We think video poker is among the most underrated games in the online casino world.
Do you play it? We’ll be surprised! Players seem to consider video poker somewhat old fashioned. And in fairness, they can’t be blamed for thinking so: game design hasn’t really moved on in a long time, most casino sites do not have large selections of video poker games, and when they do have games they are often hard to find.
But we think the online casino industry is missing out on a trick by not making more of video poker, and we think you should be playing this game.
And here’s why!
Video Poker is the Origin Game!
All slots are based on poker. The original slots weren’t the three-reel games that are classed as retro or classic titles today, they were a five-reel game that mimicked the action of dealing a five-card poker hand. Prizes were awarded for completing poker hands.
Slots are poker, and poker is slots!
There’s a difference though. Those first slot machines were rigged. They didn’t “cheat” or set up particular spins to win, but they removed cards from the decks they used to deliver their winning combinations in order to increase the odds against the player winning.
Shocking we know!
Video poker, which came onto real-life slot markets back in the 1970s, sort of rebalanced the equation by using full decks of cards among its symbols.
Video Poker is Superb Value for Players
We measure the value the only way we can, with the stats that are made available to us. In the gambling world, these are theoretical return to player (RTP)/house edge and hit rate.
RTP is the complementary figure of the “house edge” and together they will add up to 100%. The RTP measures how much money of the total wagered on a machine over its lifetime should be returned to players. This is not a perfect measure: it is based on probabilities (in a random sequence), the law of large numbers, and a theoretical model of decisions that players will make. However, it is the best model we have of game performance.
And video poker performs brilliantly by this measure.
We’ve seen a comprehensive survey of video poker systems and the highest house edge in a full set of games was less than 4%.
Many of the games – using the right strategy – had a house edge of under 1%.
House edge and RTP are good starting points to finding games that will give you a decent return. Nothing guarantees wins, but you need to do what you can to tip the odds in your favour and it’s obvious that video poker does this.
A good way to spot games that are good value for players is to check out a casino’s welcome offer. A welcome offer comes with a wagering restriction, an amount of money that the player has to deposit and play with in order to release winnings from their offer bonus. These restrictions usually put a weighting on games to discourage players using their bonus money on certain games – and video poker is always heavily weighted against.
We think that’s a great indicator of its value.
More than this:
Video Poker rewards Skill but is Simple to Play
All gambling games are games of random sequences. But any game that asks the player to makes a decision introduces some measure of skill.
These games are very easy to play.
A standard game consists of a line of five windows, into which will be “dealt” five cards. The player’s aim is to get the best poker hand – following the particular rules of the game they’re playing – and they can choose which cards are kept and which discarded for a second deal.
This is where the skill comes in.
We don’t have space here to do a full strategy run down, but the choices you make at this point are important, and you can increase your chances of winning by understanding the probabilities of completing various hands based on your first set of cards.
Because video poker makes you think it’s a good game to play slowly. And slow play is better value for players and safer – the less you play the less you will lose.
Video Poker has Variety!
Video poker is based on a card game that most of us understand, and with its single row of standard card symbols, it can look a bit dowdy compared to some other games.
But don’t be misled by this. Video poker comes in all shapes and sizes and has variants to suit all sorts of players.
The most popular game types are Jacks or Better, and it pays out on pairs of jacks and above (from a standard poker hand progression). You can deal a whole new hand with the second draw.
Wild Card games come with a single wild card, the most common is 2 – so Deuces Wild – the least valuable card in the pack otherwise.
Typical odds on video poker games are a 1 to 1 pay out for the lowest valued hand (a pair of jacks for example), 25 to 1 for straight flushes, and 800 to 1 at the top end of the pay table for a royal flush.
You should do your research first.
How to get the best out of Video Poker
Video poker can be rewarding and fun if you:
1 – Play only at safe, licensed sites: the first and most important consideration in every single gambling decision you make!
2 – Learn how to read RTP and house edge. Check the games you’re considering and find the ones that offer the best possible returns.
3 – Learn game strategies: take a look at a full strategy guide – keep it with you while you play – and be ready to react to the game as it unfolds in front of you.
4 – Play slowly and safely. Keep your stakes low, especially when you’re new to the game, and don’t rush as you learn your way around.
5 – Have fun! Video poker is best played as a fun diversion rather than with money in mind.
Poker & Betting Expert