Ins and Outs of Online Video Poker Explained
Video poker is not quite as popular in land-based and online casinos as the three- and five-reel slot machines, but the game still has a dedicated following. The ease of access provided by the Internet, with hundreds of mobile and online casinos now competing for business, is helping to increase the popularity of online video poker.
More and more players are attracted by the idea of competing against the house for a fixed pay-out, rather than against other players in the table card game, when the size of the wins is determined by how much one’s opponents are prepared to wager. Being able to log in to online and mobile casinos anywhere anytime is also a powerful attractor.
Online Video Poker vs. Normal Poker
Classic poker is a table-based card game that comes in a number of variations; some versions allow the player to discard cards and draw more, others have a pool of cards face-up on the table which all players can use to create winning hands.
In all the different versions, though, the object is the same; to get the highest poker hand possible, according to the standard poker combinations, or to bluff your opponents into folding, so you can scoop the pot. The size of the pot is determined by all the players betting in turn, according to the strength of their hands. Video poker, on the other hand, does away with extra players and pits the player directly against the house.
The player places one bet and is dealt five cards. The player then gets a chance to hold cards, or discard them and be dealt replacements. Once the player has drawn, the hand ends and any poker combinations are assessed. Wins are paid out according to a pay table that sets fixed amounts for specific combinations. Many versions will only start paying wins for a pair or better. The top wins are paid on a royal flush: the 10, J, Q, K and A in the same suit.
Practice Can Improve Play
Most online video poker pay tables determine wins as a multiple of the stake bet, so if a machine offers variable stake options, players can adjust their bets to suit their budgets. Of course, the more they wager, the more any winning combination becomes worth, so they also need to take that into consideration. However, the big advantage of video poker is that by knowing when to draw cards and which cards to hold to stand the best chance of winning, the game is no longer a matter of the sheer luck of the deal.
Players can influence the outcome by playing the odds correctly, so understanding the chances of, say, turning a pair into a three-of-a-kind, or discarding half of a pair to draw a single card towards a straight or a flush, is important. Those who play online video poker regularly eventually learn to calculate these odds automatically, so those who wish to play seriously for money should practise as much as possible. Many online free casinos will offer video poker play for credits only, so they can be a useful training ground.