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Video poker is the super-speedy version of draw poker that’s been available in casinos – and in particular Las Vegas casinos – since the mid-to-late 1970s. The aim of the game is to achieve the best poker hand you can from the five original cards you are dealt, and then the cards you draw to make up your final hand. You are then usually presented with the chance to gamble your winnings in a ‘double or nothing’ fashion.
Playing video poker is incredibly simple as long as you know your winning poker hands. The majority of online video poker games simply echo real-world video poker cabinets, most of which have not moved on in terms of sophistication since the 1990s. Click ‘deal’ to receive your poker hand, then click on any of the cards you want to keep. Click ‘draw’ to discard your cards and receive replacements to create your final hand. With most forms of video poker, as long as you land at least a pair of jacks, you’re a winner!
William ‘Si’ Redd is considered the father of video poker, although he did not come up with the concept. By the mid 1970s computer technology was rapidly evolving and the idea of using computers for gaming purposes was interesting lots of companies. Si was working for Bally in the late 1970s and pitched an idea to his bosses – an electronic version of draw poker. Unfortunately those bosses said they weren’t interested, and instead they allowed Si to take the patent for video poker – a decision Bally very probably regret to this very day.
Si eventually received funding from the Fortune Coin Company to form his own company – Sircoma (which stood for SI Redd’s COin MAchines), and he unleashed his ‘Draw Poker’ video poker machine to real world casinos. Take up was initially slow, but accelerated when Si come up with a new machine that permitted a pair of jacks to be the lowest winning hand, as opposed to two pairs as previously.
‘Jacks or Better’ proved to be a real winner and Si was soon reaping the rewards for his faith in video poker. He renamed Sircoma as International Game Technology, a company that remains a key player in casino markets – both online and in the real world. Si left IGT in the early 1990s, and sadly passed away in 2003 at the age of 91.
A video poker variant where four aces, eights and sevens all receive bonus payouts
A variant where four aces or four identical face cards receive a bonus payout
A variant which has better payouts for straight flushes than ‘Jacks or Better’
A game in which all deuces (twos) are wild, creating extra bonus payouts
A variant where some hands receive extra bonus payouts
Any form of video poker where deuces (twos) are wild
A version of video poker where bonuses are paid for various four-of-a-kinds
A video poker variant with bonus payouts for four-of-a-kind hands that have an ace or face card kicker
The ‘original’ video poker game – a hand must contain at the least a pair of jacks to be a winning hand
A game in which a joker (which acts as a wildcard) is added to the deck
A version where the payouts are greater than ‘Jacks or Better’, but the minimum winning hand is a pair of kings
A variant in which the payouts are less beneficial than ‘Jacks or Better’, but the minimum winning hand is a pair of tens
The ranking of the hands in video poker is identical to the ranking in all non-lowball forms of poker. If you need a refresher on the hand rankings, then please click here.
Video poker is the game in casinos – both online and real world – that has the smallest house edge. Most forms of video poker have a house edge of less than one percent if the game is played with perfect strategy. Unfortunately, perfect strategy in video poker is not easy to master, and it’s certainly not easy to memorise. You can have a look at RightCasino.com’s guide to perfect strategy in video poker here.
Once you’ve at least managed to get your head around how to best play video poker, you really do have the chance of winning a bit of cash on the machines, but don’t forget to walk away if you encounter a losing streak. Gambling is both thrilling and entertaining, but it can also be addictive. Play responsibly and you’ll undoubtedly find video poker a great deal of fun!