Video Poker Online
What it is…
Video poker came into existence in the 1970s and has since evolved into one of the most popular types of gambling. The game is highly challenging, played quickly and requires combined skill and luck. Video poker’s many attractive features include the fact that players can enjoy hours upon hours of exhilarating fun. Today’s video poker players have a wide choice of options of where to get their video poker fixes; from the traditional land-based casinos, to online casinos, and now via hand-held mobile devices. The majority of online video poker games are based on 5-card draw poker. In 5-card draw, players are dealt 5 cards and may exchange any or all of their cards in order to improve their hand. New cards are dealt to replace those discarded, and the resulting hand determines whether the player wins or losers.
Warning: Video poker may be too much fun
Playing online video poker is very different from video poker enjoyed in land-based casinos. For one thing, you can’t just get up and switch machines when the one you are playing isn’t paying. Also, you can’t just walk off with your winnings in hand. Still, for a fast-growing number of video poker enthusiasts, the thrills of video poker can’t be beaten; the game represents the ultimate in video games because it can never be mastered. (Of course, that’s not to say I’m not trying. Trust me; I am.)
Video Poker’s Evolution
Ever since the arrival of videopoker, numerous variations have been introduced, and it’s safe to assume much more are on their way. The first ever online video poker game introduced was Jacks or Better. This was followed soon after by Deuces Wild and after that by Joker Poker. In the late 80s the ‘Bonus’ series began and developed over the next couple of years. Bonus Poker, Double Bonus Poker, Double Double Bonus Poker, & Triple Double Bonus Poker had not yet hit the scene. Bonus games introduced later included the Double Jackpot and Double Double Jackpot games which paid even more for the bonus hands.
Over the past couple of years, both the online and offline gaming industries have witnessed the development of countless variations of video poker, including poles-apart versions of Deuces Wild and Jokers Wild games. Plus with these variations have come to the multi-hand games whereby players can play several hands at once with a single deal and draw of the cards. These multi-hand video poker games are proving incredibly popular with poker fans everywhere. Thus it’s safe to say the online gaming biz is in for some pretty exciting developments in, among others, the realm of online videopoker.
Seek and ye shall find
Finding the site with the best online video poker games for you is obviously no easy undertaking, especially when you don’t even know what to look for, or avoid. As always, playing the video poker games created by the larger software developers like Playtech, Microgaming etc. is your safest bet. Good luck and have fun!
Most Common Video Poker Mistakes
It is just this challenge that makes video poker attractive to so many avid devotees. It is this same requirement, however, that results in a casino win rate averaging about two percent more than it would get if everyone played perfect strategy. Here are a few of the most common errors:
Playing a short pay machine
This is clearly the most common error since the majority of games offer much less than 100% payback, yet they get plenty of action even where better games are available. I often see someone playing a short pay game when a nearby machine is full pay yet sits idle. I even see people playing on one bank of machines with a progressive jackpot when another identical bank of machines has a higher jackpot. Learn to recognize the best payoff schedules, and avoid the low payback games. Of course, many casinos have no full pay games, in which case the only logical answer is to go elsewhere. If more people would vote with their legs, the casinos would have to offer more attractive games to be competitive.
Playing fewer than maximum coins
Most games allow playing one to five coins or credits, but the maximum jackpot is paid only if you play five coins. Typically, the royal flush pays only 250-for-1 with short coin play, but a five-coin royal pays 4,000 coins which are 800-for-1. On regular 9/6 Jacks-or-Better, short coin play reduces your payback by about 1.4%, although this can be reduced to “only” a 1.2% loss with certain strategy adjustments. But why give up even one percent?
Always holding something
This is probably the most common and costliest playing error, especially in wild card games. It may seem like a waste throwing away all five cards, but if none of the available card combinations is listed in the strategy chart then your best play is a five-card redraw.
Holding a “kicker”
In live draw poker it’s sometimes correct to hold an ace or other high cards when drawing to a pair or to three of a kind, but in video poker it’s a very costly error. Two pair pays the same no matter what the card ranks, and holding that kicker just reduces the chances of improving the hand. In Deuces Wild, remember that each card held means one less chance of drawing a wild card.
Drawing to a three-card flush inside straight
This is tempting when dealt a garbage hand with no high cards, but it’s better to draw five cards. (Surprisingly, however, it’s sometimes correct to draw to an inside straight in Deuces Wild and Double Bonus Poker, and drawing to a little three-card flush is sometimes correct in Double Bonus Poker and 9/7 Jacks-of-Better.) The point is that no one strategy is correct for all games. You need to learn a strategy that is specific to the game you want to play.
Breaking a made pay to draw a three-card royal
Granted this is very tempting, and it will occasionally yield an extra royal, but in the long run it’s a costly error except when there is a high progressive jackpot on the royal. (The necessary jackpot to make this correct depends upon the game and the pay that is being broken.)
Overlooking some viable draws
Perhaps the most often missed is a double inside straight flush draw. Learn a complete strategy, and avoid the hunch plays.
Playing too fast
It’s easy to overlook some playable draws when playing at your optimum speed. Also, some machines have sticky or dirty buttons. Be sure the “hold” shows on the screen for the cards you want to hold.
Playing too slow.
If you are playing a game with over 100% return you obviously can increase your expected win rate by playing faster, but don’t play so fast that you make strategy errors. Find your optimum speed.
Not joining the slot club
Most casinos have a slot club, and membership is free. In some cases the cash rebate may be very small or even nonexistent, but you often get additional comps and/or special offers in the mail that make your play much more profitable.
You can be a long term winner at video poker simply by understanding and avoiding these errors. It’s not hard to recognize the good games and learn the correct strategy for your games of choice. The moral is to play only the games that offer high payback, follow an optimum strategy, and always use your slot card. My Precision Play method make it easy to learn a winning strategy for some of the most attractive games. You can cut your loss rate to almost nothing, or even turn it into an expected win.