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Online video poker games, strategy, and casinos

Video poker is a casino game that pays out close to 100% of wagers. Why then do online casinos offer the game? Well, the average player follows whims and gut feel which simply does not pay off. By following a basic strategy though, you can stretch out your play significantly until such time as you get lucky. Lucky would be hitting the big one, a Royal Flush. Remember to scroll down for a brief strategy to help you enjoy the game of video poker.

The original versions of video poker required Two Pair or Better for a payout. When the payout schedule was increased to include a high pair, business boomed. Thereafter, a number of different versions evolved. Playing video poker is easy. Once you've placed your bet, one to five coins, you get your initial five cards dealt. From the five cards dealt you determine which, if any, you wish to retain. After selecting the cards you wish to keep, you draw to obtain your final hand. Once all your cards have been dealt the video poker machine will recognize the ranking of your final hand value and pay you accordingly. We have only one word of strong advice, always play for maximum coins. Your payout line always rewards such play!

Video poker casinos:

Each casino uses it's own brand of software which in turn affects the game diversity but NOT the odds. These odds can be adjusted from casino to casino and are not dependant on the software. We strongly urge you to compare odds (paytables) so that you play with the best odds. Here is an example of a Jacks or Better machine:

Machine Return Appox. Machine Payback

By simply looking at the paytables you can play and have far better payout rates and thus extend the number of hands you can play. That is not to say though that you must ONLY play where the 9/6 paytable exists. With the advent of the multihand game, the casinos have generally moved to for example 8/5 for this game with the 100 hand game. If you get a 100 hand machine with a 9/6 paytable, PLAY IT and see why many of the casinos have reduced their odds! Obviously paytables differ by game type too. A number of my friends prefer bonus video poker where the odds for getting 4 of a kind for specific denominations are higher. I myself love playing Deuces Wild, and a good friend of mine swears by Joker Poker. It is simply a matter of finding the game you enjoy most. That is why they invented "Play for Fun" mode!

Choose your Video Poker Casino

Software wise, here is the way I, as a true blue video poker player, see things:

  • Microgaming Casinos offer video poker games up to 10 hands. For some odd reason, I see far more royals with Microgaming than any other brand. They also offer expert strategy and auto play.
  • Playtech Casinos offer video poker games up to 4 hands. Beautiful graphics and generally sporting good odds. My favourite playtech casinos include Casino Las Vegas
  • Real Time Gaming Casinos (RTG) offer a huge diversity of video poker games and up to 100 hands with each variation. The graphics are nice and the games play quickly. My favourite RTG's are Silver Sands and Jackpots Cash

Strategy and Rules for Video Poker

We received a lot of assistence in drawing up this strategy guide from Casino Dreams to whom credit is given. Here are a few tips to bring your playing closer to an expert level and improve your chances of winning.

The expert player knows that to attain top return, you must play the best paying machines. Machines that depart from the full pay schedules do so at the expense of the player. They reduce the payout on frequent winners and sometimes increase it on the less frequently paid hands. Any reduction in payback is undesirable, it can have a serious impact on your chances of being a winner.

Playing with a 52 card deck, if you ignore the order of the cards within the hands, there are exactly 2,598,960 unique 5 card hands that can be dealt as your initial hand. Las Vegas style Jacks or Better offers odds of winning at 46% of hands dealt:

Hand You win once in every X number of hands

Rules of thumb

  • Don't draw to an inside straight (where you have four cards and need one in the middle to fill a straight). If however you have an open-ended straight (you have four consecutive cards and only need one at either end to fill a straight) then take a shot at making the straight.
  • Always keep any pair vs. holding a high card. Many players would discard a pair of two's and keep one or more high cards, this is not the best strategy, trying for three of a kind you have better odds when considering the payout and chances of drawing what's needed.
  • Always keep a high pair vs. a four-card open straight, a four-card flush or a three-card royal. Try for three of a kind with the knowledge that at worst you have recovered your bet.
  • Always keep a low pair over a four-card open end straight. The low pair has more value as a potential 3 of a kind than going for the straight and should be kept.
  • A three-card royal should be kept over a low pair, a four-card flush and a four card open end straight. The bonus for the royal flush makes it a better play.
  • Don't be afraid to draw five cards if you have garbage (one that doesn't have a least one high card).

Video Poker Strategy Chart

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Summary - Online video poker
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