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Learn How to Play Video Poker

Video Poker is a hugely popular game, both at land casinos and online. It gives players the chance to develop their poker skills and win large sums of money while having a thoroughly enjoyable time. Over the years, a number of different versions of the game have been developed but they are all based upon very similar principles.

In this guide, you will learn the basics of the game as well as the differences between the different versions. You can then start playing straightaway and hopefully it won’t be long before you start hitting big wins.

Basic Video Poker Rules

In nearly every version of Video Poker, the aim of the game is to build the best possible five-card poker hand. Nearly all the games are based upon 5 Card Draw. This means that at the start of a round you are dealt five cards. You then choose which of those cards you wish to hold and which you want to discard. The discarded cards are then replaced and you are paid out according to the strength of your hand.

In many cases, when you first open a game you will be asked the number of hands you want to play, 1, 5, 10 or 25. This is the number of hands that you wish to play simultaneously. Of course, the more hands you play the better your chances of winning but the more you will be betting per round. You then need to set how much you wish to bet per hand, this will normally be anything from 0.01 up to 20, depending on the specific game and how many hands you are playing. You will also need to set your bet level, from 1 to 5, and for reasons that will be explained, it is always best to set it to the maximum.

Once you are happy with your bet you just need to click on ‘Deal’ to receive your first five cards. If you are dealt a winning hand then in most games the winning cards will be automatically held. However, you can unselect them and choose to hold other cards instead. When you are happy with your selection click on ‘Deal’ once again (sometimes labelled ‘Draw’) to replace your discarded cards. Your hand is assessed and you will be paid out according to its strength.

Types of Poker Hand

All the different versions of Video Poker make use of the standard poker hands. In fact, only two factors tend to vary in each game, the minimum strength hand needed to win a payout and the amount paid out for the different types of hands. The basic poker hands are as follows:

  • Two/Three/Four of a Kind –This is a hand that contains either two, three or four matching cards. For example, two, three or four 6s.
  • Two Pair – This is hand containing two pairs, for example two 3s and two 6s.
  • Full House – This is a pair together with three of a kind, for example two 7s and three Jacks. It doesn’t matter what suit the cards are, as long as they have the same value.
  • Flush– This is a hand where all the cards are the same suit, for example, 4, 5, 7, K and A of diamonds.
  • Straight– This is a hand with five cards in sequence, for example 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Once again, it doesn’t matter what the suit is and the Ace can be used at either the beginning or end of a sequence.
  • Outside Straight– This is a set of cards that can be made into a straight with another card on either end. For example, 9, 7, 10, 8, 3 is an outside straight because either a 6 on the low end or a Jack on the high end will turn it into a straight.
  • Inside Straight– This is a would-be straight with a hole in the middle. 9, 2, 10, 8, 6 is an inside straight because only a 7 will turn it into a straight.  It is important to know the difference between inside and outside straights as when playing Video Poker you would never bet on an inside straight becoming a straight as you only have one chance of completing the straight.
  • Straight Flush– This is a hand that is both a straight and a flush. For example, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 of diamonds.
  • Royal Flush– This is a straight flush composed of the highest cards, such as 10, J, Q, K, A.  This is the strongest hand in video poker and if you see it then you know you are in for a big payout.

Video Poker Variants

Here at Play Club Casino there are three different Video Poker games available, Jacks or Better, Joker Poker and Deuces Wild. The games are very similar but there are a few key differences it is important to be aware of.

Jacks or Better

Jacks or Better takes its name from the minimum strength hand required to win a payout. If you are not holding at least a pair of Jacks then you will not win anything. A pair of Jacks will win you back at least your stake (depending on the bet level), and the payouts steadily grow as the hands become more valuable. The game offers a boosted payout for a Royal Flush when playing at the maximum bet level. It will payout 4000x rather than the standard 1800x.

Deuces Wild

Deuces Wild is another game that takes its name from one of its main features. In Deuces Wild, all the 2 cards are wild, meaning that they can substitute for all of the other cards to help you form a winning hand. This makes it easier to form poker hands, but you will have to form stronger hands in order to win a payout. In Deuces Wild a pair is not good enough to win, you will need at least three of a kind to win a payout. Furthermore, because of the wild cards, you can form a 5 of a Kind hand, and this of course pays out much more than 4 of a Kind. The most valuable hand is a Natural Royal Flush, which once again offers a boosted payout of 4000x.

Joker Poker

Joker Poker also takes its name from a feature. It is played with a deck of 53 cards, including one joker. The joker acts as a wild card and it will substitute for all of the other cards to help you form a win. As there is just one joker in a pack, the minimum hand needed to win a payout is a pair of Kings or Better (unlike Deuces Wild, which requires 3 of a Kind). It also offers a boosted payout for a Royal Flush at the top bet level. It will payout a massive 6400 coins!

Gamble Features

All of the Video Poker games available offer a Gamble Feature. After a wining hand, you have the chance to increase your winnings by playing a guessing game. You are shown a facedown card and if you correctly guess what colour it is you will double your payout. If you correctly guess its suit then you will quadruple your payout. In some of the games, you have the option to gamble just half of your winnings rather than all of them.

Basic Video Poker Strategies

As mentioned, it is always worthwhile playing at the maximum bet level. This is simply because all of the games offer an enhanced payout for the strongest hands at the top bet level. For example, Jacks or Better pays out 400x for a Royal Flush at the first bet level, 800x at the second, 1200x at the third and 1600x at the fourth. This then jumps to 4000x at the fifth bet level. This means that by playing at the maximum bet level you give yourself the chance of much larger returns, even if you have to play with a smaller coin size.

You will find that there are many Video Poker strategies available online and they all have different advantages and disadvantages. For example, you will find strategies optimised towards Royal Flushes that return large wins infrequently or you could find a strategy that is geared towards returning regular small wins. It is important that you find the correct strategy for your style of play. The strategies are generally very easy to follow and will ensure that you can have as much fun as possible while playing.

To Conclude

Hopefully you now understand the basics of how Video Poker works and the differences between the versions on offer here at Play Club Casino. Remember, you can play the games in demo mode first to get to grips with them and then switch to playing in real money mode and with a bit of luck, you will soon be enjoying some huge winnings.

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