Video poker is an exciting blend between a slot machine and the popular game of strategy — poker. It has the suspension slots feature, but at the same time, requires specific skills. Video poker has been one of the favored games among the members of the gambling community for decades. Whether you enter a land-based venue or load an online casino, you will find a section featuring numerous variants of this game.
Ever since technology took over the industry, the online gambling market has been expanding. Numerous software providers release new titles on a yearly basis, and every once in a while, a new gambling website appears. Gambling has never been as convenient as it is nowadays. You get to play every casino game that you can think of without stepping foot outside your house.
Additionally, there has been a phenomenon called mobile casinos, which allows you to engage in your favorite pastime on the go. And whichever virtual casino draws your attention, you will be able to find all the information about it within an hour.
An online video poker game does not particularly differ from its land-based predecessor in terms of the concept and rules. However, it offers numerous benefits you cannot have as a player at a brick-and-mortar casino. Now that we have your attention, allow us to introduce you to the future of video poker.
Video Poker in Brief
Video poker appeared at venues across Las Vegas in the early 1970s as a much-needed alternative to slot games. Namely, even though slots were (and still are) very appealing and popular, players wanted something new. They required a game that was as simple as a slot but also called for the ability to influence the outcome. And so, video poker stepped onto the scene of the Gambling Capital of the World. Its concept is simple and easy to grasp, but unlike slots, it cannot be played without the knowledge of poker.
Now imagine the popularity the game has gained among online gamblers. If so many people grew to like its traditional form so fast, its virtual counterpart was an even bigger hit when it appeared. The main (and most obvious) reason is the fact that the internet, unlike land-based venues, does not impose any restrictions on the game. Therefore, you can browse through a seemingly infinite selection of video poker variants online and play several hands per round instead of settling for one. Naturally, the design of the virtual version of the game, including animations and sound effects, is far superior when compared to that of its traditional counterpart. Not only is it potentially more fruitful, but it is also more entertaining as well.
The History of Video Poker
Even though it was introduced to the audience in Las Vegas in the 1970s, the history of video poker dates way before that. Yes, poker is its predecessor in a way, but we are not referring to that right now.
The first machine resembling the modern form of video poker appeared in Brooklyn, New York, in 1891. It was created by two inventors named Sittman and Pitt. Even though the original game did not feature an actual video (because it was the 19th century), it generated random outcomes by creating poker hands. In fact, the machine was rather similar to the one-armed bandit, the first slot machine, because it featured a lever a player had to pull in order to set the drums into motion. Given that the number of possible combinations was quite large, the game did not offer an automatic payout. Instead, the proprietors of the venue were responsible for delivering the winnings.
It was not before the 1970s, almost an entire century later, that technology allowed the creation of the first video poker machine. In 1979, the forerunner of today’s International Game Technology (IGT), SIRCOMA, developed a draw poker game that started gaining popularity across brick-and-mortar casinos. Soon, the demand for it became so high that it began including different variants of draw poker.
Technology continued to improve, and so did video poker. The expansion of the online gambling market suited the game perfectly, so today, we have numerous virtual casinos with a plethora of different video poker variants.
Video Poker: Rules and Strategies
As we’ve established early on, video poker represents a fusion between slots and poker. Essentially, you have an electronic screen in front of you, but instead of watching the reels and paylines and hoping for a winning combination, you need to assemble a poker hand. A little more complex but a lot more entertaining because you have the ability to apply your knowledge and skills and actually have an impact on the outcome. Therefore, the game essentially requires you to decide which cards to hold on to and which ones to throw away.
In spite of your first impression, video poker is not even close to the most challenging game on the market. You can play it regardless of your experience. Whether you are a long-time gambler or just an enthusiast looking for a way to earn money while having fun, video poker is for you. Essentially, it works like a standard game of poker. You are dealt five cards in total, and then, it is up to you to form the strongest possible combination by choosing which cards to rid yourself of and which ones to keep. Once you have made your decision, you will be delivered new cards in order to replace the ones you have discarded. Your eventual payout depends on the strength of the hand you have managed to form.
If you have ever participated in a game of poker, you are aware of the importance of hand ranking. Not only does it determine whether you win or not, but it also determines the size of your payout in case you do. The following table ranks poker hands from the strongest to the weakest, including Jacks or Better, which is also one of the most loved video poker iterations.
|Royal Flush||10, Jack, Queen, King, and an Ace of the same suit|
|Straight Flush||Five consecutive cards of the same suit|
|Four of a Kind||Four cards of the same rank (for instance, four Aces)|
|Full House||Three cards of one rank and two cards of a different rank|
|Flush||Any five cards of the same suit|
|Straight||Five consecutive cards, regardless of their suits|
|Three of a Kind||Three cards of the same rank (for instance, three Aces)|
|Two Pair||A pair of cards of one rank and a pair of cards of a different rank|
|Pair of Jacks or Better||A pair of Jacks, Queens, Kings, or Aces|
Video Poker Variants
Similarly to the traditional card game, video poker involves multiple variants. They differ in terms of rules, so you need to familiarize yourself with them before you start playing because the rules and the value of the hands directly influence your winnings. Note that knowing how to play one variant does not automatically suggest that you are capable of playing all of them. Moreover, some versions feature a progressive jackpot (looking at another similarity between video poker and slots). Depending on the number of players, it can reach millions of dollars, so the game can prove to be rather lucrative.
