Video poker is one of the most popular casino games. The game which is based on 5-card draw poker is played on a computerised video game console which resembles a slot machine. Video poker dates back to the 1970s. The game became commercially viable for the first time when it became economically viable to combine a TV-like monitor with a central processing unit. Video poker later became firmly established when Si Redd Coin Machines (SIRCOMA) became international game technology introducing Draw Poker in 1979.
In a few years, video poker evolved to become one of the most popular games in casinos as gamers found video poker consoles less intimidating than playing poker traditionally. To date, video poker still commands a wide fanbase which explains why video poker consoles occupy the most prominent places on gaming floors in most casinos. Video poker is popular in locations such as Las Vegas which acts as the capital for casinos worldwide. Today’s video poker consoles offer better odds as well as low denominations in an effort to continue popularizing video poker.
Bitcoin video poker has now emerged with the Bitcoin casino craze and continues to be one of the favorite game choices of players. The reason is due to the great returns that can be won from video poker.
It is important to note that video poker consoles accept money or bar-coded paper tickets with credit. When a player inserts money or a bar-coded paper ticket into the machine, the player can start placing bets of 1 or more credits. The next step is pressing the deal button. This offers a player with cards and the opportunity to discard 1 or more cards in exchange for better ones drawn from the virtual deck. After drawing, the video poker machine pays out in case the hand/hands played match winning combinations posted on the pay table.
Payouts are allocated for a hand/hands based on things like game variation, how rare the hands are and also on the game operators decision. Typical pay tables start with minimum hands of pairs of jacks which pay even money. All other hand combinations are similar to table poker including hands like 2 pair, 3 of a kind, straight, flush, full house, 4 of a kind, straight flush and royal flush (a 10, a Queen, a King, a Jack and an Ace with the same suit. It is important to note that some video poker machines have progressive jackpots among other unique bonuses. They therefore spur players to play more frequently or play more coins.
Video poker regulation
Casino video poker machines are regulated by the State or Indiana gaming agencies in the U.S. These agencies require all machines to deal random card sequences with the help of a virtual card deck. This regulation was first enforced by the NGC (Nevada Gaming Commission) and then later adopted by many other states in the U.S. with gaming authorities.
To ensure that all video poker machines/consoles are compliant, tests are carried out to ensure they comply with all the necessary requirements before they can be used by the public. It is important to note that some locales may offer games resembling video poker however such games are just front ends for random drawing games resembling slot machines. These gaming consoles are referred to as video lottery terminals. They usually have the initials VLT somewhere on the console’s face.
It is also worth noting that the results of any deal are predetermined before the 1st cards are dealt. In case you intentionally throw away a win, a magician appears on screen and replaces a losing result with a hand which pays predetermined amounts. Since it is hard to determine payouts from any given pay table, playing such machines isn’t any better than playing slot machines.
Types of video poker
Video poker has many variations. The variations include Deuces Wild where a two is treated like a wild card, a 4 aces with a 5 or smaller kicker pays enhanced amounts (a bonus, double or triple) and multi play poker where players start with a base hand and each extra played hand is drawn from different sets of cards with base hands. It is important to note that video poker offers multi-play games in triple play, five play, ten play, fifty play and lastly one hundred play versions. Games lacking wild card players on average receive the rare 4 of a kind hand one time after 500 hands. Players can play very many hands (tens of thousands) before getting the rare royal flush which attracts the highest payout.
When video poker games first came into being, the highest paying common variant was known as full-pay. Game variants which returned lower payback percentages were referred to as short-pay. Although the term full pay is still used to date, there are very many game variants which return more.
Payback percentage expresses long term expected values of player wagers as percentages if a game is played perfectly. A 99% payback percentage indicated that the player expects to lose $1 for every $100 wagered if the player played every single hand optimally. It is important to note that some payback percentages on full pay games are usually close to or in excess of 100%. Full pay Jacks for instance offer a 99.54 payback percentage.
In most cases, casinos won’t advertise payback percentages instead leaving it up to players to identify video poker machines offering the best schedules. It is important to note that most video poker machine payoff schedules are configured with pay schedules which pay slightly more for certain hands i.e. royal flush when the max. No. of credits is bet (typically 5 coins). It is therefore accurate to conclude that players playing who don’t play with Max. No. of credits a time are simply playing with smaller theoretical returns.
