If you’re new to the exciting world of online video poker, you’ll be pleased to know it’s relatively similar to regular poker. Unless you’re playing a live dealer version, there are no real players to beat in this game; it’s just you vs. the computer. While that may make the gameplay and objective sound easier, you still need to get a high-ranking hand in order to hit a payout.
This guide covers the basics regarding how to play video poker, the best way to play video poker online, how to utilize a video poker strategy, and how to properly manage your budget when you play video poker online for real money. We’ve also included a handy little video poker cheat sheet to help you get to grips with the different hands and moves that you should be making if you have a high chance of achieving certain hands.
How to Play Online Video Poker
Just like normal poker, video poker requires you to place a bet of one or more credits and then press the “Deal” button to begin the game. You’ll then be dealt five cards from the deck automatically. After you’ve looked over your hand, you’ll next have the option to discard one or more of your cards in exchange for new ones. If you really wanted to, you could chuck away all five cards and opt for a completely new hand altogether.
After you’ve finished drawing from the deck, whatever you end up with next will make up your final hand and be measured up next to the paytable. Generally, the hands are the same for all types of online video poker, but depending on the variant you’re playing, you might only need a pair of Jacks or more to hit a payout.
Typically, the paytable follows the standard hierarchy of poker hands, which, as mentioned, usually starts with a pair of jacks, proceeded by a flush, then a straight, then a full house, and finally a royal flush. Naturally, the ultimate goal is to get the highest-ranking hand: the royal flush (ten, jack, queen, king, and ace of the same suit).
Even though a strategy can definitely improve your chances of scoring a royal flush, you’ve got a 1 in 649,740 chance of this happening in a standard game. This may sound like mission impossible, but your chances of hitting the jackpot in online slots are about 1 in 34 million—and let’s face it, plenty of people do hit the top prize in these games—so don’t let these measly odds put you off!
How To Win at Video Poker
If you’re playing a video poker game without wild cards, your odds of achieving a four-of-a-kind or higher are close to one in every 500 spins. That’s pretty good in comparison to the above statistics, but you can narrow them down even further by utilizing an optimal video poker strategy. Unlike blackjack, where there are lots of different possible moves and side bets to consider, video poker doesn’t require a super complex strategy. All you really need to master it is knowing what cards to keep in your hand and what cards you should get rid of.
Since you’re playing against a computer rather than a human—who could easily make a wrong move—you can rely on your virtual opponent to make tactical decisions about the cards they/it will keep or discard. This is the way you need to think if you want to avoid losing.
Unlike slots that have the highest house edge out of all casino games, the house edge in video poker only comes in at a mere 3%, which can be further reduced if you employ an effective strategy. However, it’s important to note that the paytable information can be different for the variant of video poker you’re playing, which is why opting for a game with a favorable paytable is your first point of call. If you can, opt for games with a payout rate as close to 100% as possible rather than 97%.
Video Poker Strategy
When it comes to utilizing a video poker strategy—which you should most certainly do every time if you want to give yourself the best possible chance of winning—progressive jackpot video poker machines are some of the best games to try. Not only do they deliver a similar level of excitement that PKO tournaments offer to land-based poker players, but your payout potential is much higher than a bog-standard video poker game or a game of five-card draw. The longer you play these types of games, the bigger the prizes get.
That being said, progressive games should be approached with caution due to the inherent risk associated with them, i.e., you will need to place the max bet in order to qualify for the top reward, which can get costly very quickly.
This is why it’s essential to study the payables of any game you plan to play before you place a wager, and also ensure you’re selecting progressive jackpot video poker machines that offer the best payouts, like a 9/6 or superior pay chart. By doing so, you maximize your chances of success while minimizing potential losses.
Why is a Video Poker Strategy Important?
One of the many great aspects of video poker is that the hand you’re dealt isn’t necessarily your final hand. You’ve got the opportunity to toss away up to five cards and replace them with completely new ones just to give yourself the best shot at winning the round. It’s knowing if, when, and how many cards you should be chucking away that can mess up your entire game and put you in a worse position than you were in at the start.
For example, you might assume that if you’re four cards away from a royal flush, you should toss away four cards in an attempt to hit that royal flush, right? Well, that’s the wrong move. Chances are you won’t necessarily hit that royal flush if you toss away the big one, so rather than getting rid of the great face cards, you should hold onto the four most promising cards and toss away one card. Approaching it this way means you’re much more likely to achieve a high pair or maybe even hit a straight when you play video poker with this mindset.
Video Poker Bankroll Management
In real-life poker games, taking your time and playing slowly can lead to the game being cut short.
However, when playing video poker online, there’s no pressure to rush your decisions. You have the freedom to take as much time as you need to make your moves and go at your own pace. Traditional poker thrives on constant uphill action, and resisting this pace at a physical casino or at a live poker table can quickly get on other players’ nerves. But when it’s just you against the computer, you don’t need to worry about annoying your opponents, and you can take as much time as you need to carefully think about your wager amounts and next moves. This is the key to prolonging your bankroll and ensuring you get the most out of each round.
If you find it hard to make a decision or know what moves to make when playing online video poker, a video poker cheat sheet is a great solution. Lucky for you, we’ve put one together for you below so you never again have to struggle through your next game!
The Slots of Vegas Video Poker Cheat Sheet
Confused? Don’t be. Slots of Vegas management really want people to experience the fun of video poker, so they’ve put together this handy video poker strategy chart to help you figure out what the keep and what to toss based on common initial hands dealt.
This handy video poker strategy chart is designed to help you figure out what to keep in your hand and what to toss based on common initial hands you’re likely to be dealt.
Side note: This video poker strategy chart works with Jacks or Better, one of the most popular variations of video poker at Slots of Vegas. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use it elsewhere. Our video poker experts at Slots of Vegas use this chart for a variety of games, including Bonus Poker, Bonus Poker Deluxe, Double Bonus Poker, Double Double Bonus Poker, and others.
This video poker strategy chart works with Jacks or Better, one of the most popular variations of video poker at Slots of Vegas. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use it elsewhere. Our video poker experts at Slots of Vegas use this chart for a variety of games, including Bonus Poker, Bonus Poker Deluxe, Double Bonus Poker, Double Double Bonus Poker, and others.
Want to play video poker for free and try this chart out? Create a free Slots of Vegas account and enjoy all the video poker you can handle without even making a deposit. We have tons of players who enjoy the free games with absolutely no desire to play for real money (of course, real cash video poker is always an option). So join us and have a blast.
Enjoy Video Poker and Play Responsibly
To maximize your winnings in video poker, there are various strategies you can employ. One approach is to make use of video poker casino bonuses or even consider joining a loyalty players club if you consistently make a profit and want to enjoy exclusive rewards only available to regular players.
Aside from these things, however, it’s essential to first master the basics of video poker to give yourself the best chance of winning. Get the basics nailed, and you’ll be well on your way to generating a steady profit in any variant of the game you want to play.
As always, we strongly advise paying attention to your bankroll, which could involve implementing a “stop-loss” strategy if things start to go south. If you’re not enjoying the game anymore and are just throwing bets down for the sake of it, that’s a big red flag and an indication to quit while you’re ahead. Gambling should enhance your overall fun rather than replace it, so it’s important to always approach the game tactically and responsibly.
If you’re interested in playing video poker for free and testing out strategies, consider creating a free account at Slots of Vegas. You can enjoy unlimited video poker games without even needing to make a deposit. Many players delight in the free games without any intention of playing for real money, although the option for real cash video poker is always available. Join us today and see what hand results in your next big win!
See also: “THE 9/6 JACKS OR BETTER STRATEGY GUIDE“