Video Poker – an Introduction

Video poker represents the attractive middle ground between the slot machine and the table game but unlike the slot, video poker requires knowledge and skill: Unlike the table game, video poker does not require a steel nerve or gambling with a high payroll. Developed in the 1970s video poker has been appearing more and more frequently in both online and on-land casinos; appealing to those who are searching for a little more of a challenge than the slots provide but none of the pressure that comes with the tables.

There are today over 100 varieties of video poker, all of which are based on a 5 card draw game. There are no video poker games that facilitate multi-player; the game is always a single player and the machine only. The machine will deal 5 cards to the player, just as the dealer would in a physical 5 card draw game. The numbers dealt are determined by the random number generator that will produce one of 2,598,960 hands that are possible from a 52 card deck; of course this number increases when jacks or wilds are being used. The player will choose from this first hand which he wishes to keep and which he wishes to swap; he will be able to choose by punching a “hold’ button on the screen. Once a selection of cards for swapping has been made, the “deal” button must be hit in order to replace the thrown away cards. The replacement cards will be dealt, the resultant hand will be recognized and any payout will be made. Video Poker focuses far more on the skills of knowing the cards and knowing how to play them than the table poker game does which can be won or loss on a betting strategy.

Video Poker is one of the fastest growing casino game, because of its ease of play; but also because it has unparalleled payout percentages, with some machines paying out over 100 percent. It is not just that the percentages are high though, it is also because the returns are clear. All machines come with a pay table attached to it, which means that the player can easily and quickly reference the chances of a hand; for the novice especially this is very useful.

The pay table will vary from machine to machine, this is how the casinos make their money and so it is important to check the pay table of a machine before one starts playing.  It is also important to remember that poker isn’t poker; the variants of the game will effect the odds and the outcomes quite significantly, and if one isn’t clear on the game being played it is very easy to loose money very quickly. There are some video pokers that appear in virtually all casinos whether online or on-land; these include Jacks or Better, Joker Poker and Deuces Wild. It is not necessary to learn all variations from the outset but rather it is advisable to concentrate on a couple of games and truly master them before moving on.

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