What is Video Poker? How to Play It?

VIDEO POKER Updated on: 5 September 2018

Poker became one of the few casino games to take advantage of the introduction of computes in the 21st century. Compared to the modern version of video poker, ’70’s games were makeshift at best. But with computing technology advancing like clockwork in the next decade or so, this game managed to command mainstream respectability for its quality gameplay and soon all casinos worthy of the name had it for their clients.

This game, as the name so evidently suggests, is based on poker as we know it. Still, there are some differences between the two versions of the game you should be aware of. In regular poker, it’s you against other poker players at the table, with video poker, it’s you against the machine, or the casino if you like.

1. How Is Video Poker Played?

Quite simply, like real poker. But this is overly presumptuous of me. So, for those who are hearing of poker through this variant of the game, the game is played using regular playing cards. At the beginning of the game, you will be issued with a hand of cards.

From there, you will be given the choice to get rid of some or these cards and replace them with others. After this, the value of the hand you are left with will be determined, and this ranking will determine if you have won or lost that round.

How to Play Online Poker

As you are probably thinking, there are lots of similarities between the way poker is played offline and online. In both cases, a computer software is used to run the game. In fact, unlike some casino games, it did not take much of a leap for the video poker to move online. The only major difference introduced is that you could play this game anywhere, not just in a physical casino location.

But as is the tradition when a game manages to become an online hit, online poker went on to have many variants to address the multiple needs online gamblers usually have. For this reason, you will explore a lot more winning and playing possibilities with this game when you play online than when you play it in a land-based casino.

Otherwise, if you tried to compare the winning odds of physical video poker machines and those of online poker games, you would realize that the two versions of the game are completely alike. However, while video poker in physical casinos slowed down in terms of technological advancements, online casinos are relentless in their efforts to make the game even more exciting than it was when they adopted it. So, you can expect superior graphics and better sound effects when you play video poker online.

Multi-hand Online Video Poker

Of the many benefits of playing video poker online, this is clearly one of the greatest. With multi-hand video poker, you can play with several hands at once, something you cannot do in a physical casino. Each hand is played differently, and you can even play with 50 hands at a time! Yea, imagine that.

The excitement will obviously be cranked to a whole new level when you play this poker version because the potential rewards and risks are both magnified. But when you come to think of it, if you have a winning strategy, you can rake in those wins a lot faster when you have more hands to play with at one go.

Versions of Video Poker

Besides the multi-hand video poker variant we have looked at above, there are other poker variants as well. In particular, you should know about Jacks or Better, Joker Poker, and Deuces Wild. All these variants can come in both single hand and multi-hand versions.

Jacks or Better

This version of poker is actually the most popular. As per its name, a pair of jacks is the lowest ranked winning hand for this game. This game has better winning odds than most other video poker versions, although not by much.

Joker Poker

Joker Poker is a little more complex when contrasted to Jacks or Better. The payoff is that your strategy will have more say in this game. Essentially, with this game, you can substitute a missing card form the winning combination with a joker. Getting a joker obviously gives you the upper hand in this game. And since strategy plays quite a role in this game, you will have better chances of improving your winning potential by learning some winning tips.

Deuces Wild

This video poker variant is quite similar to Joker Poker, the only difference being that a deuce (a card with a 2) will be used to substitute any card in your hand and give you a higher winning potential. But you have better chances of winning with Deuces Wild than with Joker Poker because it has four 2’s in a deck of 52 cards while with Joker Poker, there is only one joker in a deck of 53 cards.

Using Strategies In Video Poker

There is nothing you can do to change the cards you are dealt, but your play options offer plenty of opportunities to employ a strategy, and a winning one at that. Formulating a strategy should begin with the goal of understanding what your odds are for different winning combinations.

Fortunately, poker is one of the few casino games where a good strategy could really put you at an advantage and help you win more. But plenty of practice might be necessary before you become a player who regularly wins with poker.

To get you started, I have prepared some video poker playing guides explaining some tips you can use to win. I also explore in greater detail the video poker variants I have just mentioned so that you can have a more intimate understanding of what they are and why they might help you win more as you play.