards.

However, the first breakthrough for Video Poker was the launch of Draw Poker in 1979, by Sircoma (better known today as International Game Technology). Later, during the 1980s, Video Poker became viral in casinos all around the world. People found these gambling devices less intimidating, as opposed to Video Pokers’ first iterations. The game’s evolution led to it becoming one of the most popular and eye-catching entertainment options of many casinos. Moreover, the game is taking the lead with Las Vegas locals and its visitors.

Her Majesty, the Game

Unlike the slot machine, Video Poker lets you influence the outcome of your game. This is part of the reason why it is so popular. Video Poker has one of the smallest house edges of all casino games, and if you play it perfectly, you can go as far as to give yourself the edge. So if you play your hands carefully and pay attention to which type of Video Poker machine you play, you can pretty much guarantee a winning night for yourself.  

Moreover, there are so many different varieties of Video Poker and game types that you can choose from, but in general, all games function under a more or less similar set of rules:

  • You receive five starting cards
  • You get to choose either to hold or discard all or any of your cards
  • If you decide to discard, all of the cards you have selected will be replaced in a single random draw
  • The standard table poker hands are used as winning combinations
  • In the end, if your hand matches any of the poker hands, you will win a prize

The round starts with you inserting either money or a paper ticket with your credit into the Video Poker machine. Before pressing the ‘deal’ button, you need to place a bet. Then, you will receive five cards, and if you choose to, you can discard all or some of them. The discarded cards will then be replaced with new random ones. And after each draw, you will be paid out by the machine if your final hand matches one of the winning combinations displayed on the paytable. The main difference between Video Poker and the table game variant is the fact that you play against the machine with fixed payouts instead of betting against other players.

Furthermore, the paytable denotes the hand payout amounts. They are based on how rare the combinations of the cards are, the game operators’ decision, and the video poker type. The closest to a standard paytable is that for the Jacks or Better variant, and it starts with a minimum hand of a pair of jacks or higher. However, the rest of the hand combinations are the same as in table poker. This includes hands such as two pairs, straight (a sequence of five cards arranged consecutively), three of a kind, full house (one pair and a three of a kind), flush (any five cards of the same suit), straight flush (five consecutive cards of the same suit), four of a kind (four cards of the same rank), and a royal flush (a King, a Queen, a Jack, a Ten and an Ace, all of the same suit).

What is more, some other tempting offers can also be found on some of the Video Poker machines — a progressive jackpot, vibrant and unique bonuses, promotions etc. Such extra features always make players come back for more.

Variations of Video Poker

As we’ve mentioned, there are multiple variants of Video Poker out there. Some of the most popular ones are Deuces Wild (a Two serves as a wild card); Joker’s Wild (the Joker acts as a wild card); Anything’s Wild (you can select any card to be the wild card before your hand is dealt). Additionally, some of the games have ‘bonus,’ ‘triple,’ or ‘double’ in their titles on the machines, so you can find this feature easy enough and play them. Furthermore, also there is a Multi-Poker variant of all the previous types, in which you can opt to play multiple hands at the same time. When you choose to play with more than one hand, the cards you decide to keep are copied to all the other hands you’re playing and then the machine draws cards for all of them separately. You can usually find The Multi-Poker in the offers such as Triple Play, Ten Play, Five Play, One Hundred Play, and Fifty Play versions.

In games without a wild card, you can receive the rare four of a kind hand once in five hundred hands on average. However, when it comes to the royal flush (the highest payout hand), you can end up playing tens of thousands of hands before ever getting one.


The Irresistible Charm of Video Poker

What is the main thing about Video Poker that makes it more of an attractive option than slot machines for gamblers from all over the world? It is the element of skill. In other words, you have some ability to influence the outcome. And how is this achievable? Well, because the cards used in Video Poker are dealt from a 52 or 53-card deck, the number of possible hand combinations is limited (and much lower than the number of possible combinations in slots).

So if you play diligently and use the right strategy, these poker machines can match, or even beat any live table game. Jack or Better, one of the primary Video Poker games (in its best paying version) has an RTP of 99.5% with optimal play.

Moreover, some versions of Deuces Wild can even offer the player an RTP slightly over 100% (again, only through absolutely mathematically optimal play).

Naturally, these examples make questions such as why do casinos offer us games which are so easy to profit from pop up. Especially since we are all well aware of the ‘house always wins’ motto. Well, the answer is simple. Only a small percentage of the players have actually mastered this so-called basic strategy. This all sound so easy and double, but when it’s time to put their words into action, most players fail.

On top of that, today’s market got so competitive that casinos often face one of two choices — offer so tempting payouts that the players can hope to profit in the long term or lower pay tables and risk their customers walking away. On the other hand, in less competitive markets where gamblers struggle to find a place to play at, the casinos are more likely to offer lower-paying machines.

Ultimately, the demand for Video Poker became bigger as gamblers grew more experienced over the years, especially in the US. For example, in Nevada, the casinos dedicate more than 50% of their slot spaces to Video Poker, with many of the Video Poker games offering a few other special features as well.

So to conclude this article, we have to point out that playing Video Poker will most certainly entertain you. This especially applies to the rare skilled ones among you because you will also find it quite profitable. Alas, if you don’t belong in this category, here is a reason to practice. Understand the game and get ready for some serious winnings. If not, at least choose a machine with a progressive jackpot — you never know when luck might touch you. All in all, this game is definitely worthy of your attention and time.