Video poker machines are often confused with pokies by new casino gamblers. However, any casino veteran will tell you that these two games couldn’t be more different. While pokies are designed to be games of luck, video poker is a game of strategy, where players must think about every hand in order to maximize their returns. With a low house edge and lots of interaction, video poker is a game that’s favoured by many experienced casino-goers.
While there are many different video poker machines that you can find at Internet casino sites like Royal Vegas, all of these games have some features in common. The basics will allow you to jump into any game and begin to play, though we recommend having at least some idea of a game’s basic strategy before you play.
Video poker is played using a simulated deck of playing cards — usually the standard 52-card deck, though some games include one or more jokers. Players begin by choosing how many coins (the size of the coins can vary from machine to machine) they wish to play, with the normal option being to play anywhere between one and five coins. It is usually advisable to play the full five coins, as the best payouts on the jackpot hand (usually a royal flush) are almost always online available when you play for the maximum.
Once the player has chosen how many coins to play, the machine will deal out five cards at random from the deck to give the player their starting hand. Each machine has different payouts for the kinds of hands a player might make, as well as a different minimum hand that is needed in order to win. Knowing this information, players can choose to keep their five cards, or discard any number of cards from their hand.
Any cards that were discarded will be replaced by new cards from the deck. When these new cards have been dealt out, the player will now have their final hand. If the hand is high enough to meet the minimum, the player will be paid out based on the pay table on the machine. It’s worth noting that these payouts are made on a “for one” basis; the coins put into the machine are considered lost at that time, so you won’t get those coins back when you win.
Finally, most machines have an optional gambling game that can be played after each winning hand. This game typically asks players to guess whether the next card out of a deck will be red or black, though other games that are similarly like coin flips may be offered instead. If the player wins, their winnings from that hand are doubled; if they lose, they lose whatever they won on that spin. These games are always optional, and players can choose to skip them if they prefer.
There are many dozens of different video poker games that can be found at casinos and online gambling sites around the world, most of which can be found somewhere in Australia as well. Each game has different payouts, different rules, and different returns for the player. While it would be impossible to cover all of the different games here, we’ve given overviews of four of the most common games to give you an idea of the kind of variety that’s out there.
Jacks or Better may be the most iconic and widespread video poker machine in the world. This game uses a standard 52-card poker deck with no jokers, and pays out if players make a pair of jacks or better (thus the name). While most machines don’t offer the full pay table, it’s still worth knowing that the machine to look for is the “9-6” game: one that pays nine coins for a full house and six for a flush. This machine offers a return of 99.5% with perfect play.
Deuces Wild also uses a standard 52-card deck, but there’s a twist: the twos in the deck are all considered wild, which makes it much easier to make big hands. Of course, because of this increase opportunity, the minimum winning hand is also higher; players need to make at least a three-of-a-kind in order to score a win, and the big payouts don’t really start to come into play unless you can make a straight flush or better. The very rare full pay version of Deuces Wild offers a return of 100.76% with optimal play, meaning that players can actually have a slight edge against the casino if they memorize the proper strategy.
Double Bonus video poker goes back to using the standard deck without any wild cards, but offers some higher payouts for four of a kinds made with different ranks of cards (with aces having the biggest payout of the various “quad” hands). To gain these bonuses, however, the player must give up something in return, and while a pair of jacks is still the minimum hand required to win, many of the lower value hands offer smaller than normal payouts (notably, two pair only wins the player their money back). The 10-7 pay table (which offers ten coins for a full house and seven for a flush) has a very slight player edge, returning 100.17% with perfect play.
Joker Poker is a game that features a number of different variations, with some requiring a pair of kings to win, others a pair of aces, and still more two pair before they’ll award a prize. What these games all have in common is the fact that there’s a joker added to the deck, which is a big help to the player. The joker can substitute for any card, though the biggest prize available is still for a “natural” royal flush — one that didn’t use the joker to complete the hand. Some versions of Joker Poker also offer a small player edge when the full pay table is available.