The first video poker machines or terminals emerged in land casinos in the 1970s where they were a popular alternative to slot machines, which then as now, dominated gaming floors. The big attraction is that unlike slots video poker is not 100% reliant on luck.
Video poker technology continued to improve in leaps and bounds in the 1980s, and just a decade later made a quick and easy transition into online casinos, and a decade or so after that another into mobile casinos for the ultimate in 24/7 online gaming convenience.
This poker-based arcade style game requires a degree of skill as the card choices you make can influence your winning potential. In fact, every variant of video poker – and there are many – has its own strategy that determines the cards you should keep and/or discard.
In other words, the basic strategy for every type of video poker has been carefully worked out so that by discarding and/or keeping the right cards every time with each hand, you maximise your chances of landing the best, or highest paying, winning combination.
Of course, as with every gambling game and format, luck can play a role in the outcome of any video poker session. However, by learning the rules of every video poker variant you intend to play, as well as its respective basic strategy, you can help minimise its effects.
Whether you choose to play video poker at any premier African land or online casino, the rules of video poker and the overall game play are the same. In fact, the software in physical video poker machines is often identical to that of their online and mobile counterparts.
So without further ado, let’s delve into video poker rules.
Video Poker Objective and Winning Hands
The objective of video poker is to make the best possible 5-card poker hand from a standard 52-card deck (in some variants a 53-card deck), which is shuffled after every hand. Winning video poker hands from highest to lowest are highlighted below:
- Royal Flush - All five cards are suited and in sequence from 10 to Ace
- Straight Flush – Any five suited cards in sequence
- 4 of a Kind - Four same value cards + any other card
- Full House – Three same value cards + any other pair
- Flush – Any five suited cards not in sequence
- Straight – Any five unsuited cards in sequence
- Three of a Kind – Three same value cards + two different value cards
- Two Pairs - Two different value pairs + any other card
- One Pair – Any pair but may be specified depending on the type of video poker such as 10s in 10s or Better or Jacks in Jacks or Better.
Betting in Video Poker and the Gamble Feature
Every video poker game lets you play 1 to 5 coins or credits per hand in your chosen coin size which can range from 1c to $5 or even more. This means you can enjoy video poker no matter the size of your budget.
It’s recommended to always play all 5 credits or coins for a shot to win the biggest possible pay-outs, all of which you’ll find highlighted clearly in the respective game’s pay table, whatever the particular variant.
Most video poker games come with a default gamble feature that automatically becomes activate every time you make a winning combination. This features gives you the option to double (or lose) your winnings.
If you click to accept the feature, you’ll be presented with 5 cards - one up and four down. You must choose one of the down (hidden) cards and if it has a higher value than the up card, you double your money.
You can collect your winnings or continue trying to double up. If your card matches that of the dealer’s, your winnings remain the same and you can either choose to collect them or continue trying to double up.
If at any point your selected card is revealed to be lower than that of the dealer’s card, you lose the entire amount – including your original winnings.
How to Play Video Poker
In the case of online video poker, first choose a safe, secure, reputable and lucrative online casino to play on, with the biggest and best variety of video poker variants. You’ll be pleased to know that we only feature real money online casinos that fit the above criteria.
Once you have signed up with a tried and trusted African-friendly online casino, and added funds to your real money account, you can make your way to the games lobby. You’ll see a video poker tab or drop down menu with all available video poker variants. Next:
- Choose a video poker variant from the list provided and click to open it.
- Wait a few moments for it to open in your respective internet browser.
- Choose your bet size (typically $0.1 to $5) and the number of coins (1 to 5) to bet.
- Click ‘Deal’.
- Examine your five card hand and decide which cards you want to keep and which to discard. In online and mobile video poker, you can hold a card simply by clicking or tapping it. (Land video poker machines have hold buttons). It should be said that now days most video poker games hold winning card combinations automatically.
- Click ‘Deal’ again.
- All of your unheld cards will instantly be replaced with new cards to give you your final hand. If this hands contains any winning combinations that correspond with those highlighted in the game’s pay table, you’ll be paid out accordingly.
- Depending on the video game variant, you may be given the option to gamble your winnings (see above) after every winning combination. If so, you can either activate the gamble feature or decline it, in which case a new round will start as soon as you click ‘Deal.’
Most Common Video Poker Variants
There are a wide variety of video poker variants you can choose from, each with a slightly different pay table and rule set, which you must learn in order to master it. The following are the most common video poker games:
- Aces & Eights - The minimum winning combination is a pair of Jacks or higher with three special pays: 4 of a Kind Aces; 4 of a Kind 8s; and 4 of a Kind 7s
- Bonus Deuces Wild - The minimum winning combination is 3 of a Kind with six special pays: 4 x Deuces with an Ace; 4 of a Kind Deuces; Wild Royal (Flush); 5 of a Kind Aces; 5 of a Kind 3s, 4s and 5s; and 5 of a Kind 6s to Kings
- Deuces and Joker - The minimum winning combination is 3 of a Kind and is played with a 53-card deck (contains 1 x Joker) and all Deuces (2s) are wild (they substitute for any other card) with one special pay: 4 x Deuces plus the Joker (which wins a 10,000 coin jackpot)
- Deuces Wild - The minimum winning combination is 3 of a Kind and all Deuces (2s) are wild (they substitute for any other card)
- Double Bonus - Minimum winning combination is a pair of Jacks or higher with three special pays: 4 of a Kind Aces; 4 of a Kind 2s,3s and 4s; and 4 of a Kind 5s to Kings
- Double Double Bonus - The minimum winning combination is a pair of Jacks or higher with five special pays: 4 Aces with any 2, 3 or 4; 4 2s,3s or 4s with any Ace, 2, 3 or 4; and 4 of a Kind
- Jacks or Better - The minimum winning combination is a pair of Jacks or higher
- Jokers Wild - The minimum winning combination is a pair of Kings or higher and is played with a 53-card deck (contains 1 x Joker) with one special pay: 5 of a Kind
- Tens or Better - The minimum winning combination is a pair of 10s or higher