This page offers a detailed guide to video poker games for Aussie casino fans, a video poker software comparison and an explanation of game odds.
Video poker is the computerised version of the casino poker games that one would find at a real world casino. It's not to be confused with actual poker - this isn't 7 Card Stud or Texas Hold'em against other players. Video pokers are different variations on 5 card hand poker where you play against a machine. You are dealt 5 cards, any of which you can choose to hold. After this you draw replacement cards for the ones you want to discard and then your hand is evaluated and you are paid out if you hit any of the standard poker hands. The differences between the various video poker types typically revolve around making certain cards wild or requiring that you get something like a pair of 10s or better to make a hand.
Video poker has been around for a long time. It became a popular game on personal computers way back in the mid 1970s, in the same way that Solitaire became a popular computer game. It was basically designed as a simple way to translate actual poker onto a computer without having to design and programme an entire artificial intelligence to simulate playing against a real opponent. For this reason it is a simple game of betting, dealing, holding and drawing for single players.
This article covers the following aspects of video poker:
- Play free video poker
- Types of video poker games
- Comparing video poker game providers
- Multihand vs single hand video poker
- Deciding what to play
- How to read a video poker payout table
- Video poker odds
Play free video poker
If you've never played video poker before it's probably a good idea to get a little free practice in first. Luckily pretty much every online casino offers you the ability to play their games for free, without betting any money. This is a great way to get to know the game of video poker and to try out the different game variations. You can play for as long as you like and get a real feel for the games.
Below we've listed some free video poker games that you can start playing, sorted by the different casino software providers. You can click to play instantly right here from this page.
Types of video poker games
Here are some of the more common variations of video poker, with a short explanation of each. Some of these games are quite odd varieties, and we suggest you first get some experience playing them before committing any real money. Also be aware that the more added features there are, the lower the house edge, as there are more options to make a hand.
The significant feature of Deuces Wild, as the name suggests, is that 2s act as wild cards to help you make a hand. Natural hands (those made without using a wild card) have a higher payout.
The same as Deuces Wild, except that the Joker card is now wild.
The same as Joker Wild, except there are 2 Jokers, which increase your chances of making a winning hand.
Aces and Eights
With Aces and Eights, there are higher payouts for four of a kind of Aces or 8s.
Tens or Better
Tens or Better is a simple game with the only variation the requirement that you make a minimum hand of a pair of 10s to get a payout. Therefore a pair of 9s is not a valid hand that qualifies for a payout.
Jacks or Better
The same as Tens or Better, except that now the minimum hand is a pair of Jacks.
This game comes with a variation on the betting strategy and it's a very common addition to video poker games. Once you have made a winning hand you can choose to either take the money or try to double your payout. Five more cards are dealt, four of them face down and one face up. You have to pick one of the face down cards and if the value of that card is higher than the face up card, your original win is doubled. If not, you lose your winnings.
Video Poker Software Platforms Compared
The following table gives a comparison of the video poker games from different software providers.
Multihand video poker vs single hand video poker
The original video poker games only presented you with one hand to play. However, later on multihand video poker games became available. This massively increases your payout potential. With multihand video poker you are dealt the same hand up to 100 times simultaneously. In other words, 100 identical hands appear. As with single hand video poker, you choose which cards to hold and are then dealt replacements for the others. These replacement cards are different for each of the hands. As you can imagine, this vastly increases the number of potential hands you could make. You could end up with 7 trips, 2 flushes, 4 straights etc. You are paid out for each hand you make.
Playing multihand video poker is a matter of taste - some people prefer to play single hand video poker, because of course you place an additional bet for each hand you are dealt in the multihand version. So while the winning potential is higher with multihand poker, so is the bet exposure.
RTG was the first casino game developer to offer 100-hand video poker, with games like 100-hand Aces and Eights and 100-hand Bonus Poker Deluxe. Microgaming soon followed suit with their Power Poker games, offering games like 100-hand Aces and Faces.
Deciding what video poker game to play
Deciding what video poker game to play is not only a matter of taste. The paytables and payout potential differ, as do the hand variations and the chances of making a winning hand. As we mentioned earlier, the more extra features the game has (like wild cards), the more chances of hitting winning hands.
If you like it simple, then games like Tens or Better or Jacks or Better are the easiest to play. There are no wild cards or other variations and the strategy is easiest to come to terms with. So these would be recommended for novice players.
The more features, the more fun - so if you're looking for more excitement then try games with wild cards, like Deuces Wild or Joker Poker. These offer more ways of making hands - you just have to be aware of the increased possibilities when deciding which cards to hold.
If making money is your sole imperative, then you need to play the bonus games and the games that offer many hands. Also, carefully read the paytable to see what the payout percentages are - some games can offer more than 100% payout, for example, Double Bonus Poker.
The other option is to play a progressive video poker game, which is the same as a regular game, except there is a progressive jackpot on offer. Hit the right combination and you could get a very large payout.
How to read a video poker payout table
It's actually pretty simple to read a video poker payout table. Let's look at this using the example table below - this is for Deuces Wild.
|Hand||1 Coin||2 Coins||3 Coins||4 Coins||5 Coins|
|Royal Flush (no wild card)||250||500||750||1000||4000|
|Royal Flush (w/ wild card)||25||50||75||100||125|
|Five of a Kind||15||30||45||60||75|
|Four of a Kind||5||10||15||20||25|
|Three of a Kind||1||2||3||4||5|
On the left you see a list of all the possible hands that will pay out. The other columns are determined by the number of coins you bet. The more coins you bet, the larger the payout (and the larger the risk, of course).
If you hit a Royal Flush that does not contain a wild card, you get the highest payout, and you can see that the maximum payout for this hand if you bet all 5 coins is 4000 coins. So if your coin denomination is $1, your bet is $5 and the payout will be $4000.
Because Deuces are wild, the next largest payout is 4 deuces, followed by a Royal Flush that includes a wild card. And so on - it's easy enough to read the rest of it.
Video poker odds
Video poker odds can be exceptionally complicated, because of all the different variations. So rather than explain everything in mind-numbing detail, here's a simple reference table based on the average chances of hitting the various hands. Of course bear in mind that this is based on a single hand - the more hands you play simultaneously (e.g. 100-hand video poker), the lower the odds because you have so many more hands at a time.
|Royal Flush dealt||1 : 650,000|
|Royal Flush ending hand||1 : 40,000|
|Four of a kind||1 : 423|
|Four Aces||1 : 5,761|
|Four Aces with a kicker||1 : 16,236|
|Four Deuces||1 : 4,909|
|2's - 4's||1 : 2,601|
|2's - 4's with a kicker||1 : 6,984|
|Full House||1 : 90|
|Flush||1 : 85|
|Straight||1 : 80|
|Straight Flush||1 : 9,150|
Strategy and Articles
With experience and training, a video poker player can tilt the odds in his favor and reduce the house edge.