The History of Video Poker

The first Video Poker machine was created in the 1970s, approximately at the same time when the first personal computers appeared on the market. The first machines were not very fun to play, and the first success came to this type of entertainment when SIRCOMA (Si Redd’s Coin Machines), now known as IGT (International Game Technology), presented their Draw Poker machine. That was in 1979.

The History of Video Poker

Soon, Video Poker became popular in casinos all over the world and especially in Las Vegas. It was something new and players liked it. They could finally play something more interesting than the basic slot machine. Something that was similar to poker, without interacting with other, more experienced, or skilled players. The success of Video Poker Machines evolved through the 1980s, and then, in early 1990s, gamblers saw the first online casinos and the first online Video Poker games. They were and are pretty much the same as the real machines, allowing to place a relatively low bet, and provide a chance for a significant win.

Nowadays, Video Poker games are present in almost every reliable casino, and they offer a way higher RTP rate than regular slot machines, as well as most of the table games. The trick is that you have to play skillfully in order to lower the casino’s advantage to a minimum. In our article, we’ll explain what Video Poker is as a game, and how to play it.

Video Poker in a Nutshell

There are many popular variations of Video Poker, but in general, the game is pretty much the same. The player gets five cards from a virtual 52-cards (53, if you’re playing a game version with a joker) deck. Depending on the hand you got, you may discard some of your cards or even all of them. If you’re discarding, the substituting cards will be dealt from the same virtual deck, and after that, the winnings are counted and paid according to the final hand.

This is how it goes step by step:

  1. Choose a number of coins to bet (from 1 to 5, usually);
  2. Press the “deal” button to get your five random cards;
  3. Choose which cards to discard and which to keep. Press the “deal” button once again to get new cards in place of the ones you discarded;
  4. When the cards are dealt, the game calculates your winnings and pays them, usually offering a gamble feature (use a 50% chance to double your winnings or void them).

Depending on the game version you choose, you can get a house edge of 0.5%, or even an advantage over the casino, if you play properly, which is a very rare. Even if the casino has a slight advantage, it can be diminished by some promotions, comp points, and bonuses. That’s why the casinos don’t let you complete the wagering requirements for their bonuses while playing Video Poker: it’s not very profitable for them on its own.

Video Poker in a Nutshell

Video Poker Combinations

All Video Poker games use the standard Poker winning combinations, which you’ve surely heard about, but might not know exactly what they mean. Everybody knows that Royal Flush is good, right? One Pair is probably good too, but what’s the difference between them, and how much do they pay? Here are the answers to all your questions.

We will show you the standard paytable of the most common Video Poker game: Jacks or Better, also known as Draw Poker. The payout begins with a pair of jacks (surprise!) and ends with the Royal Flush. The prizes aren’t the same for all Jacks or Better games, and depend on the game manufacturer or the chosen bet.

Video Poker Combinations

The list of combinations might slightly vary, depending on the rules of the game, and the number of cards in a deck. For example, Joker Poker allows getting Five of a Kind combination: four cards of the same rank and a joker.

Video Poker Variations, Strategies, and Cheat Sheets

There are two variations of Video Poker, which are most popular among players. They slightly vary in their rules and you have to use different strategies to play them. The Video Poker strategies are usually given in the form of lists, explaining whether you should discard or stand, while having different hand variations. The numbers on the right represent the estimated outcome from playing the given strategy over and over again, until it succeeds. These lists are sometimes called “cheat sheets,” and we suppose that some players actually think that you could cheat in Video Poker, which is literally impossible. If you want to know how to cheat at Video Poker, the answer is - you can’t do it. The only chance to get an unusual outcome from Video Poker, is to be extremely lucky, or to play on a dysfunctional machine.

In some variations of Video Poker, you can diminish a house edge to 0.5% or less, or even have an advantage over the casino, by employing proper strategies and using the complimentary bonuses given by the casino. The only thing you should remember is that even a proper strategy gives you only a statistical advantage over a large period and you can still lose in the short term.

Jacks or Better

Jacks or Better is the most popular Video Poker game of all times, and by using a proper strategy, you can play with 0.46% house edge. Sounds good, right? The game is called Jacks or Better because the lowest winning combination is a pair of Jacks. In the cheat sheet, you’ll see the possible hands and the outcome you get from them.

Jacks or Better

Full Pay Jacks or Better

Full Pay Jacks or Better

Deuces Wild

In the Deuces Wild game, all deuces are wild, and can substitute any card to form any combination. This rule makes it a lot easier to get a winning hand, so the payouts are significantly decreased. There’s also one more combination added (Five of a Kind). In the case of Deuces Wild, you should remember Rule One: never discard a deuce. Here’s the Deuces Wild video poker strategy that should be used in accordance with the Rule One, and it offers you 100.76% RTP rate.

Deuces Wild

Useful Tips

Useful Tips

There are a few more things we want to tell you about playing Video Poker that are not related to the given strategies. A bit of common sense will significantly increase your chances to hit a big win, or at least to have some decent fun. These Video Poker tips aren’t too complicated, but they surely will help your budget to last a bit longer, or even increase it over time.

Closing Thoughts

Video Poker is a very exciting game, allowing you to avoid the fuss of casino game tables, but with decent RTP. It depends not only on randomness, but also on skil. So you can actually affect the results of each game, if you know how to play. This makes Video Poker way more interesting than slots, even the ones with the very complicated bonus games, free spins, and other stuff. If you haven’t tried Video Poker, with the help of our brief guide, you can try it now.

Updated: 04 Jul 2018

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