Based on poker, the perennially favorite table game, video poker generates much of the same anticipation and excitement as the original. Video poker utilizes the same kind of playing card deck as traditional poker but removes the uncertainty of needing to beat another player.
Video poker machines are popular in casinos, for these games look and play much like slot machines. Like a slot machine, players deposit money, in the form used by the casino, to purchase playing credits. Credits may range in price from pennies to dollars, and the wagers are limited only by the rules of the casino. In the past few years, casino cards or barcoded slips of paper redeemable for cash have replaced traditional coins and bills in casinos.
How to Play Video Poker Games
The simplicity of video poker contributes to it’s continuing appeal. After depositing credits on the machine, players place bets, evaluate the cards they are dealt, hold the cards they wish to keep, draw cards to replace the ones they rejected, and see the win or lose result of the game. This process keeps the game going at the preferred pace of each player, for progress does not require participation by others. This does not mean that video poker players are not social beings. Video poker tournaments or contests may be held in casinos, and players often talk with each other when game machines are close together.
Video poker mechanizes the game playing process for a number of reasons. First, video poker relieves casinos of staffing and managing poker tables. The competitive nature of live poker games can demand a large number of table staff to prevent cheating or personal conflicts, but video poker has neither of these issues. Because the video poker cards are electronic, they cannot be marked or tampered with; thus, the security and fairness of the game is guaranteed.
Also, poker chips cannot be manipulated in a video poker game. All funds involved in the game are electronic credits. Players may vary their wagers, but they cannot try to pass off a $1 chip as a $5 chip when play gets intense. This ensures that nobody will be a victim of fraud at a video poker machine.
The most important difference between video poker and regular poker is that video poker players rarely have to wait to play, while traditional poker may allow new players only at certain points in the game. To play video poker, players just need to sit down at the video poker machine, to insert their money, and to begin to play.
The Kinds Of Video Poker Games
Video poker does have variations from traditional poker games. Some variations build interest or create strategy changes due to the single-player nature of video poker; meanwhile, others are variations on the types of poker games played.
Multi-hand video poker deals one lead hand that is duplicated two, five, 10, 25, 50, or 100 times. Then using the lead hand, the player chooses which cards to keep and which to reject. This process for the lead hand controls the actions on the other hands, also. Then, each hand gets it’s own draw cards, and the game pays out on every winning hand. This multi-hand game gives players the opportunity to win multiple times on one wager and to see the odds of winning in action.
Some other popular video poker variations impact the values of the cards within the game rather than the number of hands played at one time. In Jacks or Better, players must have two jacks in order to win a hand. Deuces Wild changes all twos into wild cards that can take any value. This creates a greater number of higher-paying hands, and Deuces Wild video poker games usually have a bonus payout if players get all four deuces. In other video poker games, jokers may be added to the deck as wild cards, but video poker payouts on games with wild cards may be lower than on games without wild cards. However, the odds of getting a winning hand go up when wild cards are in use. In these instances, players must decide if they prefer lower but more frequent payouts with wild cards or if they would rather have less frequent payouts with higher winnings per hand. Likewise, other variants use card values and bonus payouts to develop increased interest in each hand’s final outcome.
Payouts are, in the end, the primary interest accumulator, so casinos leverage payouts to keep players on the games. One way casinos do this is to create progressive jackpots. Progressive jackpots can offer payouts at far higher amounts than regular jackpots, so these are popular when several video poker machines are positioned together. Progressive jackpots grow by taking a percentage of every bet that is placed on the machines dedicated to that jackpot fund. As games are played, these jackpots continue to grow until someone gets the winning hand that is tied to the progressive jackpot – usually a royal flush, an ace, king, queen, jack, and ten that are all in the same suit. While many progressive jackpots may only be a few thousand dollars, progressive jackpots can grow up to and sometimes exceed the million-dollar mark. Progressive jackpots are computer controlled; although, casinos do have some control of the high and low ends of the jackpot.
One payout concern for video poker games revolves around full or partial payouts. Casinos can adjust the payout percentages for each game. Straight games pay out on the full odds for all winning hands. However, some casinos will adjust the payout percentages, and even small adjustments can dramatically impact how much a player can win. Unfortunately, casinos in most places are not required to disclose the odds of winning or the payout percentages, so players are often unsure.
Video Poker Strategies
While most casino games do not provide very much, if any, information about payouts, video poker has all of the information posted on the game screen. Always read the pay tables on the video poker game, for it will provide information about the amount of money that can be won. The return for money bet can easily be calculated from this information. For example, if one game pays 6:1 for a flush, another game may only pay 5:1 for the same hand. While the payouts for the royal flush may be different on these games, the royal flush is a difficult hand to get.
Video poker is the subject of many strategy books. These books break down the games hand by hand to suggest the plays that will, in the long run, give players the highest return for their wagers. While traditional strategy can help to improve play, common sense can also make playing video poker more fun and more profitable.
The first common sense tip is to always play the maximum bet. Max bets ensure that if the royal flush does come up, the highest possible winnings will be realized. Then, set a budget. Overspending creates stress inside and outside the casino. Stress takes all of the enjoyment out of playing video poker. So when the money runs out, it is time to go home.
Don’t play video poker when impaired by alcohol or drugs. Alcohol and drugs impair judgment and lead to poor decisions. Whether the poor choice is reflected in the amounts wagered or the style of play, video poker success usually doesn’t happen for people who have overindulged in mind-altering substances.
Video poker machines, like all electronics, can malfunction. If the game buttons stick or do not respond properly, alert casino attendants. A refund probably won’t happen if money is lost because of the malfunction, but other machines in better working condition will likely be available. Choose one of those to keep video poker play enjoyable.