Perhaps less intimidating than live poker against other players, video poker is a fun, face-paced betting game that requires no bluffing and no interaction with a dealer or other players. Video poker machines are scattered abundantly throughout most casinos and feature many game variations. If fans of the game wish to skip the casino, video poker is easily accessed online.

The sequence of video poker is quite basic: A bet is placed and the player is dealt five cards at random and can choose which cards to keep/hold and which to change out. The player’s objective is to create a winning hand with his final five cards. In video poker, payouts are determined by the amount of money bet per hand and the value of the hand.

Video Poker Hands

Configuring and recognizing a winning hand is critical to any player’s success and enjoyment of the game. On most machines, a pair of Jacks constitutes a win. However, there are more ambitious hands that will earn a win as well. Below is a list of poker hands, beginning with the most valuable combinations:

Royal Flush: 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace, suited. This is the best hand possible and promises the largest payout.

Straight Flush: Any five consecutive cards of the same suit.

Flush: Any five cards of the same suit.

Straight: Five consecutive cards of any suit.

Full House: Three of a kind and a pair.

Other winning hands: Four of a kind, three of a kind, two pairs, one pair

(In the popular game Jacks or Better, a pair of face cards is a win.)

There are many guidelines players can apply as they pursue a winning hand. Sometimes, all it takes is assessing the first five cards dealt and making one smart decision about which to hold and which to discard. For example, if you are blessed with a Royal Flush or Straight Flush right away, always hold your cards! If you are dealt one face card amongst the five, hold on to it and change the rest, as face cards can lead to excellent hands. If your initial hand consists entirely of randomly suited non-face cards numbered 10 or lower, it is best to trade them in for a fresh group.

Payouts

The payouts in video poker depend entirely on the amount of money bet and the value of the final hand. Winning hands with the lowest rank will usually only payout the amount wagered, essentially triggering no loss and no gain. Better hands will have a better payout. Two pairs will return double the bet, three-of-a-kind returns triple, and the returns escalate with a Straight, Flush, Full House and four-of-a-kind. The most valuable hands—Straight Flush and Royal Flush—payout 50x and 250x the bet, consecutively.

All video poker games display a minimum and maximum bet. Placing the maximum bet can be an effective strategy if you have the funds to do so. Many machines award large bonuses to maximum betters if a Royal Flush results. If playing just for entertainment, it may be wise for players to place smaller bets in order to make their funds last. If you are playing video poker in a casino, take a few minutes to observe the machines before choosing one to invest your money in. Keep an eye out for the machines that are issuing payouts frequently—the more often a machine is paying out, the more likely you will be to be on the receiving end.

Video Poker Strategy

One thing to keep in mind is locating the best machine – look for those paying out the most, such as ‘9-6 Jacks or Better’, which pay out more than other video poker game, such as ‘8-5 Jacks or Better’ does.

Along with the payouts, you should consider whether to play and bet the maximum amount of coins per game/hand, as doing so will allow you to win the jackpot payout in case you get the rare ‘royal flush’.

However, betting the maximum amount of coins will cause your budget to be used up quite quickly, leading to a possible shorter game and obviously higher losses. If your plan is to have fun, and play for a long period of time, then you should forget about the jackpot – unless you have enough of a budget to do so… otherwise, you should play conservative in amounts or at low denomination machines – playing smart and not chasing the money.

Like many of the table games, playing on machines or games with fewer decks will decrease the house edge… so look for these as well – single-deck video poker games as they will benefit your chances.

That said, following the idea of the game, which is to get a good poker hand by holding on to your best cards, and while you drop and replace the other ones with new cards – then you should keep in mind what will help you for that strong hand.

For instance, you might want to hold any high pairs, any deuces when playing ‘Deuces Wild’ video poker, a joker if playing ‘Joker Wild’, anything that will help you with a flush, and so on… it all depends on the game you are playing and its specific rules.

In other words, you should discard the cards that will allow you to gain a higher winning possibility…

All that said, you just need to remember to play for the best possible poker hand, and that is it… you are good to roll with these video poker strategies, and even more so to Play Video Poker now.

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