Video Poker Recap

Our editorials are usually dedicated to the kind of poker that's played by humans against humans. There are, however, poker variants which allow players to compete against the house, and video poker is perhaps the most popular game of this kind. The game is based on five-card draw poker, and is played against a computer. Just like real-life five-card draw, the player is dealt five cards, and can then draw one round of cards. Though the payouts vary between the different variations of the game, all forms of video poker share the same game flow:

  • First, the player must determine the amount of credits he or she wishes to place in the bet.
  • The ‘deal’ button is pressed, and the computer deals a new hand of five cards.
  • The player can now choose to keep or discard any number of cards. Pressing the ‘hold’ button for each individual card will keep it in play.
  • Once the player has decided which cards he or she wishes to keep, they hit the ‘deal’ button. The computer then deals the new cards, replacing those which weren’t held. This is the final deal, and the payouts, if applicable, proceed.
Psychology vs. strategy

Though this may be a false statement in the future, the psychological element of poker is currently non-existent. After all, you are playing against a computer. But for some players, this can be very misleading. People sometimes make a false connection between psychology and strategy, and assume that strategy doesn't apply to video poker either. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even though you're facing a computer screen and pushing buttons, Video poker is nothing like playing the slot machines. Strategy must be applied correctly if you wish to maximize your payouts.

Every good strategy starts with identifying your strengths and using them. A great advantage of video poker is the fact that the game offers payouts that are often close to or even in excess of 100%. This can only be achieved using error-free perfect play. But before bothering with strategy for perfect play, you must choose the right machines.

These great payback percentages are offered only on ‘full-pay games’, so before you sit down to play, make sure that your machine is a full-pay one. Additionally, even these ‘full play machines’ offer optimal payouts only when a player bets the maximum number of credits, which is usually 5.

Now its time to choose is the type of video poker that you wish to play. Here is a word about the most popular variants:

Jacks or Better
This is the most popular version of video poker. Payouts begin at a pair of jacks - or better (hence the name). Full-pay Jacks or Better is also called ‘9/6 Jacks or Better’, since the payoff for a full house is 9:1, and the payoff for a flush is 6:1. Maximal theoretical return for full-pay Jacks or Better, when played with perfect strategy and with maximum credits is 99.54%.

Deuces Wild
This variation of video poker considers all 2’s as wild cards. Twos can therefore substitute for any other card in the deck. Payouts start at ‘three of a kind’. In Deuces Wild, the payout for a ‘four of a kind’ accounts for almost one third of the total payback percentage, and occurs on average approximately every fifteen hands. Maximal theoretical return for full-pay Deuces Wild, when played with perfect strategy and with maximum credits is 100.762% percent – you can theoretically beat the hose!

Bonus/Double Bonus
Bonus Poker is based on Jacks or Better, but offers a higher payout for ‘four of a kind’. There are multiple versions of the game, each of them featuring different payouts and ‘four of a kind’ bonuses. Double Bonus video poker is another variation of Jacks or Better with an additional bonus for ‘four aces’. Maximal theoretical return for full-pay Double Bonus, when played with perfect strategy and with maximum amount of credits is 100.1725 percent. Again, here is a theoretical chance to beat the hose!

Poker is essentially a communal activity, but if you feel like a break from all the psychological battles, position wars and dominating tactics, you can try a round of video poker for a change.