Jacks or Better Video Poker
If the wide variety of video poker variants confuse you and you want to play a simple one, Jacks or Better may be the game for you. Not only is it a variant players always go back to, but it is also the perfect choice for beginners. Therefore, if you have never played a single game of video poker before, search for a casino offering Jacks or Better and give it a try. It will not take you long to find one since this particular version is the most popular one on the market. It also goes by the name of Draw Poker at certain casinos. As soon as you assemble the lowest-ranking poker hand, Jacks or Better, you get a payout.
Aces and Faces Video Poker
This variant much resembles the previous one, so you may consider it the second step — right after you master Jacks or Better. This version offers higher payouts for assembling a Four of a Kind if it includes Aces and face cards, hence the game’s name. Not only is it similar to Jacks or Better in terms of the rules, but it also uses a standard deck of cards, like the basic variant.
Deuces Wild Video Poker
This video poker variant is particularly entertaining because it involves a fun twist — deuces become wild cards. Remember the similarities between video poker and slots? Well, Deuces Wild is about to introduce one more to you. Just like a wild symbol in a slot game substitutes for any other symbol (with the exception of the scatter), deuces can replace any other card from the deck in this variant of the game. Therefore, even if you do not have all the cards you need to assemble a particular hand, you can use the wild card as a replacement. Since your task has been facilitated, you cannot expect a large payout. Nevertheless, this is a fun variant perfect for those of you who expect something new from video poker.
Continuing the countdown of different video poker variations, we present Joker Poker — another game that involves a wild card. Instead of using a regular 52-card deck, Joker Poker includes a Joker into the combination. Similarly to the deuces in Deuces Wild (and a wild symbol in slot games), Joker acts as a substitute for any other card you may need to form a specific hand.
Tens or Better Video Poker
If you hate to lose but want to play video poker, Tens or Better is the variant for you. It makes assembling a winning hand rather easy, which subsequently makes the possibility of collecting a payout quite likely. However, due to having a large number of options at your disposal, you cannot expect to collect a huge payout. You cannot have it all. Tens or Better relies on Jacks or Better in terms of the concept, but in this case, you only need a pair of tens (or better) to form a winning hand.
Online Video Poker: 2019 Edition
Given the popularity and the continuous growth of the online gambling market we mentioned at the beginning, we get to play newly developed games every couple of months (depending on the preferences). There are numerous renowned software providers and gambling websites in the industry, so the ever-growing selection of different games does not really come as a surprise. Given the fact that video poker has been in demand ever since it appeared, you can expect to find a wide range of variants as soon as you load a gambling website.
However, despite the multitude of choices, do not forget to do your research and figure out whether a particular online casino is reliable before you start gambling for real money. Check its licensing information, terms and conditions section, and consult the trustworthy watchdog portals. Gambling is fun, but it is essential that you take it seriously, especially when there is money involved. Fortunately, we have selected three legitimate online casinos that have been established during 2019. Of course, all of them feature video poker in their game libraries. Read on to learn something about them.
Slots Empire Casino
Slots Empire is a newly launched online casino with a fascinating theme, animations, and overall layout. It offers a vast game library containing games of chance and strategy games alike. When it comes to the quality of the titles Slots Empire offers, we only need to mention that it is supplied by RealTime Gaming. The software provider is particularly famous for its broad selection of high-quality games that include a wide range of features.
Aside from a variety of slots, table, and specialty games, this gambling website offers as many as sixteen variants of video poker. Not only are they all available for real-money play, but you can also try them out for free in order to practice.
Golden Lion Casino
Game developers Rival and BetSoft have provided all the games on this amazing site. While it has been around for only three years, it has already carved out its place in the online casino community.
The site is a shining testament to simplicity and its terms, promotions and banking options are clearly written and displayed. The plethora of games is at your disposal and you can even try out the highly original i-Slots that this casino boasts.
Free Spin Casino
This oldie-but-a-goodie will make your head spin like no other. Indeed, this online casino has been around since 2004 and it’s clear why it has been thriving for over a decade and a half. It’s platform is simple and easy to use and it is available on smartphones, as well.
As the name would suggest, it concentrates on slot games and you can find hundreds of the most popular ones by RealTime Gaming in its library. That’s not to say they’re lacking in table or specialty games! We’re certain you’ll find which ever type of game you were looking for, along with thousands of players who have been loyal to this casino for many, many years.
Although video poker requires knowledge and strategic thinking, the concept of the game is not difficult to grasp. Its resemblance to slots makes it convenient, and the elements of poker allow you to influence your outcome.