Video Poker Games for Australians

Australian players have access to a wide range of video poker games from some of the top casino software providers at a choice of exciting online casinos.

Video poker is a simplified electronic version of some of the poker games that you see at land-based casinos. There is no Texas Hold'em or any of the other table games to play at a video poker console; what you get instead are variations of 5-card poker. You play against a machine, not against other players.

The game made its first appearance in the 1970s when the personal computer was rapidly gaining in popularity among users. The basic design complemented the objective of the game: find a way to port an actual poker game to the computer without making it a complex affair. The result was a simple and highly entertaining game that was fast and easy to play: you place your bet, have the cards dealt to you, hold or draw according to the hand you get and hopefully win. The paytable to check for winnings is also right there on your screen.

Video Poker Casinos

Our List of Top Video Poker Casinos for Australian Players

Almost every good online casino has its own range of video poker games. We have listed for you the top video poker casinos for Australian players. All the casinos on our list are tested rigorously for multiple parameters by a team of expert analysts and reviewers.

All you have to do is browse through the list, pick the casino you like, and register to start playing.

Brief History of Video Poker

Video poker doesn't have too much of history behind it, though it does share a common history with two popular online casino games - pokies or slots and poker. The first poker machines actually came into existence around the end of the 19th century. They had 5 reels, with each reel showing one card out of a total of 10 used. You pulled a lever to set the reels spinning and the cards showed up once the reels stopped spinning. Of course, there were different prizes to be won depending on the hand.

As we all know, the person whose name is synonymous with the first slot machine was Charles Fey. However, what we don't know is that he was also behind Skill Draw, a game that had very similar rules to what we now know as video poker. However, Skill Draw never became as popular as his Liberty Bell slot machine and the world never got to see Skill Draw much. It was only much later in the 1970s therefore that we first saw the video poker finally make an appearance.

Types of Video Poker Games

There are many different types of video poker games. One of the factors behind this wide variety of games is the large number of casino software providers offering the game. Things get even more interesting when you are playing at a multi-platform casino because then you get to play the top video poker games from a number of leading software providers, all at a single casino.

There are quite a few video poker games that you will find at all the casinos you play. We discuss some of the most commonly found games in this section.

Jacks or Better

This is a simple and immensely popular type of video poker. The name says the way the game plays: you must have at least a pair of jacks in your hand for a payout. The game doesn't use wild cards. The paytable is seen right on the screen and easy to read. All these factors make it a great game for a newcomer to try out.

This is how you play the game:

  1. Click the Games tab to display the list of games available at the casino.
  2. Click Video Poker to list out the video poker variants available.
  3. Click the game you want to play to get started. The game loads in a new window.
  4. Once the game loads, place your wagers. Some casinos allow you to mention the bet size or even bet on specific combinations for wins.
  5. Click the Max Bet button to wager the maximum amount.
  6. Click Bet One otherwise.
  7. Click the Deal button to deal the cards. You get a hand of 5 cards.
  8. Click on the cards you want to hold and then click the Draw button.
  9. The cards that aren't held are dropped and replaced by fresh cards to form a new hand.
  10. You win on a minimum hand of a pair of Jacks on your final hand.

The following are the hand rankings shown on the paytable when you play Jacks or Better:

  1. Royal Flush: A, K, Q, J and 10 of the same suit. This is the highest paying hand.
  2. Straight Flush: Any 5 consecutive cards of the same suit.
  3. Four of a Kind: 4 cards of the same value across suits.
  4. Full House: 3 cards of one value and 2 of another.
  5. Straight: 5 consecutive cards from different suits.
  6. Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same value across suits.
  7. Two Pair: Two pairs of cards.
  8. Pair of Jacks or Better: A pair of at least Jacks. This is the lowest paying hand.

The most common Jacks or Better version is 9/6, also called the 'full pay' game. The name comes from the payouts: 9:1 for a flush and 6:1 for a straight, which means an AU$10 bet gets you an AU$90 payout if you hit a flush and AU$60 if you hit a straight. The game has a payout percentage of 99.54%. Other variants include 8/5 and 7/5.

Deuces Wild

This is another very popular video poker game. The game uses the 2-value cards as wild cards, as the name suggests. Other than that it is very similar to Jacks or Better. The payout percentages are the same as Jacks or Better too. In fact some variants of Deuces Wild come with a payout percentage of 100%.

The game is played with a 52-card deck, with the 2s acting as wilds. This gives you a significant advantage as you can use the 2 as any value card to improve your hand and pick up a win. You have to usually get at least a three of a kind for a payout.

Joker Poker

This game is played with a 53-card deck, which means the original joker is used and to good effect. The wild card in the game is the joker. The use of the joker as wild gives you a shot at more winning opportunities than traditional no-joker or no-wild games like Jacks or Better.

The joker or wild hands do not pay out as high as the natural hands, i.e. the hands that do not use a joker. So a hand of 5-6-7-8-Joker (joker as 9) would pay out lower than the original hand of 5-6-7-8-9. Joker Poker was one of the original variants of video poker.

There are a few other popular video poker variants as well, including:

  • Aces & Eights: You get higher payouts when you land a four-of-a-kind hand of Aces or 8s.
  • Tens or Better: This game is just like Jacks or Better, except that the lowest paying hand is a pair of 10s.
  • Double Joker: This is a game with 2 jokers, which means you use a 54-card deck.
  • Joker Wild: This game is just like Deuces Wild, except that the joker is the wild card.