Draw Poker sometimes called Jacks or Better is one of the most common video poker variations. A pair of Jacks kick-starts Payoffs. 9/6 Jacks or better is popularly known as full pay jacks or better since payoffs for full house plays attract 9 credits and payoffs for flush plays attract 6 credits. Below is a summary that shows what each hand attracts in the form of credits.
Royal flush: 1 credit (250), 2 credits (500), 3 credits (750), 4 credits (1000) and 5 credits (4000)
Straight flush: 1 credit (50), 2 credits (100), 3 credits (150), 4 credits (200) and 5 credits (250)
Four of a kind: 1 credit (25), 2 credits (50), 3 credits (75), 4 credits (100) and 5 credits (125)
Full house: 1 credit (9), 2 credits (18), 3 credits (27), 4 credits (36) and 5 credits (45)
Flush: 1 credit (6), 2 credits (12), 3 credits (18), 4 credits (24) and 5 credits (30)
Straight: 1 credit (4), 2 credits (8), 3 credits (12), 4 credits (16) and 5 credits (20)
3 of a kind: 1 credit (3), 2 credits (6), 3 credits (9), 4 credits (12) and 5 credits (15)
Two Pair: 1 credit (2), 2 credits (4), 3 credits (6), 4 credits (8) and 5 credits (10)
Jacks or Better: 1 credit (1), 2 credits (2), 3 credits (3), 4 credits (4) and 5 credits (5)
Theoretical return: 1 credit (98.4%), 2 credits (98.4%), 3 credits (98.4%), 4 credits (98.4%) and 5 credits (99.5%)
Tens or Better
This is simply a 6/5 Jacks or Better variation. Tens or Better attract a minimum paying hand of a pair of tens as opposed to a pair of Jacks. The strategy is usually the same between these 2 games despite the difference in flush payouts and full house.
Bally's All American
This type of video poker is based solely on Jacks or Better with increased flush, straight and straight flush payouts, Full house and two pairs however attract reduced payouts i.e. 8, 8,8,3,1 vs. 9, 6,4,3,2. Quads return a total of 50 bets for the full pay version which is simply the highest video poker return version offered. The play strategy is however complex. Very few people have mastered it.
This is a video poker variation where all 2’s are wild. Wild cards can be substituted for other cards on the deck to gain a better hand. In Deuces Wild, payouts for 4 of a kind constitute one third of the payback % of the game. A 4 of a kind can occur once every 15 hands on average. Pay schedules offering theoretical returns offer maximum returns harbouring Deuces Wild poker variations. This full pay version can only be found in Nevada. Below is a summary that explains Deuces Wild better.
Natural Royal Flush: 1 credit (300), 2 credits (600), 3 credits (900), 4 credits (1200), 5 credits (4000)
Four Deuces: 1 credit (200), 2 credits (400), 3 credits (600), 4 credits (800), 5 credits (1000)
Wild Royal Flush: 1 credit (25), 2 credits (50), 3 credits (75), 4 credits (100), 5 credits (125)
5 of a kind: 1 credit (15), 2 credits (30), 3 credits (45), 4 credits (60), 5 credits (75)
Straight Flush: 1 credit (9), 2 credits (18), 3 credits (27), 4 credits (36), 5 credits (45)
4 of a kind: 1 credit (5), 2 credits (10), 3 credits (15), 4 credits (20), 5 credits (25)
Full House: 1 credit (3), 2 credits (6), 3 credits (9), 4 credits (12), 5 credits (15)
Flush: 1 credit (2), 2 credits (4), 3 credits (6), 4 credits (8), 5 credits (10)
Three of a kind: 1 credit (1), 2 credits (2), 3 credits (3), 4 credits (4), 5 credits (5)
Theoretical Return: 1 credit (99.7%), 2 credits (99.7%), 3 credits (99.7%), 4 credits (99.7%), 5 credits (100.8%)
This is simply a type of video poker game solely based on Jacks or Better but offers a much higher payout % for 4 of a kind. Full pay version of bonus poker returns 99.2%. Bonus poker has numerous versions featuring different bonuses based on 4 of a kind ranking.
This type of video poker offers a Jacks or Better variation with bonus payouts for 4 aces. The variation offers at most 100.2% in theoretical returns when a perfect strategy is played. It is however important to note that this percentage is offered only on the 10/7 video poker game version. It is also worth noting there are very many other double bonus poker varieties of 9/6, 10/6 e.t.c. offering slightly lower payouts compared to the 10/7 version payouts. Below is a summary that summarises double bonus better.
