How to Play Video Poker Online - Everything You Need to Know

How To Play Video Poker

If you enjoy math, logic, and making tactical decisions, video poker is the casino game for you. This guide explains the basics of video poker including the odds and payouts. We also show you how to win at video poker and some of the best games to play online video poker at LeoVegas. So, if you’re ready, scroll down for more on how to play video poker.

Table of Content:

How to Play Video Poker: Step-by-Step

We’ve given you a broad overview of video poker rules that apply to casino games of all variants. Before we talk about odds and payouts, here’s a quick overview of how to play a round of video poker:

  1. Find a video poker game inside the LeoVegas Casino lobby.
  2. Make sure you read the video poker rules before you play.
  3. Place a bet.
  4. Hit the “Deal” button.
  5. Wait to receive five starting cards.
  6. Assess your hand and decide which cards you want to hold and which ones you want to fold. You can hold or fold as many or as few cards as you like.
  7. Once you’ve made your decision, hit the “Deal” button again.
  8. Any folded cards will be replaced by new ones.

The result: the software assesses your five cards and, if you’ve made a winning hand, you get a payout based on the hand’s rank.

Video Poker Rules

Video poker rules are easy to understand. However, before we outline how video poker works, we need to make one important point clear: this game is different from variants popular casino game such as Texas Hold’em.

In Texas Hold’em and other similar games, you’re playing video poker online and against other people. You can bluff, raise and use a variety of tactics to gain an edge in these games. Video poker is also different to table games such as Caribbean Stud where you’re playing one-on-one against the dealer.

Video poker is played alone. You’re not taking on other players or a dealer. Each video poker variant has its own nuances. For example, in Jacks or Better video poker, you need at least a pair of jacks to win a prize. In Tens or Better, the minimum winning hand is a pair of tens. We’ll discuss these differences later. What’s important to understand right now is that all variants have the same fundamental video poker rules.

Those rules are:

  • The player (i.e. you) must place a bet
  • The player receives five starting cards
  • The player can hold or fold cards
  • The aim is to make a ranked poker hand
  • Payouts are based on traditional poker hand rankings

Video Poker Hand Rankings

Video poker hands are ranked based on their strength and value, and these rankings are very similar to those used in traditional poker. Here are the rankings of the hands from the highest to the lowest:

  • Royal Flush: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and 10 of the same suit.
  • Straight Flush: Five consecutive cards of the same suit.
  • Four of a Kind: Four cards of the same rank and one other card.
  • Full House: Three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank.
  • Flush: Five cards of the same suit.
  • Straight: Five consecutive cards of different suits.
  • Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same rank and two other cards.
  • Two Pair: Two cards of one rank, two cards of another rank, and one other card.
  • Jacks or Better: A pair of Jacks, Queens, Kings, or Aces.

Video Poker Payouts and Odds

The odds of video poker vary depending on your casino gambling variant. However, the average game has a Return to Player (RTP) score of between 97% and 99%. This means that, theoretically, you can expect to win $99 for every $100 wagered over a sustained period.

Of course, if you know anything about casino gaming, you’ll know that this also means you could win or lose more than that. The point we’re making here is that the theoretical return rate for playing video poker is very high, particularly when you compare it to slots with RTPs as low as 70%.

You can also base your decisions play poker more on video poker odds. How? Simple: there are 52 cards in a deck. Therefore, you know how many cards can help your hand. For example, five cards of the same suit make a flush.

If you’ve got four spades and you fold one card, you know nine cards could make your flush (there are 13 cards in a suit and four have been dealt). With one card to come, this gives you a 19% chance of hitting a flush.

You can use a video poker calculator to run through scenarios and build up an awareness of how likely/unlikely certain outcomes are in specific situations. You can combine this knowledge with an understanding of video and online poker that’s hand rankings and payouts.

The Best Video Poker Games

Video poker comes in a variety of forms. The ultimate goal is to make a ranked five-card hand. Whether or not a hand is ranked will depend on the variant of video poker variation you’re playing.

Joker Poker

This video poker variant uses jokers as wild cards. That means jokers can substitute for all other cards. The counter to this is that the odds are different from other table poker variants because there are 54 cards in play (52 standard cards + two jokers).

Jacks or Better

This video poker variant requires you to make a hand that contains at least a pair of jacks.

Deuces Wild

The minimum winning hand in Deuces Wild is three-of-a-kind, which is a higher minimum ranking than other variants. The counter to having a higher minimum is that deuces are wild, which means they can substitute for any other card.

Double Bonus Poker

This game pays double when you make four-of-a-kind. The downside to having higher payouts for these hands is that full houses, flushes and two-pair hands have the same value but lower payouts.

Double Double Bonus

Double Double Bonus Poker is an enhanced version of Double Bonus Poker. The same premise applies as before: four-of-a-kind hands pay more, and lower-ranked hands pay less.