Multi-Hand Video Poker vs. Single Hand Video Poker

Initially, you had only single hand video poker games. With time, the game evolved and multi-hand games came up. Multi-hand games instantly caught on for a number of reasons. Your payout potential shoots up; the more the hands the better the chances of picking up a payout. This is because you get the same hand multiple times, and when you know that you are playing a 100-hand game, it means your chances of picking up a win theoretically went up 100 times.

The game works this way: you pick the cards you want to hold and they are held across all the hands. The remaining are dropped and make way for new cards. Here is where it gets interesting: the replacement cards are not the same for all the hands, which contributes to a higher winning opportunity. And the best thing is that you get paid for each hand that contributes to a win. One thing to remember: along with the higher possibility of a win also comes higher bet exposure.

There are a number of software providers with multi-hand games. However, the credit for the first 100-hand video poker game goes to Real Time Gaming. The games in question were 100-hand Bonus Poker Deluxe and 100-hand Aces & Eights.

Additional Ways to Win in Video Poker: The Double Bonus Feature

One more way of picking up wins when playing video poker is the Double Bonus. This is a betting strategy much like the Gamble feature in slots. It is usually activated once you score a win; the Double Bonus button gets activated.

Clicking the Double Bonus button gives you a fresh hand with 1 card dealt face up and the other 4 face down. You need to click one of the 4 face down cards: your winnings get doubled if the value of the card you picked is higher than the value of the face-up card. If the values don't match you lose whatever you won on that hand.

Video Poker Software Platforms

There are a number of software providers who offer video poker. Each of these providers has its own range of video poker games, some of which are proprietary to them.

The following table lists and compares the topmost providers' offerings:

Software Provider Total Games Popular Games Max Hands/ Game Click to Play
15+ Double Bonus, All American, Sevens Wild, Pick 'Em Poker 100
7 Jacks or Better, 10s or Better, Joker Poker 4
11 Jacks or Better, Aces & Faces, Deuces Wild 10

Owing to the new legislation relating to online gambling in Australia, the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016, drafted in November 2016 and passed in September 2017, you find video poker games only from few providers - including companies like Real Time Gaming, Rival Gaming and Saucify -

available to Australian players nowadays.

Video Poker Odds and Return to Player (RTP)

One common element to all gambling games is the concept of the odds. Video poker odds are slightly more manageable if you choose the right game and also the correct strategy to play it. To be able to do this effectively you will first need to choose the right game to play. Mind you, the odds of getting a particular hand remains the same always, unlike in slots where the odds may vary depending on the number of paylines you use.

The odds associated with a video poker game have a direct bearing on the payout. The higher the hand, the harder it would be to land it and so the steeper the odds. The steeper the odds the higher the payout.

The following example will lend a little more clarity to this concept. Say you are playing Jacks or Better, a game with a cool 99.54% payout percentage. The odds of you landing a Royal Flush are quite steep, at 40,390:1, which translates to a 0.002% chance of landing that hand. That is why the payout is so high, at 4000 coins.

Another important aspect to video poker is the payout percentage, also called the Return to Player (RTP) value. As the name suggests, it is the percentage of your total bet amount that you will get back from the casino in the form of wins. So a 99% RTP means that for every AU$1000 you wager, over a period of time you will get back $999.

The RTP is a direct contributor to the house edge that a game comes with. So if you have a Jacks or Better game with a RTP of 99.54%, the house edge automatically becomes the remaining, 0.46 need to make the 100%, i.e. 0.46%. This means that the house has a 0.46% edge over you.

The following are the payout percentages for some of the variants of the most popular video poker variant, Jacks or Better:

Jacks or Better Variant Payout Percentage
9/6 99.54%
9/5 98.45%
8/6 99.39%
8/5 97.30%
7/5 96.15%
6/5 95.00%

Reading a Video Poker Payout Table

The video poker payout table is usually seen right on the screen of your computer and is easy to read. It will usually list out the hands in descending order of ranking and also the payout you can expect based on the number of coins wagered.

We will take a look at the payout table for Deuces Wild in this section to understand the payout table better.

Hand 1 Coin 2 Coins 3 Coins 4 Coins 5 Coins
Royal Flush (without wild card) 250 500 750 1000 4000
Four Deuces 200 400 600 800 1000
Royal Flush (with wild card) 25 50 75 100 125
Five of a Kind 15 30 45 60 75
Straight Flush 9 18 27 36 45
Four of a Kind 5 10 15 20 25
Full House 3 6 9 12 15
Flush 2 4 6 8 10
Straight 2 4 6 8 10
Three of a Kind 1 2 3 4 5

The highest payout, as you can see, is the Royal Flush without a wild card, at 4000 when you wager 5 coins. A Royal Flush hand with a wild card pays much lower, at 125. The lowest payout is of course for a Three of a Kind hand, at 125 for a 5-coin wager.

Choosing Your Video Poker Game

Video poker is a game for individuals so it is only fair that the choice of game rests on the person playing it. There are different criteria that go into choosing a game:

For those who like excitement, a good option could be a wild card game like Deuces Wild or Joker Poker. The wild card or joker gives you better winning opportunities than a traditional no-wild game.

Those who like winning money should try out multi-hand games and games that come with bonuses. Games with high payout percentages are good options to consider as well.

Those who like progressives can of course try out progressive jackpot games.

New players and fans of the simple can try out simple traditional games like Jacks or Better.