Unlike slots that are entirely a game of luck, video poker is a casino game where skill is rewarded. Players control the game’s outcome. Casinos put the least house edge on video poker games meaning that the average player will make more from video poker in the long run. While video poker may be referred to as poker slots, it differs from traditional slots in that players play the hand they’re dealt in accordance with how these hands are ranked.
Simply put, video poker is a game where the players play against the casino rather than fellow players. Video poker has a great deal in common with standard poker, except that in video poker the players play using simulated rather than real cards and the courses of action available to them are limited to one or two hands only. In normal card games, each player is dealt a hand from a deck of 52 cards.
How is video poker played?
At a videopoker casino, you will find multiple variants of this game but they’re all based on the five-card draw variant. Here, a player is handed 5 cards and they have one chance to exchange the cards they wish to discard for a new set. The goal is to draw hands that have a higher value in terms of poker hand rankings (e.g. a straight flush, royal flush, etc.).
Video poker strategy
As with any casino game, you don’t want to bet blindly. Players need to learn how to make the right decisions to maximize winnings. You can improve your chances of winning by following some simple guidelines:
- Understand the game and have realistic goals
There are 9 video poker variants and each one is slightly different from the other. You need to know which variant you are playing before you start. Are you playing for fun or looking to make profit? There are 2 variants that were designed to be played for fun. These are Jacks or better and Tens or better. The other 7 variants have higher paybacks and are best for high rollers. If you’re playing for fun or playing to make profit, set aside a budget that you can afford to lose. It’s also important that you don’t play too much in a session. Do you want to get the highest possible payout or are you simply aiming for a certain value? This will affect how much of your bankroll you spend and this in turn affects your chances of winning.
- Learn to play vs relying on math
While math skills are helpful, the best players aren’t those who know the most about poker hand rankings. Instead, they’re those who can adapt when they don’t know how certain hands will come out during a card draw. If you’re playing the short version of the game, which is one-hand only, you can play if you’re dealt 10’s or better. When playing the medium version, which is five-hands long, look for starting cards that are rated at 5’s or better. The longer video poker game (50 hands) should be played by people who have a mathematical background. You have to adapt your strategy depending on where your hand ranks among all other hands that can be drawn from a deck.
- Start with the minimum and increase your bet if you win
If you’re a novice player, expect to lose in the beginning. This is normal, but it’s not something to worry about. The good news – there are many strategies that even novice players can follow when learning to play video poker. What you want to do is start small and don’t play more than 10 hands at a time for starters. Figure out what the lowest hand is that you can draw from the deck using all five cards. If you start with a pair of jacks or lower, don’t play the short version of this game so long as your “pair” has a high payout; it’s best to keep playing until you deal yourself one of these special hands first.
- Don’t play too much – even if you win
Set gambling limits and stick to them; even when you’re in the green. Winning players are those who set daily limits and never exceed the limit. You can also set weekly and monthly limits. This keeps you from losing all your money in one sitting.