Joker Wild

Joker wild video poker is another name for Joker Poker. Therefore, if you know the video poker rules for one, you know what they are for the two other games.

How to Win at Video Poker

Even though there is no fail-safe method to play online casino video poker machines there are still ways for winning in a short period. These ways are found by combining these factors. It'll take you more time to play Video Poker with favourable RTP. The harder thing for execution is playing every hand according to mathematical optimal conditions. Players of any level may increase their chances of earning payouts on every hand based upon their poker-hand rank, however.

Video Poker Strategy

Video poker strategy is all about knowing which hands to chase. We could dedicate multiple guides to video poker strategy and break down the maths of common scenarios. Ultimately, you’re in control of the cards you hold/fold, so it pays to understand the numbers.

The best way to do this is to use a video poker calculator. These calculators can tell you the best odds of certain hands occurring. For example, if you’re dealt 3h, 4h, 5h, 6s, 10c, you’ve got two obvious hands to chase: a straight or a flush. You could discard the 10 and play for a straight. Alternatively, you could discard the 6 and the 10 and play for a flush.

Flushes pay more than straights, but you need two hearts. You only need one card to make a straight, so that’s mathematically the best play (17% probability of hitting in this scenario). Of course, you might want to play for a higher payout and go for a flush.

However, you can only make a decision like this if you know the numbers. That’s why you should run through situations using a calculator. Once you’ve done that, click here to join LeoVegas and enjoy everything video poker has to offer.

History of Video Poker

Video poker is a casino game where the aim is to make a ranked hand through a process of holding and folding cards. Technically, the first video poker game was developed by Sittman and Pitt Company, and released in 1891.

It was a mechanical machine with five spinning drums. Playing cards were printed on the drums and they would stop in sequential order. If the five cards in view made a specific combination, the player won a prize. This idea was later used by Charles Fey to create the first slot machine.

Sittman and Pitt Company’s creation also set the foundation for the best video poker machines ever. Fast forward to 1970 and Dale Electronics released Poker-Matic. This game found its way into casinos across Las Vegas and introduced players to the first official video poker rules.

Si Redd, a distributor for Bally’s, took the baton from Dale Electronics and developed what’s regarded as the first true video poker game. Bally’s rejected the game, so Redd signed a deal with Fortune Coin Company.

With that, video poker was born. Games were available in casinos across the US in the 1980s. A few years later, video poker became popular around the world. New variants started to emerge but each one had the same fundamental premise i.e. make a winning five-card poker hand.

Video Poker FAQ

Can you play video poker for free?

Yes. We offer a variety of video poker games, all of which can be played for free or real money. Free video poker games allow you to use a virtual bankroll. You won’t be able to win cash prizes.

How does online video poker work?

Video poker is a game that requires you to hold or fold cards to make the best hand. You start with five cards and have the option to hold or fold. After the second deal, the software checks to see if you’ve got a winning ranked hand.

Is video poker better than slots?

Video poker is better than slots when it comes to control and strategy. You have the ability to implement various tactics and decide which moves you’re going to make in video poker. You don’t have any control in the poker slots though. However, slots do offer bigger jackpots.

What is a kicker in video poker?

A kicker in video poker is an extra card that’s not part of a winning combination. For example, if you have four aces and a 3, the 3 is a kicker. It’s not part of the winning hands of the combination but it’s part of the overall five-card hand.

What is the best strategy for video poker?

The best strategy for video poker is to play the probabilities and chase the most likely scenario at pay table. You can use video poker simulators to run hand matchups and find out which outcomes are more likely in common situations.

What is a royal flush in video poker?

A royal flush in video poker is five cards of the same suit running from 10 through to an Ace. For example, 10h, Jh, Qh, Kh, Ah is a royal flush.

Should you hold a low pair in video poker?

Regarding video poker, a crucial strategy tip that players should always consider is the significant value of low pairs compared to high cards. While holding a Jack or higher can result in winning more hands, opting for low pairs can yield larger average payoffs and greater overall winnings.

Is it better to play multiple hands in video poker?

In traditional video poker, placing bets on a single hand at a time is common. However, if you happen to miss out on a straight or flush, it can significantly impact your bankroll. This is where the benefits of multihand video poker come into play. By opting for multihand gameplay, you gain a distinct advantage. If your initial hand displays favourable starting cards, you can replicate them across different hands, maximizing your chances of achieving winning combinations.

What is a House Edge in Video Poker?

In video poker, the house edge can range from 5% to almost 0.5%.

Is video poker a skill or luck?

Video poker games rely more on luck than live poker game variations since they use RNG mechanics. That being said, player decisions still impact the game, making video poker more similar to blackjack than slots or roulette games.

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