Royal Flush: 1 credit (250), 2 credits (500), 3 credits (750), 4 credits (1000), 5 credits (4000)
Straight Flush: 1 credit (50), 2 credits (100), 3 credits (150), 4 credits (200), 5 credits (250)
Four Aces: 1 credit (160), 2 credits (320), 3 credits (480), 4 credits (640), 5 credits (800)
Four 2, 3 or 4: 1 credit (80), 2 credits (160), 3 credits (240), 4 credits (320), 5 credits (400)
Four 5-K: 1 credit (50), 2 credits (100), 3 credits (150), 4 credits (200), 5 credits (250)
Full House: 1 credit (10), 2 credits (20), 3 credits (30), 4 credits (40), 5 credits (50)
Flush: 1 credit (7), 2 credits (14), 3 credits (21), 4 credits (28), 5 credits (35)
Straight: 1 credit (5), 2 credits (10), 3 credits (15), 4 credits (20), 5 credits (25)
3 of a Kind: 1 credit (3), 2 credits (6), 3 credits (9), 4 credits (12), 5 credits (15)
Two pair: 1 credit (1), 2 credits (2), 3 credits (3), 4 credits (4), 5 credits (5)
Jack or Better: 1 credit (1), 2 credits (2), 3 credits (3), 4 credits (4), 5 credits (5)
Theoretical Return: 1 credit (99.1%), 2 credits (99.1%), 3 credits (99.1%), 4 credits (99.1%), 5 credits (100.2%)
Double double bonus
This video poker variation offers bonus payoffs for hands such as 4 of a kind. Double double bonus full pay can be found alongside pay schedules offering a theoretical return of approximately 100.1% on a perfect strategy.
Low Pay games
These are special video poker games whereby casinos have chosen to reduce payout percentages. These kinds of games increase the house edge bringing in more revenue for casinos.
9/5 Jacks or Better
This is a good example of a low pay video poker version. Payouts for hands like a flush are cut from 6 times your bet to 5 times your bet. All other payouts are left untouched. This results in a reduction in maximum payout to 98.45% for players playing a perfect hand i.e. betting 5 coins/ hand so that they can enjoy Royal Flush bonuses.
8/6 Jacks or Better
This is another low pay video poker version. Payouts for a full house hand cut from 9 times your bet to 8 times your bet. All other payouts are left untouched in full pay game. This reduces the max. payout percentage to 98.39% for players playing a perfect hand i.e. betting 5 coins/ hand so that they can enjoy Royal Flush bonuses. Other types of low pay video poker versions include; 8/5, 7/5 and 6/5 Jacks or Better. Progressive jackpot games are other common video poker kinds. These game versions have conditional positive theoretical returns i.e. when progressive jackpots are high enough.
Having understood what video poker is all about, it is important to simplify some of the most common strategies a player can use to play popular video poker games. Some of the most common video poker game strategies include; the simple, intermediate and optimal strategies. These Jacks or Better strategies offer returns of 99.46%, 99.52% and 99.54% respectively. Players also have the opportunity to play unique intermediate Deuces wild strategies like Not So Ugly Ducks.
Simple and optimal full pay Deuces strategies offer a return of 100.71 and 100.76% respectively. The Super Ace Bonus Poker optimal strategy offers the highest return (99.94%). Other equally good bonus strategies include the 8/5 bonus poker, 10/7 double bonus and the 10/6 double double bonus strategies.
Common quick quads video poker strategies include; the 9/6 Jacks or Better, 8/5 bonus poker, 9/7 double bonus, 9/6 double double bonus and the 8/5 triple bonus quick quads strategies. Ultimate X strategies can be categorized as Jacks or better, Bonus Poker, Bonus Poker Deluxe, Double Bonus, Double Double Bonus and lastly Joker Poker.
Common video poker rules/regulations
1. Video poker games have the standard 52 card decks. Joker wild games may however have a higher deck card number.
2. Video poker games issue 5 cards randomly when players make a wager and press the deal button.
3. Players are at the liberty of choosing which cards they can keep or throw away.
4. Discarded cards are replaced with randomly chosen ones from the remaining card deck.
5. Players are paid in accordance with the poker value of their hand and posted pay table.