Whether you enjoy it with a couple of friends or you’re a part of the large high-roller professional tournament, playing poker is one of the most exciting gambling games that you can participate in. All you need is a deck of 52 cards and some chips, and you’re ready to play.
However, poker can also be played through a machine. We are not talking about online poker, which is the same as the regular poker, only virtual. Instead, the focus of this article will be on video poker, a poker game that can be played by a single player.
So, how does this version of poker differ from other poker games, and why should you try it out?
The Basics of Video Poker
Video poker is a game that uses a computer station similar to slot machines. It has been around in land-based casino rooms since the mid-70s. These first poker machines were primitive compared to the modern ones. Now, you can play video poker on PC or mobile phone, and there are also Bitcoin video poker games all over the web, all coming with advanced graphics.
The game starts by a player inserting money (coins) into the machine or by depositing money in a casino account if the game is taking place online. After the funds are on the balance, the player then pushes the deal button and the game starts.
As we mentioned before, video poker is a single-player game, which makes it different from any other type of “live” poker where you need at least two people to play.
The Rules of Video Poker
Video poker uses the rules of the game’s Five Card Draw version. There are a few popular video poker variations like Deuces Wild or Joker Wild where 2s and Jokers represent wilds and can serve as any card rank to make the best possible combination.
Unlike regular Five Card Draw, only certain hand combinations can win you money, while some low-tier hands like the high card or non-face pairs always lose.
Here is a list of all the winning hands in video poker starting from the strongest one:
- Royal flush
- Straight flush
- Four of a kind
- Full house
- Three of a kind
- Two pairs
- Pair of Jacks or better – Only a pair of Jacks, Queens, Kings, and Aces win.
A Pair of Jacks or better usually breaks even, which means that the money you wagered will be returned to you. Two pairs double your win, so if you bet, for example, five coins, you will win ten. Three of a kind triples your win, a straight quadruple it, and so forth. If you bet the maximum amount of coins and you’re lucky enough to draw a royal flush, you will win a jackpot.
How to Play Video Poker
Once you have sufficient funds on your video poker machine or an online account, you just enter the game and press the deal button. Just like in Five Card Draw, you will get five cards and decide which of these cards you want to replace in order to have a stronger combination.
Here is an example so you can understand this more clearly.
Player’s hand: Ace of hearts, Ace of clubs, 2 of hearts, 8 of diamonds, Queen of clubs.
A smart player will usually keep the two Aces here and exchange everything else. There aren’t more than two cards with the same suit, so the chances for a flush are low. The cards aren’t that connected with their value either, so straight is improbable as well. Playing for a full house is too much of a long shot.
So, the two Aces guarantee that the hand will break even, but if another one shows up, the player will have three of a kind. Of course, the player can keep any of the other cards as well and hope for two pairs, but it will lower their chances of getting another Ace, and two pairs is a weaker hand anyway.
Video poker is a game that you should play if you want to have a poker experience alone. The game doesn’t require any other players, and the rules are pretty simple.
Regular poker has the advantage in the sense that it’s more social and that you have to take into account other players’ actions, so the strategy is a bit more complex. Also, video poker only comes with Five Card Draw rules, while regular poker has plenty of other variations like Texas Hold’em, Razz, Omaha, Seven Card Stud, and others.